Recent years have brought few new players into the content delivery field of business. We decided to have a look at one of the most promising - CDN77. A London based company of 30 people seems to be an interesting disruption amongst the IT giants on the market.
What it promises
The Techcrunch effect
Being covered and linked by just one 'big' website can generate so much traffic to your own web that it is enough to eventually overload it and take it down. CDNs can usually handle millions of requests per second and therefore make your site effectively immune to this spike-traffic problem.
How it works
When setting up a CDN for your website, you usually create a subdomain and dedicate it to caching all its content via CDN. For ilustration, if you had a domain of example.com, then you create a new subdomain cdn.example.com and let the CDN service cache everything on it. Then whenever someone comes to cdn.example.com, despite having example.com in the address, he will be served cached data from the content delivery network service and your sever can calmly sleep in the background.
Without a CDN, your sites is bothered with every request that comes to it - and loading one page by one visitor can produce dozens of these. With caching implemented, though, the page is saved with CDN and your server does not even have to know someone has loaded it - the cache does all the work (except for the very first request where the page is not in the cache yet).
What is the improvement
Some webmasters implement content delivery networks to save money on webhosting services as they only need to use much cheaper plans then. For others, however, the main purpose is to make the site load faster all around the world. Hosting companies will usually grant you a part of a server in one location. If you physically host your site in New York datacenter, for example, requests from your customers in India will have to 'hop' many times before being routed to their destination. Each hop adds a little lag and you might end up with a page that is being loaded several long seconds.
CDN edge servers, on the other way, are spread all around the world. In CDN77's case, there are 27 datacentres across 5 continents. Even if your own hosting is in New York, requests from users in India will not have to travel that far. They will be routed to the closest location (in this case that would be New Delhi) and local cache will take care of it. Together with a very promising specifications about the cache hardware, this gives a chance to speed up the page loading time rapidly. We decided to test it for ourselves.
We loaded the page 50 times in the 'normal' configuration and 50 times with the CDN implemented. It can be safely expected that with longer distance from the origin server, the measured difference would be even more significant.
We were quite surprised how easy it was to set up an account. You don't have to be an engineer to get started and even though we had a little bump on the way, the chat support was helpful and we were up and running in few minutes.
If you can change your DNS entries yourself, setting up a CDN is a matter of minutes.
CDN77 proved to be worth the hype it causes on the market. With a very easy setup and evidently powerful hardware, we can recommend it as a provider of choice for speeding up the website and relieving your potentially stressed hosting server.
Now, it's over to you!
If you are looking for a good CDN, CDN77 may just be the best option for you and your website. Have you considered taking it for a trial run? Click here to start your 14 days free trial!