Nowadays, website owners are preferring to host their pages on CDNs in addition to main servers, and for a good reason. A content delivery network or in short CDN is a network of servers that are globally distributed to serve users based on their locations. They work by serving as alternative server nodes to deliver site content like JS, CSS files, and other structural components as well as static content like images to the user closest to them.
Because of their nearness to users, it means less time is used to access site content, and this reduced latency is the main advantage of using a CDN. Essentially, when a user sends a request to your site, the CDN node closest to them will respond to deliver the content thereby improving the site’s experience in terms of speed. They, therefore, primarily optimize a website’s accessibility.
These are among the benefits of using CDN for your site
1. Improved Speed And Load Time.
A user’s load time is basically used in loading a web page’s static content. In the case the server is a great distance away from the user, a significant drag will inevitably be experienced. A CDN solves this for your site by allowing users to retrieve your sites content from their closest server instead of the main host server of your site. The reduced distance will translate to greater speed and less load time on the part of the user.
Since CDN server nodes are located all over the world, at any given time, a person accessing your site is not disadvantaged by the distance from your main host. They get to download content at the same speed regardless of how far they are.
However, this speed improvement will depend on other factors like your website’s code. A poor code will still see your site dragging. Your servers’ configuration will also play a role in determining whether a CDN will help to speed up your site. The fact that a CDN improves the speed at which a page loads, is definitely worth the extra cost you will incur to set up the service.
2. Improved Website Uptime.
A CDN offers an alternative route to users to access your web page. This means that your main host is relieved of the traffic load it receives at any given time. Therefore, you are assured of constant and smooth speeds when using a CDN.
There are times when websites slow down or even crash completely during traffic surges. CDN networks can effectively take care of this by sharing bandwidth across multiple servers. They are, therefore, highly optimized to deal with any spike in traffic. This means that you are assured your site will be up and running smoothly regardless of the amount of traffic.
3. Greater Data Integrity.
Most of the time, though, you will need to update your website structural content. When using a CDN, you need not worry about the data integrity. Any changes done to your asset be it a CSS (Cascading Style Sheet ) or JS (Java Script) file update, are immediately effected on all network servers. This real-time data integration ensures consistency and saves you the trouble of having to issue instructions manually. It ensures contents of your site remain secure and similar even when duplicates are created on the servers.
4. No Geographic Barriers.
In today’s world, portable internet enabled devices are the norm. And people want to access sites wherever they go and at any time. CDN servers are found virtually everywhere around the world. It’s because of this global distribution that they are the best choice if you want your site to be accessible to anyone around the globe, especially to travelers. And with the added advantage that the users experience your site in the same they would if they were near your main host server.
However, it’s worth noting that in some cases, especially in remote areas, it will depend on a provider’s coverage. It is prudent to check with them first to see if they cover the geographic region you are targeting. Check the technology they are using as this gives a hint of how well and thorough their coverage is. This is because some providers will offer better services and coverage than others. A little research will help you to determine whether to enlist their services or not and to choose the best.
5. Cheaper and Faster.
Using CDN helps your website to perform better and give your visitors a cool experience. And all this without having to buy those additional resources such as more RAM or CPU. In the long term, it is cheaper than attempting to improve performance using more hardware.
Setting up for a CDN is quite simple and will not require you to purchase any hardware. Depending on your requirements, it may involve simply telling your CDN provider what content you need to be mirrored on their servers and then configuring your site to send requests to their servers.
There are a few free CDN services available, but mostly, they are paid for services. However, those who are serious about their web pages should consider paid services. And paid for CDN services are better than free ones most of the time. Cost may vary depending on the region, bandwidth, and security requirements. It would benefit you to shop around for a provider who offers state-of-the-art services yet at an affordable price.
Using CDN brings a whole lot of benefits to your website. It gives you users a fast and reliable browsing speed. It helps especially to cushion you against unprecedented traffic upsurge allowing it to run all throughout unaffected.
However, this does not mean that it entirely makes your server trouble free. You may still encounter some down times from time to time. It only minimizes them. In some cases, a website will not need a CDN to perform well, although having one may make the site perform optimally.
It mainly depends on the website. If you are operating sites that get unusually high traffic or mission critical site, you should seriously consider using CDN. Talk to various providers to hear how their services will optimize your site’s performance.