It's time for yet another innovative feature at PUSHR: ActivePush for video and images. The feature eliminates slow video start and provides instant loading of your videos and images from the very first view across our entire edge network. It has been enabled for all push (storage) zones.
The case with uncached video content
Content delivery networks accelerate content by caching it on servers around the world. When a visitor wants to play a video, the CDN connects them to the closest caching server to eliminate slow downs and latency. However, since a CDN will typically have caching servers all around the world, the first time when a video file is being played by a visitor in a given location, a cache fill operation needs to take place. The CDN server needs to pull the video file from the origin, cache it and then stream it to the visitor. As 4K video has now become standard across the internet and video files have grown exponentially in size, this initial cache fill operation has started to present some challenges as it would take more and more time to complete, which affects the experience of the first viewer. Multiply this by the number of locations a CDN operates and add the fact that some videos may be played by more than one viewer simultaneously before the cache fill process has completed. The result is video buffering, slow start and unhappy visitors.
As other CDN services, At PUSHR we've been providing a cache prefetch feature for years now. It allows our users to force our CDN to precache a given file ahead of time, so when visitors start downloading or viewing it, the cache fill process has already completed. However, this feature requires the user to manually prefetch every file from their account dashboard or to intergate our developer API in their website, service or CMS. This is a suboptimal approach because it requires either a lot of time or some development work to be done on the customer's end.
With ActivePush prefetching of video files on the CDN edge happens automatically, at no extra cost. As soon as our users upload a video file to their CDN Push zone, PUSHR triggers an operation which inctructs all of our caching servers to pull the intial parts of the video file and cache them. This process is fast and usually takes only a few seconds to complete. As soon a visitor starts playing the video file, we send over the cached parts to their video player immediately and then start caching the rest of the video file in the background to provide a smooth playback experience without buffering or stuttering.
Blazing fast loading images
ActivePush works also for images uploaded to push (storage) zones. Unlike video files where initially only a part of the video is pushed to the cache, ActivePush will cache the entire image. The results are stunning with 300% faster loading time on first view (right image) compared to first view without ActivePush (left image):
A better and more efficient approach
This approach eliminates the need for content to be replicated across regions to ensure fast cache fills, and with that the extra cost that such replication would add to our user's bills is eliminated too. While it costs nothing, ActivePush is also faster and better than any other approach that aims to improve uncached video and images performance, because this problem simply no longer exists by the time a viewer presses the play button in their player or loads the image in their browser.
How to enable ActivePush
ActivePush has been enabled on all push (storage) zones. To make sure it works properly for you, visit the caching tab of your push zone and ensure that the Video and Large Files Optimization and Ignore Query Strings settings are both set to enabled.
Don't have an account yet?
If you do not yet have an account, creating one is easy and free, thanks to our 30-day free trial with $10 in account credit included. Read more about SFS - our scalabale file storage solution for Push zones here or create your first storage zone by signing up here. It takes 5 minutes to setup and we have some easy to follow tutorials to get you started.