A Low Cost CDN Alternative

Businesses often need to host large for clients to download, or sometimes, they may even need their users to upload files to them. There are two challenges:

  • How to enable clients to download (or upload) files at a very fast speed? If the speed is slow, clients may quickly become frustrated.
  • If tens of thousands of users download (or upload) files, will the system be able to handle the load?

With enough investment in server hardware and network bandwidth, the above problems can be solved. However, for most SMBs, such demands happen only when a new product version is released, or a new marketing campaign is launched. In this case, using CDN (Content Delivery Network) service is much more economical.

The traditional CDN service is still expensive and difficult to setup. Moreover, the focus on file downloading makes CDN service somewhat limiting on features. There are also security concerns as CDN service will cache contents in other locations, thus making your confidential data more vulnerable.

DriveHQ offers a low-cost alternative to CDN services with its FTP, file, and web hosting services.

CDN service is widely used to deliver large amounts of data around the globe. Many large companies use CDN service. The usage scenarios include:

  • Delivering a number of image, video or music files to a large audience.
  • Having many users download a new version software, product manual, device driver, game or other digital contents.
  • Host product image files or other multimedia files for your e-commerce website, including those hosted by eBay and Amazon.
  • Having many users upload files (esp. large files) to you.

You can leverage on DriveHQ's "CDN" service to lower the cost and increase the performance.

Traditionally, content delivery network service is offered by companies like Akamai and other network or telco service providers. Such companies have an advantage in that they have built many datacenters across the world. However, their costs tend to be higher, and the integration is often hard for small and medium sized businesses (esp. for those businesses that don’t have good software engineers in their team).

The main goal of CDN service is to offer increased download / upload speed to end users. Most SMBs don’t have enough download and upload bandwidth to support thousands of concurrent users. In this case, they can more easily host their contents on DriveHQ than with any CDN service. DriveHQ has better tools for uploading/downloading large files and many files; it has virtually unlimited network bandwidth with high-speed servers to deliver huge amounts of content to millions of users. Compared with other CDN service providers, DriveHQ’s hosting service has the following advantages:

  • Easy to setup and low cost Just sign up for an account with DriveHQ and you are ready to go. DriveHQ’s bandwidth cost is dramatically lower than other CDN services. It does not require complicated setup or system integration; there is no minimum requirement, nor is there any multi-year contract.
  • Far better and easier tools to download, upload and manage files online. You can use DriveHQ FileManager, any FTP client software, WebDAV Drive Mapping or any web browser to upload, download, drag and drop manage files online.
  • Control who can access to which files and folders. Just select a folder and right click on it, then select share or publish. You can then specify who can access to the folder and files in it. If you publish a folder, anybody can access the folder and files using the published URLs; if you share a folder, you can set fine granular access permissions.
  • Your data is more secure with DriveHQ service. A CDN service will cache files in many locations, which is good for performance. However, for best security and privacy, files should not be cached and users can delete files permanently.
  • Seamless integration with other DriveHQ cloud IT services. Nowadays, every business is embracing cloud services. So why order CDN service, cloud storage, cloud backup, FTP hosting, folder synchronization services separately? DriveHQ Cloud IT service is a one-stop shop for all these services. Save time and money by choosing DriveHQ cloud solution.
  • Support uploads. Most CDN services don’t support uploads. After all, CDN services are designed to cache data in their edge servers. This works well for file downloads. For uploads, it will not increase the performance if data needs to be stored to the “origin server” (or the “destination” server since it's upload). With DriveHQ’s service, there are two ways users can upload files to you: one is to create sub-accounts for them to logon. They can drag and drop uploading using FileManager, FTP or web browser. You can also easily access a DriveHQ Drop Box URL, from which any user can upload files to you given the drop box URL.
  • Support private downloads that require authentication. Authentication can be done by DriveHQ server, or by the customer’s own server. DriveHQ has a very easy web-based API for remote authentication by customer’s own server.

How does DriveHQ compare with Akamai’s CDN service?

Akamai is the current market leader in CDN service, though DriveHQ is not competing in the same market. Akamai’s customers are mostly large enterprises. They don’t publish their prices online, but from available sources and by searching online, you will see their prices are usually more expensive than other CDN service providers.

Akamai’s strength is that they have many PoP (Point of Presence) servers in many different locations (referred as Edge Servers). With their edge servers caching contents in many regions, the performance tends to be much faster – especially if the request is served by an edge server in the region.

The performance gain was more significant 10 years ago than it is today. The Internet infrastructure has improved dramatically in the past decade. Today, for most regular business use, web requests can be handled directly without significant performance issues. DriveHQ’s CDN service is targeting SMBs with the need to access more bandwidth and faster servers, but without the budget to upgrade their infrastructure to handle the increased load.

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