What is a CDN? & How to Use It ?

Do you remember how our live streams were before CDN? Jittery, sluggish, eerie, and even at times frustrating. But with technological advancements, our lives completely changed. Streaming got clear, video searches gave instant responses, and even video streaming saw its birth.

And we even had the feeling of entering into a completely different multiverse, the same ditto feeling Dr. Strange would have, seeing his different avatars. 

So what is this technical phrase and how does CDN work? Read the article to find the A to Z of CDNs.

What Is CDN?

CDN, simply for content distribution network, is a cluster of several interconnected servers distributed across geographies for delivering high-quality streams without buffers or lags to end-users, irrespective of their location

Usually, CDNs cache the content from the server, meaning, they temporarily store the file so that when a user requests content from the origin server, the server closest to the user location responds. 
This way, the end user need not wait for delivery thus minimizing latency, improving quality, and even reducing server loads.

How Does CDN Work?

Before we see how a CDN works, we must know the fact that a content delivery network is responsible for distributing not only large-sized media files, but also text, images, videos, and other data.

Clear with the above part? If yes, then we will head onto how CDNs work:

1. It starts from a user request when a client sends out a call to view a web page or content.

2. This request is initially passed to the main server or the origin server where the content is hosted.

3. Then, the content is cached by the nearest edge server in a CDN and distributed to the user.  A CDN consists of several interconnected edge servers

4. If needed, an edge server can distribute content by requesting from other edge servers.

5. Once content is cached, the file remains in the edge server to make it available for the next user.

And this is how a content delivery network works. This way, the loading time is improved thereby reducing latency and balancing server loads accurately.

Plus, to safeguard webpage content or the entire process from prying eyes, the CDN is DDos protected. 

Given below is a graphical representation of how connections were established between clients and servers before and after the launch of the CDN technology. 

Did you know?

Experts found out in their research that even a second delay causes a conversation drop of 7%, a 16% drop in satisfaction rates, and an 11% drop in page impressions.

What Are The Types Of CDN?

If you ask users or website visitors this question, they wouldn’t know because for them it hardly matters. Because, all they require is stability, performance, and security.

Whereas, choosing the right type of CDNs stands as a crucial element for webmasters because it is them who are going to make it functional. And the  types are:

1. P2P CDN

  • This type of CDN is mainly used by large corporations and NGOs for content distribution.
  • Here, caching is not done, because end users who are watching the live stream share it with others.
  • Plus, it requires less equipment and computing power making it possible to share a part of the stream with other end users.

2. Push CDN

  • Webmasters mostly prefer this CDN methodology where they manually push the content from the origin server to CDN servers.
  • The edge servers will always have a copy of the website content so when users request, they are distributed instantly.

3. Pull CDN

  • Here, the CDN servers pull the website content from the origin server once the request is issued.
  • And caches it in their memory till the content is expired.
  • Plus, webmasters rewrite URLs to look in such a way that content is directly distributed from CDN servers.

So these were the three major types of CDNs that are used by developers. Now we will see why a CDN is much sought after by businesses around.

What Are The Advantages Of Using A CDN?

From live-streaming services to cloud developers to gaming solutions to several e-commerce websites, many of them are relying on content delivery networks. Why? It is due to the perks it offers like:

  • Offers faster load times thus giving an exceptional user experience
  • Rewards e-commerce sites with stronger engagements, higher views, and lower site retrievals
  • Reduces bandwidth costs consumption, and latency
  • Optimizes the performance of the site triggering a spike in traffic-adherence level

And there are more. So, if you agree with us in opting for a CDN for your project, then it’s high time we see how to find the right one. 

โšก๏ธ Read Also: Make Money With Live Streaming: 6 Best Ideas in 2024 ๐ŸŒŸ

How To Search For The Right CDN To Use?

Several factors need to be considered before choosing a CDN.

  • Check how the traffic is from your live streams and where your audiences reside.
  • Find out whether the CDN you choose offers web video distribution services.
  • Select a content distribution network that sits well across your goals and pricing.
  • Have a detailed insight into its features, reliability, SLA agreements, and security parameters.
  • Ensure that your choice of CDN can be scalable to your growing business needs.
  • And finally, look for reviews and testimonials from users.

Next up is,

How To Use A Powerful Live Streaming CDN?

If you have planned to implement CDNs in your businesses or brands, there are two ways to use them.

1. Partner with a dedicated CDN network like Cloudflare and CloudFront, or

2. Work out with a multi streaming platform like OnTheFly which uses top-tier CDNs.

So the choice is yours. And we will help you in this journey to find the right fit by explaining both the sections in detail.

Want To Reduce Buffer Time In Your Live Events & VOD Streams? Use OnTheFly

Popular Live-streaming CDN Networks

Listed below are some of the top providers of CDNs like Akamai, Azure, and Leaseweb that have better user ratings and reviews.

1. Akamai

Akamai is one of the leading CDNs on earth to date because of its robust security, highly intricate cloud computing strategies, and speedy content delivery.

In addition to these, it spans its presence to over 134 countries with 4100+ PoPs (Points of Presence) and is highly recognized for web app firewalls and DDoS protections.

Key Highlights

  • Has 1+ Pbps edge capacity
  • Round-the-clock monitoring with 2k+ experts
  • Global traffic management
  • API acceleration
  • Dedicated and shared CPU capabilities


Akamai’s pricing list is inclusive of transfer, dedicated and shared CPU storage, networking, and RAM. Therefore, you may check out their website to learn about the pricing details.

2. CloudFront

Backed by Amazon Web Services (AWS), CloudFront uses its infrastructure and elastic load-balancing ideology to deliver HQ streams without any lags.

It is best suited for OTT creators and marketing companies who require intense customizations.

Key Highlights

  • Has 225+ PoP links 
  • Built atop 100 GbE fibre cables
  • Its latency is 10% faster than the average CDN 
  • Protected by AWS Shield Advanced Firewall 
  • Cloud compatible
  • Has rich analytics

Pricing Options

Gives three subscription plans: pay-as-you-go, custom pricing, and CloudFront security bundle.

3. Microsoft Azure CDN

Similar to AWS, this particular CDN also makes use of Azure cloud infrastructure for website content management and delivery. 

It is opted mostly by software solutions, live streaming creators, gaming personnel, and mid-sized media companies.

And when we talk about its USP, they are in partnership with Akamai and Verizon, who are the world’s biggest media providers. 

Key Highlights

  • POP spread across India, Africa, Australia, Europe, America
  • Partnered with Verizon for smoother content delivery
  • Secured against DDoS attacks
  • Integration with Azure services
  • Has advanced analytics

Pricing Options

It offers pricing solutions to users based on their geography, content volume, and customizations.

4. CloudFlare

CloudFlare is growing at a steadfast pace to become a global provider of HD-quality streams. With this, it also offers high-end security mechanisms for static and dynamic content.

From larger organizations to independent content creators, everyone makes use of this CDN.

Key Highlights

  • POPs across 100+ countries
  • Uses Argo Smart Routing capability
  • Compatible with any cloud infrastructure
  • Analytics on website cache and missed cache URLs

Pricing Options

CloudFlare offers four pricing models that start from $20 per month.

5. Fastly

Fastly is the only CDN provider that gives users transparency in their network performance and content delivery time. And so, many digital media companies are making use of this provider for boosting screen views.

Apart from this, the platform also offers an edge cloud platform that can be modeled to a configurable CDN. 

Key Highlights

  • POPs across major countries like America, New Zealand, Australia, and Asia
  • Has Live Ticker to display requests handled
  • Protects APIs, and DDoS mitigation
  • Encrypted with TLS technology
  • Gives holistic statistics on data traffic

Pricing Options

Its pricing is based on bandwidth usage and hence categorized into four models – Trial, Essential, Professional, and Enterprise.

6. Edgio

Edgio is a highly functional content delivery network provider that has been benchmarked to deliver exceptional user experiences across devices. 

Be it live events or on-demand video content. Edgio ensures quality is not compromised at any cost, and content is delivered at lightning fast-speed.

Key Highlights

  • Ranked #1 for quick response time
  • Supports P2P connections with 7k+ routes
  • 300+ POP with 250+ Tbps capacity
  • Easy to move and store data anytime
  • Real-time log delivery & edge performance analytics

Pricing Options

You must reach out to their support team to get hold of their pricing details.

7. Leaseweb

Leaseweb, in addition to offering CDN services, is also an IaaS provider rendering dedicated servers and cloud hosting solutions. It has data centers in major corners of the world and is known primarily for its reliability and strong security. 

This particular CDN is highly preferred by gaming companies, enterprises handling big data and SaaS, and advertising agencies.

Key Highlights

  • Offers its storage platform
  • Let’s gain insights into website performances
  • S3-compatible
  • Round-the-clock support

Pricing Options

Leaseweb pricing starts from $7.25 per TB, along with an additional fee of $165 every month. 

So these were the live-streaming CDN providers in the world. Our next section will brief on the platforms that offer CDN capabilities.

Top Video Streaming Platforms Offering CDNs

Below are some of the top-tier video platforms that house content delivery network mechanisms for a smoother user experience.

1. OnTheFly

OnTheFly is a super simple and scalable live streaming platform that helps independent creators and businesses to create and stream high-quality live events, podcasts, and webinars to 30+ social media channels at once.

Trust me, their Akamai-based CDNs make it possible to reduce the loading time of both live and VOD content, thus improving app engagements greatly. 

Plus, creators get a chance to co-host with other creators to make their streams a sensation. And share videos to bulk audiences via stream links or video URLs.

Key Features

  1. Simulcasting
  2. In-browser platform
  3. Stream links
  4. Video editing tools
  5. Notifications and alerts
  6. Co-hosting 
  7. Multi-track editing
  8. Moderation and analytics

Its Perks

  • Has powerful engagement and editing tools to boost user interaction.
  • Its UI is very user-friendly to navigate.

Its Downfalls

  • The mobile app is still under development.


OnTheFly offers a monthly subscription plan. To learn more about them, reach out to their support team.

2. Dacast

Dacast is preferred by small and medium-scale enterprises and individuals as it comes as an ideal choice for integrating with CDN. In case of any queries during setup, they can talk to Dacast skilled personnel.

While your CDN integration is being set, you can set your monetization models to pay-per-view or subscription-based.

Key Features

  • Round-the-clock support
  • Video hosting
  • Video monetization
  • Sturdy security
  • Great CDN capacity

Its Perks

  • Dacast is easy to use and offers great customizations
  • The presence of robust analytics makes it a hit

Its Downfalls

  • Lower plans have bandwidth problems


Dacast offers three pricing plans with their starter plan at $39 per month, and their Scale plan billed at $188 per month.

3. Wowza

Additionally, with their CDN, you can reach a global audience without jitters, enhance stream security, reliability, and more. 

For any solution creator, Wowza comes as the best-in-class video platform dedicated to delivering high-quality live and VOD content to users. Plus, they give the flexibility to test their APIs with a CDN facility.

Key Features

  • Cloud streaming services
  • Streaming server software
  • Cloud transcoding
  • Media server and engine
  • Wowza CDN

Its Perks

  • Provides documentation and customer support to troubleshoot problems.
  • Uses SSL encryption to protect edge servers.

Its Downfalls

  • They are highly costly when compared to their peers.


Wowza’s prices range somewhere between $199 per month to $999 per month.

4. IBM Cloud

IBM Cloud is an enterprise-built sturdy CDN provider that is accepted widely by media companies and event-organizing solutions. Because they are likely to broadcast more content and would expect better quality, reduced latency, and good speed. 

Plus, to understand how your audiences are, IBM’s Watson AI helps creators gain insights into their stream’s highlights. 

Key Features

  • E2E encryption mechanisms
  • Different engagement tools
  • Third-party platform compatibility
  • Multi-CDN distribution

Its Perks

  • Supports customization and video looping
  • Compatible with smartphones and smart TVs

Its Downfalls

  • Their advanced features are not user-friendly


 IBM Cloud’s price ranges from 99 dollars per month to 999 dollars per month.

5. Vimeo Livestream

Vimeo Livestream is one such video streaming platform that offers custom branding to businesses and large-scale organizations, along with analytics and security options.

With this being said, they also offer some of the flexible pricing options for their CDNs. If it suits your budget, you can go ahead with them. 

Key Features

  • Live polls, overlays, chats, Q&A
  • Unlimited live events
  • Ad-free streaming
  • Video management system
  • Live streaming and auto-archiving

Its Perks

  • Offers a video library to create and store videos
  • Offers a wide range of customization options

Its Downfalls

  • It has a limited audience base.


Vimeo comes as an affordable solution provider with $75 per month and extends their services to $799 per month.

Concluding Notes

We have come to the end of the post and by now you would have a clear-cut idea on which CDN to choose for your brand. 

In case you are still searching for the needle in a haystack, let me tell you to simply partner with a live streaming platform like OnTheFly whose speed and reliability elevate the content to the next level.

Additionally, we offer several tools like premade analytics, advanced monetization options, co-hosting, brand authenticity, stream links, and more. While you are busy testing out our features, our CDN will handle media delivery.
So what do you say? We’re just a Hello Away!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is CDN in live streaming?

A CDN is a network of strategically interconnected servers that cache content over the internet and deliver it to users.

2. Which CDN is the best for video streaming?

Cloudflare comes as the best CDN in offering free service for video streaming. Additionally, it provides load balancing capability, easy DNS, SSL certifications, and DDoS protection.

3. What is the difference between OTT and CDN?

OTT (Over-the-top) is a platform to deliver video content to users over the internet. While CDN (Content Delivery Network) is an infrastructure to reliably and fastly deliver streams.

4. Why is CDN important for live streaming?

It reduces the buffering speed and lag time on your live events thus helping viewers experience high-definition content.

5. How does CDN work for VOD?

In VOD streaming, the CDN requests the content from the origin server, caches it, and then sends it to users. While in the case of live streaming, there is no need to store the content.


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