Your Ultimate Guide to Choose the Right CDN Video Streaming Solution in 2021

The CDN Streaming (Content Delivery Network) market size is expected to grow to USD 27 billion by 2025! Why?

The answer is quite simple! The demand for CDN streaming services is higher than ever. People are consuming more digital content today. And media, advertising agencies, and streaming businesses have been striving to provide quality content to the audience. Because that’s the only thing going to keep them alive in today’s competition. In order to do that, they need a good CDN streaming server on board.

We assume you should already be running a video streaming business or you’re about to start one. And you’re here to know how to choose a CDN. Luckily for you, this read is all about CDNs — right from the CDN basics to the factors you should consider while choosing a CDN streaming vendor, we’ve covered everything here!

Going forward, we’ll split this read into two halves. The first half is going to be completely about the basics whereas the second half is only about the factors you should consider when you are about to choose a CDN video streaming solution.

So, let’s get started with the basics!

What Is CDN Video Streaming?

In order to understand what CDN video streaming is, you need to know what a content delivery network does first. The responsibility of a CDN would be to cache content in various servers (at different locations) and provide it to the user with a much more quick response time!

And as for CDN video streaming, it is the process of caching video content in various servers across the globe. And when a user requests a particular video content, he/she receives it from their nearest located server.

How Does a CDN Work and What Are Its Benefits?

For the question of how a Content Delivery Network works, it’s better if the same is explained with an example.

Let us assume John is a user of the video streaming service “XYZ” and he is located in say, Australia. And XYZ has their server in New York. Now when John plays a video, he is sending a request to the server of XYZ in New York.

This takes a considerable amount of time (for the request to reach the server and get back). This is where a CDN comes into play! When XYZ opts for a CDN streaming provider, they would have servers in multiple locations of the world.

So, this time, John gets his request sent to the server that is closest to him! And he gets his video played with a significant reduction in delay.

Benefits of Using CDN Streaming Servers

Well, for one, you know how John was able to get his request in a much shorter time frame. Let’s take a look at the other benefits you get when you use a CDN video streaming server.

1. Worldwide Content Delivery

When you tie-up with a CDN streaming server, it doesn’t matter which part of the world your customer is in! You can seamlessly deliver content across the globe and increase your user community.

2. Reduced Server Load

Placing CDN servers on multiple locations across the globe decreases the load on the server. As we already saw, John’s requests will be handled by the nearest server so that the main server does not have to perform all tasks single-handedly.

3. One Hundred Percent Content Availability

Since the content is being distributed across many servers in different regions, users do not stand stranded without content availability. Content delivery networks today come with automotive server availability sensing mechanisms making this possible even during power blackouts or any other related issues.

4. In-depth Analytics

Analytics are important no matter what business you’re running. Knowing what your users are up to or how your content is performing can help you make better business decisions. And a CDN can help you by giving everything you need — real-time load statistics, active regions, popular content and more.

5. 24/7 Support

Most of the CDN streaming services today come with a 24/7 support model. You don’t have to worry about issues that arise in due course of time as you’ll be having the tech team at your disposal. All you have to do is find the best CDN provider for video streaming (with a great support team). And you’ll be delivering content to the global audience without any issues!

There are a couple of other benefits like security against DDoS attacks, the ability to handle multiple requests, and more. But since we’re nowhere near the main part of the read, we’re sticking to the most prominent ones!

We’ll take a quick look at the types of CDNs available today and move to the part where you’ll know how to choose the best CDN for video streaming.

Different Types of CDNs Available Today

Let’s start right away!

General Purpose CDNs

The general purpose CDNs were in existence even before the CDN video streaming and live streaming CDN came in. A general-purpose CDN is mainly used for the purpose of web acceleration. Chances are you might have experienced using a general-purpose CDN when you’re downloading software or purchasing a song on the iTunes store. Simply said, basic web acceleration stuff by caching content on multiple servers.

On-Demand Video CDNs

The name says it all! Let’s say this CDN type is just an evolution of the earlier models and it is best for video streaming!

You can easily deliver on-demand and high-quality videos to multiple web devices with ease. Today’s users expect high-quality videos anywhere, anytime and a video streaming CDN provider handles this type of query with ease!

Live Streaming CDNs

You might now be thinking how on earth can one cache live streaming videos? This is one of the greatest challenges when it comes to live streaming CDNs. The only possibility here is, it can either be made to deliver ultra-high bandwidth pipes that facilitate instant content transmission to users or low bandwidth pipes that make use of reflectors and accelerate content streaming.

Live streaming CDNs are costly and are just in the beginning phase of this realm. Down the lane, live streaming CDNs have a high opportunity as more and more live performers are growing every day!

That’s everything you need to know when it comes to the basics. Let’s move to the part where you know how to choose the best CDN for video streaming!

6 Factors You Should Consider While Choosing a CDN Video Streaming Solution

When choosing a CDN streaming server, you should make sure that you do no compromises. Because in the long run, it is you who’s going to face the hardships! So, to the features without any further delay!

1. Keep An Eye On the Network Size and Distribution

This is one of the most important factors you should consider when choosing a CDN streaming server. The more servers your CDN provider has, the better the service is going to be. Services like Akamai boast of having more than 200,000 servers in their network.

Also, the distribution of the servers is equally important as well! Most of the CDNs today have above-average coverage in the places where data centers are abundantly found (USA, Europe, etc). However, you should make sure that your CDN streaming service provider offers good coverage in countries like the Middle East, Africa, South America, and more.

2. Multi-Device Support Feature

It’s not just desktop or PCs today! If you’re about to start a video streaming service, you’ve to make sure that you reach users across all platforms like mobiles, televisions, and media boxes.

Most of the CDN video streaming vendors today support mobiles and televisions but it’s the devices like Apple TV box, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast you should be concerned about. Before you pin down a CDN streaming vendor, make sure you check this out as well.

3. Digital Rights Management

The last thing you’d want to happen on your video streaming platform is original videos being pirated! This has become a huge issue nowadays and video streaming services are taking all kinds of measures to stop this.

So, if you’re planning to run a video streaming service, make sure your chosen CDN vendor has taken possible measures to safeguard your videos from piracy. The most common DRM solutions available today are Google Widevine, PlayReady, and more.

4. Extreme Reliability

Even when the traffic is at a peak, your CDN streaming vendor should be able to keep your website functioning without any interruptions.

At the end of the day, your CDN vendor should be able to manage your site without having any breaks. And the same can be achieved if traffic is routed automatically when servers are down. Also, in case of downtimes, your CDN vendor should be having additional software/hardware to cope up with the downtime.

5. Good Customer Support

What good is a service when you’re not able to get in touch with the support team when you need them the most! It’s not common for a video streaming business to face downtime these days despite opting for some of the best CDN video streaming services. And that’s when you’ll be needing the support team.

So, before you choose a CDN streaming vendor, check

  • Whether they offer 24/7/365 days support
  • If they offer live support apart from the standard email and chat support
  • If they offer support in multiple languages (English is standard)
  • How much they charge for premium support
  • Whether they offer in-house support or it is outsourced to a call center

Based on answers to the above questions, you’ll know how good the customer support of your chosen CDN streaming vendor is!

6. Pricing

There comes the unsaid factor! Even without saying, you should be keeping an eye on the pricing of the CDN streaming service you’re about to choose!

CDNs of today are priced in one of the below-mentioned ways,

1. Depending on your business bandwidth and feature needs

2. Usage-based where pricing is calculated per-GB

Popular CDN servers like Amazon’s Cloudfront and Microsoft Azure fall under this category. It’s better if you compare the pricing of popular CDN streaming services before choosing one.

Speaking of popular CDN streaming vendors, we’ve come up with the best suggestions below. Also, with the pricing factor being said, that’s pretty much the factor you should consider when choosing a CDN video streaming service.

Best CDNs for Video Streaming

Choosing the best CDN streaming service providers can be quite the task. Because not every vendor comes with everything you need. But still, you’ve got to choose the best of what is available out there. We’ve compiled a list of the best CDNs for video streaming here!

1. Amazon Cloudfront

2. Microsoft Azure

3. MaxCDN

4. CloudFlare

5. Incapsula

6. Edgecast

7. Cachefly

Final Thoughts

Yes! We’re wrapping up. Here’s a quick summary of what you just came through

  • What is CDN video streaming?
  • Benefits of using a CDN streaming service and how it works
  • Different types of CDNs available
  • Factors you should consider when choosing a CDN video streaming service
  • And finally, the best CDNs for video streaming

Like we already said, choosing a CDN vendor is not an easy task. You should consider multiple factors before making a decision. Say for example, if you’re considering the pricing factor alone and choosing one, you might end up missing a lot of essential features for your video streaming business. And if you go by the big names, you’ll never have the opportunity to explore what mid-range competitors give extra in order to stay afloat!

So, you’ve got to stay balanced, explore well and look for all possible options & features! Now that you know enough about CDNs, it’s time you implement them in your video streaming business!



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store