Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
CDN’s: What They Are and How They Help Websites
Isn’t it great when you visit a website, and it loads surprisingly fast? Do you know how some sites do that? Pssst: they’re probably using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)!
We all know that having a fast website is essential for providing a good user experience, but guess what else? SEO! Yep, it’s a signal for one of the many ranking factors on search engines!
So if you want to know how CDN’s work, what they offer, and where to start, that’s what this post is all about!
Let’s get to it!
What is a Content Delivery Network?
A Content Delivery Network or CDN is a network of servers throughout the world that websites can join. In turn, once you connect your website to a CDN, they begin storing temporary copies of your website’s images, files, scripts, and more.
I’ll go into more detail below.
Whenever you view a webpage, your device sends a request to the site, and in turn, the site contacts its server where the content is stored. After that, the server responds with the content, and then it gets displayed on your screen. All of that happens in under a second (at least it should). However, if you are requesting to view a page on a site that has a single server in another country, that could cause the website/load times to lag.
So, when you connect your website to a CDN, your site’s content gets temporarily loaded onto multiple servers worldwide. So, when someone requests to see a page in another country or state, the content gets pulled from the network’s closest server.
By not utilizing a CDN (P.S. many CDN providers offer free plans), your website and you miss out on better performance. Your customers and visitors don’t get the fast-loading website experience that they expect.
If having a CDN still doesn’t resonate with you, consider this: Google announced that page speed would become a ranking factor in July 2018 for mobile searches, too (*link below)! Plus, website speed tools like GTmetrix have a “Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)” audit.
Why You Need a Content Delivery Network
CDNs might be a new concept for you, or you may have already tossed around the idea of using one. Either way, there are numerous benefits to using one!
Benefits of Using A Content Delivery Network
- Decreases loading time (faster website) SEO benefit for having a quicker site (desktop and *mobile)
- It makes loading time more consistent
- Reduced bandwidth (Important for those who pay for bandwidth usage)
- Increased Security
- DDoS Protection
- Options for HTTP to HTTPS redirects
- Handles more traffic
Ultimately, when consistent and faster loading times are a “part” of your site, they’re easier to navigate. In turn, faster websites can lead to an increased CTR (Click Through Rate) — as long as your content is engaging. To add, overall UX (User Experience) also improves, which will lead to a lower bounce rate!
While on the topic of bounce rates. Did you know that search engines can detect when a site’s bounce rate improves (or worsens)? It’s true! It’s one of the 200+ ranking factors that search engines use. So if you improve bounce rates (overall), over time, the site’s ranking in search results should improve too.
Are you paying for bandwidth usage?
If so, did you know that a CDN can cut your bandwidth usage up to 90%!
Another concern when operating a website is security. With the rise in hackers trying to gain access to valuable site info or shutting sites down, it’s crucial to safeguard sites. So take extra security precautions while you’re ahead!
Many CDNs offer DDoS protection, SSL certificates, and blocking malicious bots either for free (with some restrictions) or a cost-effective monthly subscription.
Getting outages from a high traffic load or worried about scaling due to disruptions? Guess what? CDNs help with that too!
Here are some CDN suggestions:
Cloudflare is a great CDN that offers A LOT to websites. Not only does it help to make sites consistently load faster, but it also provides a way to select when and which pages should be the utmost priority!
Cloudflare also provides analytics to show you how much it’s gets used, the bandwidth it saves and suggests how to improve your site even more!
Security concerns? They take the worry away while continually monitoring website traffic and blocking incoming threats. Along with SSL certificates and automatic HTTP to HTTPS rewrites (this comes with the free plan!), Cloudflare also offers unmetered DDoS protection because they are awesome like that.
AND guess what else they offer? The option to add in apps! The apps cover a wide range of needs for analytics, security, social media, better design, and widgets. You can also control which pages the apps show up on too!
If you’re just starting out or if you have a behemoth of a site, prices range from free to +$200/mo. per domain.
Need more info?: Cloudflare Setup Guide
KeyCDN is another great choice when you need to speed up your site. While they don’t offer any free plans, they do come in at a cost-effective price of $49 per year!
What is so different about KeyCDN compared to some of the others out there? They focus on providing a content delivery network that boosts website speed, increased security options, and offer a pay-as-you-go option!
KeyCDN also seems to be laser-focused on what draws people to using CDNs in the first place. So for beginners, it’s an excellent choice since everything is pretty straightforward.
Want more info?: KeyCDN Setup Guide
Who hasn’t heard of Amazon? It seems like they’re starting to get into everything, including CDNs!
Their content delivery network is called Amazon CloudFront, and truth be told, I was pretty excited to hear about this and decided to check it out myself!
First, signing up is pretty straightforward. You’ll need an AWS Amazon account, a credit card, and a phone for their automated call to confirm feature.
Next, they don’t have any upfront charges, but they do bill if you go over their limit.
The free limit is 50GB (transfer out) and 2,000,000 HTTP/HTTPS requests per month up to the first year.
Their CDN network is also impressive because they have over 110 points of presence in 24 different countries. In other words, faster load times for your visitors despite location! So while serving different types of content, whether dynamic or static, you also have control over how long the cache lasts! Shorter times are better for more dynamic content (content that changes per viewer).
Here’s a link to Amazon CloudFront Setup Guide!
CDNs are a network of strategically placed servers that temporarily cache your website for faster viewing purposes. They also speed up your site while reducing bandwidth.
Plus, don’t forget about the added SEO benefit of having a faster site!
Top 3 CDNs:
Cloudflare = Amazing to start with for free and scales up nicely with lots of extras.
KeyCDN = A low-cost and easy to use option that provides excellent service.
Amazon CloudFront = Another low-cost option that provides excellent service and tons of resources.
Content Delivery Network Conclusion
As you can see, CDNs are vital for any business or blogging site, especially for visitors who live around the globe! Plus, with the added speed and security benefits they offer, it’s a no-brainer!
On a side note, one of my most favorite CDN features = being able to see when repeat invaders get deflected! I discovered the functionality about a week after an attempted webpage attack. It was scary but also eye-opening at the same time.
Ultimately, CDNs can be a miracle tool! (They’ve saved me from many major headaches!)
Until Next Time!
So there you have it, a few quick ways to speed up your website and improve SEO by using a CDN! If you’re looking for more website optimization, SMO, or SEO tips, check out these posts!:
- How to speed up your website
- SEO for beginners
- What is web hosting, and how does it work?
- Why you shouldn’t buy backlinks or followers
- The different types of SEO and how they’re used
- Social Media Marketing tools to use in 2018
5 Benefits of CDN’s [Infographic]
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