How to Use CDN to Improve Website Performance

Published in
5 min readJan 8, 2021


When you open some websites, you see that they load instantly and you’re able to interact with the website with almost no time lag. However, with some other websites, the case is quite different. With these websites, you first see a blank white screen, then parts of a logo, and eventually, if you’ve not actually closed the website, you’ll see some content. This is because of a problem called latency.

So, what does latency mean? It’s the time delay between sending a request to a server and receiving content on your browser. There are several reasons for this delay. The website may not be optimised, the home page might have too much media content — the reasons are numerous.

But, even when there’s nothing wrong with the website, sometimes there’s a noticeable delay. This is usually caused by the actual physical distance between your computer or phone and the server where the website is hosted.

Just as an example, if a website is hosted in a data farm near Delhi, your website will load much faster in Bangalore than in Los Angeles, US. This is the problem that a CDN is designed to tackle. So, with that in mind, let’s take a brief look at what is CDN and how it works.

What is a Content Delivery Network?

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network, and it’s the unseen, beating heart of many popular websites. From YouTube to Netflix, some of the most popular online companies use it.

A Content Delivery Network is, in essence, a way of delivering content to your users by placing caching servers across the globe. A CDN is designed to reduce the distance (virtually) between the browser and the server.

How Does CDN Work?

CDNs work by deploying PoPs (Points of Presence) across the globe. This basically means that you store your websites in various points throughout the world, instead of just one place. A PoP, simply put, is a data centre that does two important things.

One, it contains a copy of your website, and in caching servers, it stores all the cached files. Two, it communicates with users based on their location on the map. So, when you click on a website from Los Angeles, a CDN will direct you to a data farm in Texas, instead of data travelling all the way to Delhi and back. Lesser the travel, faster the loading. This way, users get their content quicker.

CDNs for website owners

If you’re a website owner who has visitors from across the globe, you’ll be very interested in CDNs. They make your website load faster, they help you with SERP ratings, and finally, they also provide a much better user experience to your visitors, which is ultimately what you want.

Ways in which CDN Boosts the Performance of Your Website

Before understanding how CDNs will help your website, let’s understand where a CDN is of absolutely no use. If your website is new and you don’t really have a whole lot of traffic, there’s no point in using a CDN. Also, if your traffic comes from one geographical area alone, a CDN won’t do you any good.

So, let’s assume that your website is all about cars in the Indian market. Logic dictates that most of your users will be from India. A CDN is simply of no use here. If all your users are from one place, there is no purpose to have a CDN because your server and your users are already pretty close to each other.

However, a CDN can improve your website performance significantly if you have a global audience. Here’s how:

  1. SEO:
    Google has officially declared that loading speed is an official factor for SERP and SEO ratings now. So, faster the website, higher the visibility that you’ll get.
    CDNs increase loading speed considerably. We are just talking a matter of seconds here. A page load speed of 1.5 seconds is great, whereas a load speed of 2.5 seconds is just above average. So, when the margin of error is so small, CDNs make a huge difference. When content is nearer to the viewer, it gets there faster. And that helps you.
  2. Reliability:
    Again, reliability or uptime of your website is crucial. It takes a lot of effort to get a visitor to your website and when after all this, if your website simply doesn’t open, it’s a disappointment to both you and the visitor.
    In times where users aren’t even willing to wait for a few more seconds, you can be assured that a crashed website is something that they will not return to.
    When you implement a CDN, what you are really doing is creating copies of your website across the globe. So, if one server or PoP fails, it doesn’t affect your website uptime. One of the other caching servers will take over the job of sending content to the user.
    If that isn’t enough to convince you, consider this: Google actively stops recommending websites that crash often.
    You really don’t want that.
  3. User Experience:
    The final point, of course, is user experience. Having a great website that loads quickly helps your visitors get what they want quicker.
    With a CDN, your website will load quicker and be more reliable; it won’t crash as easily. With a website that has great performance, you’re looking at a better retention rate and a better conversion rate. All this is good news if you’re a business website owner.

CDN and Hosting

Till recently, CDNs were not offered by all hosting companies. However, that is changing quite rapidly. Major web hosting companies now offer pre-integrated CDN with all their hosting plans, including the most basic web hosting plans.

So, if you’re running a website that has a global audience and you’re looking to increase the overall performance and speed of your website, a CDN is a must-have. The fact that more than 50 per cent of today’s websites use CDN is a testament to that fact.

Enjoy lightning-fast websites, ensure higher uptime and deliver great user experience with Content Delivery Networks.