Updated: Oct 31
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a globally distributed network of web servers or Points of Presence (PoP) designed to provide faster and reliable content delivery. If you have a global online user base, a CDN can be of huge help to optimize your users’ digital experience across the world. Choosing a CDN that stays on top of the development of web and mobile technology and the rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape will enable you to offer the best digital experience while minimizing operational complexity and overhead.
To help you effectively meet the growing user demand on the Internet, we’ve listed out 5 golden tips that will help you make an informed decision in choosing your CDN in 2020.
Tip #1: Know your needs and focus on what matters most
Different needs require different solutions. Before evaluating all your CDN options, it is critical to have a thorough examination of the types of content you need to distribute and accelerate. If photo and video content is your bread and butter, you should focus more on the network bandwidth. For personalized and dynamic content, “more POPs” is not perceived as much as an advantage; what matters is the quality of the end-to-end network connectivity, the intelligence of the middle mile, and the optimization of the software stack.
From a user perspective, you should have a good understanding of your user distribution to make sure your provider has extensive coverage in the areas strategically important to you. If one global CDN does not satisfy all your needs in specific regions, which is often the reality, you need to bring in specialized CDNs that can address your needs in selected geo-regions. For example, many CDNs have good coverage in Europe and the United States, where data centers and peering are common. However, very few features robust coverage, in China and Asia, home to the largest online community in the world. If you expect sizable user traffic from that part of the world, it is strategically important to make sure your CDN provider has good network coverage in that region.
We see better results when IT managers talk with their business stakeholders to align on needs and requirements before looking into delivery solutions.
Tip #2: Be an expert of CDN capabilities and performance measurements
CDNs need to continually advance their platform capabilities to help customers fully realize the potential of the Internet, so does your knowledge. To know what is better and possible for your specific use case, it is important to familiarize with the capabilities modern CDNs can offer in 2020. Some key services should include advanced edge logics, image optimizations, API and mobile app acceleration, predictive caching, etc.
When it comes to measuring the performance of the CDN, network latency, availability, and throughput are the three key performance metrics s that you would always need to examine. Network latency measures the time it takes for data to get to its destination across the network; throughput quantifies how much traffic a network pushes at any given time; availability indicates whether a network is online and accessible. It is critical that you do a trial with your chosen CDN provider(s) and perform a comprehensive testing to collect performance data for all key metrics s. It is recommended that you collect performance data continuously for at least 48 hours to include peak and off-peak hours to arrive at an informed conclusion.
Tip #3: Security is the key for 2020
We are living in a world where more than 90,000 websites are hacked every single day. While bots are taking over 52 percent of all Internet traffic, the number of DDoS attacks is anticipated to reach 14.5 million by 2022. Therefore, on top of content delivery, a CDN should be able to block abusive bots, control content spam, improve real-time attack mitigation through large-capacity anti-DDoS scrubbing center and self-learning Web Application Firewall with bot management capability. If you are delivering your content to a market with sophisticated security threats, it is critical that your CDN partner has an advanced security solution to provide complete protection against all sorts of cyber-attacks.
Tip #4: Your business is unique, so the CDN solution should be.
A great CDN is not a cookie-cutter, but a partner capable of providing customized solutions to address customers’ unique challenges. While the majority of CDN providers would claim that they provide customized solutions, the degree to which they can customize varies. The flexibility of their platform architecture can have a big impact on the level of customizability they offer. It is smart to look for a CDN that offers granular control over all aspects of content handling, such as caching rules, cache keys, header and cookie handling, performance optimizations, failover behavior, access control, and edge logic. They should also provide API access to all management and reporting capabilities. Additionally, you may need to find out if a CDN vendor can provide customized token strategy, geo-based content routing, customized delivery map, customized origin integration, and more. A CDN partner who allows you to customize at the edge can bring tremendous value to your business.
Tip #5: Quality Customer Support saves you a ton.
Compromised support quality can cost you a ton. While many CDN providers offer 24/7/365 support, as a savvy customer, it is critical that you ask questions beyond service availability. The right CDN offers teams with a depth of expertise and breadth of experience – teams who have helped design the Internet’s most innovative sites, deliver its biggest events, and mitigate its largest attacks. The right CDN should be able to provide expertly managed delivery, broadcast, and security services with proactive, round-the-globe monitoring and support – giving its customers access to top-flight specialists in web, mobile, streaming, and security whenever and wherever needed . It’s preferable if a CND vendor offers a “flat” support structure so that you don’t have to go through multiple support tiers to get a ticket resolved.
If the 5 tips above have not addressed all your questions, now it is time to ask an expert for advice. At BaishanCloud, we have a team of experts with deep industry experience who are ready to take all your questions regarding cross-border content delivery, edge security, China ICP License and more. Contact us at www.baishancloud.com/contact-us for more information!