Content Delivery Network (CDN)


What is a CDN?

Content Delivery Network (CDN) refers to a group of web servers which are dispersed globally to provide a speedy delivery of content. This is much more efficient than using a central server and is typically used for websites that attract a lot of traffic.

In the absence of a CDN, content origin servers must respond to every single end user request. This ends in notable traffic to the origin and subsequent load, therefore increasing the chances for origin failure if the traffic spikes are extremely high or if the load is constant.

By responding to end user requests in place of the origin and in closer physical and network proximity to the end user, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) gets rid of traffic from content servers and improves the web experience, which intend benefits both the content provider and its end users.

How does a Content Delivery Network Work?

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) work by providing content to users via servers that are geographically closer to them than the site’s origin server. 

There are exchange points between servers. A CDN will place a server at this crossover. This is called an Internet Exchange Point.

Using these exchange points provides a faster delivery of data. 

Map of content delivery network usage - Content delivery network (CDN)
Source: Cloudflare

Why is A CDN Important?

Using a Content Delivery Network is advantageous for both the website owner, and the end user. Below are some benefits of using CDNs.

1. Ranking Factor 

Load time was introduced as a ranking factor in 2010. This is because the longer it takes to load a page, the higher the latency and the less likely the end user is to stay.

This means a longer load time equates to a higher bounce rate. Using a CDN reduces load time, and therefore boosts your Google ranking.

2. Lower Costs and Raised Conversions

Using a CDN also lowers operating costs. It takes care of delivering data and content and caches it externally on its edge servers. 

CDN usage can also influence profit. This is because speed increase leads to raised conversions – meaning that end users are more likely to spend on your site.

3. Boosts Safety and Reliability

Content Delivery Networks safeguard against DDoS attacks and encrypt traffic, as well as offering storage capacity.

Not only this, they ensure automatic redundancy which means end users always have access to the content they are searching for. 

The possibility of your page crashing also becomes a lot less likely. This again, decreases bounce rate.

What are the Cons of Using a Content Delivery Network?

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) don’t necessarily work for everyone and here are a few reasons why.

1. CDNs can be Blocked 

End users may be unable to access a CDN due to it being blocked by a network, organisation or country. 

2. Security Risks

There can also be security breaches when using a public CDN. Data can be leaked, and you’re helpless when a crash occurs. 

3. Files aren’t Optimised

Sometimes files are too large for the CDN to optimise. Of course, there are ways around this, however this takes up time and money – which is what a CDN aims to reduce.

Which Content Delivery Networks will Speed up your Website?

There’s a wide range of CDNs available on the web, offering a selection of different services. Below are a few of them:

  • Incapsula
  • Cachefly
  • jsDelvr
  • CD77
  • EdgeCast
  • Limelight

How Can We Help?

If you’re not sure about your current CDM or haven’t even started to think about one and need help - give us a call.

We can look into it for you and potentially pair you with a great team to give you a hand in improving your site.