A video CDN, or video content distribution network, is a large geographically dispersed network of servers delivering live and on-demand, high-quality videos to web-connected devices. These specialized video streaming server networks accelerate delivery through caching, which stores content temporarily on multiple servers throughout the video CDN. When a viewer submits a request, the server caching content nearest the user’s location delivers the video. The size of a video CDN varies, depending on the content provider, the content volume and offerings, and the number of customers served.
Basics about CDN platform
A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a highly-distributed platform of servers that helps minimize delays in loading web page content by reducing the physical distance between the server and the user. This helps users around the world view the same high-quality content without slow loading times.
Without a CDN, content origin servers must respond to every single end user request. This results in significant traffic to the origin and subsequent load, thereby increasing the chances for origin failure if the traffic spikes are exceedingly high or if the load is persistent. By responding to end user requests in place of the origin and in closer physical and network proximity to the end user, a CDN offloads traffic from content servers and improves the web experience, thus benefiting both the content provider and its end users.
Things to remember
One third of our global screen time is spent watching videos. People retain information much better from a video than from a text with still images. A majority of executives prefer acquiring information via video rather than through reading text. At this point in time, anybody communicating online needs to consider a video strategy. There is simply no better way to build audience engagement. Whether you are a small business looking to use video messaging to promote your products and services or a content producer whose videos are the end product, you have to choose the hosting platform that is right for you.
Streaming your average video requires two orders of magnitude more data storage and network bandwidth than a web page that contains only text and a few still images. That is why you need a hosting plan that includes extra-large storage and bandwidth allocations if you want to host video content yourself. The server’s storage-access speed and network interface have to be able to keep up the steady flow of data to a number of concurrent users. For this to work smoothly and predictably, you need to have access to the server’s full resources without worrying that some other processes running on the same machine will use up your computing power or your network connection. That is why DIY video hosting is not recommended on a shared-server hosting plan or even on a virtual public server. Note that many providers will even prohibit streaming on shared servers to avoid an overload of resources.Therefore, a dedicated server is the way to go.
Whenever a lot of data has to flow to the end-user in order for them to start enjoying content as is the case with video, the experience can quickly become unsatisfying if there is too much of a lag in the response. That is why video hosting is often combined with access to a content-delivery network (CDN). These mirror the video content at storage hubs around the world. That means the initial request can be served from a copy that is more local to the user, which helps reduce load time.
How to choose a Video CDN platform?
One of the most important things you should look for is the type of IT infrastructure your streaming solution provider offers. Whether they provide a dedicated hosting server or they offer a cloud solution? First and foremost requirement of a video streaming solution is to have a reliable IT infrastructure to host your videos and provide virtually 0% downtime. Choosing what configuration type to go for mainly depends on your platform’s functionality, speed to market, concurrent viewers, overall video demand, customization needs and the cost of ownership that you’re willing to pay. Among others we should looking for:
- supported streaming models
- data about options and cost of CDN services
- custom and analytics options
- multi-lingual and currency support
- stack of integrations
Choosing a video streaming platform can seem confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. With a simple, streamlined process like the one we’ve outlined, assessing your options by identifying your needs can be relatively straightforward. It isn’t necessarily about which platform has the best features, it is about finding the streaming solution that helps your business hit its goals.
That is why every business should have a video-content creation strategy. Proper execution of the strategy will consume quite a few resources. The costs associated with making the videos produced available to the world are low in comparison. With a premium platform, the benefits from analyzing the data and leveraging advanced marketing tools should far outweigh the hosting costs.
Video content can be entertaining, informative, inspiring. Brands can extend their reach by capturing the attention of would-be consumers through well-crafted spots that reinforce their identity. When placed on a website, video content has been shown to increase retention and improve conversion. Reading and researching live streaming platforms can be very helpful, but if you’re short on time, we recommend taking advantage of free trials. Testing out a platform for yourself is an ideal way to decide if it’s the right video streaming solution for you.