Netlify runs several Content Distribution Networks (which we sometimes call Application Distribution Networks; here’s why). Here’s some more information about how the two compare. If you’re curious for more details, please ask and I’ll be happy to expand on this information
Our two main ADN’s are quite similar and are both very capable. They use identical software stacks and deployment methodologies and feature identical routing for requests. The primary difference between the two is that on our main ADN nodes, all of our Starter, Pro, and Business accounts all compete for the same space in the cache both in memory and on disk.
We also offer a High Performance Edge on our Business level and up, which allows for even faster response times and more points of presence (PoP).
As you might imagine, we have a lot (a lot!) more content than we can fit in our per-node or per-region cache. As a result, assets that are not frequently accessed on a node will have to be fetched from our backing store at our data center in San Francisco. Since this happens in real time, requests for objects not in cache take longer to deliver. Usually, this is a second versus a few microseconds - still, longer than you may want to wait! Fetches into this cache happen in parallel, of course - two requests from across the world can be served simultaneously.
On our Enterprise ADN, while the technology is the same, there are two major differences:
- There are more, more geographically diverse nodes. While node locations and numbers change with load and network conditions, there will always be a wider spread in nodes on the Enterprise ADN - for instance, points of presence in both Tokyo and Singapore on the Enterprise network versus only Singapore on the main network. This means your site is served from a location closest to your visitors on the Enterprise ADN while it may come from a bit further away on the free ADN.
- There is far less cache contention on the Enterprise ADN. This ADN serves hundreds to thousands of sites, rather than millions on our general-usage ADN. Most content that anyone has accessed recently remains in the cache at all times on the Enterprise ADN, whereas busy sites on the free ADN may push your content out of the cache.
Both Pro and Enterprise level plans have some other features aside from the network that might make it compelling for you. You can read about the feature differences on our pricing page.