CDN (Content Delivery Network)
A CDN is a network of servers strategically located in different parts of the world. Each server has a copy of the content of your website (files, images, scripts, etc.) and serves visitors to the site from the nearest server. Imagine a CDN like fibre optic that travels the world and shows the content of the web to the visitors of your page, not from where you have it hosted but from the server closest to where they are connecting, all at high speed, from a very efficient and low latency mode.
These data centers are distributed all over the planet, in order to deliver content from the minimum possible distance to all users in the world. Data centers are usually located in regions with the highest number of Internet users. These data centers are often called POP, by Point of Presence. Logically, a greater number of POPs on a CDN should deliver content faster to users. As you can imagine, the more users connected the more POPs are there, so most are usually in the United States, Europe and the Far East, and there are fewer in South America and Africa.
How does a CDN accelerate a website?
CDN works in such a way that the content is hosted on a server and provided to the visitor from a request and job is done by the web server. Now imagine a situation in which your server is located in India and the visitor of your web is from California, more than 12ooo km away. No matter the speed of your Internet connection, data has to travel more than 12ooo km to get to the visitor, and that requires a few seconds.
To reduce this time and serve your content faster, websites use CDNs. The CDN makes copies of the static content of your website and puts a copy in each of your POPs. Thus, when a client requests a specific resource, the data is served from the POP geographically closest to the applicant (the visitor).This is how a CDN gets your web pages to load faster.
CDN is not limited to just acceleration of Websites
In addition to speeding up the loading of your website in an important way, a CDN also brings another series of benefits to your website:
⦁ Distribute and balance your server load so you can support high volumes of traffic.⦁ When delegating the task of delivering static content to the CDN, your server is focused on the generation of dynamic
⦁ When delegating the task of delivering static content to the CDN, your server is focused on the generation of dynamic content, which for that is what you use WordPress. The task of serving the result and the static contents is done by the CDN.
⦁ It reduces the consumption of your server’s bandwidth
⦁ Reduces the consumption of your server’s bandwidth significantly since most of the heavy work is done by the CDN. This results in better known time as uptime.
⦁ You remove the geographical barrier when serving your content across the planet. Especially if you offer content globally and want to load and position as well as in your own location.
⦁ It also block spammers, scrapers, fake bots, and protect your web from DDoS attacks.
⦁ You save money, since the memory and resources in the servers have high prices. Alternatively you can use a CDN for free or low cost and with a very superior performance.
Best CDN in the market?
There are various CDN’s on the market.
Stackpath (now integrated with MaxCDN) CDNIFY and keycdn are some of the popular CDNS’s.
Many websites use CloudFlare CDN and thus save up to 80% of monthly traffic. CloudFlare is available in free and paid versions and it is useful for web pages of any type. Some CloudFlare features include
⦁ A wide network of distributed servers worldwide
⦁ Statistics and analytics page
⦁ Simple configuration
⦁ Works with static and dynamic content
⦁ Additional webmaster applications and tools
⦁ Security against Bots and unwanted traffic
⦁ Always online
⦁ Compatible with other CDN services
⦁ Page Rules
⦁ Automatic IPv6
What should you do?
These days, speed is key for user experience and a factor in good google ranking. If your website is generating lots of traffic from around the world, then a CDN is a no brainer. A slow website will not grow globally and offers a poor user experience. For that reason alone the use of a CDN is highly recommended.