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There are many CDN (Content Delivery Networks) for hosting mainly static content. How do they work? How they handle http requests?

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Short answer: CDN's take your data and place it on many different servers around the world so that high traffic content can be delivered to the end user as quickly as possible.

Long answer: CDN's distribute your file(s) to multiple edge locations and assign a URI to it. When a request is made the CDN evaluates the location of the request and routes it to the edge location that will provide the lowest latency and best connection speed for the requester. The file is then transferred directly from the edge location's server to the user that requested it.

For more info: High Performance Web Sites: Rule 1 – Make Fewer HTTP Requests

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+1 great simple answer. –  Marco Demaio Dec 22 '11 at 17:58

CDN works mainly for sites concerned about loading speed and possibly no downtime. CDN works like it copies the entire static content and places it at different servers globally,so that on request by an user the content is provided from the nearest server as quickly as possible. And about the http request.Like you live in US, California,mountain view,your internet connection has a unique ip address which helps the CDN servers determines your location and then accordingly the nearest servers servers you.A server in CDN is mainly targetted to some locations only.Like CDN server in US is marked to serve only in US and nearby places till the coverage of other CDN server starts.

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