[tip] Use the Coral Distribution Network to save bandwidwidth - Jon Galloway

[tip] Use the Coral Distribution Network to save bandwidwidth

A family member called me about the bandwidth on his site due to MP3 downloads lately. The host company said there had been 40GB of downloads this past month, which required extra fees since the hosting plan doesn't allow for near that bandwidth. I changed the offending MP3 links to use the (free) Coral Distribution Network , and thought it would be good to share the information on this service since it's bailed me out more than a few times.

The Coral Distribution Network (CDN) is a free service that was started by NYU includes a global network of universities and other nice folks. More info about it on the Coral CDN site and on the Coral Wiki.

The coolest thing about it is that it's really easy to use. You just modify your links to include .nyud.net:8090/ after your domain name. So instead of this:
http://www.mysite.com/mysite/media/mp3/example.mp3
you would use this::
http://www.mysite.com.nyud.net:8090/mysite/media/mp3/example.mp3

The file is still on your website, but when people click on the link it gets routed through CDN. The first time someone clicks on the link, the file's not there and it gets downloaded from your site just like it always would have, but now the CDN knows about it and grabs a copy. From then on, if someone clicks the link, CDN checks if it's still on your website and hasn't been changed, then sends the file itself. You don't pay for the bandwidth; they handle it. What's even cooler is that they have a global network, so if someone in Australia downloads it, they get the file from an Australian Coral server, so it's much faster from the user point of view.


(see area maps here)

Some caveats:
1) I read in their FAQ that it's possible for people to have problems with downloads if they have a weird firewall setup (port 8090 outbound blocked), but I haven't run into this. Something to be aware of, but if the alternative is to pay thousands a year in hosting I think this is worth it.

2) Transfers > 50MB just redirect back to the original host due to bandwidth overuse (see the FAQ).

3) You're not able to track your downloads. If you need hit counts for sponsorship, this won't work for you. On the other hand, if you want to post some audio or video and

Published Saturday, November 26, 2005 10:37 PM by Jon Galloway
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