What is a CDN?
What does a CDN do and is it necessary? Does Linode offer their own CDN and if not what are some of my options?
CDN is short for Content Delivery Network. They are the unsung heroes of the Internet, responsible for serving most of the content you and I access when browsing the web.
CDN's came about to solve the issue of latency. Latency is that pesky delay that occurs between you making a request to load a webpage, to the moment that content appears on your screen. There are many factors which go into this delay, and many are specific to the webpage in question. However, in many cases the physical distance between the user and the web server will be a large contributing factor.
A CDN will have multiple servers positioned in various geographic locations. These servers hold cached versions of all the content handled by that CDN, periodically calling out to the originating server to deliver the most up to date versions.
When you make a request to a website behind a CDN, that request automatically gets redirected to the server closest to you geographically.
When it comes to choosing a CDN there are a-lot of options, many have custom features to increase security and protect your data as its bounces around the web. I've included links to a few along with some of our guides below. At this time Linode does not offer our own CDN.
This is a brief overview of content delivery networks. I encourage everyone to use this information to find a solution which works best for your needs. If you find something that works well or have any additional insight you should join this conversation and share your experiences below.