Too Many EDGE CDN Servers is a Problem!

cdn

#1

Cloudflare has one of the largest CDN networks globally. But I find this to be a hinderance to performance instead of a benefit!

The reason is that each EDGE server has to be primed individually. So the first visitor in Spain will get slow load times, and the first visitor in Germany will also get slow load times.

Instead, if they had just one EDGE server in Europe, then only the first visitor from all of Europe will get the “cold” cache. All subsequent visitors from there will get relatively fast speeds.

Too many EDGE servers penalizes sites with a small number of visitors from all over the world.

Ideally, I’d like to have 1 edge server in each continent. That way, only one visitor from each will get slow load times. Right now, almost all my visitors are the “first” from a specific country. As a result, they ALL have slow load times!

Is my thinking inaccurate?


#2

If your server is slow enough to where you have to rely on the CF Cache, then this can be a problem, and there is no easy solution to this. I don’t think it would be efficient for CF to take down a few edge servers just so that it makes the cache more efficient in a minority of situations.

The only solution I see is enabling Argo with tiered caching. This means that “non-primed” datacenters will ask other datacenters to pull from their cache before going to the origin.


#3

I’m already using Argo. But I’ve been testing using a VPN, and my origin server responds faster than Cloudflare when it’s a “cold” cache.

However, if the cache is warm, then it’s much faster. I need fewer EDGE servers, not more!

Is there a CDN network that has just 4 or 5 servers worldwide instead of hundreds like Cloudflare?


#4

Other providers don’t have great market value of they have few edge locations, so Im not aware of one with less than 15 edges.

This is a fun article though:

As for your server itself, I recommend seeing if you can either get a faster application server that can serve requests faster, or optimize your site by caching slowly-generated parts of the page on your server itself using something like redis.


#5

Thanks for the link! Can you tell me provider has only 15 edge locations? I’d like to try them out!


#6

You can absolutely shop around for traditional CDN networks. KeyCDN can be primed as a PUSH CDN. I thought it also had tiered caching, like Argo, but I can’t find documentation about it on their site.


#7

If you want less, why not just find a local hosting company and forget using a CDN?


#8

Because I have visitors from almost all continents and countries. I don’t want my visitor’s connection to travel half way around the world!

Isn’t that why anyone uses a CDN?


#9

Precisely.


#10

If you have such location-diverse visitors, maybe you should look into true multi-continent hosting.


#11

I’ve thought about it, but the setups seem pretty complicated. I’ve looked at load balancers etc, and maybe one day I’ll set it up.

But right now, I just want a “plug n play” solution. I don’t want to think too much at present.


#12

Put it another way. Imagine the following scenario:

  1. In the next one month, your website will receive exactly ONE visitor (no more)
  2. That visitor will have a random location in the world. Could be some place in Africa!
  3. If that visitor’s page loads in less than 2 seconds, you will get 1 million dollars
  4. Otherwise you get nothing

Which CDN provider would you recommend?


#13

We have clients from around the globe and we’re averaging about 700ms. If a handful of visitors hit 1 second, we’re not losing as much as we would be 3+ seconds without Cloudflare. Even at 10 seconds they’d end up calling or send an email.


#14

I’m sorry, I didn’t understand what you were trying to say…


#15

Two things really. I’ve never set up a site that was slower on Cloudflare if anything, it shaves a 1 second or so off, every time. And two, we’d probably get that client even if our site was down.


#16

My site, though just static HTML, has improved tremendously speed-wise for all of my visitors (the non-bots) who come from several locations in Europe, with Germany as of late having the most visitors, from Japan, from China, from Russia, Korea, Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, the UK, & Canada off the top of my head, since joining Cloudflare. GitLab, where my site’s code is, is in California, U.S… Now, I am aware of certain scenarios where reliability is the main focus of over performance in similar networks from my membership with OpenNIC & the Anycast DNS servers one of our T1 members runs, however that’s a very different scenario. May I ask your site’s domain so I may have a look? Thank-you @bhagwad !


#17

@intr0 My site is https://www.wp-tweaks.com . My issue is that I’m getting excellent load times in developed countries (~2 sec), but often 10+ second load times in places in Africa, and the far east.


#18

That, unfortunately, makes too much sense. (Under)developed countries with unreliable infrastructure to support power grids that remain active, or with unreliable networks, I’d think but am not presuming, would be an issue for any tech company that relies on these. Now that may not be the issue at all, it’s just a guess. When you say the Far East that would, I assume, include China. The Mainland is served via Hong-Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan… It requires anyone who wishes to have a domain hosted / served directly in / by the Mainland, to purchase a license from the Chinese government. Good looking site, btw! :slight_smile:


#19

As @intr0 pointed out, your site is really fast… first hit from Toronto 920ms, second < 900ms and Bandalore 1.4 & 1.4 (still no slouch)


#20

Thanks! And, yeah, the lower speeds from these places might be something I just have to get used to.