What is a CDN and How Could I Benefit From One?

by Chris Riminton on 13th May 2022

What is a CDN?

A content delivery network (CDN) refers to a geographically distributed group of servers which work together to provide fast delivery of internet content. This means that content is provided to the end-user loading the website from the server closest to them rather than the original hosting server. This speeds up response time for the end-user to ensure the website loads quickly no matter where they are. This is especially useful if your website/brand has an international audience however is just as useful and beneficial if you don’t have a global audience.

The popularity of CDN services continues to grow, and today the majority of web traffic is served through CDNs, including traffic from major sites like Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon.

 

Why would I get a CDN for my website and what are the benefits?

The number one reason for having a CDN on your site is to improve speed. Speed is such an important factor to your visitors but also for SEO and ranking algorithms. In fact, Google uses site speed as a ranking factor now for websites so it is as important as ever that your site loads quickly.

The benefits don’t stop there though as a CDN can also decrease the load on a server which is useful when a server may be overloaded or experiencing high traffic.

Furthermore, there are security benefits to using a CDN on your website. Many CDN providers include security measures to help prevent spikes in traffic and any malicious attacks like DDoS attacks which can take your site offline.

 

Are there any downsides to a CDN?

While the benefits and arguments for getting a CDN are strong there are also some negative aspects to consider before you get a CDN.

Costs – unfortunately most CDN services are not free for commercial use. This is the biggest outlay when setting up and getting a CDN. There are so many to choose from and they all offer very similar features.

Server Locations – a good CDN will have server locations all around the world to ensure that no matter where your website visitors come from that they can be served with content from your site. Some providers however may only host content in certain countries which may affect response times for a global audience.

 

Summary

A CDN can be a very powerful tool to decrease the load times of certain website elements including images, javascript files, videos, stylesheets and more all automatically without much manual management. It can be extremely useful for websites that serve a global audience and ensures that all users receive the same site at a good loading speed. At Capsule, we make use of CDNs as part of our web hosting for some of our bigger, global clients.

However, for some sites, the performance gains will be minimal while for others you will see big performance increases. It’s important to remember that a CDN is not a magic wand to automatically make a site fast but can be a useful tool to help improve your website’s ranking by ensuring it’s loading fast for visitors. If your site is struggling with slow performance and it’s holding back your ambitious growth targets then in contact with the website development team at Capsule who can keep your site performing at its best.

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