CDN explained. Why, when and how to use it for your website

Ellen Pokidov
Jul 10, 2018 · 4 min read

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. What is it? Do we need it at all? Let’s talk about the importance of this type of tech, and how to improve the performance of a website by using this approach.

Imagine you just launched an online store with 10 products which you sell to a local audience. Easy-peasy. You host your store using your local hosting provider, and it is pretty fast as it is.

Nothing to worry about, right? Yes, until you hit the next level of growth.

Imagine further, that in a year your web store grew and now you have 10000 products selling globally, to remote destinations. Even though our planet is not that big, we still have to consider physical internet connection.

Here is where CDN comes into play. It helps us to connect with our users anywhere on Earth. Whether you have an online store, corporate website, news outlet, or a blog. If you sell far, you have to deliver your product images to your customers at an appropriate speed. Alternatively, your business suffers.

Why so?

Let’s put it simple. Longer your page load after a user requests it less likely she buys from you or even stays on your website.

A one-second delay in page load time yields: 11% fewer page views, 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, 7% loss in conversions.

This annoying delay is called latency, a point where all website drop-offs take place.

Therefore, CDN was invented to shorten the physical distance between the website user and the website’s hosting server.

A bit of a tech

Mainly speaking CDN is a bunch of servers placed in different locations all over the world. To minimize the physical distance between your website and your user you can choose to deliver it through CDN which would cache a copy of your content on each of their servers.

Content delivery network, Wikipedia

More tech about CDN .

How to implement?

The first thing you have to do is to choose from the great variety of options. Most importantly, you have to consider your needs and resources as the implementation might be time-consuming and costly.

  • CDN for large high-load websites. Choose a large CDN provider and set it up manually for your website. There are many various solutions for that on the market. Google CDN, MaxCDN, Amazon CloudFront, CoralCDN to name a few. You would have to configure the connection between your hosting provider and the CDN of your choice.
  • CDN for small to middle-sized websites. Choose a hosting with CDN if your website is not that large and does not grow that much on a daily basis. Suitable for corporate websites, blogs, personal websites. Some hosting companies provide CDN as a part of their service. Indeed this option is excellent for small to middle size websites. You can turn on this option pretty quickly when you need it.
  • CDN for fast scaling and automation. Next generation CDN, fits all sizes. Perfect for fast-growing companies, startups, and fast scaling tasks. Choose a SaaS CDN-based solution if you have a possibility to experience rapid growth or you would like to save money on implementation. This type of CDN also has an advantage of functionality it brings with it when you sign up.

For instance, Image Processing CDN can help you process your images, to do scaling and optimization. You won’t need to set it up yourself as it works out-of-the-box.

Even more Benefits

Apart from world distribution and enchanted latency, there are few more benefits that CDN can provide:

  • SEO Improvement. Google and other search engines love fast and efficient websites. Speed is the most important Google SEO ranking factor. Better the speed, higher a website can appear in search. So, therefore, more leads and sales it can acquire.
  • Scalability. Protects your website from traffic spikes which can make your website stop responding. Your end-users would not be affected at all.
  • Security. Any website can come across DDoS attacks or similar. CDN can solve this problem pretty easily.

Last but not least, any successful business experience growth which leads to the growth of traffic to the website and more public attention. I would suggest looking into CDN at the very beginning of your website creation as it would be much easier to plan, choose a provider and implement it according to your business needs.

However, the easiest way to test the benefits of CDN would be to use SaaS CDN solutions.

If you have any questions or comments, please post below or head to the website where you can read more in-depth about Image CDN and its benefits.


Website Performance Optimization