What is a CDN and what are the benefits of using it?

The image is for illustration purposes only

When you get a visitor on your website, the technical process that occurs is that data is sent from your web server to the visitor’s web browser. The data includes images, videos, styles and more. Many times, especially when you have a lot of large files and/or animations on your webpage, the processing times can take long which eventually will decrease the loading time of your website. A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is helping to ease this process by storing your website’s data in different servers around the world and delivering it directly to the end user. Those servers called IXP’s (Internet exchange points) and they are providing each other access to traffic originated on their networks. By doing that, it reduces the geographical distance between the host and the user, and makes the data exchange process much smoother and faster. Instead of having to connect to wherever the physical location of the hosting server may be, the CDN gives the user’s browser an option to connect to the closest server geographically. The popularity of CDN services continues to grow, and today the majority of web traffic is served through CDNs. It is important to mention that a CDN is not a replacement to a traditional hosting server but an add-on which share its workload. So, in summary, here are the benefits of using a CDN:

  • Improving website loading times.

In a very dynamic and competitive environment, users tend to click away from websites with a slow loading speed. A CDN can reduce the ‘Bounce Rate’ (users who leave your site immediately after loading the main page) and make them spend more time on your website, which is our goal.

  • Reducing Costs.

Bandwidth consumption costs for website hosting is a primary expense for websites. Through caching and other optimizations, CDNs are able to reduce the amount of data a server provides and by that reducing hosting costs for website owners.

  • Preventing from a crush.

Large amounts of traffic can interrupt a website’s performance, and eventually lead to a “crush.” A CDN reduces that risk thanks to its distribution nature, which minimizes the workload of the original server.

  • Improving website’s security.

A CDN can improve security by optimizing SSL certificates and other attributes.

Digital Marketing
A performance breakdown of one of my websites by the google tool 'PageSpeed Insights.' This tool also gives a more detailed breakdown for each category, including website speed (which is under "performance") and suggests tweaks and improvements that can be made to fix any issues

To Summarize, since the speed of your website is extremely important for its performance, a CDN is definitely something to consider, especially if you feel your website is slower than normal. There are numerous web applications such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights that can test your website and give you a more accurate conclusion as to speed and general performance. If you are unhappy with your website’s speed, I recommend first testing it with the tool to get a better idea as to what is the origin of the problem. If you come to a conclusion that you need a CDN, the good news is that most of CDN related products and extensions are low-cost and easy to install. If you are using WordPress, I recommend the BunnyCDN or LiteSpeed Cache plugins.

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