Tiered Distribution

With this behavior enabled, ​Akamai​ can retrieve your cached content from another tier of servers that are closer to your origin server, rather than directly from your origin server.

It offers significant advantages for cached content:

  • The demand for bandwidth at the origin server is reduced. This is often positive in itself and necessary to upscale applications.

  • The time it takes for the product to retrieve content is reduced. The Tiered Distribution parent servers are generally located close to the product servers that use them.

Tiered Distribution is also classified as a Caching Feature. Take a look at About platform caching, to better understand this concept and learn how Tiered Distribution fits into this scenario.

How it works

​Akamai​ servers located close to your origin server are designated as parents, who will cache your content and serve it to other servers on our platform. This will reduce the number of end-user requests that require responses from your origin.


Tiered distribution is only used for cacheable content. You may accelerate non-cacheable (no-store or bypass-cache) content using the SureRoute behavior.


Tiered Distribution with Enhanced TLS certificate

If you’re using Enhanced TLS for your delivery, you can enable or disable the Tiered Distribution behavior. With Standard TLS certificate, you can additionally select a Tiered Distribution Map.

Tiered Distribution with Standard TLS certificate

If you’re using Standard TLS for your delivery, you can enable the behavior and select the applicable Tiered Distribution Map from the drop-down. There are two classifications of map available, each of which will improve your offload and general performance significantly (versus not using ​​Akamai​'s servers), but the maximum benefits are determined by which map you choose:

  • Global. Select this if your goal is to reduce latency in your end-user's requests. If you choose the global parent map, users anywhere in the world are likely to be close to a parent server. If the object they requested is in the parent server's cache, they will receive that content very quickly. However, since there is a larger set of parent servers, fewer end-user requests will go through a given parent server, reducing the likelihood that the object a user requests is cached.

  • Local. This involves the selection of a specific region (Asia Pacific, Europe, United States West Coast, and others). Select this if your primary goal is to maximize the offload of your origin server. If you choose a Local map - one close to the geographical location of your origin server - there will be a smaller set of parent servers which increases the likelihood that the object a user requested is in cache.


API Acceleration isn’t compatible with Tiered Distribution Maps, regardless of whether you use Standard or Enhanced TLS.

AMD, Download Delivery, and Object Delivery

As a best practice, Tiered Distribution is auto-enabled in the Default Rule for Adaptive Media Delivery (AMD), Download Delivery, and Object Delivery property configurations. It reads from what you've set as the Origin Location in the Origin Characteristics behavior and optimizes accordingly.

So, if you're using any of these products, you don't need to add it to the Default Rule in your property, unless:

  • You need to disable it. Add it to the Default Rule and set Enable to Off.

  • You need to customize its features. Add it to the Default Rule and set its options to fit your needs. (See Implementation above.) Only do this if you're sure you need custom settings applied. Settings you make will override the auto-enabled, optimized settings.

Tiered Distribution is not enabled by default in subsequent rules in an AMD, DD, or OD property.

Tiered Distribution conflicts

Certain optional behaviors and services conflict with Tiered Distribution. (This is discussed in the conflicting behavior or service documentation.) If you need to disable it, add Tiered Distribution as an optional behavior and set Enable to Off. For best performance, talk to your account representative to confirm a conflict before disabling Tiered Distribution.


Remember Property Manager rule logic - specifically that the Default Rule applies to all requests. If you're using a behavior or service that conflicts with Tiered Distribution, set it accordingly in your property:

  • Disable it in the Default Rule. Add the Tiered Distribution behavior in the Default Rule and set it to Off.
  • Ensure that Tiered Distribution doesn't exist in any subsequent rules that contain the conflicting behavior.