5 Ways a Video CDN can Save You Money

In the digital era, speed and efficiency are paramount. Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) have emerged as a vital tool to ensure that websites and apps deliver their content quickly and reliably to users worldwide. However, many business owners hesitate to adopt this technology, often deterred by the perceived high costs. In this article, we aim to dispel the myth of CDN’s exorbitant expenses and shed light on how they can actually result in significant long-term savings. From improved site performance to reduced server costs, we’ll delve into the economic benefits of video CDNs that make them a worthwhile investment for any online enterprise.

1.   Reduced Server Load

Video CDNs play a pivotal role in reducing server load, and by extension infrastructure and maintenance costs. 

How It Works

CDNs work by distributing content to various points around the world, ensuring that users access data from the closest or most efficient location. This not only enhances the speed and reliability of content delivery but also mitigates the risk of server overload. When a CDN is used, the traffic load on the origin server is significantly diminished, reducing the need for additional servers. 

How It Saves

Server strain costs money in several ways. A server that sees less strain will have a longer lifespan, staving off any need to repair or replace. CDNs provide a resource light alternative to simply investing in additional servers to share the load. In other words, why pay for and maintain your own when you can benefit from an established network?


2.   Lower Bandwidth Consumption

By reducing the distance that media has to travel, video CDNs contribute to lower data transfer costs thanks to less bandwidth consumption. 

How It Works

Let’s back up. What is bandwidth really and how does it cost you money? Bandwidth refers to the maximum capacity of a digital connection for transferring data. In other words, if your connection’s bandwidth is 40 megabytes per second (Mbps), then you can’t transfer more than that amount of data per second. Bandwidth determines that capacity and speed at which data can be transferred. 

How It Saves

So how does bandwidth cost money if it’s just a cap? The truth is the bandwidth isn’t costing you money per se; it’s costing the web hosting company that helps you send and receive data, and they are passing that cost along. Basically, the more data transfers you have and the further they go can put a strain on bandwidth for the company helping you get from point A to point B. As such, they’ll typically charge companies for the number of times they send and receive data to offset these costs. Enter CDNs, which make it so fewer data transfers need to happen and that they happen over shorter distances by caching content in edge servers. Video CDNs can also facilitate adaptive bitrate streaming, which can further reduce any unnecessary bandwidth consumption.


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3.   Improved Security

CDNs are well known for providing an added layer of security to data transfers and your video streaming infrastructure is no exception. But what do they actually do to protect you and how does that translate into cost savings? 

How It Works

While many CDN security tools protect content and stream integrity, they are particularly well known for bolstering against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. These attacks work by flooding a network, service, and/or server by overwhelming it with internet traffic. While DDoS attackers typically have much more efficient ways of accomplishing this, the effect is similar to hitting the refresh button on a website over and over again across hundreds of computers. This creates an overwhelming number of HTTP requests, leading to the site or server being shut down or otherwise inaccessible to legitimate users. CDNs prevent these sorts of attacks by distributing traffic across a network of servers, thereby mitigating any attempts to overload them. 

How It Saves

The monetary value in preventing DDoS attacks comes down to preventing lost revenue that could result from having your stream, site, or server inaccessible to true users. It doesn’t matter if you’re live streaming a Q&A to drive brand awareness, providing live or video-on-demand (VOD) shoppable videos to encourage sales, or just trying to drive more traffic to your products page, when viewers can’t access your content, it spells bad news for your brand and your bottom line.


4.   Boosted SEO Rankings

This benefit is more specific to websites than it is to video streaming. Many websites utilize CDNs to improve load times. However, if your player/stream is hosted on your website, then this could still be a relevant consideration. 

How It Works

Search engines aren’t just looking at the keywords in your latest blog post. When considering where to rank your site, page, or hosted video, they rely on a more nuanced range of metrics, including load time, dwell time, and media indexing. In short, Google wants to know if your content is actually valuable to individuals by measuring how engaged they seem to be with your site or content. Video CDNs can help with this by helping content load faster, which includes faster media indexing. It also encourages visitors to spend more time on your site by providing them with a smooth, user-friendly experience.

How It Saves

The more searchable your content, the more visitors/viewers you are likely to get. Depending on your video streaming goals, that could translate to more leads, more conversions, or more advertising revenue. 


5.   Increased Scalability

Striking while the iron is hot means taking advantage of opportunities as they arise. When it comes to video streaming, this often means scaling intentionally with projected rises in viewership or having a flexible and resourceful streaming solution capable of scaling at a moment’s notice with unanticipated viewership spikes. 

How It Works

Why should it matter how many people want to tune into your live stream if it’s hosted online and available for all to see? The truth is that hosting an online live stream isn’t as simple as posting it to Facebook and sharing it with the world. When you live stream using a platform like Facebook, they are the ones hosting the feed, meaning you are benefiting from their infrastructure. If you are hosting your own live stream, then you are pulling from your own resources, and they may not be enough to host a viral audience. 

CDNs improve scalability with load balancing and caching. Remember how we said CDNs can mitigate DDoS attacks by spreading out the requests across a network of servers? Well, it is essentially the same for unexpected viewership surges. The CDN balances the load across servers, allowing them to process greater numbers of data transfer requests across wider areas. When it comes to VOD, video CDN edge servers cache content locally, reducing the number of times they need to ping the origin server for data, thus continuing to efficiently manage those requests. 

How It Saves

Let’s revisit our favorite blacksmithing metaphor. More viewers for your live or VOD streams spells more leads, conversions, brand awareness, ad revenue, and so forth. In a world as fickle as streaming media, you need to be prepared to meet demand or be forgotten. This is another example where you’re not strictly saving on costs, but you are making the most of your business’s earning potential. In this way, video CDNs are critical for live streaming in particular. 


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Honorable Mention: Analytics

CDNs come in many flavors, but many of them boast some sort of analytics option to help you measure your streams’ health, learn more about your audience, and make adjustments to better optimize your streaming strategy. CDN enabled streaming platforms in particular often offer robust analytics views that teach you about your streams from input through delivery, including player data. 

But how does knowing the average video bitrate of your streams, the number and time of stream requests, and the locations of your largest audiences help you save money? This sort of information can help you make informed decisions about which locations to target, when to host your live stream events, which types of playback devices you should be prioritizing in your video development, what types of content are most effective, and more. 


Other Cost-Cutting Tips

While just about any CDN can help you achieve long-term savings. How reliable and robust those savings are will depend on the CDN in question. Price shopping for the right CDN is a great place to start. However, you should consider a CDN enabled video platform that can provide you with a more integrated experience. This makes certain tools, like analytics, more effective. It also means you’re not piecing together your video solution Frankenstein-style, a strategy that can bloat both your workflow and your expenses. 

Looking for a place to start? Give Wowza Video a whirl with our free trial and see how easy streaming to a large global audience can be. 


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About Sydney Roy (Whalen)

Sydney works for Wowza as a content writer and Marketing Communications Specialist, leveraging roughly a decade of experience in copywriting, technical writing, and content development. When observed in the wild, she can be found gaming, reading, hiking, parenting, overspending at the Renaissance Festival, and leaving coffee cups around the house.