Should I use a Content Delivery Network?

Should I use a Content Delivery Network?

What is a CDN?

A content delivery network (CDN) refers to a geographically distributed group of servers that work together to provide faster delivery of Internet content.

A CDN allows for the quick transfer of assets needed to load Internet content including HTML pages, javascript files, stylesheets, images, and videos. The popularity of CDN services continues to grow, and today the majority of web traffic is served through CDNs, including traffic from major sites like Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon.

Is a CDN the same as a web host?

While a CDN does not host content and can’t replace the need for proper web hosting, it does help cache content at the network edge, which improves website performance. Many websites struggle to have their performance needs satisfied by traditional hosting services alone, which is why they utilise a CDN.

By using caching to reduce hosting bandwidth, helping to prevent interruptions in service, and improving security, CDNs are a popular choice to relieve some of the major pain points that come with traditional web hosting.

What are the benefits of using a CDN?

Although the benefits of using a CDN vary depending on the size and needs of an website or application, the primary benefits for most users can be broken down into 4 different components:

  1. Improving website load times – By distributing content closer to website visitors by using a nearby CDN server (among other optimizations), visitors experience faster page loading times. As visitors are more inclined to click away from a slow-loading site, a CDN can reduce bounce rates and increase the amount of time that people spend on the site. In other words, a faster a website means more visitors will stay and stick around longer.
  2. Reducing bandwidth costs – Bandwidth consumption costs for website hosting is a primary expense for websites. Through caching and other optimizations, CDNs are able to reduce the amount of data an origin server must provide, thus reducing hosting costs for website owners.
  3. Increasing content availability and redundancy – Large amounts of traffic or hardware failures can interrupt normal website function. Thanks to their distributed nature, a CDN can handle more traffic and withstand hardware failure better than many origin servers.
  4. Improving website security – A CDN may improve security by providing DDoS mitigation, improvements to security certificates, and other optimizations.

So should I use one?

Yes absolutely! Even if your site is UK based, aimed at UK customers, then your site will benefit.