What is a CDN? Why does Shopify use it? | Everything you need to know


3 minute read // E-commerce

CDN is an abbreviation for the content delivery network. One of the biggest eCommerce companies, Shopify also employs this CDN system.

CDN can reduce network wait time, improve Shopify store security, and offer a better user experience. How can CDN achieve these? In this blog, we discuss what CDN is and the benefits of using a CDN for Shopify.

What is CDN?

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a collection of servers that are geographically dispersed and networked together to provide web content to users of a website. Web pages and apps run better because of the reduction in network latency (or wait time) provided by CDNs.

Servers across the world store the website data and they deliver their content to the user who locates near them, instead of having everyone in the world access a single server for a specific website.

CDN system image

How CDN works

When a domain is first requested, a CDN sends the request to the proper CDN server. The client then receives cached content across a shorter distance from the CDN server.

The origin server is the main location that stores a website’s content and where the original request comes in. This server stores static web pages (pictures, text, and code), software downloads, rich media (audio, and video), and dynamic content produced by apps.

Cached contents are copies of the content from the origin server. They are stored in geographically dispersed caching servers in data centers, called Points of Presence (PoPs). These servers are located close to the “edge” of the network, or the area where user requests are expected. “Edge servers” are another name for these servers.

How CDN works

Pros of CDN

1. Reduce wait time

The removal of long wait times for downloads and streaming is one of the primary reasons why the majority of enterprises utilize CDNs. This results in a better user experience.

2. Better network usage

By minimizing or eliminating local network bottlenecks and reducing network path distances, content distribution through CDNs lowers bandwidth needs and promotes greater network use.

3. Withstand more traffic

More concurrent users can be served by spreading to edge servers than is conceivable with even a fully scaled centralized approach.

4. Security purpose

Cybercriminals frequently utilize distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to harass or breach an organization’s defenses. By increasing the number of points of access, CDNs naturally provide DDoS protection, resulting in a more dependable and accessible web solution.

Cons of CDN

1. Higher cost

There will be actual start-up expenses and continuous operational charges for non-trivial online solutions that are based on the volume of data transferred. If not anticipated, these expenditures may rise to unforeseen heights.

2. Geography

Your CDN infrastructure must be matched to the region where your users are located. The lower performance will be the outcome of a bad geographic alignment. To help with this issue, several firms employ multiple CDNs with various footprints.

3. Required more support

Utilizing a third-party CDN adds to the difficulty of managing and delivering your web solutions and adds a further level of support that may make troubleshooting system issues more challenging.


Shopify employs CDN to show images and videos faster than the traditional system. Shopify CDN now stores 20 billion files and has 25 million file requests without any system issues.


You can extract an image from the Shopify CDN server and see how fast you can get images.

Source: https://cdn.shopify.com/


We have seen that Shopify is trying to improve the user experience through the use of various technologies like CDN. If you are considering starting e-commerce, Shopify is the best place to sell your products online. We can help you to start your own online store on Shopify. Feel free to contact us

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