Content Delivery Network
A (CDN) Content Delivery Network is a network of servers that deliver content to visitors of a website based on the visitor’s location. For example, perhaps you are reading this from Japan (if you are, cool, comment!) and my server (where my website lives) is in the United States. This could result in my content loading slowly for you. Website speed and performance are important SEO ranking factors, meaning if your website is slow and generally, unfriendly Google’s algorithms are not going rank your page highly in their search results.
But that’s not all a CDN is for:
CDNs are beneficial for a variety of other reasons including:
- Added reliability
If one server goes down, it doesn’t mean your website will go down, because there are multiple servers in the network. In contrast, if you only have a single server and your host’s server goes down, you could be missing potential traffic.
- Ability to handle spikes in traffic (website visitors)
Again with multiple servers, website traffic gets disbursed so your website doesn’t get bogged down with activity.
- Increased security
Hackers, bots, spammers and other face traffic will land on these servers, meaning your CDN will block attacks and prevent them from affecting your origin server, where your valuable files are stored.
Now that I have told you all of the benefits of a CDN, do actually you need one?
It depends; does your site get a lot of traffic?
This is probably one of the biggest factors in deciding whether or not you should use a CDN. Websites with a lot of traffic are more likely to experience downtime if the servers have trouble supporting the load, again a CDN can help distribute the traffic.
Is your website a small local business?
If heavy global traffic is not a concern for your site, speed is probably not going to be a concern for you. If you still want the added security, a good option is Cloudflare’s free option.
On the other hand, if your website has many pictures and videos, you will want to consider a CDN. When a visitor lands on your page they need to load every image or video on the page. You can optimize your images and store media items on a cloud storage solution; however, a CDN will still be a good choice. Consider especially if you have a blog that uses a lot of images in every post, if you have a portfolio to display or embedded videos.
The bottom line is choosing whether or not to implement a CDN is a choice that is unique to your business. A CDN is beneficial in many ways, but it doesn’t make sense for everyone.