This Blog describes Akamai HTTP Content Delivery Activation and how to enable Akamai content delivery service for HTTP/HTTPS content, including a description of each activation step and a reference to DNS records. You should use this guide for generic websites and content hostnames, image hostnames, and hostnames for file downloads. Separate activation guidesare available for
  •  Akamai streaming content delivery 
  •  Akamai Dynamic Site Accelerator
  •  Akamai Web Application Accelerator

(Also Read:Specify Image Dimensions Error In GTmetrix )
This blog is intended as a reference and checklist for technical personnel of Akamai customers who are responsible for the activation of Akamai HTTP content delivery for their web content

How is this Blogpost Organized

Part 1: HTTP Content Delivery Activation provides a list of the requiredsteps for enabling content delivery through EdgeSuite andinstructions for completing them.
Part 2: Origin Server Configuration describes required changes to the configuration of origin servers in order for them to be compatible with a content delivery network.
Part 3: DNS Record Reference can be used as a record of DNS records for each website delivered from the Akamai network.

Additional documentation and tools related to the steps described in this Activation Guide are available in the EdgeControl Management Center.


Part 1: Akamai Content Delivery Activation : How Akamai Content HTTP Delivery Works

The Akamai network is a distributed server platform for delivery of content and applications.It is composed of thousands of dispersed and dynamically-controlled edge servers that retrieve the content from content providers’ centralized servers and deliver it to the end users.
Akamai Content Delivery Activation

Activation of Akamai content delivery consists of:

• Changing your web environment to direct end-user requests to the Akamai network and to accept content requests from the Akamai edge servers.
• Creating an Akamai configuration to receive end-user requests for your content, to retrieve content from the origin servers, and to handle content, including caching and
advanced processing.
• Activating monitoring and control systems, such as online reporting, alerts, and log delivery.

Activation of Akamai HTTP Content Delivery (Continued…)
As an Akamai customer, you can activate Akamai content delivery by completing the following steps, using the configuration management tools in the Akamai EdgeControl Management Center (control.akamai.com). Where required, you will be assisted by an Akamai implementation specialist.
The following is the list of activation steps:
1. Submit SSL certificate information to Akamai (for Secure Content Delivery only)
2. Create origin server hostname(s)
3. Activate Akamai edge hostname(s)
4. Activate Akamai content delivery configuration
5. Activate log delivery
6. Activate alerts and scheduled reports (optional)
7. Create redirect for top-level domain (if necessary)
8. Test content delivery from the Akamai network
9. Point digital property or properties to Akamai
10. These steps are described in detail in the following sections

STEP 1: Submit SSL certificate information to Akamai

NOTE: Follow this step only if you also purchased the Akamai Secure Content Delivery service, in addition to the HTTP Content Delivery Service.

If you purchased the Akamai Secure Content Delivery service for your HTTPS content, Akamai will activate an SSL certificate for your website or content hostname on the Akamai secure edge servers. You do not need to provide to Akamai your existing SSL certificate. Akamai will create and activate a new SSL certificate. You need to provide to Akamai only the certificate information and your company information by filling out a request form and submitting it to Akamai.

To submit SSL certificate information to Akamai:
The SSL certificate request form is provided to you in your service activation package. If you have not received it or misplaced it, you can request it from Akamai support. Fill out the request form and submit it to Akamai. It typically takes 5-7 business days to create and activate your new SSL certificate after receipt of the certificate information. You will be notified when your new SSL certificate is activated. You can complete other activation steps while the activation of the SSL certificate is being performed.

STEP 2: Create origin server hostname(s)

In order for the Akamai edge servers to retrieve the original content from your servers and serve it to end-users, you need to set up an “origin server” hostname that resolves to your content servers. The origin server hostname is specified in your Akamai configuration file and is the exact location where the Akamai edge servers retrieve your content.
The standard naming convention for an origin hostname is origin-<website>
where <website> is the hostname of your content that will be delivered from the Akamai network, for example:
origin-www.example.com for www.example.com
origin-media.example.com for media.example.com
origin-images.example.com for images.example.com

To create the origin server hostname(s):
Create the DNS record for the origin server hostname on your authoritative name servers, just as you would create any other DNS record. The DNS record for the origin server hostname is typically an A record but could also be CNAME pointing to another record, for example:
origin-www.example.com. IN A 1.2.3.4
origin-www.example.com. IN CNAME loadbalancer.example.com.

If using Akamai Net Storage servers as origin servers
If you are using Akamai Net Storage servers as the origin servers for your content, you do not need to set up an origin server hostname pointing to your own servers. Akamai will provide you the origin server hostname that points to your Akamai Net Storage content hosting account. The DNS record for your Net Storage hostname would typically follow the naming convention of:
AKAMAI_CUSTOMER_NAME.download.akamai.com

STEP 3: Activate Akamai edge hostname(s)

To deliver any website from the Akamai network, it must be pointed to an Akamai “edge hostname”. An edge hostname is a hostname on an Akamai domain, activated for each of your websites or applications, that resolves to the Akamai network.
For example, if your website is www.example.com, it would point to the Akamai hostname www.example.com.edgesuite.net. www.example.com.edgesuite.net in turn resolves to the individual servers on the Akamai network.
Edge hostnames for non-secure (HTTP) and secure (HTTPS) content
The edge hostnames are different for non-secure (HTTP) and for secure (HTTPS) websites/applications. If your website/application has any secure (HTTPS) content, it is considered secure.
Edge hostnames for non-secure (HTTP)

 

Activating edge hostnames for advanced Akamai services
If you are using the following Akamai services, you cannot activate your Akamai edge hostnames yourself:

Secure Content Delivery, Dynamic Site Delivery / Dynamic Site Accelerator, Web Application Accelerator, China CDN

Edge host names for these services are created for you by Akamai and provided to you.
For all other services, you can activate your Akamai edge hostname(s) yourself.
To activate edge hostnames for basic HTTP content delivery:
1. Log in to the Akamai management center (control.akamai.com).
2. Navigate to the Edge Hostnames tool.
3. Proceed to create a new edge hostname.
4. Enter and submit the hostname of your website/content/application – the exact
5. hostname that you will deliver from the Akamai content delivery network, for example:
www.example.com
images.example.com
The activation time is 30-60 minutes. The activated edge hostname will be displayed for your reference.

STEP 4: Activate Akamai content delivery configuration

In order for Akamai servers to be able to serve your website/application, a configuration file
needs to be activated for them on the Akamai server. The configuration file is similar in
function to a configuration file on your web servers or application servers. It contains:

  • the hostname of your content/application
  • the origin server hostname
  • Akamai caching settings
  • other performance and functional settings

To activate a configuration file:
1. Log in to the Akamai management center (control.akamai.com).
2. Navigate to the configuration management tool.
3. Proceed to create a new configuration.
4. Follow through the screens and select or enter appropriate settings for your content.

The following guides are available to help you in selecting appropriate Akamai content
delivery settings:

  • Akamai Content Delivery (EdgeSuite) Integration Guide
  • Time-to-Live in Cache: Methods and Considerations
  • EdgeSuite Handling of Edge-Control & Other HTTP Headers

Akamai implementation specialists are also available to assist you and review your configuration settings.
Configuration of advanced features
Some advanced Akamai services and features are not supported by the configuration management tools in the Akamai management center, and cannot be activated or edited directly by you. Configurations for these features and services are be activated for you by an Akamai specialist.
If you are working on the initial activation of Akamai content delivery with an Akamai specialist, the specialist will indicate if any of the features that you need cannot be activated directly by you. If you yourself determine that you need a feature that you cannot activate yourself, contact Akamai support.

STEP 5: Activate and test log delivery

You can receive Akamai server logs of all requests for your content in a standard log file format. These logs are aggregated from data from all Akamai servers, sorted by time, and can be delivered with specified frequency to your FTP servers. Log delivery is not enabled by default. If you need Akamai logs, you need to activate log delivery in the Akamai management center, control.akamai.com, by selecting log delivery preferences.

CAUTION: It is important that log delivery is activated prior to delivering any content from the akamai network, as logs cannot be collected retroactively. It takes 24-48 hours for
the log delivery to start from the time when you activate it.
Akamai strongly recommends that you activate log delivery for all of your content even if you do not immediately need the logs. Having Akamai logs delivered to you can help you troubleshoot
content and configuration problems.

Using Akamai Net Storage servers for log delivery
If your Akamai services include the Net Storage content hosting, you can have Akamai logs delivered via FTP to your Net Storage account. To do this, specify the Net Storage FTP upload account in the log delivery settings. The Net Storage account information is included in your service activation package. You can also look it up in the Akamai management center (control.akamai.com).
To activate log delivery:
1. Log in to the akamai management center (control.akamai.com).
2. Navigate to the Log Delivery management tool.
3. Choose to begin log delivery or to edit existing log delivery for your Content Provider codes.
4. Specify and submit log delivery options.

Testing of log delivery
Akamai logs are delivered in standard log formats, such as W3C Extended log format. However, if you are currently using your own server logs for reporting or data analysis, you should verify that Akamai logs are fully compatible with your log processing application.
After you receive the first log files from Akamai, test them through your regular log processing application or workflow, and adjust them if necessary.
You do not need to wait until you begin delivering live content from the Akamai network before you can test the logs. The logs will contain the data from your testing of the Akamai content delivery configuration.

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