What Is A Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Speed is an important factor for the success of any website. If your website is slow, it reflects on your conversion rates. Website speed can be affected by many factors and one of the important aspects is distance. 

When you browse a webpage, data travels a long distance to reach your browser. And definitely it takes some time. Hence, the longer the distance, the slower your website will load. This is where Content Delivery Network (CDN) plays a vital role. 

In this article, I’ll explore everything you wanted to know about CDN including how it works, and benefits.

What is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a group of servers geographically distributed to provide quicker delivery of content to your website. When it comes to content, it may be images, videos, CSS, HTML, JavaScript files etc. 

The popularity of Content Delivery Network has increased multifold over the years as the majority of the internet traffic across the world is being driven by CDNs. Even the most popular websites including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, YouTube use CDN for content delivery.

CDN services are being offered by many players around the world and some of the popular service providers include Rackspace, Amazon, Cloudflare, Akamai, Google etc. These service providers have servers distributed across every part of the world. Hence, no matter where you are, content will be delivered to you from the closest server locations.

How CDN works?

Content Delivery Network (CDN) is mainly used to decrease the latency in websites. In simple words, latency refers to the annoying delay that you see while the content loads in a web page. While this delay could be attributed to several factors, the main aspect being the distance of the server from your location. 

In a CDN network, servers are generally distributed in various geographic locations. Each location is called a Point of Presence (PoP), where many caching servers constitute a PoP. For example, if you are a website visitor accessing a Facebook page from Florida, your request is forwarded to the CDN network. The request is further forwarded to the closest caching servers in Florida by the CDN network for speedy content delivery.

Who Needs CDN?

Everyone who requires faster content delivery will need a Content Delivery Network. CDN brings a lot of benefits to your website in-terms of content delivery speed, performance, efficiency and increased traffic as well. If you are running a website with an audience distributed geographically across the world, then you will largely benefit from using a CDN. 

Moreover, if your website involves a lot of downloads, videos and high-res images, then CDN will be a great asset for your website. But if you are running a niche website and your audience is generally located in the same region, then CDN will not be of much help to you. In fact, using a CDN for this kind of website will even hamper the speed of the website to some extent.

Benefits of using CDN

A CDN offers various benefits to your website as outlined below:

1. Faster Content Delivery

As mentioned earlier, the speed and performance of a website determines the conversion rates and ultimately the success of your website. So, if you are looking to increase the speed of your website, you should definitely opt for a CDN service.

Do you know the amount of time users stay on a website before switching to another website? The average time is just 15 seconds or less. So, if you fail to generate any interest within this timeframe, you probably will lose the customer. This is where CDN plays an important role in increasing the sales by improving site speed.

2. Save Money

One of the major advantages of using a CDN service is that it saves a lot of money. In other words, without CDN, you need to spend a lot of money for setting up your infrastructure including configuration, installation and maintenance of servers. With CDN, you don’t need to worry about the infrastructure cost and amount spent on the resources for the safe upkeeping and maintenance of the servers. Hence, you save a lot of money, when compared to the amount you spend on data centers and resources.

3. Availability

Another major benefit of using a CDN is that you can ensure 100% availability of your website to your customers. Even in situations like power issues or high-volume traffic, your website is always up and running. This is because these CDN services offer a world-class infrastructure and employ people 24 hours a day to monitor the network

4. File Download

If you are running a website like Shutterstock that offers users to download hi-res images or videos, then subscribing to a CDN service will largely help. If you want the download process to be fast, then CDN is the best option. CDN ensures that your download request is sent to the closest Point of Presence (PoP) for faster downloads.

5. Website Security

CDNs largely help in improving the security of websites in terms of DDos protection, and website optimization. In case a primary server is attacked, CDN automatically pulls down that particular server. Whereas other servers in the network will continue serving data to your website. 

6. Improved Analytics

Apart from speed, performance, and security CDNs also offer detailed analytical information on different aspects about your website. Various statistics including website load, traffic source, active zones, popular keywords are provided to help in addressing the problems and growth in your sales and revenue.

Final Thoughts

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) ensures optimal performance and security for your website. Improved speed and performance not only increase your conversion rates, but also boosts your sales and profits. 

I Hope, all the information provided here were useful for you. Please do let me know in the comments section below.

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