The Internet is vast and ever-expanding, just like the Universe. Therefore nowadays, even a single connection to a website requires much more than a bunch of wires. And origin servers are one of the crucial elements of internet traffic.
Technically, you can even use your PC to set up an origin server for a low-scale operation. Yet, origin servers normally have to handle a large number of requests. Load balancing and horizontal scaling usually help to maintain such a flow. And then, to eventually distribute and serve content to end users without delays, the Content Delivery Network support comes into place.
The Internet heavily relies on CDNs. If origin servers always were the only traffic providers, you would deal with significantly lower loading speeds. It would happen not only because of the server overload from all the requests but also because of the considerable network bandwidth. A way to avoid all of these issues is CDN.
CDN helps to take the load off the origin servers by dispersing the traffic flux. This is possible with the help of edge servers acting as nodes situated in geographic proximity to a user.
The major support edge servers provide to origin servers is caching. Previously, after you established the first contact with an origin server, it would send a response not only to you but also to the edge server(s). After that, they would take on the role of storing the static content from your website. Nowadays they still do, but your request is sent directly to the edge server for it to load the cache. And, if there is a need, it would relay the request to the origin server. Such an algorithm is a great way to accelerate the loading speed. And hey, loading speed is a crucial aspect of increasing your website’s rank in search!
The origin server, in turn, keeps storing the original version of your website and its content. More importantly, they sometimes host databases for user authentication and contain key server-side code. Such practice is dangerous and crude, but unfortunately, it is still widely used.
CDN doesn’t make origin servers completely invulnerable, but it significantly lowers the security threat. And it helps to do it in three ways:
CDN nodes are capable of rerouting requests to be sent to their IPs while still sending them to the origin server. This way, in case of a DDoS attack the harmful traffic won’t be able to reach the origin server with its IP hidden behind edge IPs.
Even without targeted DDoS attacks, dangerous traffic spikes still possess a threat. For example, in some cases, the usage of a website might increase during certain times of the day. But thanks to CDN, all of this traffic will be routed through edge servers and prevent the website from overloading.
The initial examination of HTTP/S requests is done by edge servers. This is a great way to block DoS attacks, aimed at the origin server with an intention of rendering your service inaccessible.
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