Why You Should Use a Content Delivery Network?

The internet has come a long way since becoming publically available in 1989. We no longer have to disconnect from the internet when someone wants to use the landline, neither can we only just access the internet from just one device. Most importantly we don’t need to wait an average of 105 seconds for a web page to load thanks to broadband and fibre connections.

So as the internet has advanced, the time we are willing to wait for a web page to load has gotten shorter. Overall your website should load in 4 seconds and if you have an ecommerce store, it should load in 2 seconds, any more than 5 seconds and you can expect to see the probability of abandonment increase by 90%!

There are a number of implementations that you can do to help increase your website speed, such as optimising and lazy loading images as well as enabling g-zip compression and minifying HTML, JavaScript and CSS. You can also setup a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for your website which will help increase your website performance.

What is a CDN?

A CDN is a cluster of servers spread across the world which handle static web content such as images, CSS & JavaScript files. Most use the Anycast protocol which roots a user to the nearest CDN server for faster download times and reduced latency. Overall a CDN can improve the user’s experience from a speed perspective.

Why would I need a CDN?

If you have a website with global reach, a CDN can ensure that your website loads quickly and with decreased latency. For example, if your website is hosted in the USA and you get visits from users in Europe, visitors in Europe will have the content loaded from the nearest CDN server to them via Anycast, this means that the request for content isn’t sent all the way from Europe to the USA which creates increased latency and slower loading time. A CDN can also be used for a website with national reach, meaning if a website is hosted in the south of England but receives visits from Scotland, users in Scotland will receive content from their nearest CDN server.

If you have a mission critical website or if your website receives sudden surges of traffic, a CDN can help distribute traffic across multiple servers instead of allowing your origin server to handle all traffic, this decreases the load and resource on your origin server preventing site crashes.

What CDNs can I use?

There are now a growing number of CDNs available, from free versions such as Cloudflare all the way up to paid CDNs such as Amazon CloudFront, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud CDN and more. All CDNs come with a range of features such as SSL certificates to secure your website, HTTP2 support and also DDoS protection.

For typical WordPress websites, Cloudflare is a great place to start with getting to grips with a CDN. By signing up for a free account you get an SSL certificate included, HTTP2 support and also DDoS protection. Installation is simple and requires you to change your nameservers in your domain registrar to the ones provided by Cloudflare. From the Cloudflare dashboard you can set the CDN to minify HTML, JavaScript and CSS files as well as adjust caching times, add page rules to increase caching for certain objects and also view how much bandwidth has been used on the CDN.

To summarise a CDN is a great solution for providing faster loading times and reduced latency for  websites with national and global reach as well as distributing traffic across multiple servers for mission critical websites.

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Mitchell Thomas

Mitchell Thomas

Mitchell has over 6 years experience in digital marketing with a core focus on SEO. His experience spans small, localised organic search campaigns right up to larger, national SEO campaigns across a wide range of industries.