Best CDN for Video: Everything You Need to Know to Deliver Optimised Video

May 15, 2021
Ann Oliver

With the exponential growth of the video streaming industry to accelerate businesses, reach broader people, and ensure virtual collaboration among employees, the employment of Content Delivery Networks is skyrocketing. 

If you want to ensure the video you broadcast is of high quality, doesn't buffer sustaining an optimal loading speed, delivering it with a single server is not viable. The most befitting solution here is to employ the best CDN for video. Almost all video-sharing sites now integrate CDNs with their websites to speed up the delivery process and limit bandwidth costs. 

Do you wonder what a video CDN is and how it can help facilitate your content delivery process? I will serve you with all the essential information and a well-researched list of the best CDN for video. 

What is a Video CDN

CDN is a globally distributed infrastructure of proxy servers that ensures offering better online browsing by lowering latency (time a server requires to respond to a request), which, in return, optimises websites' performance

CDNs for video streaming are networks of dedicated servers that receive big original video files from the origin server, and their edge servers store them after caching. 

Thus video CDNs deliver high-quality videos (both live and on-demand) to the requested end-users from the data centers at their proximity, ensuring improved loading time. 

A video CDN:

  • decreases video buffering
  • shortens startup time
  • improves video resolution

How Does Video CDN Work

The working process of a video CDN is identical to a traditional CDN:

  • When a user requests for a video stream, it is forwarded to the requested device as 'video chunks' (small segments of video packets).
  • Once these video chunks reach the user's video player, they get organised back-to-back to replicate the original packet. 
  • When the video-sharing website uses a video CDN, it caches all video chunks and distributes them among its edge servers to deliver them from the visitors’ nearest data center.
  • If the CDN receives a request for the first time, it gets the original file from the hosting server and caches it for subsequent requests. 
  • For a live-streaming, CDN caches the real-time video chunks and delivers them straight from the closest server. 
  • Though there occurs some delay in caching the packets, a quality video CDN is efficient enough to keep the timing close to the real-time streaming. 
  • CDN servers are placed closer to the end-users than the hosting server. So, they can significantly reduce round-trip time (processing delay at the echoing end), bandwidth consumption and improve page loading to boost live-streaming quality. 

Why Use a Video CDN

Some of the surpassing benefits of adding the best CDN for video to your video-sharing website are:

  • It Offers Scalability: Video CDN, with its worldwide distributed servers, eliminates the need to rely on a single server and handles traffic more efficiently, offering a high-performance network. So your website is always available, and robust and you can provide a scalable and reliable video streaming experience to your visitors. 
  • Offers Quality Service: With a video CDN provider, you can send both on-demand and live videos to your users following the shortest route. Thus the video buffers less, and your audience can enjoy a better viewing experience. 
  • Comes with Layers of Security: Video CDN providers secure your system with layers of protection. When you deliver the requested stream via CDN, it ensures your users are protected with HTTPS. Furthermore, the SSL certificate, WAF (Web Application Firewall) etc., coming with a quality video CDN, can offer an extra layer of protection against cyberattacks. 
  • Global Content Delivery: There is no alternative to employ the best CDN for video if you want your video-sharing service to reach a global audience when almost 3/4 of internet users rely on smartphones to stream videos. In that case, serving the video with the origin server will only decrease the video quality and prolong latency. With geographically scattered PoPs, a video CDN ensures you can reach audiences worldwide without compromising the video quality. 

Best CDN for Video

Now that you have a brief overview of video CDNs and their significance, let's get into the list of the best CDN for video:

Akamai

If you are searching for an absolution solution for media delivery with optimised broadcast, Akamai can be your ultimate preference. 

Its specially engineered video CDN delivers high-quality video streams, safeguards them with top-notch security layers, and boosts your business-critical asset delivery with its globally placed edge servers. 

The exceeding features include:

  • Powerful DNS to make the network more robust and responsive
  • Excellent protection against cyberthreats like DDoS attacks
  • Various format HTTP video delivery supported.
  • Features 24/7 turned key option for seamless video stream management.

Cloudflare 

To offer better coverage and a satisfactory video viewing experience to your audience, Cloudflare has distributed its network of servers across 100 countries

Serve your users with high-quality, less buffering video with this specially designed video CDN. As the free plan doesn't include video delivery, you have to subscribe for premium plans to avail of this facility.

The key facilities it offers:

  • Cloudflare offers protection against DDoS attacks
  • Offers both on-demand stream and HTTP live streaming
  • It ensures mobile optimisation
  • Offers fast full cache purging

KeyCDN

Accelerate your video delivering process by employing KeyCDN, a high-performance global network of over 40 data centers that serves high-resolution, less lagging videos worldwide without breaking your bank!

Some key features are:

  • It supports HTML5, MP3, MOV, FLV, almost all formats
  • KeyCDN protects your site from DDoS attacks, suspicious IPs, and bad bots
  • Pay-as-you-go option

Fastly

Fastly is another top-quality video CDN that offers excellent coverage with its globally distributed 60 data centers. 

Besides ensuring top-notch customer support, Fastly promises to boost the video viewing experience, managing traffic efficiently. 

Some of the features:

  • It supports various formats, including MSS, HDS, HLS, and DASH.
  • Real-time traffic analytics
  • Super-fast video loading
  • TLS encryption and DDoS protection

Amazon CloudFront

CloudFront is another fast-growing video CDN that provides high-class coverage with over 225 PoPs. CloudFront is especially popular for on-demand video delivery and is now becoming a part of large enterprises.

Features of Amazon CloudFront:

  • TSL, SSL encryption
  • Full-featured API
  • Device detection capacity for better delivery
  • Pay-as-you-go facility
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