- What is a CDN: meaning and the main purpose
- Differences between CDN and website hosting
- How it works
- Reasons to use CDN server
- Checklist to find out whether you need CDN
- How can CDN impact on SEO
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Launching a website is not complicated even for a beginner. Making it highly-functional, successful, frequently visited and performing well for your business – those are tasks more difficult to handle. CDN is not a solution to all your needs, but it will be quite helpful. Let’s figure out why and how.
So what does CDN stand for? This abbreviation is short for a content delivery network. This term describes the scope of servers with specialized software that speeds up content delivery to the end user. Such servers are located all around the world to ensure minimal response time. The main purpose of CDN is to enhance user experience and improving website ranking by increased functioning speed and loading time.
The rapid development of the Internet in the mid-90s resulted in serious server loads and a need for new solutions. IT specialists noticed that there are two types of content – static and dynamic. Dynamic is assembled and recreated by a server when it receives a request, while static is stored in its final form ready for presentation. These content types created different kinds of server load, so they required different approaches to those improvements. Companies started using different servers for static and dynamic content, sometimes located at different corners of the planet.
Cloudflare was one of the first to come up with a CDN strategy around 20 years ago. It reduces traffic bounces and website response time – you reach content in less than 10 bounces and 30ms. Companies using Cloudflare reduce homepage loading time up to 42%. Files are recorded on all places of localization (42 locations worldwide) to be closer to a user, then content loads from servers located the closest to users, content is reached twice faster.
It is already clear from CDN meaning that it connects all remote servers into a single network, reducing the waiting time for 5-6 seconds. It acts similarly to cache, just of a bigger scale. The main task of CDN is to reduce your time in a waiting line for content. No one likes to wait. CDN helps to bring new and keep existing clients, and backups website reputation.
After reading the definition, some are still puzzled by the too slight difference between CDN and hosting. Here are several comparisons will be helpful:
Website resources are copied on a different network server. When users request certain files, CDN defines the nearest server and delivers files from it. Website owners need to choose one of the following strategies to make it work:
Every website owner will come up with their own reasons to use or not to use CDN. Nevertheless, there are two cases, when it will be very helpful.
After answering “What is a CDN?” you may need to answer a couple of other questions to finally define whether CDN is crucial for your site. If you end up with “YES” to most of these questions, you definitely need it.
1. Are your website users located in different countries or on different continents?
The closer your web resource is to users, the less time a request for content display will take. A ping, time that passes from the request to receiving the first byte from a server, is short, so your site works fast.
2. Does your website store much information, including photo albums, galleries, videos?
Server performance also matters. Your server can be located close to a user, but loading still remains slow. This happens due to numerous factors: servers aren’t able to process a large number of simultaneous connections with users’ browsers; hard drives are old and slow; servers don’t use load balancing; servers have low zero error capacity, etc.
3. Does your website have more than 100 pages?
CDN is perfect for sites of all types – web shops, forums, news portals. Fast page loading is always an advantage, regardless of the scale of your resource. It is always an advantage, especially in case your competitors don’t use one.
4. Does the loading speed matter for your website/business?
CDN usage speeds up the performance and loading speed while lowering the risks of breakdowns and data loss. As a result, you will improve the user experience.
5. Are DDoS attacks on your website frequent?
CDN guarantees protection from scammers. It becomes difficult to achieve their malicious goals because very powerful resources are required for DDoS attacks on websites that use it.
6. Do you face troubles with reaching high ranking positions?
Google likes websites with high loading speed. Server speed-up will result in the increase of site positions in search system and new users, lower bounce rate and higher ranking.
7. Do you have a limited budget for service hosting?
CDN helps to set up a stable operation with limited resources. In case a website owner cannot afford expensive tariffs, it provides an opportunity to launch a site even on virtual hosting with limited server and traffic resources.
By answering these questions about CDN you are totally prepared for the final decision.
Let’s back to CDN and website speed correlation. Back to the loading time we’ve mentioned so many times, even if you manage to increase the speed by 0.5 seconds, in the 80% of cases it will result in:
The sub-servers located in different parts of the world. Users receive it from the nearest source. Information passes the shortest way, reaching users very fast. Load time is short thanks to the optimization of requests and structure. That’s why CDN is the best solution for you and your website.
Search systems pay attention to server response time – the amount of time that passes from users’ request to content display. It directly influences the bounce rate, which is greatly determined by page loading time. Users are clear about their attitudes to page loading (research can be found here ):
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