What is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?

A content delivery network or content distribution network is a system of computers where your website is stored so it’s data can be served from multiple locations.

Let’s say you make a product called “product x” and you sell it through your one store front. No matter where your customers are located they have to come to this one store to get it.

So now, Wal-Mart sells your product. Now, people from all over do not have to go to one specific store to get product x and Wal-Mart is likely to be closer allowing them to get your product quicker. Since all the other Wal-Marts will be selling product x it will likely reduce the demand on your store.

So in this example, the product is like your website. Your visitors would be able to get the site served from multiple locations reducing the load on your server and possibly speeding up the load times of your website.

Why is a Content Delivery Network good for my website?

To illustrate the importance of a CDN using real numbers, one image being called from one of the data centers takes 302ms. That same image fetched for a user in Portland is 597ms, and from Washington DC takes 102ms. The worst case appears when coming from abroad – to fetch the same image for a visitor in Australia it takes on average 1,141ms for just that one image.

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) shortens that distance between your static content and the website visitor. While the text (content) on most web pages is dynamic, most images, JavaScript, and CSS are static. These static scripts and images make up a large percentage of the total bytes downloaded for each page view by a visitor. By using a CDN, you place static content as close to the visitor as possible. In turn this decreases the page load time the visitor experiences by a large amount. While InMotion Hosting states that your hosting has unlimited disk space and bandwidth, this generally applies to files that are part of your website. Using a CDN helps keep your footprint (in terms of the website size) lower on the server. It also helps to decrease bandwidth usage because your files would be accessed through the CDN from a geographically closer location to the person who is attempting to see your website.

Thoughts on “What is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?

  • Well my account doesn’t allow that for reasons unknown. Those features literally don’t exist! Customer support had to enter the CDN URL on their end.

  • Apparently if you have VPS hosting there is no way to add a MaxCDN CNAME record both in Cpanel and WHM.  My domain registrar whines they don’t manage my servers so they can’t do it either! Is this how you force people to upgrade? By denying them usage of outside services to speed up your slow hosting!?!

  • InMotionHosting, A question for you concerning all of your CDN info pages. Is it so hard too give a straight explanation/answer? Stars are pretty lights in the sky that mean nothing to purple cows. So here’s what you must mean to telll us all…

    CDN allows for faster delivery of site content. Akamai is a CDN provider, at the tp of all search engine results. Akamai competes with dozens of companies. Some CDN services are inhouse: for example, Google CDN. Naturally, national Defense departments deploy CDN, but that is an application not related to your interest in CDN, most likely…

    CDN is an additional cost to your InMotion fees. Annual cost for Akamai can range from less than $100 to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, depeding on content delivered. One curious thing about CDN services, is they are easily accessed using a search engine, but no CDN provider offers a pricing list. Their claim is that they need to base their fee on quantity. But the fact is, servers donlt charge anyone for data that passes through them on a quantity basis. What CDN does is tag file typpe and size and shunt content to specific server routes on that basis, using some simple batch content commands. In other words, effectively zero overhead is generating income for companies that obtain special access to web delivery through W3C arrangements. CDN is for many users an essential business critical service. Hence the snake oil sales strategy: come try our service and we bill you an undisclosed, flexible amount we decide on sometime, somewhere.

    Compare Cisco Certified Network Security, or NS. Anyone can accomplish a modest NS effort on their own, with patience and interest in utility deployment. Conversly, CDN is mostly private access with a small number of public tools/access points. Neither NS nor CDN providers have any interest in sharing simple web space with your InMotion assets.

    Now, let’s set aside the critical analysis of content delivery economy. CDN benefits virtually all major online corporations and institutions. You can benefit greatly from CDN (and NS) provisions. But they generally cost considerable more than a simple monthly hosting fee. Good luck.

    • Hello Mark,

      Thank you for your comment. At this time we do not offer CDN service, and I understand you frustration with pricing.

      There are also many free CDN services that provide basic options, such as Cloudflare, CoralCDN, or Incapsula. I found these via Google search.

      If you have any further questions, feel free to post them below.
      Thank you,


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