What Is CDN And Why You Should Use it?

In the jet age that we live in, where everything from travel bookings to utility bill payments are made online and on-the-go, speed matters! So much so that, if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, it can upset your customers enough to turn their back to you and look for other options (read competitors). It is therefore important to serve information at a lightning speed (and faster, if possible) if customer experience really counts for your business. This is where the role and use of Content Distribution Network (CDN) comes into play in the digital world.

What is CDN?

In simple terms, a CDN is a network of geographically disparate servers where each server is referred to as a ‘node’ or an ‘edge server’. Each node caches the static content like images, CSS/JS files, videos, data, and APIs from your site or your mobile application. When a user requests for a certain web page, it is these static elements that take the most time to load. With each passing year as pages have become more packed with information, the time to load them and provide a speedy response to users is becoming a priority for digital content providers. The CDNs bridge just that gap!

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As a response to each user request, the node geographically nearest to the user loads the static elements of the page thus reducing the response time/page loading time to service the query.

Is it Worth Investing in CDN?

Whether it is worth investing in CDNs for your business is a question only you can best answer for yourself. These third-party services are expensive to say the least, but if you have global web traffic, and customers from different geographies who can be provided a faster user experience through CDNs, then CDNs are worth every dollar you spend.

The reasons for opting for CDN services are numerous, with each one being as important as the other. But here, we present the top three reasons you can choose to use CDN over traditional web-hosting.

1.  Speed is the Soul of Digital Content

Sounds like a lot? Trust us, it’s not!

Digital content served at a snail’s pace would not only be upsetting, but worthless. Information needs to be served right when requested for.

As we already discussed in an earlier blog, the page loading time could be that sole differentiator between you and your closest competitor’s sales figures. Or, it could be that reason why visitors might turn their back towards your blog and look for information elsewhere.

So, if you have content that is targeted to geographies half way across the globe, don’t keep them waiting. Using a CDN that serves these geographies will help boost speed of content delivery, increase sales, and reduce bounce rate.

2.  The Compatibility Issues

Okay, so here is some bad news. The marriage between traditional web hosting and modern multi-media rich websites is over!

As sad as it may sound, it is true. The traditional web-hosting technology is incapable of supporting the rich multi-media format that contemporary websites host. It puts an extra stress on a single server to store information and service requests all at the same time.

CDNs, on the other hand, store a part of the information and service requests from a smaller geographic area thus allowing businesses to make savings on web-hosting, and take that stress off the only server in the traditional format.

3.  Lesser Downtime

Ever experienced the frustration of accessing a site only to know that it is down and unable to service your request? If yes, then this is something you want to spare your visitors from experiencing.

A CDN architecture is designed to enhance reliability.

If the edge server to which the query is directed is facing a downtime, the request merely passes to the next nearest node in line. This ensures lesser downtime and a better user experience.

Now, with those three reasons you have enough food for thought to decide if your business needs a CDN, and the kind of ROI you would reap by investing into it.

 

References:

  1. https://gtmetrix.com/why-use-a-cdn.html
  2. https://www.fastly.com/blog/why-you-should-use-content-delivery-network
  3. https://www.keycdn.com/blog/why-use-a-cdn
  4. https://httparchive.org/reports/page-weight?start=earliest&end=latest&view=list#bytesTotal
  5. https://www.keycdn.com/blog/content-delivery-networks

Alex D,

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