CDN Origin Server
CDN Origin Server

What is an Origin Server?

An origin server’s purpose is to respond to internet clients’ requests. An origin server is often used in conjunction with an edge server, caching server, or other types of server. An origin server is a computer that listens for and processes internet requests. An origin server can take on all the responsibility of serving up the content for an internet property such as a website, provided that the traffic does not extend beyond what the server is capable of processing and latency is not a primary concern.

Latency is an increase in the time taken to load an internet resource like a webpage from an origin server. Additional round-trip time (RTT), required to secure an internet connection using SSL/TLS, can also impact the client’s experience. By using a Content Distribution Network (CDN) round-trip time is able to be reduced, and the amount of requests to an origin server are also able to be reduced.

What’s the difference between an Origin Server or a CDN Edge Server?

CDN edge servers, also known as CDNs, are computers that are placed at critical junctures in major internet providers around the world to provide content as fast as possible. An edge server lives inside a CDN on the “edge” of a network and is specifically designed to quickly process requests. By placing edge servers strategically inside of the Internet Exchange Points (IxPs) that exist between networks, a CDN is able to reduce the amount of time it takes to get to a particular location on the Internet.

These edge servers store content to reduce the load on one or more origin server. An edge server cache can reduce the time it takes to load a web resource by moving static assets such as images, HTML, and JavaScript files (and possibly other content) closer to the client machine. Origin servers still have an important function to play when using a CDN, as important server-side code such as the database of hashed client credentials used for authentication is typically maintained inside an origin server.

This is a simple example showing how an origin server and an edge server can work together to provide a login page that allows a user to log in to a service. To render a simple login page, the following static assets must be downloaded:

    1. An HTML file to be used for your webpage
    2. A CSS file to style the webpage.
    3. Multiple image files
    4. There are many JavaScript libraries

These files are static and not dynamically generated. They are therefore the same for all users of the website. These files can be cached and served to clients from the edge server. These files can all be loaded close to the client without any bandwidth consumption from the origin.

The user then enters his login and password, and clicks “login” to send the request for dynamic material back to the edge server. This server will proxy the request to the origin server. After verifying the identity of the user in the database table, the origin sends back specific account information.

This interplay between edge servers handling static content and origin servers serving up dynamic content is a typical separation of concerns when using a CDN. The capability of some CDNs can also extend beyond this simplistic model.

How a CDN Edge Server interacts with an Origin Server?

The two servers communicate regularly because many of the changes made to the content on your origin server get propagated to your CDN’s cache servers.

Your CDN should pull new content from your source. This is the most efficient way to update edge servers. The push method is less effective, as you are responsible for updating the CDN with any changes to your origin.

Our entire CDN guide, which this entry is only a small part of, discusses the ways CDNs can augment your origin’s functions, including the offloading some of its tasks, boosting its performance and security.

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These five questions provide an overview of the basic interactions between CDN edge server and origin server.

1. How do I route traffic through a CDN to my origin server?

A CDN edge server must be identified as the destination of all your inbound HTTP/S traffic to ensure that it functions properly. You can do this by making the following changes to your Domain Name System.

  • Configure your domain’s A records so they resolve to your CDN IP range
  • Point your subdomains’ CNAME Records to the subdomains provided in your CDN

Following these changes, all visitor requests to any URL/resource on your domain will be routed by the DNS to one of your CDN’s edge servers–due to the use of anycast routing, this is typically the server closest to the individual visitor.

DNS is used to route traffic from origin to CDN using DNS

2. What does a CDN do to protect my Origin Server?

A CDN, as the gateway to all HTTP/S traffic is ideal, can inspect all incoming HTTP/S request. It can identify and filter web application attacks (e.g. SQL injection, XSS, and RFI) before they reach your origin server. The same logic holds true for application layer DDoS and malicious bots (e.g., spammers and scrapers).

A CDN also routes domain resolve requests to your CDN providers. This effectively hides the origin IP address and protects it against direct-IP attacks (e.g. network layer DDoS floodings).

3. Does my IP disappear when I join a CDN?

It’s not exactly. This rerouting mechanism is effective but can be circumvented by attackers who can expose your IP data through historical records or other sources.

To protect your web server, you should take additional measures, such as:

  • Avoiding generic subdomain names– A subdomain of domain-related services, such as FTP and mail, can be resolved to reveal the origin IP address. After you have on boarded a CDN, it is important to avoid using generic subdomains. Change ftp.mydomain.com from 650Ftp.mydomain.com, for example.
  • Change your IP address After signing up for a CDN, change your IP address to prevent attackers from using historical records to find your origin IP. This will make any residual references null.

4. Is it possible for a CDN to offload all content delivery from my origin server?

It is unlikely. Although most CDNs offload a significant portion of content delivery tasks, this amount will depend on your website’s specifics and CDN capabilities.

CDN edge servers can cache static resources such as images, CSS stylesheets, and JavaScript files. This alone can help you save up to 50% on your bandwidth.

Advanced CDNs can cache dynamically generated content (e.g. WordPress HTML files which are created automatically). The caching potential of such CDNs can increase to 60%-80% or more.

5. What can a CDN do if I have multiple origins or data centers?

The reverse proxy nature of CDNs allows them to function as load balancers and distribute traffic to your data centers, all while controlling the flow of incoming traffic to maximize performance and reduce server load.

CDN servers are better able to see incoming traffic because of their location on the edge. This enables CDNs to employ application layer load balancing algorithms that improve traffic distribution efficiency by precisely gauging the actual load on each of your origin servers.

An origin server is a computer running programs that receive and process all incoming requests from the internet. The origin server is responsible for the original web page. This term also distinguishes the web server from the web cache.

Digital copies can be used as originals, but digital copies can also be made digitally. The website owner maintains and updates the server. This is called the origin server. Due to the physical distance between the client and the original server, there is a delay or lag. The client must wait a little longer for the requested page to load.

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Users will not receive any content if the origin server status is slow, or shut down. RTT (round-trip time) is required for data to travel between servers. Clients add a delay in delivery.

RTT refers to the time it takes for a browser to request information or a server response. RTT does not depend on internet speed or file sizes. However, it is affected by distance, traffic volume, intermediate nodes and the transmission medium.

A CDN (Content Distribution Network) (CDN), reduces latency between request, and delivery. Along with the edge or caching server concepts, the origin server concept is also used.

What is Content Distribution Network?

A Content Distribution Network is a network of servers strategically located in different parts of the globe. Each CDN has copies of the websites’ content, thus serving the clients within its location.

CDN makes the content easier to access for all internet users. It reduces website loading times, minimizes operating costs like bandwidth consumption, and improves status of the origin server.

Websites that are accessible to the entire world are increasingly designed to serve a global market. CDNs have become more affordable and more widely used. Some CDN services are even free.

Points of Presence (PoPs) are the core of CDN infrastructures. These are local data centers that connect with clients near them. Locational CDNs can reduce the round-trip time and make the website responsive and quicker, regardless of where it is located.

PoPs have several routers and servers that optimize connections, caching, and many other features. PoPs also have DDoS machines, scrubbing servers and security-related equipment for CDNs.

What is the difference between Origins?ServerA CDN Edge Server?

CDN servers are computer that are strategically placed among internet providers around the globe to deliver content quickly. A CDN has an edge server that is located at the edge of the network and processes requests quickly.

A CDN can reduce the time it takes to reach a particular internet location by placing edge servers within the IxPs (Internet Exchange Points) found between systems.

Edge servers store the content in order to preserve the origin server status and take the origin server’s weight.

An edge server cache can reduce the load time by moving static assets like HTML, JavaScript, and images closer to the request machine. Your website management is performed by web hosts that access information stored on the original server.

CDNs are clusters of servers that are strategically distributed around the world to better serve global clients.

Can you Can Origin Server be attacked while using a CDN

A CDN can allow an attacker to attack an origin server. Although the CDN doesn’t make an origin server 100% secure, it does give it some security because it hides its origin server IP address and shields it from all incoming requests. The CDN provider must insist on changing the origin server’s IP address.

This IP change prevents DDoS attacks by bypassing the shield and attacking the origin server directly.

DDoS, or Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks, is a common attack against websites. DDoS is very easy to manage as it does not require any hacking skills. DDoS attacks require a hacker only to flood your site with excessive traffic using a botnet. Traffic can slow down your website or make it unaccessible for users.

DDoS attacks are rarely launched by themselves. They are often used in conjunction with another cyber-attack such as an SQL injection. An SQL injection injects malicious code to your computer and allows you to execute it. This attack allows criminals to manipulate data, spoof your identity and destroy your database.

Outages occur on gaming servers for a variety of reasons, most commonly DDoS. Recent outages have prevented users from accessing websites such as the original skyblock and the ea Origin servers.

The origin server was down and nobody was able to access the games. It was not clear why the service was restored later. The attack could have been DDoS, which overwhelmed the server and rendered users unable access to the services online.

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What does a CDN do to protect my origin server?

Websites with high traffic are often targeted by hackers who flood them with data, slowing down the website. DDoS attacks are particularly common on gaming websites. Sometimes outages can occur.

This prevents millions of people from playing their favorite games online and offline, as we have already mentioned. CDN solutions improve page loading times and web performance. They also help protect websites from unwanted traffic such as DDoS attacks. A CDN protects your server via qualities like:

CDNs are able to handle high traffic

CDNs are designed to analyze and handle high traffic volumes to websites. This includes spikes of traffic caused by SEO, marketing, or sales campaigns.

This feature is very useful in handling DDoS attacks-related unusual traffic. It can handle low-level offenses with its huge capacity without succumbing to data overload.

Monitor proactive

Your website may not be safe just because the CDN can handle a lot of traffic. CDN operators often have tools to help websites protect themselves from different types of attacks. These tools can monitor potential threats and inspect and clean out traffic from harmful or unnatural visits.

TLS Extensions Support

Transport Layer Security (TLS), a security protocol, lends authentication to your site, privacy and data integrity among the servers, from origin to the CDN and from the CDN and the end-user. Website owners can use this option to secure their web assets and speed up site pages.

What is Multi-Data Center?

Organizations use a data center to store their most important data and applications. Datacenters are designed to make it possible for shared data and applications to be delivered.

Switches, routers and servers are the essential components of a data centre. For many reasons, multi-data center strategies are essential for organisations.

Data loss prevention

Data loss is catastrophic. It can cause high costs and damage to a company’s reputation. Companies can avoid downtime and data loss by implementing a multi-data strategy that uses off-site storage to back up their critical data in the event of a ransomware attack, natural disasters, or other untoward circumstances.

Compliance

While a company may build a data center on its premises, they might not be aware of the many compliance standards that are required to protect their clients’ data. It is a good idea to store your IT assets in a third-party facility that has met all regulatory compliance standards.

Multi-datacenter strategies enable organizations to rely on other data centers for compliance while still hosting some operations. Are multi-data centers safer than having multiple servers? Multi-data centers seem to be the best option for most companies.

CDNS has many advantages

CDNs offer many benefits.

  • Scalability
  • Reliability
  • Responsiveness
  • Performance

Conclusion

Origin servers are the foundation of websites and must be protected against hacking by a CDN. DDoS attacks are becoming more frequent than ever before. It is important to take precautions in order to protect your clients’ data as well as your own.

A CDN cuts down the time between making an online request to receive the requested data or RTT. This makes a huge difference in how fast a browser works.

CDN servers can protect origin servers because they are able to handle large volumes of data. This is unlike original servers. A CDN is able to handle the torrent of requests that DDoS attacks can cause on your server and not give in to the demands.

A CDN can reduce bandwidth consumption, minimize latency, and provide scalability to handle abnormally high traffic loads. This is possible only if your CDN has a solid architecture that transforms it into a fast content delivery channel.

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Evangeline Christina is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cyberspecial.net. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter in a reputed news agency.

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