A content delivery network or content distribution network (CDN) is a large distributed system of servers deployed in multiple data centers across the Internet. The goal of a CDN is to serve content to end-users with high availability and high performance. CDNs serve a large fraction of the Internet content today, including web objects (text, graphics and scripts), downloadable objects (media files, software, documents), applications (e-commerce, portals), live streaming media, on-demand streaming media, and social networks.
Content providers such as media companies and e-commerce vendors pay CDN operators to deliver their content to their audience of end-users. In turn, a CDN pays ISPs, carriers, and network operators for hosting its servers in their data centers. Besides better performance and availability, CDNs also offload the traffic served directly from the content provider's origin infrastructure, resulting in possible cost savings for the content provider. In addition, CDNs provide the content provider a degree of protection from DoS attacks by using their large distributed server infrastructure to absorb the attack traffic
What are the advantages of using CDN?
The main advantage is an increase in the speed with which the content is delivered to the users. Other benefits include reducing bandwidth costs, improving page load times, or increasing global availability of content.
When to use CDN?
It will be most effective when you have a popular public website with some type of static content (images, scripts, css, etc).
Is CDN a performance booster?
In general, yes. When a specific request is made by a user, the server closest to that user (in terms of the minimum number of nodes between the server and the user) is dynamically determined. This optimizes the speed with which the content is delivered to that user.