If you’re looking to improve the performance of your website, you may be considering using a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN can help to reduce bandwidth and latency while improving security, to leave you with a reliable website that provides a great user experience.
What is a CDN?
A CDN is a system of distributed servers that deliver webpages and other web content to users based on their geographic locations. CDNs allow for the quick and efficient delivery of content to users around the globe by caching content at strategically located data centers.
How Do CDNs Work?
Even though a CDN is made up of servers that house website content, it cannot act as a web host by itself; you must still use more traditional web hosting to run your website. Simply put, the CDN stores the content of your website on servers that are closer to your end customers. In case you make any modifications or changes, it links back to the primary, original website content that is kept on your origin store.
Wherever your company is based, an actual on-premises server could serve as your origin store, but many expanding organizations choose to use cloud storage providers instead. Instead of investing in costly on-premises servers, they may use cloud storage to scale up or down as their website’s content grows and only pay for what they really need.
IXPs, also known as internet exchange points, are where the CDN provider installs its edge servers. IXPs are locations where traffic flows between several internet service providers, similar to a freeway interchange, enabling faster delivery of data to end consumers.
Not all of your website’s content will always be kept on IXPs. A user must first request that website content; as long as the content is still being requested, the CDN stores it on the server that is closest to the end user after retrieving it from the origin store. The “time to live,” or TTL, of the content on the server, is predetermined. The TTL indicates how long the content will be stored on the edge server. The server will eventually stop storing the content if it is not requested within the TTL at some time.
A cache hit occurs when a user accesses website content from the edge server’s cache. A cache miss occurs when the content is not in the cache and needs to be retrieved from the origin store. The cache hit ratio is a crucial indicator for website owners that use cloud storage as their origin and are attempting to minimize their egress fees (the fees cloud storage providers charge to send data out of their systems). It represents the ratio of hits to misses. You will pay less for egress out of their origin store the better the cache hit ratio.
Round trip time, also referred to as RTT, is a crucial measure for CDN customers. RTT is the time it takes for a request from a user to go to its destination and back again. Owners of websites can better understand network health and connection speed with the use of RTT indicators. The basic objective of a CDN is to minimize RTT.
How Can a CDN Improve Website Performance?
Google formally announced last year that page load time is now a significant factor in SERP and SEO rankings. Therefore, the quicker your website loads, the more visibility you’ll receive.
CDNs significantly speed up page loading. Although it might just be a second or two, in the world of website speed, that can be lightyears. A 1.5-second page load time is excellent, while a 2.5-second page load time is barely above average.
Therefore, CDNs are extremely important when the margin of error regarding website speed is so small. Content reaches viewers faster when it is closer to them, benefiting you.
When content is transmitted across the internet, like from a website to an end user, it is transferred through packets. Packets are small data units containing information about the source and destination network addresses, error detection and correction, protocol identifiers, and more.
If these packets need to cover long distances and many devices before reaching an end user, it’s possible for some of them to get lost. They could also be delayed, which increases latency and provides a less than stellar user experience for the user, especially when the content involves video audio or live streaming.
An indirect but important benefit of a CDN is improved website security. CDNs help avoid any server overloads by distributing content through their edge servers, which can also be a powerful shield against cyber attacks reliant on traffic spikes to key servers.
This is especially beneficial in the case of DDoS attacks, where an attacker tries to overwhelm the server by sending a large number of requests. CDNS can thwart DDoS attacks by acting as a DDoS protection platform, distributing the load of content requests equally across the network, and protecting valuable data centers.
CDNs are indirectly responsible for cost savings and eliminating unnecessary spending and losses linked to server outages and compromised websites because of their capacity to block one of the most prevalent types of cyber attacks through DDoS prevention.
However, they also contribute to cost savings by optimizing a company’s bandwidth usage by capping data transfers. If a website receives a lot of queries all the time, this can use up a lot of bandwidth and increase prices. By lowering the bandwidth demands on origin servers, CDNs help website owners in saving money on bandwidth and web hosting.
Your website’s reliability or uptime is essential. It takes a lot of work to get visitors to your website, so it’s disappointing for both you and the user if your website simply doesn’t open.
You can be sure that a crashed website will not be something users will return to when they don’t even want to wait a couple of seconds in the first place.
Implementing a CDN essentially involves making copies of your website all around the world. Therefore, it does not impact your website’s uptime if one of your servers or PoP fails. Sending content would then be handled by one of the other caching servers.
At the end of the day, all of the hard work you put into your website is to create a good user experience. Having a good website that loads fast will help your users get what they want quicker.
Using a CDN will make your website load faster and be more reliable. With a website optimized for performance, you will experience better retention and conversion rates, all music to a website owner’s ears.
In conclusion, using a CDN can be a great way to improve the performance of your website. A CDN can help to reduce latency and bandwidth and improve security, all for a more reliable website that provides a good user experience. Overall, using a CDN can be a great way to enhance the performance of your website.