Test your Object Delivery property

While it's not required, you should thoroughly test your Object Delivery property on the ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč edge network. By testing, you can make sure that all existing content functionality is preserved.

  • If you've set anything incorrectly, you could break various functions on your site or application.

  • Object Delivery should increase the performance and availability of your content. By testing, you set a baseline for increased performance, which may let you improve content delivery even more.

ūüďė

If you have existing testing procedures for application and content releases, you should also follow them when testing edge network content delivery.

1 - Check your certificate

When you set up your edge hostname in your Object Delivery property, how did you secure the connection to it? Did you apply a custom certificate or set it up using a secure certificate hostname? Depending on how you did this, you'll need to gather some information.

The custom edge certificate

This applies if you used ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč's Certificate Provisioning System (CPS) to create a custom certificate for your property.

The certificate needs to be on staging

By default, ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč pushes a new custom certificate ("cert") to the production network to help speed up renewals. We recommended that you push it to the staging network for testing. If you didn't do this, your cert may already be on the production network. If this is the case, you can't move it to staging until it's up for renewal.

You can check the provisioning status of your certificate:

  1. Access ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč Control Center, login with an admin-level user and go to ‚ėį > CDN > Certificates.

  2. Select the Active tab. Look for your certificate in the table based on the domain you included as the Common Name in your cert:

    • You found it. Your cert is live on production. You can't use it for testing.
    • You didn't find it. Your cert may not have been pushed to production yet. Continue to the next step.
  3. Select the In Progress tab.

  4. Locate your cert in this table, based on its Common Name.

  5. Check what's listed under In Progress:

    • If you see Yes under Always test on Staging before deployment. Your certificate is deploying to the staging network. If you see under Deploying to Staging, it's finished.
    • If you see No under Always test on Staging before deployment. Continue to the next step.
  6. Click No under Always test on Staging before deployment.

  7. Set Test Certificate to Yes and click Submit. When the cert is available on staging, the person set as the Administrator Contact for the cert will get an email.

ūüďė

Is your custom cert already on production?

You can force early renewal, or you can create and apply a new custom certificate. You'll need to follow the steps above to set up that certificate for testing.

The shared certificate hostname

This is ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč's quick method to configure a secure connection to our edge network. It applies Standard TLS security to the connection. Once you create this form of edge hostname, you'll need to use a fixed URL that's set in it to access your content through your Object Delivery property.

You'll need the following:

  • The domain path to content on your origin server. This is the URL that you can use to actually access your content on your origin server. For example, what your site or app uses now to access your content, outside of the ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč network.
  • The full URL that's created for this edge hostname. We cover how to get this value later on in the process.

2 - Activate on staging

To perform actual testing of your Object Delivery property, you need to activate it on the Staging network in ‚ÄčAkamai Control Center‚Äč.

  1. Select the appropriate ‚ÄčControl Center‚Äč account using the drop-down in the top right.

  2. Access Property Manager configurations associated with the selected ‚ÄčControl Center‚Äč account. Go to ‚ėį > CDN > Properties.

  3. Filter the results of the Property Groups table by inputting the desired Object Delivery property name in the Filter by Property or Hostname field.

  4. Click the Property Name.

  5. In the Manage Versions and Activations content panel, click the applicable Version <#> link to access it for testing.

  6. Click the Activate tab. The Property Manager Activate window opens.

  1. Click Activate v<#> on Staging. The Staging Network Activation window opens. Set these options:

    • Fast Activation. To speed up activation, make sure this is set to On.
    • Validation Messages. Error, warning, and information messages are carried over. If you still have any error messages (), you need to correct these. Click Cancel at the bottom of the window, then select the Edit tab. Click the <#> Errors <#> Warnings <#> Notes tab at the bottom of the page. Review each Error message and resolve the issue. Click Save and then click the Activate tab to come back to this process.
    • Override block of hostname moves. ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč applies a temporary block on a hostname that's been moved, in order to check its validity. Enabling this skips this temporary block. For example, this would apply if you've just moved your property from another account. Note that this can increase the number of hits to your origin server.
    • Notes. You can include a description of this version's activation.
    • Notify via email. This defaults to the email address set for the active ‚ÄčControl Center‚Äč user. You can change it or add more. Separate multiple addresses with a comma (",").
  1. With Fast Activation, your property should be ready in the Estimated Activation Time listed. This can be as quick as three minutes. Now, you can:

    • Monitor the Activate tab to track progress.
    • Click Activation Details to review settings and information regarding the Property.
    • Wait for the confirmation email. Any email set in Notify via email will get an email when the activation is complete.

ūüĎć

These are just the basics

To learn more about activation on ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč networks, check out How activation works.

3 - Point to edge servers

Temporarily set up your local browser to target an edge server to access your property.

  1. Select the appropriate ‚ÄčControl Center‚Äč account. Use the top-right pull-down in the header to select the account.

  2. Access Property Manager configurations associated with the selected ‚ÄčControl Center‚Äč account. Go to ‚ėį > CDN > Properties.

  3. Filter the results of the Property Groups table by inputting the desired Object Delivery property name in the Filter by Property or Hostname field.

  4. Click the Property Name.

  5. In the Manage Versions and Activations content panel, click the applicable Version <#> link to access it in the Property Manager Editor.

  6. In the Property Hostnames content panel, locate and make note of the Edge Hostname.

    Custom certificate edge hostname example:

    Shared certificate hostname example:

  7. Append -staging to the edge hostname you noted.

    Custom certificate (using Standard TLS)Shared certificate hostname

    www.example.com.edgesuite-staging.net

    example-com.akamaized-staging.net

  8. Look up that hostname's IP address, and copy it to your clipboard.

    O/SDetail

    Linux/macOS

    Open a new terminal, and perform a "dig" of your edge hostname:

    IPv4-only

    • Custom cert hostname: dig www.example.com.edgesuite-staging.net
    • Shared cert hostname: dig example-com.akamaized-staging.net

    IPv4 + IPv6 dual stack

    • Custom cert hostname: dig AAAA www.example.com.edgesuite-staging.net
    • Shared cert hostname: dig AAAA example-com.akamaized-staging.net

    Windows

    Open a new command prompt, and perform an "nslookup" of your edge hostname.

    IPv4-only / IPv4 + IPv6 dual stack

    • Custom cert hostname: nslookup www.example.com.edgesuite-staging.net
    • Shared cert hostname: nslookup example-com.akamaized-staging.net
  9. Open your local hosts file in a text editor. Based on your operating system, you may be able to find your host file as follows:

    O/SDetail

    Linux/macOS

    Navigate to /etc/hosts. (You'll need superuser access -- sudo su -.)

    Windows

    Navigate to \system32\drivers\etc\hosts (You'll need Administrator-level access.)

  10. At the end of the hosts file, add an entry for the actual domain to your content that includes the edge hostname's IP address. For example, assume the IP address 1.23.45.78 was returned after looking up your edge hostname's address. Using the examples provided in this process, this entry could look like this:

    • Custom cert edge hostname. 1.23.45.78 www.example.com
    • Shared cert edge hostname. 1.23.45.78 example-com.akamaized.net
  11. Save and close your hosts file. All requests from your computer to your domain will now go to an edge server.

    • This applies to your local system, only.
    • To undo the redirection to the edge server, remove the new entry from your hosts file.

4 - Check your connection

You need to verify that you've properly pointed your system to our edge servers to begin testing. When you make a request to the ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč‚Äč, staging edge servers add the HTTP response header X-Akamai-Staging.

After your browser points to the staging edge servers, make a test request against the new property configuration on the staging network, and then check for the X-Akamai-Staging response header to see if the response is coming from the staging network.

  1. Close all browser windows, reopen your browser, and clear the browser cache.

  2. Access the Network functionality in your browser:

    • Chrome. Right-click (Command+click on macOS) in the browser window and select Inspect. Click the Network tab. (You may need to click >> to reveal it in the toolbar.)
    • Edge. Press F12, and then press Ctrl+4 to open the Network utility.
    • Firefox. Press Ctrl+Shift+I (Windows) or Command+Opt+E (macOS). This takes you to the Network tool.
    • Safari. If necessary, select Safari > Preferences, click Advanced, then enable Show Develop menu in menu bar. Select Developer > Show Web Inspector and select the Network tab.
  3. Access the URL for your target content, based on what you included in your hosts file.

  4. In the Network tab, click the first file listed.

  5. Take a look at the response headers. If you see either of these entries, you know your request is going to the staging edge server:

    • X-Akamai-Staging: ESSL. This indicates you're on ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč's Enhanced TLS network.
    • X-Akamai-Staging: EdgeSuite. This indicates you're on ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč's Standard TLS network. (This applies for shared certificate hostnames, too.)
  6. Check for the X-Cache entry.

    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Server: Apache/2.4.9 (Unix) OpenSSL/1.0.1-fips
    Last-Modified:Wed, 26 Jun 2022 18:28:37 GMT
    ETag: "1234-5a678b9012c34"
    Accept-Ranges: bytes
    Content-Length: 13162
    Content-Type: image/gif
    Cache-Control: max-age=603241
    Expires: Mon, 14 Apr 2022 16:48:38 GMT
    Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2022 17:04:37 GMT
    X-Akamai-Staging: EdgeSuite
    X-Cache: TCP_MEM_HIT from b128-48-122- 38.deploy.akamaitechnologies.com (AkamaiGHost/6.15.0.3-12528292) (-)
    X-Cache-Key: /L/12345/678910/1a/orign-example.com/images/samplepicture.gif?234567
    Connection: keep-alive
    
  7. Use this table to interpret the results.

    Did the page load as expected?Is the X-Cache entry present?Result

    Yes

    Yes

    Success! You're ready to test.

    No

    Yes

    You reached an edge server, but something isn't working. The value of the X-Cache entry might help you identify the problem.

    Yes

    No

    You reached your origin server, not an edge server. Check the entry you added to your hosts file.

    No

    No

    You haven't reached your origin server or an edge server. Check the entry you added to your hosts file.

5 - You're ready to test

Test your content just as you would if you were testing it via your origin server.

ūüöß

When testing, use your actual domain for requests‚ÄĒdon't use its edge hostname. Edge hostnames are applied automatically by your DNS to reroute requests to the ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč edge network.

  1. Check key functionality, such as logging in, playback, and so on.

  2. Once you're satisfied that your property works, remove the hosts file entry you added and then save it.

  3. On macOS 10.6 and later, flush your DNS cache again with the dscacheutil -flushcache command.

Check out ‚ÄčAkamai‚Äč Test Center

If you'd rather not use the manual process we discuss above, you can access the Test Center interface in ‚ÄčControl Center‚Äč to help with testing.

What is Test Center?

Test Center is a testing tool that checks the effect that configuration changes will have on your web property. It helps you ensure that your changes aren't behaving unexpectedly before you activate them in production. It helps prevent issues caused by misconfiguration and insufficient testing and increases your confidence in the safety and correctness of your changes.

The application lets you run two types of tests:

  • Functional testing. This lets you check if the configuration changes work as expected.
  • Comparative testing. This lets you compare the behavior of your hostnames between the current and new configurations.

It was designed as an addition to your existing tests and workflows, and not as their replacement. It's available as a user interface in ‚ÄčAkamai Control Center‚Äč and as an API.