What is a CDN? | How Do CDNs Work?

In the professional broadcasting world, CDN is short for “content delivery network.” 

A CDN is a network of servers that deliver a web page or web content, such as video, to a user. The CDN copies the web content to a network of servers that are dispersed to different locations around a geographic region.

When a user accesses content that is part of a CDN, the CDN will redirect the request from the originating site’s server to a server in the CDN that is closest to the user and deliver the cached content. 

The closer the CDN server is to the user geographically, the faster the content will be delivered.

Using a CDN is ideal for streaming video, especially to a geographically diverse group of viewers.

Dacast uses top-tier CDNs including Limelight and Akamai, which have some of the largest networks of servers in the world. The global nature of these servers ensure scaleable and high quality live streaming.

Benefits of Using a CDN

What is a CDN? | How Do CDNs Work?
A content delivery network (CDN)/content distribution network is a network of servers and data centers.

As a broadcaster, providing your viewers with high-quality video content is absolutely essential. You want to create an enjoyable viewing experience to keep your viewers coming back. 

Using a global CDN provides several benefits that relate to bringing that high-quality experience to viewers in broader geographic regions.

Some improvements that CDNs offer include faster loading times, lower bandwidth costs, higher content availability, and enhanced security.

Speedier loading times reduce latency. Since viewers tend to have little patience for lagging and buffering, this is a major plus.

CDN vs. Video Hosting

Dacast Video Hosting - Knowledge Base Tutorials

Since they work so closely together, CDNs are sometimes confused with video hosts. When it comes to professional broadcasting, this is not an either/or situation.

A video host (ex: Dacast) is where your video lives. A CDN is simply the tool that brings it to your viewers. 

Think of your nervous system. Everything is operated by your brain, but chains of nerves send signals all over your body to give it the information it needs to function. 

A video hosting platform is a brain. It sends videos (or signals) to people to viewers via content delivery networks (the nerves). Both parts work together to bring viewers the content that has been requested.

Your online video host and CDN will work together to produce a high-quality broadcast.

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