There are five main criteria you should consider when choosing the right CDN for your website. These five (5) are: Coverage, Price, Performance, Security, Analytics. However, before we look deeper into these factors, let’s look at ‘what is a Video CDN’ and why you need one.
What is a Video CDN
A Video CDN or Video Content Delivery Network is a network of servers located across the globe for the best strategic coverage. The servers are present in different geographic regions, and each server location is called a Point of Presence (PoP). These Points of Presence or PoPs are found near your target audience’s locations so that your videos do not have to travel long distances to reach them. You use Video CDNs to quickly distribute video live-streams, video on demand (VOD), and other types of video content to your users.
Why Use a Video CDN?
Today’s internet users are a fickle and demanding group. An underperforming website gives your competition an opportunity to steal your audience. Every little edge in performance over your competition matters. Recently, videos have emerged as a viable and engaging medium of information transfer and entertainment on the web due to increasing internet speeds. To begin using video content in your online business or marketing strategy, you have to make sure that your users can watch your videos smoothly, without any lagging or buffering. This is why you need a Video CDN. A Video CDN distributes your videos across its network so that users in different regions can retrieve your video from a nearer source rather than from the faraway origin server.
Additionally, using a CDN offers many other advantages like:
- Video Backup and Redundancy
- Improved Security
- Reduced Stress on Your Origin Server
- Ease of Scaling
A Video CDN is a necessary investment for any online platform where videos are part of your business strategy.
Six Criteria for Choosing the Video CDN
The first question you need to answer when choosing a Video CDN is “Where is your target audience?”
It would not make much sense to pay an expensive Global CDN subscription when all of your users are in one geographic location. Similarly, it would also be not smart to serve a global audience from a single server location. Therefore, you need to pick a CDN whose server distribution matches the geographic distribution of your audience. You need to pick a Video CDN that covers all the right bases, whose Points of Presence (PoPs) can handle your level of traffic, and has agreements with local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to prevent last-mile bottlenecks (optional).
Choosing the right CDN has a lot to do with getting the most value for your money. You do not want to pay for an overpriced service without any of the extra bonuses that come with a higher price point. On the other hand, using free Video CDNs is not viable for long-term use as eventually, you must upgrade to a paid plan as your traffic increases. Therefore, you must compare different CDN prices and their functionality to find the best meeting point for price versus ‘CDN functionality’ for your website.
You must also check if your CDN charges overages to avoid any nasty surprises. Most Video CDNs charge users based on two metrics.
- Total Megabits/sec (Mbps) sustained at any moment.
- Total GigaBytes per Month (GB/month)
So you must always watch out for excesses in these two areas.
The goal of using a Video CDN is to enable users to smoothly watch your videos without any lagging or buffering and to reduce the load on your primary server. Many CDNs market their service as global, scalable, great performance, etc. But each provider has a slightly different definition of performance. Different customers also use different attributes to measure performance. Hence, it is vital to ask your CDN company how they measure performance and check whether they cater to your brand of performance.
Also, make sure to ask the CDN what type of media delivery it supports. Do not assume anything. For example, “streaming” means different things to different people. Some CDNs say they offer “streaming” when in fact it is progressive downloading from a web server instead of delivery from a media server.
The internet can be a dangerous place, therefore you must have certain security measures in place to ensure the availability and security of your content 24/7/365. When using a Video CDN, you outsource the security of your videos to the CDN instead of personally building the security infrastructure. Additionally, because CDNs are a large network, they can absorb most attacks, like DDoS attacks, with little to no interruption to their service. Common Security Measures or Protections to check for in a CDN include:
- Web Application Firewall
- Encryption [ AES / Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) ]
- DDoS Protection
- Malicious Activity Detection
- HTTPS Delivery
- DRM Support
Information is power on the internet. Therefore you want as much data as you can get about your service. Your CDN should give you real-time analytics data that is correct down to the last second. It should be able to provide data such as:
- Audience Total Analytics (plays, completion rate, bounced connections, views, etc.)
- Unique Viewer Analytics (unique viewer profile, visit history, play history, playlist summary, etc.)
- Quality of Service (QoS) Analytics (dropped frames, errors, connection speeds, average bitrate, etc.)
- Total Bandwidth Usage
- Total Number of Requests
- Cache Hits/Misses
You should also be able to fine-tune your analytics feedback by location, device type, content category, etc. Choose a CDN that gives you the most comprehensive analytics information for your videos. Video CDN analytics help you to optimize your content and delivery methods for the best success. Therefore, you need a Video CDN that gives you as much information about your videos as possible. To summarize, quickly delivering your videos is only half the battle, using analytics feedback to optimize your content for growth is the other half.
Conclusion – Best Video CDN
There is much to consider when choosing the best Video CDN for your needs. However, if you assess these 5 main criteria when choosing your CDN, you will find GotiPath Multi CDN provides all of the above things at a very affordable cost. If you have any queries regarding our video CDN please send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org