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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is caching?
3.
Merits of CDN Caching
4.
How do CDN cache servers work?
5.
Cache options
6.
Frequently Asked Questions
6.1.
What is Caching?
6.2.
What are the downsides of caching?
6.3.
What are some demerits of CDN Caching?
6.4.
How can CDN caching improve the performance of a website?
6.5.
What are the different cache options available in CDN caching?
7.
Key Takeaways
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
Medium

CDN Caching

Author Abhay Trivedi
1 upvote
Master Python: Predicting weather forecasts
Speaker
Ashwin Goyal
Product Manager @

Introduction

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a globally distributed network of proxy servers that work together to provide fast delivery of internet content. CDNs store copies of frequently accessed data such as images, videos, and audio files at various locations around the world so that users can access this data more quickly and efficiently.

Introduction image

Look at it as if you want to buy some vegetables. You could go to a farm to buy them, but it will be time-consuming, so going to the nearby grocery shop would be better. The same is with the CDNs. The content is near the end-user, so it takes less time to deliver.

What is caching?

Caching is the process of temporarily storing data in a cache, which is a high-speed storage area. Caching aims to reduce the number of times a data item needs to be retrieved from its original storage location and speed up the data retrieval process.

Image of caching

Caching is commonly used in computer systems and web development to improve the performance and responsiveness of applications. For example, when a user accesses a web page, the browser cache can store a copy of the page's resources, such as images and stylesheets. The next time the user accesses the same page, the cached resources are retrieved from the cache, rather than downloaded from the server, reducing the page's load time.

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Merits of CDN Caching

The use of caching as part of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) provides several key benefits for businesses and organizations, including:

1. Improved Performance: Caching enables the CDN to store frequently accessed data in a cache to retrieve it more quickly and efficiently. This helps to reduce the load on the origin server, improve the speed and responsiveness of the application, and provide a better user experience.

2. Increased Scalability: By caching data at multiple locations worldwide, the CDN can serve this content to users from the nearest cache, which helps reduce the load on the origin server and improve the scalability of the application.

3. Reduced Costs: Caching can help reduce the costs associated with serving large amounts of data, as it reduces the amount of data that needs to be transferred over the network, reducing the amount of bandwidth required.

4. Enhanced Security: By caching sensitive data on the CDN servers, businesses can reduce the risk of unauthorized access to this data, as the origin server is not directly exposed to the internet.

5. Improved Global Reach: By caching data at multiple locations worldwide, the CDN can serve this content to users from the nearest cache, which helps reduce latency and improve the reach of the application.

How do CDN cache servers work?

Working of CDN cache servers

CDN cache servers work by storing a copy of the content at various locations worldwide and serving this content to users from the nearest cache server. This helps reduce the load on the origin server, improve the application's performance, and enhance its scalability.

When a user requests content from a website, the request is first sent to the nearest cache server on the CDN. If the requested content is available in the cache, the cache server will serve this content directly to the user. The cache server will request the origin server to retrieve the content if the content is unavailable in the cache.

Once the origin server has sent the content, the cache server will store a copy of it in its cache, so that it can be served directly to users in the future, without having to retrieve it from the origin server each time it is requested.

Cache options

Cache options flowchart
  • Purge cache - Purge cache gives you the ability to cache files on call.
  • Always/Never cache - You can manually select the always cached or never cached files.
  • Cache for a period - This allows you to set a specific period when one should cache the object, like all JS files are five days.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Caching?

Caching is a process or method of storing a copy of the continuously asked data in a temporary storage location or cache to be quickly accessed when needed.

What are the downsides of caching?

If there are some changes to the website, you won’t see them immediately since the copy of the last version is stored in the cache. The solution is to clear the cache and reload the website.

What are some demerits of CDN Caching?

The main disadvantage of CDN Caching is that it costs additional money, adds complexity to your website and deployment procedures, some content may fail to load, and could also block the content for the user.

How can CDN caching improve the performance of a website?

CDN caching can improve a website's performance by reducing the load on the origin server, improving the speed and responsiveness of the application, and reducing latency. By caching frequently accessed content at multiple locations around the world, the CDN can serve this content to users from the nearest cache, reducing the amount of data that needs to be transferred over the network and improving the performance of the application. 

What are the different cache options available in CDN caching?

There are several cache options available in CDN caching, including cache-control headers, query string caching, origin pull optimization, edge side includes, custom cache keys, and gzip compression. By using these cache options, businesses can customize the behavior of the cache servers to optimize the performance of their websites and applications.

Key Takeaways

This article taught us what CDN Caching is and how it makes our websites load faster.

Also, check out our web development course and CSS course. Also, check out this article on Server-side caching and Client-side caching.

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