Should I Use A CDN For Bootstrap 3.3.7? (Beginners)

Bootstrap 3.3.7 CDN

Bootstrap is, by far, one of the most popular free and open-source front-end web development libraries today. Bootstrap essentially helps you create beautiful web interfaces that are also responsive and modern with very few lines of code. You can choose to download and self-host the entire framework but a better option is to use a CDN.

Bootstrap is currently in its 5th version, but you are free to use the version that has the right features and styling for your project. Given its simplicity and wealth of documentation, Bootstrap 3.3.7 is seen as a beginner-friendly version.

Why You Should A CDN For Bootstrap 3.3.7

There are download options for Bootstrap 3.3.7 and also CDN options. You are better off using a CDN (content delivery network) for the following reasons:

1. Bootstrap 3.3.7 Is Relatively Bulky: Load It Faster

Even though the entire library is a few megabytes as a download, you will still need to unzip it to host it on your web server. As a self-hosted dependency, Bootstrap 3.3.7 can be a bit heavy if it has to be loaded in its entirety whenever a visitor opens your website or web application. This can lead to latency issues, half-loaded UI elements and overall bad experience.

You will be able to avoid all these issues if you decide to use a content delivery network to host Bootstrap 3.3.7 and any other dependency you have for your web projects. A CDN will take care of the loading of resources and features used from the framework leading to an overall smooth experience for your visitors. At the same time, you might be able to save quite a bit of space and processing power on your primary web-server by hosting Bootstrap 3.3.7 and other dependencies on a content delivery network.

2. Take Advantage of Browser Caching

Bootstrap 3.3.7 has been around for a long time and has been used in millions of websites over that period. While hosting on your server means browsers have to load it each time, using a CDN may very well mean that your visitors already have it cached on their browser. Here is how browser caching works for CDN-hosted libraries like Bootstrap 3.3.7.

Several users access websites that are all pointing to a specific but common URL to load a library.

On detecting this, their browsers will keep a cache of the library so that the users don’t have to download it next time they visit a website asking for the same resource or library.

On visiting your website, the visitor’s browser will load the cached version of Bootstrap or any other CDN-hosted library you might be using. This means that your website’s front-end elements will load faster because the user already has most of the resources and rules it needs to render your web elements.

You can only take advantage of browser caching if either you have frequent visitors to your website or if you are using popular libraries like Bootstrap 3.3.7 hosted on a content delivery network. Having bootstrap 3.3.7 hosted on your server will mean that the user’s browser might load it from your server even if it has an exact copy of the library locally cached.

3. Server Proximity

Content delivery networks utilize several geographically dispersed servers to host copies of your web assets. This allows even cheaply hosted websites and web applications to provide visitors from different locations a smooth user experience. The CDN will identify where your visitors are accessing your content from and load the library from a server that is closest to them. This generally leads to faster and smooth loading with zero lag.

Having your content loaded from a local CDN server can also eliminate the usual geographical restrictions and other issues that may affect the availability of your website. For instance, some ISPs tend to prioritize locally hosted websites and web resources at the expense of websites with a foreign IP address. You will be assured that your website will not have such issues because the CDN provider has a local server.

How to Use Bootstrap 3.3.7 With a CDN

There are two ways you can use Bootstrap 3.3.7 with a CDN. One method is to put the entire website or web app behind a CDN. This way, your Bootstrap 3.3.7 library will be loaded from a cached version from the CDN’s servers. Another method is to put a link to the CDN hosted version of Bootstrap 3.3.7 on an open-source CDN. You will need to include a link to the CSS and JavaScript files.