CDN vs Edge Server: who’s the winner?
The demand for Content Delivery Network services continues to grow every passing day. Given how expansive the world wide web has become, businesses and artists are taking advantage of broadening their reach and market, too. As a result, more people are asking questions about CDNs and the many things they’re about. For instance, in a battle involving CDN vs edge, who will triumph? Is that even a valid question, to start with?
For this write-up, we’re exploring the CDN technology by writing about what it is and what components it needs to get it working.
Defining CDN vs Edge Servers
For you to better appreciate how a CDN works, you need to understand how your website keeps afloat online. To begin with, websites are “managed” by web hosts. These web hosts are in charge of storing your information in their origin server, making sure your website keeps its template and content and is consumed cohesively by your users. On the other hand, CDNs are a cluster of servers geographically scattered in different parts of the planet. This is done so global audiences can access your website as efficiently as possible.
In other words, web hosts keep your content in their origin server, while CDNs distribute them to your end-users. This means that when your site doesn’t make use of a CDN, your web content will always come from your origin server every time your users try accessing your site. This not only leads to a delay in web page loading, but it also makes your website much more prone to crashing. Know that origin servers aren’t designed to cater to thousands of your website visitors all at once. They’re only in charge of storing your data. That’s where the technology of CDN comes in.
Say, your website is hosted by a web host in Houston. Every time your Texan visitors go to your website, it’s likely they obtain your content much quicker since the origin server is proximally close to them. But when your users from, say, India or Frankfurt access your site, it’ll take much longer for them to open your content in full given the distance. As mentioned, this is where a CDN comes into play. When you have a CDN, your site visitors who are far from your origin server still get to speedily access your site because they obtain your web content from their edge server—the server that’s nearest them. So even when your site is hosted by a web host in Houston, your Indian and German users enjoy the same speed and browsing quality your Texan users do because of your CDN’s edge servers. In the edge caching vs CDN equation, your edge servers are crucial because your web content is ultimately distributed by them.
How these servers work together
Because fast-paced websites consistently have updates on new content now and then, origin servers and edge servers communicate at all times. The best way to go about content distribution is to make sure your CDN servers automatically pull web data from your origin. Another way to approach your CDN strategy is by using the push method where you’re in charge of updating your edge servers instead of them pulling content from the origin automatically. This is less effective though and may even be tedious for plenty of site owners. For the most part, this is how it works with a free CDN.
Important factors to remember
CDNs handle your traffic, not your origin server
For your traffic to be coursed through a CDN, an edge server needs to be assigned for every inbound HTTP/s traffic your site gets. This should be easy with us, as we have a comprehensive tutorial on how to set up your website with belugaCDN.
CDNs can help secure your origin server
Because your CDN becomes the gateway for your HTTP/S traffic, they also function to assess incoming requests. This allows it to recognize and sort what web applications could be attacks before they even make it to your web host origin. This same premise takes place with malicious bots and DDoS. While a free CDN could sound enticing, these kinds of features are very limited for CDN services you don’t pay for.
CDNs also work well with websites that have multiple data centers
CDN servers are better able to take care of traffic due to their on-edge positioning. That being said, CDNs make use of algorithms that trace application layer load balancing. This enhances traffic and web content distribution by determining how much load every origin server carries.
Is a free CDN better?
All these mentioned, there is no actual winner in the CDN vs edge or the Edge caching vs CDN battles as both ends work together for the benefit of your website. One can’t say one server is better than the other because, at the end of the day, all these servers need each other to better relay your web content. Origin hosts store updates and new content, while edge servers distribute them accordingly. Skip resorting to a free CDN and sign up with us instead.
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