Thanks to cutting-edge Internet technology, we now live in a world where it’s easier for everyone to access information in a matter of a few seconds.
This goes without saying that website owners need to improve on their websites’ speeds to provide their visitors with better user experience and stay on top of the breakneck competition.
Having a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is one way for you to provide your content at high speeds to users at different geographic locations.
In our old article, we discussed the factors that affect your web page speed and ways you can use to improve its performance. Today, we are going to delve more on how you can benefit from CDN to boost your website speed, saving you more on bandwidth costs. Let’s start!
What is Content Delivery Network?
CDN or Content Delivery Network is a network of proxy servers deployed in multiple data centres worldwide that deliver cached web content and pages based on the user’s geographic location, CDN server and the origin of the web page.
Its main objective is to distribute content to users with optimum performance and 100% availability. A great portion of the content (i.e. images, texts, mobile apps, media files, music and video streaming, social networks) you see on the Internet today are served through CDNs.
How does CDN Works?
Imagine if your site receives a high volume of traffic every month. This can put a lot of strain on the servers causing it to slow down your website. What will you do? This is when a content delivery network comes in handy in preventing that from happening.
When you use CDN, your website’s static content are cached and replicated to other CDN servers dispersed on different geographic locations.
So, whenever someone visits a web page that’s part of a content delivery network, the content delivery network will redirect the request from the original server to a server nearest to the user and deliver the cached content requested. The closer the CDN server is to the user’s location, the faster the content will be delivered.
Say for example your website’s server is hosted in Singapore and a user accesses your website from the US, they will then be redirected to a CDN server in San Francisco.
This translates to better cost savings to content providers since CDN reduces the number of hops needed to deliver the content to the end user. Apart from that, it also minimises downtime because when one server is down, traffic can be routed to another content delivery network server elsewhere.
Why Should you Use CDN?
The bulk of webpage load time is spent on retrieving the static content so it only makes sense to create as many server nodes as possible throughout dispersed locations to ensure that content is readily accessible when needed. Here the reasons why you should consider using CDN for your website.
- Page Speed – CDN-hosted websites load web pages faster than those that are not since data travels at shorter distances, reducing instances of packet loss and latency before the content reaches the end user.
- Reduces Server Overload – In the event that your website experiences a surge in traffic, CDN will prevent your site from crashing. Instead of drowning the main server with 100% of the traffic, a content delivery network will transfer them to multiple servers in its network to avoid it weighing down your site.
- Cost Savings – You don’t have to break an arm or leg by paying for separate servers or web hosting plans. CDN lowers your costs by distributing the load to its network of servers, keeping your website from reaching its bandwidth limit.
- Security – With CDN, any cyber security threats are subdued since it camouflages the user’s main server. This can eliminate potential threats like Denial-of-Service (DDoS) and domain squatting.
- Real Time Insights – Most commercial CDN providers provide their clients with real time network stats and reports to help them determine how much their usage is per user.
- Skyrocket your Search Rankings – If you’re really keen on being on top of the online competition then you need to work on improving your user experience first. A content delivery network can be a great tool to increase pageviews and unique visits, two of the important SEO factors you need to optimize to rank higher in search engines.
Examples of CDN Providers
Below is list of companies that offer CDN.
Is it Necessary to Have a CDN?
While content delivery network is one of the strategies to optimize a website, it is not recommended for ALL websites.
Sites that will benefit a lot from a content delivery network are audio and video streaming sites (Spotify, Youtube, Vimeo), image-centric sites (Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest) and other high-traffic websites or blogs (Facebook, Gawker).
If your site caters mainly to local visitors (restaurants, travel agency, beauty salons, etc.) then a CDN might not do much for you.
If your website is falling behind, it’s important to take these steps before taking on the cost and complexities of hiring a CDN provider.
How to Set Up CDN?
Setting Up CDN might sound difficult but it really isn’t. Essentially, what you need to do is to inform the content delivery network which files (usually static) that it needs to replicate.
Then, you have to configure your website to deliver requests to these files to the content delivery network for handling, configuring the URLs and testing them.
For CMS users (such as WordPress), you can also install plugins that set up your website to CDN providers without any worries.
If this still sound difficult for you to handle, then make sure to contact your CDN provider to assist you with it.
For websites expecting a huge volume of traffic from around the world, having a content delivery network will ease the burden of having your websites crashing constantly. It can be one of your best strategies to optimise website performance.
When choosing the right content delivery network provider, you must choose one that’s cost-effective and easy to install. Here at Vodien, our Content Delivery Network uses an extensive network of edge servers located in different geographic locations around the world. This helps to ensure that your users can access your website faster anytime, anywhere.