Content Delivery Network Solutions: Adopting a Multi-CDN Strategy

Running a website that serves users across the globe means load times can be the difference between successfully satisfying your users or falling far short of their expectations, ultimately affecting your reputation and bottom line. Content Delivery Network (CDN) solutions provide fast delivery of content through a geographically distributed set of servers to give your website visitors lightning-fast access to the content they crave.

A multi-CDN strategy can make an incredible difference, and our partners at Lumen have created a white paper exploring this topic in detail. Here’s what you need to know.

The Benefits of Using Content Delivery Network Solutions 

When content has to travel far distances, users have to wait longer for it. A Content Delivery Network (CDN) enables the quick transfer of the assets required for loading content such as images, videos, coded files and stylesheets.  

The secret to a CDN’s power is that it caches—stores copies of files—at the network edge, minimizing the need for long-distance transfers between servers and clients. This lessens bandwidth usage, reduces latency and improves overall website performance. 

But even the best content delivery network solutions can suffer from performance issues.  


CDN Performance Issues 

As is the nature of internet technology, you can have solid performance most of the time but can’t expect content delivery network solutions to deliver exceptional performance in all regions and markets at all times.  

You’ll sometimes encounter CDN performance issues resulting from failing hard drives, server quirks, bottlenecks and last mile congestion. 

Micro Outages 

In many scenarios, if your customers have access to your content most of the time, that’s good enough. An occasional outage isn’t going to make or break your customer satisfaction and revenue loss will be minimal. 

However, a micro outage at key moments, such as a pay-per-view sporting event, a hot new game release, or during a major enterprise prospect’s trial, an outage could prove dire. 

No single CDN can promise 100% up-time, and even a short-duration event affects the end-user’s experience. 

Performance Degradation 

Occasionally, users may encounter an error message, slower access to content or lower-quality content. These more subtle but still frustrating performance issues create a negative perception and poor user experience.  

Whether accessing content for entertainment, shopping or work, the end-user is likely to abandon the content. And tolerance for low-quality content experiences will only continue to decline as more options become available. Consider how often you click or swipe to the next video as soon as the buffering symbol shows up. 

No single CDN can promise flawless performance, but rebuffering, pixelation and temporary access errors are bad for business.  


Does Your Business Need a Multi-CDN Strategy? 

While singular content delivery network solutions could be sufficient for providing satisfactory or even very good service most of the time, even the highest-caliber single CDN will never be able to deliver exceptional performance consistently across the globe.  

With a multi-CDN strategy, content providers are able to share traffic between two or more providers in order to mitigate the risks of performance issues that may arise at any given time with an individual provider.  

To learn more about the benefits a move to a multi-CDN environment will deliver to your business, your customers and the architectures involved, download our white paper How does a multi-CDN strategy work for my business? 

Kat Smith


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