Hosting and CDN – differences and similarities

There was a time when traditional website hosting was a basic website-related service and ultimately met the market demand. Currently, the network is nothing but the primary source of data and digital resources for users. Thanks to it, we have access to personal, corporate, and home multimedia content. It is thanks to them that our education and entertainment have changed their face. For some time, with the growing importance of large files, databases, and multimedia solutions, hosting alone is not enough.

Services had to find more flexible solutions with higher capacity. Hence, content delivery networks, or CDNs, have come to the fore. This is nothing but network systems that work in a collaborative model and achieve greater possibilities than neural networks. Powerful servers called edge servers are located in different locations to handle large queries and seamlessly provide users with multiple services. At the same time, the recipient does not need to know anything about the server’s location from which the data is sent. These web hosts, which are located in different parts of the world, now play a significant role in surpassing traditional web hosting’s computing resources.

Servers and bandwidth

Traditional hosting used to be a staple of website performance. It all comes down to having a place where a website was located to provide access to services without unnecessary downtime. Today, requirements are constantly changing. This is where the CDN begins to play a new role, ensuring that the site is appropriately serviced. To properly understand the correctness – content delivery networks do not replace traditional hosting but improve its performance. What makes a CDN now indispensable?

As we mentioned, both solutions are equally needed in current internet projects. Of course, you still need the original hosting, but CDNs provide service optimization. This occurs, among other things, by saving the site’s media files on multiple edge servers (caching) around the world. Also, it enables the CDN to deliver content faster by serving it from the perimeter server closest to the user’s location. That means satisfied customers with no delays in page loading or video streaming.

CDNs also lower the cost of hosting bandwidth. This is because instead of all your website traffic sending content requests to a single server location, you have multiple edge servers doing this job. It also provides significant additional protection against DDoS attacks.

The needs of a modern website

The development of high-speed internet, infrastructure, and file quality, especially multimedia, have made websites more and more burdened. It applies to both the files’ size and the number of queries sent to the server. When analyzing in more detail, we should focus on three main factors: Data size, Technological advancement, and globalization, Customer expectations.

The first bullet is quite clear. We record longer films, high-quality audio recordings, stream broadcasts, and prepare more effective, complete files for our audience. It causes a much greater load on individual location servers.

The second element is focused on finding data, which is easy to manage (regardless of the source of origin and used language). The site must be able to handle browser requests from users all over the world. The last element seems to be crucial. The saturation with information and stimuli and the limited amount of time means that our patience has little reserves. We choose those sites that provide us with the expected result fastest.

CDN and traditional hosting – a comparison

Web hosting is used to host a website on a server and access it over the internet. The content delivery network aims to expedite the access/delivery of website resources to these users.

The CDN network takes up most of the static and dynamic content and serves it worldwide, reducing download times. In most cases, the closer the site visitor is to the CDN, the faster the resources load. By contrast, web hosting usually refers to a single server.

A balanced load architecture and multiple server locations are alternatives to traditional web hosting. Another key difference between the two is the number of servers used. Standard web hosting relies on a single server, while CDN uses a worldwide network of edge servers that distribute content from different interconnected hosts. There is no room for failure in this system. Thanks to the distributed cache node locations, clients in other parts of the world can be served by web hosts from the nearest servers.

The last difference is in the amount of content provided by each option. With traditional web hosting, 100% of your website’s content goes to users. While CDN doesn’t deliver 100% of the content, it does provide most of it (whether it’s static or dynamic), offering it from all over the world. Content from your site is downloaded and streamed faster as it does not have to go back to the main resource source; edge servers deliver it.

Benefits of CDN in an online project

We already know that CDN is an extension of the traditional hosting service. However, if you are wondering what exactly the benefits can be obtained from using a content delivery network, see below.

  • Improving the quality of customer service – people avoid waiting and prolonged loading of the site. The faster the data arrives, the better your chances of a satisfactory conversion. Hence the importance of caching on edge servers.
  • Lower cost – Edge servers will spread the load that the original hosting server handled on its own, reducing the required bandwidth of individual units.
  • Cybersecurity – incl. in the case of DDoS attacks that create artificial traffic on servers. With CDN, you are no longer dependent on a single hosting server, so your website’s ability to handle spikes in traffic is much better. High-quality CDNs also provide an Application Firewall (WAF) that primarily blocks suspicious traffic.
  • SEO – Slow websites are not welcome by the search engines. CDN improves project speed and influences its visibility on the web.
  • Administrator – In most cases, having your own dedicated server via traditional web hosting requires some administrator work. Here, the CDN will usually be less maintenance.
  • Scalability – automatic scaling up on spikes in traffic
  • Reliability – automatic redundancy between edge servers
  • Technical support – in the case of CDN, the supplier guarantees the appropriate quality of service, repair and security, and easy contact with technical support. 

Hosting and CDN – summary

There are fundamental differences in how they function between CDNs and traditional website hosts, but both are designed to keep the project running and deliver data to the audience. CDN with the development of the project is associated with savings and better customer service.

Today, the network presents new challenges due to the increased demand for viewing, downloading, and streaming large files. It brings us to the most significant benefit of CDN – the speed of processing queries on edge servers. Visitors to the internet have an unwavering need for speed, which becomes more difficult to satisfy as the internet grows. The CDN market has recently developed a lot. It is expected to grow more prominent, and choosing the right one for the company is becoming more difficult due to the dynamically changing needs of customers. Therefore, ask your BlazingCDN business partner how you can optimize the service for your online project.