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How to choose a CDN (content delivery network)?

The web services market continues to flourish, and customers are looking for maximum performance from their online applications, which makes the search for an ideal content delivery network (CDN) both an opportunity and a challenge. A variety of providers offer varying technology, support and prices, making choosing a CDN a journey full of obstacles. Users want to ensure maximum performance from their online applications.

In the world of CDNs, where providers of all sizes and origins compete to win customers, careful selection becomes essential. CDNs, or networks of servers that store copies of web content, have the potential to significantly improve the speed of content delivery in various formats, providing a pleasant experience for users around the world, whether watching videos, listening to music or browsing websites.

However, choosing a CDN requires a careful analysis of factors. These include the type of content, the location of users, technological resources, the support offered and, finally, the cost involved. In this article, we will explore how users can make informed decisions when choosing a CDN, highlighting crucial elements to ensure the success of their online presence.

The evolution of web services

In recent years, the web services market has grown enormously. From the point of view of those who buy them, this initially seems like a great advantage. But the existence of such a wide variety of suppliers can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, this number of suppliers favors the customer in their search and choice, in terms of technology, support, prices and other characteristics. However, it ends up bringing with it a huge number of doubts, which can turn your decision-making process into a real obstacle course.

In the CDN segment, for example, there are providers of different sizes and based in different countries. CDNs are networks of global servers that store copies of web content, providing fast delivery to users all over the world. Huge Networks, for example, is able to offer a global service because it already has more than 50 points of presence (POPs) spread across the globe.

It is through these points of presence that CDNs are able to improve the speed with which content is delivered to users in a wide variety of formats. This service allows you to have a pleasant experience on websites, applications and other online services, without crashing when watching videos, playing music, viewing pages or downloading files.

What to look for and compare when choosing a CDN

Unfortunately, all providers of this type of service can look similar. Users may even have the impression that any one will handle content delivery well, but in reality this is not the case. However, when choosing a CDN, you need to take into account some important factors in order to make a suitable choice. For example, the type of content to be delivered, the location of the users, the technology resources and functionalities available, the support (and the language the support speaks) and, finally, the price.

Static vs. dynamic content

Static content remains unchanged unless someone updates it manually. It is usually found on stable web pages, such as contact information or privacy policies. Updating requires manual intervention.

Dynamic content, on the other hand, adapts automatically to variables such as user interactions and real-time data. Widely used on news sites, social networks and e-commerce, it is frequently renewed without manual intervention, taking advantage of databases and scripts.

In the case of Huge Networks, the technology provides features such as long-term storage capacity. It also has strategic hubs for ultra-low latency IP connectivity and state-of-the-art hardware, using new AMD EPYC processors and 100GbE network controllers.

With regard to the location of users, it is important to check that the service provider has points of presence (POPs) geographically close to the customer’s market of interest. This measure is fundamental to ensuring a high-quality experience for users when accessing content. In principle, the more points of presence, the better the delivery conditions and the less latency (the time the user waits to receive the content).

Crucial aspects for choosing the best CDN

Evaluating the technological resources of a CDN provider becomes more challenging for customers because there are so many aspects to analyze. These are aspects such as the different network technologies, the quality of the servers and storage, the up-to-dateness of the software and solutions. These are complex evaluation items that generally require the assistance of a specialized consultant. To this scenario, it will be interesting to add all the other advantages that the supplier can offer. For example, does it offer a firewall to protect applications exposed on the web? Does it offer mitigation for denial of service attacks? What is the latency guaranteed by the service level agreement? When choosing a CDN, it is essential to take all these aspects into account.

The answers to all these items will enrich the evaluation and comparison scenario, making it easier to choose a provider. The picture becomes even clearer when you add in the support evaluation. At least for those in Brazil, it’s unreasonable to accept support that only works in English, for example. Or only during business hours. Or that the service is 100% robotic, as is already the case with certain web hosting providers or retail operations. This can therefore be a decisive aspect of the choice.

How to choose a CDN

Choosing a CDN: leave the price study until last

Evaluating the price should be left to last. In this way, it will be possible to evaluate not only the figures, but above all the resources that will be obtained through them. A higher price may be much more advantageous in terms of technology and security features than the savings offered by a cheaper option. It’s also worth remembering that a contract in Brazilian reals can benefit the client and protect them against exchange rate fluctuations.

Finally, it also makes sense to listen to what each CDN provider can say about its own resources, its technology, its ability to innovate, research and develop its own solutions. At Huge Networks, part of the network technology that guarantees latency of less than 30 ms was developed in-house – the company innovated with solutions that didn’t exist on the market. This has favored customer satisfaction and user experience. Putting this aspect on the decision scales will certainly show you who the best suppliers are.

Do you already use a CDN on your website or application?

See you next time!

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