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What’s the difference between Private and Public Content Delivery Network

There are basically two types of CDNs, a public and a private CDN. A public CDN is managed by a CDN operator and is based on a pay-as-you-use model, typically charging a fee per GB. The more content passes through a public CDN, the more money you owe the provider.

Someone once said, “I hate having slow internet more than I hate having no internet at all.” While that sentiment can be debated endlessly in the same vein as the chicken and the egg, the reality is, when it comes to the internet, users have little patience with waiting for content to load. Any latency will frustrate users and cause them to look elsewhere or do something else entirely. In fact, studies have shown that just a mere 1-second delay in page-load times can result in a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction. Every content creator and IT manager knows this hatred well, that’s why many turn to a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to alleviate long load times by bringing content geographically closer to the end-user. In short, a CDN is a network of servers strategically located around the globe to store (or cache) frequently requested content, making it readily available for downloading. When a user requests specific content, such as a high-definition video or a richly illustrated digital textbook with lots of images, the server nearest to the user fulfills the request, thus ensuring quicker delivery.

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There are basically two types of CDNs, a public and a private CDN. A public CDN is managed by a CDN operator and is based on a pay-as-you-use model, typically charging a fee per GB. The more content passes through a public CDN, the more money you owe the provider. Since the infrastructure is already built, a public CDN is an attractive option under certain conditions. However, if one of those conditions changes, say an increase in demand or increase in volume of content being hosted, those monthly fees could escalate quickly, that cost per GB adding up. For that reason, many producers, creators, and streamers of content rely on a private CDN to control cost along with other factors. This option is ideal in situations where you have strict security needs or when you have frequent requests for large amounts of content. Implementing a private CDN involves using dedicated servers that are not shared with any other organization and can be placed in privately-owned data centers, partnered data centers, or even in the cloud. However, unlike a public CDN, running a private CDN will require upfront costs, for purchasing hardware and software, in the long run, depending on the frequency and volume of content being delivered, it may be the less expensive option.

Is the choice always one-or-the-other, a private or a public CDN? No, the reality is that most organizations generally use both public and private CDN infrastructure to deliver content, referred to as multi-CDN or the hybrid CDN approach. The hybrid CDN approach is where the SuperLumin platform excels the most because at the heart of any caching software, the policy engine sets it apart. The ability to easily control, at a granular level, edge caching settings or on premise content acceleration with custom rules makes running a multi-CDN much less daunting than you think. Now that you know the difference between a public and private CDN, take a closer look at your own content and determine which method is best for you, perhaps a hybrid approach might be just what the doctor ordered.

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