Why Use Content Delivery Networks?
I must say CDN is not for every webmasters, as it may be charged with a hefty fee for services, and if your web-sites have low flow of visitors then it won’t be of any benefit of using when you are paying for it. High-traffic websites and web applications would however notice a tremendous benefit in latency because of download speeds and performance. When you have visitors from all over the world, physical servers are limited to data transfers from a local connection.
The purpose of a delivery network is to deliver your static files (CSS, JS, Images) from the most convenient server farm based on the user’s location. So you may have people accessing your American-hosted website from Australia, Europe, Japan, and South America. Each of them could be served much quicker through a geographically-based cloud network. A CDN can also be tied onto a particular domain or subdomain of your own website. This gives the illusion of hosting files on an alternate server which is also handy for backups.
Best available CDN Web Services
For starters, they should try Cloudfare with the free plan and get a better understanding. The backend system can be a little confusing until you have spent time working with a service provider. CloudFlare also boasts an incredible amount of security and support for detailed issues.
Cloudfare with Pro Plan gives plenty of features. CloudFlare does not charge based on bandwidth, but instead by a monthly fee and limited data caps. It’s a huge marketing bonus to the company and it gives interested clients a chance to gauge their potential without much risk.
CacheFly is serving files for companies which include Cartoon Network, Microsoft, Bandai-Namco, and Adobe. CacheFly as a company has been around since early 2002 and has one solid track record for hosting files in the cloud.
One interesting point on their homepage is the guided video tour which explains a bit about Content Delivery Networks. If you are still fuzzy on the concept I recommend watching the clip. It’s about 2-3 minutes long and provides a great explanation of what CacheFly can do.
Only con is pricing, their simplest plan is of about $100/month for only 256GB data transfer. This equates to about .25TB monthly before you would hit excess transfer charges. If you aren’t receiving enormous levels of traffic to your website or to website media (images, video) then CacheFly is probably worth waiting to put off for later.
3. Windows Azure
Windows Azure is one fascinating new launch which has a lot of potential in the realm of cloud hosting. You can sign up for a free 90-day trial which offers all the basics for cloud users. This plan comes with 10 possible websites, 35GB of storage and 20GB CDN bandwidth. For anybody seriously considering CDN cloud hosting you should really give Azure a shot. Even before going onto a paid plan it’s worthwhile for testing purposes.
Azure offers a lot of extra functionality like SQL database storage. If you have specific needs for your website try their price calculator to get an average cost estimate.
If you know that your website drives a lot of traffic and you need a seriously fast & stable delivery network, go with NetDNA. Support system from NetDNA works directly with clients and solve specific bandwidth problems on their website infrastructure, and that can be very helpful.
The MaxCDN cloud hosting/CDN service is actually part of the greater NetDNA network. This is one of their smaller brands which is the perfect solution for small-to-medium sized businesses. This is especially true with blogs or online magazines which are displaying a lot of unique content on a single webpage.
- Flexible pay-as-you-go pricing plan which starts at $40 for 1TB of data
- Any small business or new startup can hold onto this limit for a very long time without going over,
- There are no time limits for when the data caps would run out
6. Google App Engine
Possibly the greatest advantage to using Google’s App Engine is that you can get disk space and file hosting through Google for absolutely free! Developers can sign up for a new application account and determine how much space is required for their app. Google is one of the more notorious tech companies in the world and holds a very strong reputation for security.
When scouring the web recently I found a tutorial for setting up App Engine and how to create your first online CDN repository. This is an excellent step-by-step guide for newcomers who are not yet familiar with Google’s interface. There is some interaction with the command prompt but the whole process isn’t very difficult and actually fairly easy to replicate if you have the guide.
The Rackspace website is mostly filled with hosting plans for server space. But surprisingly they have broken into the business of public cloud CDN hosting partnered with the Akami Network. This delivery network is huge and gives your files a direct connection to almost anywhere in the entire world. There are multiple locations found all around the United States and Europe, along with Asia, Australia, and South America.
Now one alternatively interesting tidbit of info is that Rackspace has their own Cloud Files API which is public for any programmers to build with. You can upload large sets of files to the cloud by programming your own interface. This could be a desktop application or even a website application based on PHP or another common backend language.
Amazon CloudFront is a web service for content delivery. It integrates with other Amazon Web Services to give developers and businesses an easy way to distribute content to end users with low latency, high data transfer speeds, and no commitments.
Amazon CloudFront can be used to deliver your entire website, including dynamic, static and streaming content using a global network of edge locations.
Sharing Files In The Cloud
Everybody will have a different purpose for working within the cloud. We all work with varying types of data and will thus need to shift focus accordingly.
This article will help to choose best Cloud hosting and CDN services for Web Developers. It is my hope that newer web developers will take the time to research this topic and learn more about file storage and cloud server infrastructure. Additionally if you have any suggestions or thoughts on the post feel free to share with us in the discussion area.