Supercharge Your Video Stream With These CDN Benefits

Video content creators are always on the lookout for ways to improve their viewers’ experience. While this can and should take the form of more interesting and engaging content, there’s more to improving playback experiences than just what you’re streaming. In fact, the quality of your content doesn’t amount to much if viewers can’t effectively view it. As a creator, marketer, or business, if you’re not considering the quality, speed, and reliability of your streaming platform, then you are doing your audience and your content a disservice. In this article, we’ll focus on video content delivery networks (CDNs) and how they can supercharge your streaming efforts. 

Introducing Content Deliver Networks (CDNs)

A content delivery network, or CDN, is a network of servers distributed across the globe. This network consists of an origin server that serves as the source for content and the edge servers that communicate with the origin server to send said content to users across a large geographic area. These servers work together to deliver content, from web pages to your videos, more quickly, efficiently, and securely. 

CDNs are designed to minimize latency, shortening the time it takes for a user’s request to travel from their device to the server hosting the content and for the content to then be delivered to the user. They accomplish this by having the edge servers cache content as it is requested by users. In this way, the origin server only gets involved when necessary, and the edge servers provide content to their respective regions. 

CDNs are particularly useful in video streaming because they help mitigate the challenges associated with delivering large video files to multiple users simultaneously. In addition to caching content for faster delivery, edge servers support load balancing. In other words, a single server streaming to a million viewers is going to struggle to keep up. A network of servers shares the processing load required to stream at scale


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What are CDN Benefits for Video Streaming? 

Now that we’ve given you a crash course in CDN streaming and a high level look at how it helps, let’s delve a little more deeply into CDN benefits for video streaming specifically, both large and small. 

Improved Video Streaming Performance 

One of the primary CDN benefits for video streaming is improved performance. CDNs are designed to reduce latency, which can be especially important when streaming video content. High latency can lead to buffering and other playback issues that can frustrate viewers and potentially drive them away. It can also specifically impact live streaming efforts where a near real-time experience is essential for viewer enjoyment or participation. By caching and serving video content from servers located closer to the end-users, CDNs can significantly reduce latency and improve the overall viewing experience. This means faster start times, fewer buffering issues, and smoother playback. 

Highlight on Adaptive Bitrate Streaming: It’s work noting that many CDN providers make it possible to transcode media files for adaptive bitrate streaming (ABR). This streaming method adapts to user bandwidth limitations in real time, adjusting the video bitrate up and down an encoding ladder, to ensure an optimal balance between streaming quality and reliability. In other words, it makes it possible for viewers to see your content at the highest possible resolution without risking buffering.

Enhanced Reliability and Uptime

CDNs are designed to distribute content across multiple servers, ensuring that if one server goes down or experiences performance issues, another server can seamlessly pick up the slack. Each server caches content separately, making it likely that the server picking up the slack will be able to deliver the same content with ease. This redundancy helps ensure that your video content remains accessible and high performing, even during periods of general high traffic, viewership spikes, and server failures. 

Scalability for Growing Audiences 

As video content grows in popularity, so too does viewership. Whether abrupt, as with viewership spikes, or expected, this growth can put strain on existing streaming infrastructures, leading to performance issues such as poor resolution, buffering, and even stream failure. Through the aforementioned redundancy and load balancing, CDNs can mitigate these issues. What’s more, CDNs can scale with you without you needing to make sweeping changes to your streaming infrastructure, giving you the mental bandwidth to focus on creating great content.


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Increased Security and DDoS Protection

With cyberattacks, and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on the rise, it’s crucial that you protect your video content and overall streaming infrastructure. CDNs help bolster security through a range of features, including SSL/TLS encryption, secure tokens, access controls, and (in some cases) built-in DDoS protection.

Highlight on Digital Rights Management: Digital rights management (DRM) is a structured, tech-driven approach to protecting digital property rights. In other words, it specifically deals in methods for preventing unauthorized copying, modification, and redistribution of digital content. DRMs accomplish this through a variety of measures, such as digital watermarking, recording prevention, and geo-blocking.

Cost Savings and Efficiency

CDNs can reduce the amount of bandwidth and server resources your content consumes, which makes for a more efficient and cost-effective streaming solution. More specifically, they lead to lower hosting and data transfer costs. Additionally, you could view your CDN as a long-term investment given the positive impact it will have on your streaming performance and ability to keep up with rising viewership.

Increased Reach 

Viewership isn’t just about numbers; it’s also about distance. The farther afield your video content can stream, the more likely you are to grow your viewership. CDNs help you expand your reach both domestically and globally without sacrificing security or performance. 

Highlight on IP Restrictions: If you have concerns about reaching an international audience, remember that a good CDN will provide tools like IP whitelisting and IP blacklisting that allow you to restrict who can view your video streams by region. 

SEO Advantages of Using a CDN

A somewhat lesser-known benefit of using a CDN is the potential for improved search engine optimization (SEO). This is more significantly impactful when it comes to webpages. Faster load times and improved user experiences factor into Google’s search engine rankings. That said, improved viewer experience for your video streams could have a similar effect. If you host your streams on your website, optimizing this part of the experience will help make your page, and your content, more discoverable. 


How to Get Started 

Getting started with a CDN is easier than you think. For starters, you don’t need to build anything from scratch. There are numerous affordable CDN providers on the market that can meet you where you are at and guide you in making the most of their offerings. 

Choose the Right CDN

With so many options available to you, it’s hard to know where to begin. Start by focusing on the following features: 

  • Performance – Look for a CDN that offers fast, reliable performance and low latency, ensuring that your viewers have the best possible experience.
  • Scalability – Choose a CDN that can scale with your growing audience, accommodating fluctuations in traffic without compromising performance. 
  • Security – Make sure the CDN you select offers robust security features that suite your specific needs. 
  • Global reach – Opt for a CDN with servers located worldwide, allowing you to scale globally as needed. 
  • Cost – Compare the pricing and features of different CDNs to find one that offers the best value for your needs. 

How Wowza Measures Up 

With reliable performance, scalability, and security features, Wowza can help you supercharge your video streaming experience. In addition to the CDN basics, we also provide a powerful feature set that includes real-time streaming at scale (powered by WebRTC), security controls, and an easy-to-use content management system (CMS). Additionally, our analytics tools provide end-to-end insights into your workflow. Finally, we allow instant scaling, meaning the entirely of our global CDN is available to you as needed. 

Highlight on Wowza Streaming Engine: While we often talk about our CDN in the context of our Wowza Video cloud-based integrated platform, that is not the only way Wowza customers can benefit from our network. Wowza Streaming Engine, our highly customizable software, works with our CDN in both a push and pull capacity, allowing you to take your unique streaming solution global with ease.

Test Our CDN for Free 

Not ready to commit? No problem. You can take our CDN for a test drive with a free trial of Wowza Video. After all, the best solutions speak for themselves.


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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.