Introduction to CDN and the XLHost CDN

Posted by Drew Weaver on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 @ 08:55 AM

XLHost just recently launched the XLHost cloud services portfolio which includes cloud servers and a CDN. They are off to a roaring start and if you haven't tried these services yet I would encourage You to do so. The cloud services portfolio has been designed to enhance and augment our dedicated hosting offering.

Existing XLHost customers can use our cloud services by visiting Grande or new customers can Sign up for XLHost Cloud

This is a brief introduction to CDN and XLHost's CDN service.

XLHost CDN edge server map

What is a CDN?

The most basic definition of CDN (content delivery network) is a globally distributed network of servers which maintain local copies of your web site and/or application content. A CDN can also be used to stream live video from a single location to consumers globally.

How does a CDN work?

All CDNs use DNS as the mechanism to decide which edge server to direct your customers to. You will simply create a DNS record (for example) cdn.yourdomain.com which points to the CDN service. When the user's browser looks up cdn.yourdomain.com it automatically returns the IP address of the closest CDN edge server. You control what content will be served by the CDN by simply editing your web site or application HTML and changing links from www.yourdomain.com to cdn.yourdomain.com. Most CMS and blog platforms can do this automatically.

There are two basic methods for a CDN to get your content; HTTP push and HTTP pull. With HTTP push, you upload files either manually or automatically to a distribution point and then the files are distributed out to the edge servers. With HTTP pull, the edge servers automatically pull your content into their local caches, customizible cache settings determine what files will be cached, when the cached files will expire, and much more.

How can I use a HTTP Push/Pull CDN?

A CDN is used for static content which does not require dynamic processing such as image files, css files, javascript libraries, and flash client files. These files make up the bulk of the loading time for a web site or application and as such they should be downloaded as quickly as possible. 

How does a CDN benefit me?

A CDN gives you global reach without the expense of managing a separate presence in every region your customers are in. Having your content distributed globally decreases load times which improves your user experience.

A great example of a use-case for CDN is a social media application or game which requires a large flash download before the user can interact with the content. The faster you can get your user into your game or application the more time the user can spend interacting with your content and (hopefully) generating revenue.

The XLHost CDN

XLHost currently has 38 CDN edge servers deployed in 5 regions: North America, Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. We are constantly adding more edge servers and You can fully customize your deployment to meet your needs. Pricing starts at $49/TB for North America/Europe. There are no long term commitments and XLHost can even help you get started.

The XLHost CDN is completely self service and managed in the cloud services control panel within Grande. It can also be managed via the API.

As always with anything you see here on the blog, if you have any questions please Contact XLHost


Tags: CDN, cloud, cloud services, xlhost