CDN vs Dedicated Server


This is the final post of our page speed improvement series. Today’s post will discuss content delivery networks vs dedicated hosting servers.

For high-loaded websites, CDN or Content Delivery Network and dedicated servers are normally used. In this post, I’ll go through both servers and compare their advantages and disadvantages, their variations and a few tips on which one to choose between the two hosting options.

What Is A CDN?

CDN works by serving content to end-users with high performance and high accessibility. The networks of CDN serve most all web contents such as videos, text, and URLs.

How will CDN help with your website?

Through CDN service, there are a lot of internet nodes being designed to share web contents. So after browsing your website, it will then send data from the closest data centre to the users. In this manner, CDN helps in reducing the latency or failure that is due to networks, web server, etc. Various CDN’s utilize P2P technology in caching files to produce top performance.

CDN vs. Dedicated Server

Since CDN is already ideal, why should we need dedicated server? What are CDN’s weaknesses compared to the traditional dedicated server? Well, read on.


Rationally, CDN can guarantee 100% uptime because it is being served by numerous servers; but, it is also possible to have slowness due to the configuration of the network. Using dedicated server, the performance will depend on data centre network and server hardware configuration. Since there is a dedicated bandwidth allocation, there will not be too much latency present.


For many CDN service, security poses the biggest concern. Since it’s going to send data from your website to various locations or servers, it is difficult to have everything protected particularly when it pertains to sensitive information on the website.

Then again, a dedicated server is going to offer maximum security to any data since everything is being kept on one device. Provided that the single server is properly secured, data leaks are not possible.


Today, you can find a lot of CDN service providers on the market but, there is a huge difference in their service quality. A CDN can be built through 3 or 30 nodes. A good CDN service provider has data centres on various places such as Microsoft Azure, but it is not possible for many CDN service providers as they just have a few servers from various DCs and don’t have much access to the network material. A dedicated server is completely controlled by a team with complete access to different configurations, has control over resource allocation and security protection and updates.


If issues do happen, the CDN support will examine each node to get it fixed, and the process may take quite a while depending on the complicacy. A dedicated server is supported by the dedicated server service provider, given that the server is still up and they can access it. Means, unless it’s a MUST, they don’t have to bother your server provider for problem fixing.

When should you choose CDN or dedicated server?

Ideally, a good dedicated server is more costly compared to CDN services; particularly there are CDN providers such as MaxCDN which are only about $120 per year. On the comparison mentioned above, we have learned that a dedicated server is in fact much better than CDN when it comes to performance since it’s driven by the dedicated resource.

So it all comes down to how much you’re willing to spend. We’ve found for our clients websites and ours, the results in page speed improvements have been great despite having a shared hosting account with a CDN in place.