5 Reasons Why Your Website Needs a CDN

by Oxana Barber 2,074 views0

No one likes a slow loading web page. But besides a bad user experience, websites that don’t perform optimally suffer serious SEO penalties. A site with latency issues (e.g.—elements taking too long to load) can be remediated by employing a content delivery network (CDN).

The following are 5 reasons why a CDN is crucial for operating your website.

5. Slow Sites are Costly

Source: Images Money / Flickr Creative Commons.
Source: Images Money / Flickr Creative Commons.

Consider the penalties of having a slow loading site, quantified by the following industry giants as follows:

  • According to Amazon, every 100 ms download slowdown of a page will decrease the number of sale by 1 %
  • According to Google, half a second delay with its search engine caused a 20% drop in traffic

It is therefore imperative that web site operators go the extra mile in optimizing their site’s performance—specifically, by increasing the speed in which web site assets such as images, stylesheets, scripts, and Flash animations are delivered to the end user. Using a CDN is by far the most effective way to do this.

4. Your website visitors are geographically dispersed.

Source: Riley Kaminer / Flicker Creative Commons.
Source: Riley Kaminer / Flicker Creative Commons.

A CDN drastically increases a web site’s speed by deploying content caches to multiple, geographically dispersed servers. Because this content is served to the viewer from the locale closest to them, web site data travels down a shortened path to its intended destination. In internet parlance, this is referred to as decreasing the number of hops. A decrease in hops means faster web site loading time. A website with data residing on a CDN’s network of servers strategically located around the globe results in a reduction of hops needed to reach viewers from different countries.

3. CDNs give your website improved scalability and availability.

Source: Clare Bell / Flickr Creative Commons.
Source: Clare Bell / Flickr Creative Commons.

Scalability and availability are both increased with a CDN, since bursts of traffic can be accommodated effectively through the dispersion of website data. Furthermore, downtime due to server failures and power outages are reduced, since the website’s data is replicated across multiple servers in different geographic environments.

2. CDNs are an easy way to drastically improve your website’s quality of service, regardless of which CDN provider you choose.

Source: Pat Guiney / Flickr Creative Commons.
Source: Pat Guiney / Flickr Creative Commons.

The specifics for getting started with a CDN vary per provider, but the basics are fundamentally the same:

  1. Web site assets to be cached are either crawled and saved by the CDN, or uploaded manually by the user.
  2. Once the contents are on the CDN’s servers, the URL s in the web pages referencing these assets must be changed to point to the CDN.
  3. The CDN’s content caches must be refreshed to reflect new or updated files. This occurs at regular intervals, but can be invoked by the user to refresh immediately.

1. Hosting with different domain names allows for more browser connections.

Source: Thomas Cloer / Flickr Creative Commons.
Source: Thomas Cloer / Flickr Creative Commons.

Browsers restrict how many concurrent file downloads can occur from a single domain. Because CDN files are hosted on different domains, one CDN can effectively enable an additional four files to be downloaded at the same time.

In short, CDNs improve user experience by maximizing the most notable qualitative attribute of a website: the speed in which it loads. As the internet is a global community, there is nothing more important to your web site than maximizing and optimizing its geographic reach.



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