CDN for a Faster More Robust Website


There is probably a lot of content on your website that is static and rarely changes. For example, you may be using JavaScript or CSS libraries to make your user experience more friendly and improve the look and feel of your website. If you are, there is room to move those files to a CDN. Read on ...

A CDN can make your site faster

What is a CDN?

A CDN, or Content Delivery Network, is a group of servers located around the world designed to serve static content based on where you visitors are browsing from.

An Example

Let's take Frank as an example. Frank wants to buy a new cape from Super Cape Mega Store .Co. The problem is that the Super Cape Mega Store website is hosted in Texas, USA where as Frank lives in Spain. When Frank loads the website, all of the static content is served up from Texas. Frank is left waiting longer than he should to browse for capes.

Depending on much much static content you have, Frank may be left waiting several seconds longer than he should. Frank is a busy guy, he is not going to wait 3 seconds to browse for a new cape. Frank has moved over to a competitor.

Why should I use a CDN?

One of the big problems a CDN solves is latency, as explained in the example above. There are several other compelling reasons to use a CDN on your website or store.

1. Reduce Bandwidth & Save Money

Hosting your static content with a CDN means that your CDN servers the data. The bandwidth being used by your visitors is that of the CDN, not yours. Use a CDN and cut down on how much bandwidth you use with every visitor.

2. 100% Up Time

CDN's, by nature, have great redundancy in place allowing them to boast of 100% up times. If one or more of the nodes in a CDN fall over, there are several others waiting to pickup the requests.

3. Faster Page Load Times

Because a CDN has a network of machines scattered across the globe in geographically smart locations, your static content is going to be pulled from servers closer to your visitors that perhaps your webhost is located. This can shave seconds from each request, just as Frank.

4. A CDN is good for SEO

There have been no end of posts investigating the importance of page load times when from an SEO perspective. Google likes sites that load fast, optimised content.

Getting Started with a CDN

If you are using third party libraries such as jQuery, there may be a free CDN available. There is for jQuery, you can find it here.

There are also a lot of commercial CDN's out there for you to take advantage of. A few reputable names are MAXCDN, CloudFlare and SoftLayer to name just three.

Share your thoughts on using a CDN in the comments below. We would love to hear your experience.