In this article, learn what a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is, what it does and how it works with your current web hosting for a fast site.
Your website is up and running. But it’s taking a long time to load. You’re losing traffic and more importantly, you’re losing business. How do you make your site load faster? A Content Delivery Network may be your answer.
Website visitors love fast websites. Studies show that 70% of customers say “site speed affects their purchase decisions.” And if a site loads too slowly, the visitors move on.Studies show that 70% of customers say “site speed affects their purchase decisions.” Click To Tweet
What’s a Content Delivery Network?
Content delivery networks (CDNs) reduce the physical distance between a website and its visitors by storing cached versions of the website in different geographic locations.
For example, suppose your website host is in California. In that case, using a CDN, you would have versions of your site in Virginia, Europe, and Australia. As a result, your site would load much faster for visitors in areas closer to the CDN than your web host in California. With a content delivery network, your site is configured to deliver content from the server closest to your visitor’s physical location to speed up load time.
CDNs can help websites to:
- Handle large amounts of website traffic
- Keep website page load speed fast and balanced
- Reduce cyber-attacks
Even if you don’t anticipate website visitors from all over the world, the caching and speed improvements will help improve SEO (search engine optimization). In addition, the extra security infrastructure is invaluable.
Is a Content Delivery Network the Same as a Web Host?
Web hosts use one server in a single location. Content delivery networks use servers in several locations at once. The viewer gets served the content from the server geographically closest to them. So the time between your website requesting content and the time it loads the content is minimized. Your visitor will have a much better experience on your website.
CDNs can be intimidating due to the complexity of integrating them into a website. Because of this, business owners may choose not to use them.
All good website hosts have a content delivery network bundled with their hosting. There may be an additional fee to use their CDN, but usually, it’s worth it to save the hassle of setting up and managing your CDN.
Will Your Website Benefit from using a CDN?
From simple blogs to complex online publications and more, every website will benefit by using a Content Delivery Network.
Let’s take a look at the types of websites that will benefit the most from a CDN.
eCommerce websites often get lots of traffic and have lots of content. They’ll have product pages, wholesale pages, video uploads, lots of product images, etc.
A content delivery network can speed up eCommerce websites by adjusting content distribution. That means a visitor will get products from a server close to them so that the website will load faster.
Magazine (Digital Publication) Websites
Digital magazines are highly visual and require both text and images to tell the whole story. Visitors expect an online publication to upload promptly. A CDN makes this possible.
A CDN also helps control how the website will look to the visitor. Usually, the more people on the site, the slower images, and content load. So, when website content is stored in multiple locations, visitors quickly get content from the server nearest them.
Blogs & Online Community Websites
We’ve lightly touched on website traffic and how it influences the time it takes for content to load. Some websites are much more susceptible to traffic spikes than others.
Websites with hundreds of visitors will require a powerful infrastructure that can support publishing activities. Otherwise, website visitors could experience long loading times, disrupting the end-user experience tremendously.
Visitors browse blogs and online community sites to read and absorb large amounts of content. Therefore, they expect web pages to upload quickly with website copy and images to match. However, large spikes in web traffic can cause web pages to upload without the text and images in the right place at the right time.
Using a content delivery network, will make your images and content load fast and look good.
Popular Content Delivery Network Options for Your Website
Here’s a simple list we’ve created to help you chose a CDN provider if your website host doesn’t provid one.
Cloudflare is a great CDN option for websites (especially WordPress sites). They primarily offer their services to small businesses and bloggers.
They offer a customizable Content Delivery Network to make their already-powerful infrastructure flexible enough for any user. Or as they explain it, “advanced control and support over how content is cached in the network.” The security features that Cloudflare offers, protects your website from attacks are a huge benefit even with their free plan.
We think Cloudflare is good for beginners and professionals who want a reliable CDN for their WordPress site.
Pricing plans are split into three categories: Free, Pro ($20.00/month), and Business ($200.00/month).
StackPath is a powerful CDN option for any website and business owner.
They have lots of data centers located all over the world.
Their CDN provides an infrastructure with high-security protection, complete visibility into the backend of the product, and a flexible array of options for the user. Real-time analytics and SSL certificates are a part of their packages.
The reasonable cost for its large bundle of services is a main benefit of StackPath. Pricing plans for their Content Delivery Network start at $10.00/month.
KeyCDN is an easier, less complicated option than Cloudflare and StackPath, but they still provide an excellent CDN service.
Their global content delivery network is optimized to help websites operate smoother. And they have a straightforward tutorial on creating, configuring, and integrating their service into any website platform.
Their pricing starts as low as $4.00/month.
So… Do You Need a Content Delivery Network?
If we said no, we wouldn’t be doing you much of a service. All websites can benefit from using a Content Delivery Network along with their website hosting service.
A content delivery network can provide optimum website performance whether you’re an eCommerce business, a SaaS platform, or a blogger.
Never miss another article from us. Sign up today to receive our monthly newsletter to learn more about website accessibility, best content practices, and more.