What is a content delivery network?

What is a CDN?

A Content Delivery Network, or CDN, is a network of servers that allows a website to load faster. This network of servers allows a site to pull resources from a server that is closer to the person using the site. With the speed at which data travels nowadays, this might seem like overkill. The reality is, that every second matters. Not only will users leave slow loading site, but search engines also prefer showing sites with faster load times, thus increasing a sites visibility on the web.

How does a CDN work?

A CDN is a group of servers spread across a geographic area. The goal is to give faster access to those loading a website through a decrease in the distance that the sites data needs to travel. A CDN, like Cloudflare, places “servers at the exchange points between different networks” and thus reduces their cost while improving their transmission speeds.

What are the benefits of a CDN?

As we’ve already mentioned, website speed is the biggest advantage to using a content delivery network. Site speed reduction from the cached resources can reduce load time by up to 75%, when used in conjunction with traditional site optimizations. Decreased load times often lead to increased customer time on site, as well as higher conversions. It’s well documented that slow sites cause higher bounce rates and lower conversion, but did you know that search engines take site speed and those aforementioned factors into account when ranking a site? It’s true, it is believed that Google gives priority to sites that load in faster than 3 seconds. A content delivery network can help a site reach those load times, resulting in better search rankings and sales.

Are CDNs secure?

A bit of a loaded question. The quality and reputability of the CDN selected will often determine the security. As with all sites, look for secured and verified connections before transmitting any personal data over the network. The same holds true when signing up for a CDN. The right network can actually increase the security of a site through DDoS mitigation of TLS/SSL certificates.

If a site is having issues with load times, and seeing the effects in sales, rankings, or both; then considering a CDN should be a top priority.