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Why is CDN (Content Delivery Network) critical for your website?

Updated: May 13

Speed is one of the most critical elements of how google ranks your websites and also a factor in the user experience of your website visitors. Users are more engaged on websites that are fast. If you are using website speed testing tools like GTMetrix.com, it would always recommend to use CDN always as a tip.


CDN is being adopted by a majority of website due to the many benefits it’s providing. I will be going through the basic concept of CDN and how it can help you in areas other than speed.

What is a CDN (Content Delivery Network)?

Content Delivery Network or Content Distribution Network is a Network of high speed delivering servers.


What this network does for your website is that it keeps the content of your website on all these servers. Whenever you request a file, it first goes to this network. The network delivers the file (or files) from the server closest to you (Remember the files were cached by all the servers)


How CDN works


Take for example that you are in Europe and the main website is hosted in Amazon’s data center in Oregon USA. Whenever you will type in the url of the main website. The files that are cached with CDN servers in Europe will be delivered to you from Europe without hitting the servers in Oregon, USA.

This ultimately means awesome speed for the website and less load on the main server.

Benefits of CDN (Content Delivery Network)

Speed

CDN boosts up your page delivery time and response time by a big margin. It prevents delay issues that may damage your user experience.

By delivering the content from a network of servers, CDN’s decrease the load on your server and improve the user experience of the user. Some CDN’s also optimize the content which improve the speed by a big margin. I will be discussing these optimization in optimization section.

Security

One of the biggest advantage of CDN is security. There are different ways cdn providers are providing security

Automated Learning

CDN have an automated learning system where they are learning about new threats and tracking each and every ip address that is coming to a website. They are continuously building database of attackers and once they learn, they disable their access to all of the websites using their service.

Protects your ports

CDN protects your ports that are associated with communication and security. It protects FTP, SSH, Telnet ports by disabling them from your central domain and made it accessible from the subdomains.

SSL support

CDN’s provides you SSL support to secure website from any misuse or monitoring. For this purpose, encryption is being done between web server and the browser.

Firewall

CDN provides next-generation Web Application Firewall (WAF) which act as a bridge between the internal servers and local servers. It will block and monitor the traffic coming to or from your network and filter the undesirable traffic or requests.

Content Optimization

Some CDN’s have gone a bit further by providing some features that do some amazing things to increase the speed of your website like.

  1. Minification: Decreasing the size of your files using minification technique. This results in faster file downloads.

  2. Reduced Connections: Combining your files into less files so there are less files to download from user’s browser.

  3. Asynchronous Content Loading:  Excuse the technical term, it simply means that instead of your browser loading your files one by one, it opens a new connection for each file. This means that javascript files can be downloaded in parallel and html content is downloaded first. This gives an impression to user that website is very fast.

  4. GZip: Although this can be enabled from apache web server. However, if you don’t know how to do it in apache. CDN providers allow you to do it easily with a single click button.

All these and many other feature improve the speed of your website by a big margin. All these are optional features in CDN or paid features. Once you enable these, you will see your website speed climb in both GTMetrix and Google Page Speed Insights.

Live Streaming

Live Streaming is one of the most challenging aspect that CDN covers. The latency (time it takes to transmit from one user to other )slows down your user experience. For Example, if you are giving online session on your website, then CDN provide you the less delayed transmission of your video content across the globe.

Global Reach

CDN make your site available from everywhere, anytime with their local Points of Presence (PoPs). The PoP are actually the point of presence where we can access with the data centers. CDNetworks has 200 points of presence in 200 countries which ensures you quick delivery of services.

Cost Effectiveness

Rather than you go for buying the heavy servers and architecture, CDN will reduce your headache by providing cost-effective and efficient package plans.

CDN Providers

Most popular CDN providers are

  1. CloudFlare.

  2. Amazon CloudFront.

  3. MaxCDN.

  4. CDNetworks.

  5. Akamai.

Selecting CDN Providers

Although CDN provides you better and integrated security, all your content is being dealing by the CDN, but on the other side, make sure

  1. Your CDN don’t breach your integrity.

  2. Can’t hurt your performance.

  3. Don’t place most confidential data files over your CDN like credit card details of your customers or administrative sensitive data.

#userexperience #websitespeed

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