What is a Content Delivery Network?


Content Delivery Network(s): What They Are + Why Websites Need Them
If you’re not familiar with CDNs and how they can help a website, then keep on reading!

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 CDN is a network of servers located in different parts of the world which store temporary copies of a website (images, files, and scripts) with cache memory.

Let me explain further.

When someone sends a request to see a website, it contacts the site’s hosting server. Then it sends a signal to the closest server (where the temporary copy of your website gets stored), so the page can get quickly displayed (no matter where your visitor lives) on their browser.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a CDN, the other signal doesn’t get sent through a CDN, and the request has to go over a much longer distance before it reaches your visitor. Ultimately, it can end up taking 2-10+ seconds longer, compared to when using a CDN.

Might not seem like a big deal, but when it comes to visitors and search engines, it is! P.S. Google announced that page speed would become a ranking factor in July 2018 for mobile searches too (*link below)!

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)
  • 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

Bounce Rate

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.

Bandwidth

Are you paying for bandwidth usage?

If so, did you know that a CDN can cut your bandwidth usage up to 90%!

Site Security

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.

Avoid Downtime

Getting outages from high traffic load or worried about scaling due to disruptions? Guess what, CDNs help with that too!

Here are some CDN suggestions:

Cloudflare

Cloudflare is a fantastic CDN that offers A LOT to websites. Not only does it help to make sites consistently load faster, but 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.

To add, if you need to optimize your site further (and do it quickly), Auto minify for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is available too! If you have a paid subscription, you can also speed up your website by using their Polish to improve image loading option!

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

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 have 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

Amazon CloudFront

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 that run 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!

Recap

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!:

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5 Benefits of CDN’s [Infographic]

5 Benefits of Content Delivery Networks
CDNs do more than make websites faster!

 

 

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