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We're looking at putting our static content – JavaScript, CSS, images, etc. – on a CDN.

Currently we're serving this content from http://sstatic.net. While this works great, it means that I (sitting in Berlin) have to get my CSS from all the way across the Atlantic, because the servers that run sstatic.net are in New York.

The (main) idea of a CDN is that content should be delivered from a location as close as possible to the user, so they get their data faster.

To check if this idea lives up to its promise, I'd like to ask you to make a quick test: To measure (using Chrome dev tools, Firebug, or something similar) how long it takes to download a file from the CDN, compared to downloading it directly from us.

Using the Chrome Developer tools, it looks like this for me:

network tab of chrome dev tools

Please make a few requests to each of the two links above (using Ctrl-F5, so the file is actually redownloaded), and post a typical example of latency and total download time for each file.

Note that the very first request to the CDN may or may not be slower – that's expected. Please also post your (rough) location.

Example result:

  • From Berlin, Germany
  • sstatic: 152ms latency, 576ms total
  • CDN: 52ms latency, 201ms total

Thanks in advance!

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21  
Oh, and since we have a lot of devs/server-admins here.... TURN OFF FIDDLER / WIRESHARK / ETC. Not that I would make such an elementary mistake... cough. –  Marc Gravell May 6 '11 at 8:40
4  
It might be worth noting, for anyone doing this test, that if you're using Google DNS (or any other unusual DNS provider that's not related to you by geography), your results will be skewed. –  Adrian Petrescu May 6 '11 at 17:53
2  
@AdrianPetrescu: The CDN uses anycast. By my (admittedly small) understanding of this technique, the DNS server shouldn't matter. Everybody gets sent to 67.201.31.56. –  balpha May 6 '11 at 17:59
1  
I'm sure this query can be cited to show that CDN really matters.. ;) See guys we've got stats and benchmarks across the world to show. :D –  Shekhar_Pro May 7 '11 at 23:27

47 Answers 47

Cleveland, Ohio:

  • sstatic: 22ms latency, 57ms total
  • CDN: 13ms latency, 35ms total
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1  
@balpha: Even if it meant living in Cleveland? –  mmyers May 6 '11 at 17:36
2  
(Kidding, @jleedev! I'm sure some parts of Cleveland are delightful.) –  mmyers May 6 '11 at 17:38
2  
@mmyers Just for that, I’m finding an ethernet cable to improve my numbers. –  Josh Lee May 6 '11 at 17:49
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Iowa City, Iowa

Calculated from the average of 6 loads with full cache refresh between loads.

  • sstatic: 35ms latency, 72ms total
  • cdn: 24ms latency, 31ms total -- if I exclude the first lookup it's 6ms and 13.6ms, respectively

Traceroutes:

sstatic.net

Tracing route to sstatic.net [64.34.119.12]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  rtr-core-lc.net.uiowa.edu [128.255.76.1]
  2    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  rtr-border-lc.net.uiowa.edu [128.255.2.129]
  3     4 ms     4 ms     4 ms  xe-3-2-0.716.rtr.chic.net.internet2.edu [198.49.
182.7]
  4    21 ms    24 ms    21 ms  xe-0-0-0.0.rtr.wash.net.internet2.edu [64.57.28.
13]
  5    22 ms    22 ms    22 ms  equinixexchange.peer1.net [206.223.115.30]
  6    22 ms    22 ms    24 ms  10ge.ten1-2.wdc-sp2-cor-1.peer1.net [216.187.115
.234]
  7    22 ms    22 ms    23 ms  216.187.120.254
  8    27 ms    27 ms    27 ms  10ge.xe-2-0-0.nyc-telx-dis-1.peer1.net [216.187.
115.221]
  9    28 ms    28 ms    27 ms  10ge.xe-0-0-0.nyc-telx-dis-2.peer1.net [216.187.
115.182]
 10    28 ms    28 ms    27 ms  oc48-po3-0.nyc-75bre-dis-1.peer1.net [216.187.11
5.134]
 11    28 ms    28 ms    27 ms  gwny01.stackoverflow.com [64.34.41.58]
 12    28 ms    28 ms    28 ms  stackoverflow.com [64.34.119.12]

CDN

Tracing route to sstatic.stackexchange.netdna-cdn.com [69.174.57.102]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1     6 ms     3 ms    <1 ms  rtr-core-lc.net.uiowa.edu [128.255.76.1]
  2    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  rtr-border-lc.net.uiowa.edu [128.255.2.129]
  3    19 ms     4 ms     4 ms  xe-3-2-0.716.rtr.chic.net.internet2.edu [198.49.
182.7]
  4    14 ms    17 ms    17 ms  xe1-1.cr01.ord01.mzima.net [206.223.119.62]
  5     8 ms    16 ms    17 ms  69.174.120.150
  6     6 ms     5 ms     5 ms  69.174.37.2
  7     5 ms     5 ms     5 ms  69.174.57.102

Internet2 is a good thing.

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The Hague, The Netherlands

  • sstatic: 190ms latency, 463ms total
  • CDN: 109ms latency, 120ms total

enter image description here

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From Los Angeles, California:

  • sstatic.net: 142ms latency, 470ms total
  • CDN: 101ms latency, 220ms total

CDN at some points went as high as 900ms for latency, and sstatic peaked at 600ms, but I posted a typical set of values for both.

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From Goa, India

enter image description here

http://sstatic.net/js/full.js (SO)

avg around 742ms
Latency around 740ms

http://cdn.sstatic.net/js/full.js (CDN)

avg around 337ms
Ranges from 308ms - 1.06 seconds
Latency around 308ms
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From NY:

static: 264ms (176 latency) cdn: 449 (284 latency)

But of course, it's from NY...

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Here are the results I get from the Canadian west coast:

http://sstatic.net/js/full.js:
enter image description here

http://cdn.sstatic.net/js/full.js:
enter image description here

Note: originally I was getting 304s so I did a hard refresh.

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enter image description here

  • From Tirano(So), Italy
  • sstatic: 145ms latency, 420ms total
  • CDN: 80ms latency, 250ms total
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Manchester UK

  • sstatic latency 140 ms, total 290ms

  • cdn latency 30 ms, total 142ms

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  • From Corvallis, OR
  • sstatic: 231ms latency, 429ms total
  • CDN: 38ms latency, 147ms total
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Here are my results from St. Paul, Minnesota. (USA)

  • sstatic: 155ms (time), 60ms (latency)
  • CDN: 186ms (time), 47ms (latency)
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Too lazy to do the download, but here are some tracerts:

Location: London, ON, Canada

From work:

Tracing route to sstatic.net [64.34.119.12]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  10.0.0.254
  2     1 ms     1 ms     1 ms  d680.a.ded.execulink.com [69.63.32.125]
  3     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  4     1 ms     1 ms     1 ms  d668.a.ded.execulink.com [69.63.32.113]
  5     4 ms     5 ms     4 ms  i.core2.ip.execulink.net [66.203.176.113]
  6    24 ms    22 ms    21 ms  nyiix.peer1.net [198.32.160.65]
  7    20 ms    20 ms    21 ms  10ge.xe-0-0-0.nyc-telx-dis-2.peer1.net [216.187.115.182]
  8    20 ms    20 ms    22 ms  oc48-po3-0.nyc-75bre-dis-1.peer1.net [216.187.115.134]
  9    21 ms    21 ms    21 ms  gwny01.stackoverflow.com [64.34.41.58]
 10    27 ms    20 ms    25 ms  stackoverflow.com [64.34.119.12]


Tracing route to sstatic.stackexchange.netdna-cdn.com [67.201.31.56]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  10.0.0.254
  2     1 ms     1 ms     1 ms  d680.a.ded.execulink.com [69.63.32.125]
  3     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  4   120 ms   203 ms   203 ms  d668.a.ded.execulink.com [69.63.32.113]
  5     5 ms     6 ms     4 ms  i.core2.ip.execulink.net [66.203.176.113]
  6    51 ms    30 ms    25 ms  ge-6-11-111.car1.Toronto2.Level3.net [4.59.180.5]
  7    33 ms    31 ms    19 ms  ae-8-8.ebr1.Chicago1.Level3.net [4.69.140.245]
  8    25 ms    20 ms    20 ms  ae-1-51.edge3.Chicago3.Level3.net [4.69.138.10]
  9    30 ms    19 ms    18 ms  MZIMA-NETWO.edge3.Chicago3.Level3.net [4.53.96.26]
 10    28 ms    21 ms    18 ms  69.174.120.146
 11    34 ms    34 ms    32 ms  te4-5.cr1.nyc1.us.packetexchange.net [69.174.120.73]
 12    30 ms    30 ms    30 ms  69.174.26.2
 13    30 ms    29 ms    30 ms  67.201.31.56

Edit: for some reason I can't tracert at home. Oh well.

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  • From Saarbruecken, Germany
  • sstatic: 144ms latency, 511ms total
  • CDN: 51ms latency, 177ms total
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Timisoara, Romania (work):

- sstatic: 668ms/337ms (max. 767/381, min 546/284)
- CDN:     479ms/362ms (max. 969/853, min. 234/116)

Timisoara, Romania (home):

- sstatic: 583ms/189ms (max. 665/272, min. 531/137)
- CDN:     266ms/127ms (max. 500/378, min. 163/41)
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Houston, TX

            CDN                 Non-CDN 
        Total   Latency     Total   Latency
AVG     102.65  69.1        217.7   163.6
MAX     257     158         555     312
MIN     53      46          141     125

all times in ms

Did 20 runs of each using Chrome, using their Network tab on the dev tools

Total = total transit time

Latency = well, latency

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Buenos Aires, Argentina

Asadou

 sstatic: 657ms latency, 1100ms total
 CDN:     266ms latency,  871ms total
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Willemstad, Curaçao, connected by ARCOS.

enter image description here


sstatic: latency ~90ms, total ~330ms

Tracing route to sstatic.net [64.34.119.12]

  1     1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  192.168.1.1
  2     1 ms     1 ms     1 ms  10.0.0.1
  3     6 ms     6 ms     6 ms  190.88.64.1
  4     7 ms     6 ms     6 ms  sub-174ip9.rev.onenet.an [216.152.174.9]
  5    43 ms    42 ms    43 ms  gige3-17.usa.nmi-edge05.columbus-networks.com [63.245.69.85]
  6    43 ms    43 ms    42 ms  xe-0-0-1.usa.nmi-teracore02.columbus-networks.com [63.245.5.84]
  7    43 ms    43 ms    43 ms  xe-1-0-0.usa.nam-core02.columbus-networks.com [63.245.5.141]
  8    44 ms    44 ms    44 ms  nota-exch.gig1-0.peer1.net [198.32.124.125]
  9   150 ms    58 ms    57 ms  10ge-ten1-2.atl-telx-cor-1.peer1.net [216.187.124.70]
 10    58 ms    57 ms    57 ms  10ge-ten1-1.atl-101mar-cor-1.peer1.net [216.187.120.226]
 11    70 ms    70 ms    71 ms  10ge.xe-1-0-0.wdc-eqx-dis-1.peer1.net [216.187.115.37]
 12    71 ms    71 ms    71 ms  10ge.ten1-2.wdc-sp2-cor-1.peer1.net [216.187.115.234]
 13    71 ms    72 ms    71 ms  216.187.120.254
 14    76 ms    75 ms    76 ms  10ge.xe-2-0-0.nyc-telx-dis-1.peer1.net [216.187.115.221]
 15    76 ms    75 ms    75 ms  10ge.ten1-3.nyc-75bre-dis-2.peer1.net [216.187.115.166]
 16    76 ms    76 ms    76 ms  gig2-0.nyc-gsr-b.peer1.net [216.187.123.5]
 17    77 ms    76 ms    77 ms  gwny01.stackoverflow.com [64.34.41.58]
 18    76 ms    76 ms    76 ms  stackoverflow.com [64.34.119.12]

cdn: latency ~65ms, total ~250ms

Tracing route to sstatic.stackexchange.netdna-cdn.com [67.201.31.56]

  1     1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  192.168.1.1
  2     1 ms     1 ms     1 ms  10.0.0.1
  3     6 ms     6 ms     6 ms  190.88.64.1
  4     6 ms     6 ms     6 ms  sub-174ip9.rev.onenet.an [216.152.174.9]
  5    43 ms    42 ms    43 ms  gige3-17.usa.nmi-edge05.columbus-networks.com [63.245.69.85]
  6    57 ms    59 ms    43 ms  xe-1-1-3.usa.nmi-teracore02.columbus-networks.com [63.245.5.146]
  7    43 ms    43 ms    46 ms  xe-1-0-0.usa.nam-core02.columbus-networks.com [63.245.5.141]
  8    55 ms    52 ms    53 ms  ge0-2.cr01.mia01.mzima.net [198.32.124.89]
  9    73 ms    70 ms    71 ms  te0-1.cr1.atl1.us.packetexchange.net [69.174.120.46]
 10    60 ms    59 ms    59 ms  69.174.38.2
 11    59 ms    59 ms    59 ms  67.201.31.56
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Delaware, USA

  • sstatic:
    • 37.2ms latency (54ms max, 28ms min)
    • 105.2ms total (125ms max, 81ms min)
  • cdn:
    • 19.1ms latency (23ms max, 17ms min)
    • 81.5ms total (94ms max, 75ms min)
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From somewhere in the Northwest nearish to Manchester, UK, on a slow link, using apachebench (ab -n20 "http://...:

No CDN:

Connection Times (ms)
              min  mean[+/-sd] median   max
Connect:      140  330 676.2    144    3156
Processing:  1200 1410 471.4   1232    3240
Waiting:      168  215 176.5    173     964
Total:       1347 1740 848.7   1388    4364

CDN:

Connection Times (ms)
              min  mean[+/-sd] median   max
Connect:       75   87  26.4     80     196
Processing:   416  481 118.8    440     868
Waiting:       88  119  70.9     99     404
Total:        491  568 139.0    519    1064
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  • From St. Louis, Missouri
  • sstatic: 56ms latency, 159ms total
  • CDN: 53ms latency, 206ms total

):

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3  
4  
@balpha I was going to go with "Who would have guessed her results would be backwards?" personally, but well played. –  Tim Stone May 6 '11 at 19:12

Seattle, WA

On Comcast Business:

  • sstatic: 191ms latency, 379ms time (varying about 15% reload to reload)
  • cdn: 10ms latency, 55ms time (varying about 5% reload to reload)

On Speakeasy:

  • sstatic: ~220ms latency, ~500ms time (varying by nearly 100ms request to request)
  • cdn: ~100ms latency, ~190ms time (varying by about 20ms request to request)
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Paris, France!

  • sstatic latency ~95 ms, total ~270 ms
  • cdn latency ~25 ms, total ~100 ms
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Connection 1

  • From Tokyo, Japan
  • sstatic: ~694ms, ~822ms total
  • CDN: ~475ms, ~785ms total

Connection 2

  • From Tokyo, Japan
  • sstatic: ~194ms, ~559ms total (ping to 64.34.119.12: ~174ms)
  • CDN: ~128ms, ~380ms total (ping to 67.201.31.56: ~124ms)
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Singapore

sstatic: 245ms latency, 807ms total
CDN: 214ms latency, 630ms total

Firebug does report some weird results for the CDN, with latency ranging from 220ms to 472ms averaging 363ms (number reported for CDN taken from Chrome, whose number seems more consistent). The amount of time taken receiving the file is the approximately the same at around 420ms though

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France, Strasbourg

sstatic: 506ms total, 306ms latency
CDN: 72ms total, 70ms latency

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  • From Kuwait
  • sstatic: 330ms latency, 422ms total
  • CDN: 264ms latency, 352ms total
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  • From London, UK
  • sstatic: 102ms/106ms
  • CDN: 15ms/16ms
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Austin, Texas

sstatic:

  • ~265 ms total (max 312 ms, min 256 ms)
  • ~75 ms latency (max 109 ms, min 66 ms)

CDN:

  • ~316 ms total (max 358 ms, min 286 ms)
  • ~105 ms latency (max 152 ms, min 78 ms)

(Hmm, I'm seeing opposite results compared to folks on the other side of the world. I might have mixed feelings about this proposal...)


Traceroute to sstatic:

Tracing route to sstatic.net [64.34.119.12]
  1     1 ms    1 ms    1 ms  192.168.2.1
  2    14 ms    8 ms    9 ms  10.245.128.1
  3    11 ms   11 ms   14 ms  gtwncmts-A.tex.sta.suddenlink.net [173.219.254.96]
  4    14 ms   14 ms   13 ms  tyrm-10g.tex.sta.suddenlink.net [173.219.254.80]
  5    43 ms   39 ms   41 ms  66-76-232-13.tyrd.suddenlink.net [66.76.232.13]
  6    40 ms   39 ms   41 ms  chicosrc01-10gex1-1.tex.sta.suddenlink.net [66.76.232.6]
  7    41 ms   54 ms   41 ms  peer1-gw.peer1.net [206.223.119.30]
  8    57 ms   55 ms   56 ms  10ge.xe-0-0-0.nyc-telx-dis-2.peer1.net [216.187.114.162]
  9    57 ms   60 ms   56 ms  oc48-po3-0.nyc-75bre-dis-1.peer1.net [216.187.115.134]
 10    59 ms   58 ms   58 ms  gwny01.stackoverflow.com [64.34.41.58]
 11    57 ms   58 ms   60 ms  stackoverflow.com [64.34.119.12]

Traceroute to cdn:

Tracing route to sstatic.stackexchange.netdna-cdn.com [67.201.31.56]
  1     1 ms    1 ms    1 ms  192.168.2.1
  2    10 ms    9 ms    9 ms  10.245.128.1
  3    12 ms    9 ms   14 ms  173-219-254-222-link.tex.sta.suddenlink.net [173.219.254.222]
  4    15 ms   13 ms   13 ms  tyrm-10g.tex.sta.suddenlink.net [173.219.254.80]
  5    47 ms   47 ms   52 ms  ashb-osr01.suddenlink.net [66.76.30.166]
  6    47 ms   46 ms   49 ms  ashbosr03-10gex1-1.atw.sta.suddenlink.net [66.76.219.34]
  7    54 ms   53 ms   53 ms  xe1-0.cr01.iad01.mzima.net [206.223.115.62]
  8     *       *       *     Request timed out.
  9    46 ms   46 ms   45 ms  67.201.31.56

The traceroute results for each are fairly consistent. Running the original test again, I see the CDN clocking in closer to 280 ms total, sstatic remains the same, and the latency for both remains the same.

This may be my ISP's fault. We went through a time when they were apparently routing traffic through a server in Louisiana, causing Google and all the other "auto-detect-your-location" pages to determine that we simply did not live anywhere in Texas. If they're doing the same sort of silliness, that may explain why I'm getting routed to a CDN server that is more geographically less convenient for my location.

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3  
@balpha: Yeah, me too... My iPhone over 3G hits Dallas (not sure where the traceroute app is). I suppose that makes it even more likely to be my ISP's fault. –  Cody Gray May 6 '11 at 11:13

From Basingstoke, UK. Using Firebug (and assuming latency = total - download), having pre-loaded DNS1:

  • sstatic: latency:,217ms total: 548ms
  • CDN: latency 92ms; total: 214ms

1 Tracert shows 7 hops to the CDN looking like it ends in Holland in ~32ms compared to 18 hops to NY for for static in ~122ms, so I would have expected the difference to be greater.

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