We all want websites that are highly responsive and quick to download. Research shows that consumers are more likely to press the back button if a page takes more than a few seconds to appear than if they get immediate access to your site. There are a lot of different measures that you can take and one of the more readily available nowadays is a CDN service.
What Is CDN?
A Content Delivery Network is a system of proxy servers across the internet that have one main goal – to deliver your content as quickly as possible to your customers and fans. This can include delivering content as varied as text and images up to media file downloads and ecommerce platforms. They do this by cutting down the time it takes for a web host server to collect, deliver and then load a particular type of content onto a user’s device. It makes your content better available over the global internet and also helps to reduce bandwidth.
Let’s say your server is in London, but your potential customers are in Australia. Let’s also say you have a web page and lots of photographs and other media that need to download to your customer’s device – that means there have to be x amount of requests to your server to move all that content. Whilst this is done relatively quickly under normal circumstances, it could add valuable seconds to the download time of your page half way across the world. CDN caches basically move that information closer to the source so that download time speeds up.
Who Does Not Need a CDN?
If you have a normal website that just contains content such as a blog, then you shouldn’t be too worried about CDN. If you have large amounts of data, such as videos or an e-commerce platform that needs to download as quickly as possible, then it should be a vital component of your online strategy.
Not All CDN Services are the Same
There is a choice of CDNs and not all are as good as each other. Choosing the right one for your site, especially if you run an e-commerce outlet, is as important as all the other decisions you make about hosting. A lot depends on where your main customers are and what kind of device (PC or mobile) they are using.
Using a CDN also makes sure that your pages are more likely to be available if there is an outage on your main server and that is because they sense server availability and can redirect content. Not everyone uses CDN though with 20-25% of all e-commerce across Europe and the US failing to incorporate it into their web operational strategy.
A Combination of Approaches Work the Best
CDN is a good idea, but it should not be viewed in isolation and a primary solution to download speed. Websites need to use a mix of CDN and front end optimization, and application delivery controller as well as various in-house solutions, all of which add to the speed of delivery.
Top Five CDN Providers:
- MAXCDN – Best CDN for content delivery! Probably the most well known CDN on the market with a reputation to go with it.
- LiquidWeb – This company is partnered with Akamai, which makes them a fantastic CDN service. Very quick!
- CDN.net – Another superb CDN. This content network speeds up websites through its 170 web servers. Used by many big companies and is very popular.
- Cachefly – This has won many speed tests, making it the fastest CDN to date.
- Incapsula – This is a perfect combination between speed and reliability. All the plans come with login technology, which is extremely handy.
Cost of CDNs
The good news is that the CDN market has opened up in recent times. It used to be an expensive solution and only available for top end e-commerce sites such as Amazon and other major players. Now, with more competition, the price has come down and there is more choice available.
Choosing the right CDN for your site and your budget is another thing all together. Ideally, it suits businesses that have large amounts of data they need to transfer. For example, if you have a video streaming site then CDN is invaluable in making sure that your customers get a seamless service and don’t have to twiddle their thumbs waiting while the screen goes through buffering. Knowing what your exact requirements are can make the difference and help you to choose the right service.