What’s a Content Delivery Network & how to configure our 100% Canadian CDN

These days high performing websites & apps often have to provide a significant amount of static content to end users. This content is typically derived of images, stylesheets, JavaScript, installer files, game assets, and videos. As the number and size of these static assets increase, bandwidth increases and thus page load times increase. This in turn degrades the user’s browser experience and reduces the available capacity of the servers.

So, to dramatically reduce page runtime, improve performance, and reduce infrastructure and bandwidth costs, you can easily implement a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to cache these resources over a set of servers that are geographically distributed across Canada.

What is a CDN?

A Content Delivery Network is a set of geographically distributed servers that deliver consistent content to end users. This static content can be almost any type of data, but CDN networks are often used to connect web pages and associated files, video and audio broadcasts, and large software packages.


A CDN network consists of multiple points of presence (PoPs), each consisting of several edge servers that store their source inventory or host server assets. When a user visits your website and requests static assets such as images or JavaScript files, the CDN network directs your requests to the nearest perimeter (edge) server, where the content is displayed. If the edge server does not have cached or cached assets, CDN will look for and store the latest copy. If the CDN edge contains a cache entry for your assets (which happens most often if your website receives a moderate amount of traffic), it returns the cached copy to the end user in a fraction of the time it would take to get from the source web server.

This allows geographically distributed users to reduce the number of hops required to receive static content by accessing content directly from the adjacent edge cache. The result is far less latency, faster loading times for pages, and a significantly lower load on the source infrastructure.


How does the Bulk Storage CDN (blkstr.ca) work?

When users request objects from your Bulk Storage containers at the blkstr.ca domain, their client performs a DNS lookup. Based where the user is located geographically, the DNS server will intelligently respond with the CDN node address which is closest to them to make sure the user receives the lowest latency connection possible. Next, the local CDN pulls from its cache to serve the file directly from local fast storage, and ensures the local cache is up-to-date with the objects in your container


Benefits of using a CDN

Almost any site may benefit from leveraging a CDN, but the main reason for implementation is usually to load the bandwidth of the original servers on CDN servers and reduce the waiting time for distributed users geographically. Here are the top 5 most compelling reasons our clients tell us CDN is critical to how they deploy their Apps in the cloud.

  1. Origin Offload
    Primarily, a CDN will be dramatic to reduce bandwidth usage on your servers by loading static resources like images, videos, CSS, and JavaScript. A content delivery network is designed and optimized to serve static content, and customer requests for that content are sent to and served by Edge CDN servers. This has the added benefit of reducing the load on the original servers because the sheer number of get requests is at a much lower rate.
  2. Faster Load times
    If your user base is geographically dispersed and a non-trivial part of the traffic is from an external geographic area, a CDN can reduce latency by caching static assets on edge servers closer to your users. By reducing the distance between users and static content, you can deliver content faster to users and enhance your experience by increasing page load speed. For websites serving video content for example, where high latencies and slow loading times more directly impact user experience, these benefits are compounded.
  3. Manage traffic peaks and avoid downtime
    CDNs enable you to handle very high traffic spikes and allow burst traffic via load balancing requests on a large distributed network of edge servers. By loading and caching static content on a distribution network, you can accommodate multiple concurrent users with your existing infrastructure. For sites that use a single origin server, these large traffic spikes can often overwhelm the system, resulting in downtime and unplanned downtime. Transferring traffic to a highly accessible and redundant CDN infrastructure designed to handle varying levels of web traffic can increase the availability of your assets and content.
  4. Reduce costs
    Because managing static content usually accounts for most of the bandwidth usage, you may reduce your monthly infrastructure costs by loading these assets over a content delivery network. In addition to reducing bandwidth costs, a CDN can reduce server costs by reducing the burden on the original servers so that your existing infrastructure can evolve. We offer usage based billing at competitive prices @ $0.05 CAD per GB of data transfer with no usage commitments or minimums. Traffic between Bulk Storage and the CDN nodes for your files is not charged for, you only pay for public egress traffic.
  5. Increase security
    Another common use case for CDNs is DDoS attack mitigation. By leveraging a CDN you reduce the total attack vectors on your application. Our CDN service for Bulk Storage analyzes traffic across the continent for suspicious patterns, blocking malicious attack traffic while continuing to allow reputable user traffic through.


How to Enable CDN on your Bulk Storage Container

It’s a pretty simple two step process to put in place really. All you need to do is:

  1. Within the “More” Menu select “CDN Settings”

  2. Then enable CDN functionality on your container within the Control panel


A content delivery network can be a fast and effective way to improve the scalability and availability of your sites. By caching static assets on a geographically distributed network of optimized servers, you can dramatically reduce page load times and end-user latencies. In addition, CDNs allow you to dramatically reduce bandwidth consumption by absorbing user requests and responding from the edge buffer, reducing bandwidth and infrastructure costs.

With libraries that can enable support for third major frameworks like WordPress, Drupal, Django and Ruby on Rails, as well as additional features such as SSL/TLS, support for resource compression, and avoiding DoS attacks, CDNs can be a powerful tool for optimizing high traffic websites.

For technical documentation on the specifics of integrating the Bulk Storage CDN into your project, you can read our CDN documentation or if you run into an issue, you can get in touch with an expert by emailing support@clouda.ca