Why Use A CDN For Your Website? (Key Benefits)
There are a dozen ways you can host your website and deliver its content to your visitors. You could go for a self-hosted setup where your website sits on your own web servers. A more popular option is to buy some space on shared hosting while the last and newest method is to host it in the cloud.
All these hosting methods are great but can also be quite average in terms of performance and availability across locations where your website may be in demand. Adding a CDN (content delivery network) to the mix spices things up by improving speeds. Better website performance is not only good for your visitors but affects your rankings too.
What Is A CDN?
In a nutshell, a CDN is an enhanced hosting network made up of a number of geographically distributed servers. The CDN is specifically designed to deliver all kinds of content at blazingly fast speeds and also ensure high availability. CDNs may also protect against threats affecting websites, especially DDoS attacks.
How A CDN Works
In a typical web hosting setup, you would have your website sitting in a single server and all the requests will be sent to that server regardless of the requester’s location. A content delivery network keeps copies (caches) of your entire website on a number of geographically distributed web servers. This allows the CDN to deliver your content based on the visitor’s location instead of having to serve all your content from a single server.
It is for this kind of setup that content delivery networks have become a gold standard when it comes to delivering online content to users around the world. Today, some of the biggest content delivery networks are serving up billions of websites every minute with more and more being added every day.
5 Reasons You Should Be Using A CDN
- Higher Speeds and Better Rankings
- Compressed Caching
- CDNs Enhance Your Website’s Security
- Increased Capacity and Scalability
- CDNs provide Reliability/Availability through redundancy
The primary purpose of having your website delivered through a CDN is speed. A good content delivery network will significantly increase individual page load speeds across geographical areas without any extra investment from you. This is in contrast to if you had the same website on a single server located in one country.
With reduced site load time, your website will also have a ranking bump, as a result, courtesy of the latest search algorithm updates. The faster and more available a website is to users finding it through search engines like Google the higher it will be ranked. This is especially important for the mobile web, where loading speeds can have a significant impact on the number of times users spend on your website and what that means to Google and similar search engines.
Most content delivery networks also go an extra mile to optimize the website copies they have captured from your website through compression. This means the webpage they serve to your users will be a lightweight version that is easy to load even on underpowered devices like smartphones and tablets.
Another primary function offered by a content delivery network is security with most CDNs starting as DDoS protection providers. Having your website behind a CDN will provide that much-need extra layer of protection against common attacks. Some CDNs will even give you detailed reports on the kind of attacks being sent to your website.
Putting your entire website on a single web server limits you to the capabilities of that server in terms of space, speeds and the number of requests it can handle within a certain period. This can prove problematic after some time if your website grows in terms of content and the number of visitors it is attracting.
Content delivery networks typically have many servers distributed across many locations allowing them to provide more capacity and scalability as needed to their users. Some of the biggest content delivery networks have over 250,000 servers spread across 8,000 locations around the world. Given that most websites to grow over time, putting them behind a good content delivery network is a logical choice.
As with any IT installation, a single point of failure is not ideal as it often leads to downtimes. This is what would happen if you only had your website on a single web server that can go down at any moment. A content delivery network, using its redundant server setup, provides website owners with the much-needed reliability and availability to reduce downtimes.
All in all, the benefits of having your website on a CND far outweigh the negatives if at all there are any. From increased page-load speeds to security, all these can be made available to you at a relatively low cost through a CDN.