Coral Content Distribution Network

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Coral Content Distribution Network
Coral CDN logo.png
Developer(s) Michael Freedman
Initial release 2004
Development status Inactive[1]
Operating system Cross-platform (web-based application)
Type P2P Web cache

The Coral Content Distribution Network, sometimes called Coral Cache or Coral, was a free peer-to-peer content distribution network that ran from 2004 until 2015. It was designed and operated by Michael Freedman. Coral used the bandwidth of a world-wide network of web proxies and name servers to mirror World Wide Web content, often to avoid the Slashdot Effect or to reduce the load on web servers.


Coral avoided high loads on individual nodes through an indexing abstraction called a distributed sloppy hash table (DSHT); DSHTs create self-organizing clusters of nodes which fetch information from each other to avoid communicating with more distant or heavily-loaded servers.

The sloppy hash table refers to the fact that Coral was made up of concentric rings of distributed hash tables (DHTs), each ring representing a wider and wider geographic range (or rather, ping range). The DHTs are composed of nodes all within some latency of each other (for example, a ring of nodes within 20 milliseconds of each other). It avoids hot spots (the 'sloppy' part) by only continuing to query progressively larger sized rings if they are not overburdened. In other words, if the two top-most rings are experiencing too much traffic, a node will just ping closer ones: when a node that is overloaded is reached, upward progression stops. This minimises the occurrence of hot spots, with the disadvantage that knowledge of the system as a whole is reduced.


Coral users could access content through the Coral Cache by adding to the hostname in the site's URL, resulting in what is known as a 'coralized link'. So, for example,


Any additional address component after the hostname remains after; hence


For websites that use a non-standard port, for example,



The project was deployed in March 2004, during which it has been hosted on PlanetLab, a large-scale distributed research network of several hundred servers deployed at universities world wide. It has not, as originally intended, been deployed by third-party volunteer systems. About 300 to 400 PlanetLab servers were running CoralCDN. The source code is freely available under the terms of the GNU GPL.

In August 2012 it was stated that active development had been "stopped for a while", although the CDN itself would continue to operate.[1]

As of April 2015 * had stopped resolving, rendering the CDN non-functional. The project website is still up, but has not been updated since 2012.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "News and Overview". The Coral Content Distribution Network. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2016.  News last updated 20 August 2012 (as of September 2016)

External links[edit]