Components of the Akamai CDN

The Akamai network comprises the following components, which work together to ensure that the network handles user requests for your content in the most efficient way.

Origin server

The origin server, or origin, is the server that contains the original copy of your content and functions as its source of truth. Your origin is where you go to update your content, in the same way that you do today when you make changes to your website’s content.

Akamai supports the following types of origin servers:

  • Akamai NetStorage
  • A Linode instance
  • Third-party cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services S3 (AWS S3) and Google Cloud Storage
  • Your own web server

Edge server

An edge server is an individual server on the Akamai network that contains a cached copy of the content from your origin server. When a user requests access to content on your origin server, they're redirected to a cached copy of the content on an edge server that’s geographically close to them. When cached content is no longer up to date, an edge server requests updated content from the origin. The Akamai network determines the best edge server to redirect the request to.

Domain name system (DNS) server

DNS keeps track of the names of the servers and translates the names to IP addresses. You configure your DNS to include an entry for your origin server that pairs it with the domain name of an edge server. When the client sends a request to the origin server, DNS looks up the name and responds with the name of the edge server, which it then uses to send requests intended for the origin to the paired edge server.