Amazon CloudFront is a content delivery network that allows users to distribute content to users worldwide.

What is a Content Delivery Network or CDN?

A content delivery network, widely referred as CDN, is a group or network servers, geographically spread across the world or a region, to deliver web based content to end users.

How does a CDN work?

CDNs cache (store) content on geographically distributed edge servers and deliver it to users from the edge server that’s closest to their location, thus minimizing latency, increasing availability and reducing the load on the source (Origin server).

CDN Workflow
CDN Workflow

CDNs do a lot more than just caching, now they deliver dynamic content that is unique to the requestor and not cacheable. The advantage of having a CDN deliver dynamic content is application performance and scaling. The CDN will establish and maintain secure connections closer to the requestor and, if the CDN is on the same network as the origin, as is the case for cloud-based CDNs, routing back to the origin to retrieve dynamic content is accelerated. Furthermore, content such as form data, images, and text can be ingested and sent back to the origin, thereby taking advantage of the low latent connections and proxy behavior of the PoP. Combining static and dynamic content delivery, customers are now using CDNs to provide whole site delivery and interactivity. – AWS

How does Amazon CloudFront Work?

CloudFront delivers content through a network of data centers called edge locations spread all over the world. When a user requests content from CloudFront, the user request is routed to the edge location that can offer the lowest latency, so that the user gets the content as quickly as possible.

When the requested content is already in the edge location with lowest possible latency, CloudFront delivers it immediately to the end user. If the content is not located in the location with lowest possibly latency, CloudFront retrieves it form the origin as defined by the customer.

CloudFront working with other AWS Services to deliver Content
CloudFront working with other AWS Services to deliver Content

Amazon CloudFront Infrastructure

For any CDN the number of edge locations and its geographical spread is extremely important as it determines the performance and availability of the content . Amazon CloudFront operates 166 Points of Presence, 155 edge locations and 11 regional edge caches. The network spans across 65 cities in 29 countries.

Amazon CloudFront Global Edge Network

Amazon CloudFront Global Edge Network

Regional Edge Cache:

Amazon CloudFront has 11 regional edge cache locations that are designed to further improve the performance of the overall network. Regional cache locations have larger storage capacity compared to edge locations. Amazon CloudFront regularly move content that becomes less popular that are stored in the edge location to the nearest regional cache location.

This allows CloudFront to only keep the most popular, frequently accessed, content in the edge location, improving overall performance for the end user.


Amazon CloudFront Key Features

Security

Amazon CloudFront offers protection against network and application layer attacks. Users can deliver content via SSL/TLS, create custom SSL certificates. Cloudfront also provides SSL optimisations and advanced capabilities such as full/half bridge HTTPS connections.

CloudFront offers customers multiple ways to secure their content and restrict access when needed. The options include configuring HTTPS connections, using Amazon Web Application Firewall to control access and field level encryption. For more details please read this page

Compliance

CloudFront is PCI-DSS Level 1, HIPAA, and ISO 9001, ISO 27001, SOC (1, 2 and 3) compliant.

Amazon CloudFront: Pricing

AWS uses the pay as you go and pay only for what you consume model for Amazon CloudFront. There are no upfront fees and long term commitments to use Amazon CloudFront. Amazon offers three pricing tiers, free, on-demand and discounted.

The free tier, which is valid for one year offers 50 GB of data transfer and 2 million HTTP or HTTPS requests per month.

On-demand: 

On-Demand Amazon CloudFront charges will be based on the following factors.

Data Transfer Out To Internet: Volume of data (GB) transferred out from Amazon CloudFront edge locations

Data Transfer Out to Origin: Volume of data (GB) transferred out from the Amazon CloudFront edge locations to customer’s origin, which can be an AWS origin or any other server origin.

HTTP/HTTPS Requests: Number of HTTP/HTTPS requests made to Amazon CloudFront.

Invalidation Requests: CloudFront charges per path in your invalidation request. Customers can request a maximum of 1,000 paths each month, after that you will be charged per path listed in your invalidation request.

Dedicated IP Custom SSL: $600 per month for each custom SSL certificate. This fee is pro-rated by the hour. You only pay $600 if you use it for the entire month. If you use it only for 24hrs, you only pay $20.

CloudFront Pricing can be a bit complex to understand as there are many variables involved, so please visit AWS CloudFront Pricing for more details and charges for each item.

Discounted Pricing is available for customers who are ready to commit atleast 10 TB of data transfer per month for 12 months or longer.


Amazon CloudFront Edge Locations and Regional Edge Caches

North America: 61 Edge Locations

Ashburn, VA6Miami, FL3
Atlanta, GA5Minneapolis, MN1
Boston, MA2New York, NY3
Chicago, IL7Newark, NJ 5
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX6Palo Alto, CA1
Denver, CO2Philadelphia, PA1
Hayward, CA1Phoenix, AZ1
Hillsboro, OR1San Jose, CA2
Houston, TX2Seattle, WA3
Jacksonville, FL1South Bend, IN1
Los Angeles, CA5Toronto, ON1
Montreal, QC1

Europe: 45 Edge Locations

Berlin, Germany2Copenhagen, Denmark1
Frankfurt, Germany8Dublin, Ireland1
Munich, Germany2Helsinki, Finland1
London, England9Madrid, Spain2
Manchester, England1Oslo, Norway1
Palermo, Italy1Prague, Czech Republic1
Milan, Italy1Stockholm, Sweden3
Marseille, France1Vienna, Austria1
Paris, France5Warsaw, Poland1
Amsterdam, The Netherlands2Zurich, Switzerland1

Asia: 37 Edge Locations

Bangalore, India1Hong Kong, China3
Chennai, India 2Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia1
Hyderabad, India 2Manila, Philippines1
Mumbai, India 2Seoul, South Korea4
New Delhi, India3Singapore3
Osaka, Japan1Taipei, Taiwan3
Tokyo, Japan11

Australia, Middle East and Africa: 12 Edge Locations

Melbourne, Australia1Dubai, United Arab Emirates1
Perth, Australia1Fujairah, United Arab Emirates1
Sydney, Australia1Johannesburg, South Africa1
São Paulo, Brazil2Cape Town, South Africa1
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil3

Regional Edge Caches: 11 Global Locations

VirginiaUSA
OhioUSA
OregonUSA
FrankfurtGermany
LondonEngland
MumbaiIndia
SingaporeSingapore
SeoulSouth Korea
TokyoJapan
SydneyAustralia
São PauloBrazil