Posted by : Randy Cooper in (CDN)

How To: Getting Started with Amazon CloudFront CDN

Amazon’s Simple Storage Service, S3, is quite wonderful. It’s cheap, secure and virtually infinite in storage capacity. Some people have begun utilizing S3 to host files for their website that would otherwise be expensive in bandwidth costs to serve from their own server. I actually used to host all static template images on this blog from Amazon S3 as I was under the impression that it would decrease load time considerably. Such was not the case and I noticed that S3 introduced moderate latency before files were downloaded. Among other reasons, it was because files hosted on my S3 account only came from one US datacenter location.

Enter Amazon CloudFront. CloudFront is a CDN, or Content Delivery Network. It utilizes Amazon S3 but distributes your data out to multiple datacenter locations, ensuring faster access times through low latency file hosting for your website users.

What makes CloudFront so great is that it is, in my opinion, the first consumer-friendly CDN service. That is to say that it is cheap for its low-latency CDN offerings, easy to sign up for and start using. It also holds its own against professional CDN services like CacheFly. There are small downsides to CloudFront compared to expensive CDN solutions. For one, it takes some time (up to 24 hours) for file changes and updates to be pushed out to CloudFront edge servers.


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