And it’s not just one or two dinky little websites that do this. A lot of big, popular websites out there make you detour through akamai.net’s servers as you load pages from their servers. (Example: Apple Computer’s site.) Most of these sites have nothing in common, nor do they mention akamai.net anywhere.
As you can see for yourself if you click that akamai.net link above, it’ll return an error message. Trying http://www.akamai.net gets you something worse: your browser can’t locate any such server.
What is akamai.net? Who owns/runs it? What do they do?
My WAG is that they host other site’s web graphics.
That Akamai Technologies would explain something else I just remembered. As I was fiddling around with some akamai.net URLs for the example in the OP, the domain name in the URL changed to akamaitech.net. (The rest of the URL-- the aXXXX.g part-- stayed the same.) It rendered the same page as the “tech”-less URL.
Now I’m wondering why a company would own both a .com and a .net domain name but have the most visible one (as I guess you could describe the .net domain name) lead to what is essentially a dead end.
CNN also uses Akamai. As scr4’s quote said, they provide high performance web hosting, including streaming media services. If you think you’re going to get a few millions hits per day on your website, you might want to give them a call
Akamai is a company which provides co-located content serving for other companies. When a company such as CNN has something which will be downloaded by a large number of people, such as a video feed or whatever, the package is placed on Akamai’s servers, and the download link directs the downloader to the Akamai location. Akamai has thousands of servers placed worldwide to serve content up. This way, CNN or whomever can concentrate on thier own business rather than constantly buying new web and ftp servers in an attempt to meet demand.
“Akamai Technologies enables businesses to prosper in a competitive Web-centric
marketplace by providing solutions that optimize Web site performance, deliver
broadcast-caliber streaming media, and provide interactive application services.”
Ironic, but Only thing I notice about them is they really slow down page loading for me. Way slow. I was once going to ask this question myself.
A few months ago at my office something got messed up in one of our local internet gateways and as a result akamai.net was inaccessible to us. The brower would just hang with “Finding xxx.akamai.net…” in the status bar until you hit the stop button. For a good couple of days loading cnn.com, espn.com and a bunch of other sites was darn near impossible. It was quite amazing (and annoying) to see how many major sites use akamai and how hard it is to live without it!