The arrival of smartphones and cheap internet has resulted in a higher number of internet users. Therefore, businesses have are with no other option but to cater to the customers online. Companies want their businesses to have an online presence to interact with their customers, generate leads, and improve the business. The first thing companies do for going online is to create a website.
It is crucial to understand that website loading time plays a significant role in the success of your website. A study by leading SEO experts reveals that more than 75% of websites have loading time less than 5 seconds (source). Therefore, if your website takes longer than others do, it is highly unlikely that your customers wait for the website to load. Are you already thinking about how to improve website performance to avoid losing customers?
Well, various methods and tricks can help you improve the loading time of your website; the easiest and efficient is using a content delivery network (CDN).
What Is A Content Delivery Network?
A content delivery network is a primarily a network of geographically distributed servers which store the cache of your website and act as a middle entity between your server and user. One of the most common reasons for slow loading time is the distance between the hosting server of your website and the actual user. Let us assume your server is in the US, and your visitors are coming from India; it can take a substantial amount of time to transmit data from the US to India, which results into latency.
If you are using a CDN, when a user from India accesses your website, the query won’t be directed to the US. The CDN service provider directs the query to a server closest to India and transmits the data back, leading to immediate loading of the website. Similarly, if your user is accessing your website from Australia, the CDN directs the request to a server closest to Australia, thereby minimizing the loading time.
How Does CDN Work?
The distributed servers of a CDN are called edge servers, and the location where these are present is called Point of Presence. So, when a user requests to access anything on your website, the closest edge server accesses information from the original server and deliver the required content to the user. However, it caches & creates a copy of the same and store it locally on the edge server itself. So, next time, when your users try to access your website, the content is directly transmitted from the edge servers reducing the loading time.
CDN ensures that any subsequent request is not required to pass to the original servers and ensures that load is taken off the central server and all users across the globe can access the website with equal speed. Some of the well-known CDN service providers are Amazon CloudFront, Cloudflare, Fastly, KeyCDN, and Akamai. However, it is worth noting that if you are already using cloud hosting service, the content delivery network can give a substantial boost to your loading time.
What Files Can CDN Store?
Business owners always have a query whether CDN is capable of supporting all the files hosted on their website. The standard rule of thumb is that CDN can support any file that can be hosted on WordPress. All CDNs can cache and reproduce anything that is stored in your WordPress-includes & content folders.
Advantages of Using CDN
From what we have already seen, it is evident that CDN improves the performance of your website and ensures a better user experience. However, apart from that, it offers several other benefits that may help your business.
SEO Benefits: It is evident that Google and other search engines rank websites that load quickly higher. Therefore, by using CDN, you can also improve the SEO of your website and rank higher.
DDoS Prevention: CDN offers considerable protection against Distributed Denial of Service attacks. CDN can prevent attacks by differentiating between good and bad traffic coming to your website.
Scalability: Let us say one of your article or videos went viral overnight. Your traditional server may not be able to deal with a surge in traffic which can be effectively be dealt with by a CDN.
App Integration: Most CDN service providers offer a range of apps that help you improve the user experience on your website.
Low Bandwidth Usage: If you are paying for your server based on the usage, then CDN brings down the costs by reducing the usage.
How to Get Most Out Of Your CDN?
Registering your account on a CDN network and enabling it for your website is a simple process. However, you can improve the performance of your CDN by implementing some simple tricks. Using high-performance DNS can significantly improve the performance of your CDN. Having IPv6 connectivity and moving your original server close to the CDN can also have some benefits.
Minimizing byte size and reducing TLS connection time can be beneficial. A content delivery network on its own is capable of delivering seamless website loading experience, but these tricks can help you get ahead of your competition.