While you may have heard of Content Delivery Networks or CDNs, what you may not realize is that you have been interacting with them on a daily basis.
When it comes to major sites like Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix, their web traffic is served through CDNs. They do this in order to increase speed and website loading, as well as helping to protect their sites from attacks such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). In fact, of the top 10, 000 websites in the world, just over 40% of them are using CDNs.
Of course, this can make a lot of sense for huge corporations, but how is it that CDNs can help your business website?
1. Faster Website & Less Latency
The most compelling reason to use a CDN is that it will increase the speed of your website loading while decreasing latency.
So what is latency, I hear you ask?
Latency is the time that it takes for the data to go from point A to point B. When talking about websites, we’re looking at the length of time it takes information to go from your web server to the web user’s browser, and vice versa. In concrete terms, we’re talking about how long it takes for a user to access your website and get the information that they want.
Why does this matter?
In February 2017, Google updated research on webpage loading times to show that the average website takes around 15 seconds to load, yet 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.
With web designs becoming more complex and more beautiful, businesses don’t want to compromise on the look and feel of their websites. However, a 53% bounce rate is a challenge.
This is where a CDN can help increase your website performance, and decrease latency. In fact, some tests have shown that using a CDN can decrease the total load time by over 50%. By decreasing the distance from server to user, you stand a better chance of keeping your audience’s attention.
2. CDNs Can Help Your Host
The average website size in the past three years has actually doubled in size, thanks to images, scripts, and continuing demands to make sites more visually impressive. While that’s great for users, in theory, web hosts are straining under the weight of these bigger sites.
Simply put, a traditional web host is no longer able to meet the needs of 21st-century websites.
By contrast, a CDN can play a huge part in ensuring that your website looks and runs the way that you want it to, while not expecting your users to wait. If you want to offer high-quality content in a cost-effective and reliable way, a CDN will ease the strain put on your web host.
This can save you money, as a content delivery network can handle up to 60% of the load, without relying on one single server.
3. Gives You The SEO Edge
One of the first rules of SEO - or search engine optimization - is that the length of time it takes your page to load is vital for rankings. Google has been highlighting the need for speed since 2009, and in 2010 they announced that the length of time it takes for your page to load affects your search engine rankings.
What does this mean?
The faster your website, the more likely you are to appear ahead in the search engine results. This increases your organic reach, strengthening your place in the top.
Another overlooked SEO advantage is that by using a CDN, Google will be able to crawl your images. This is important for indexing reasons, and means that your images and site will be indexed faster in Google, and therefore more readily available when people are searching.
To give you an idea of how quickly your page should be loading, the ideal is to aim for around a 2 second loading time.
4. Surprisingly Cost Effective
The assumption of a lot of people is that a CDN is prohibitively expensive, however, that’s not quite true. Some CDN providers do carry a hefty price tag, however, there are others with very reasonable prices. In fact, it’s worth considering a CDN to be an investment in order to increase the speed of your site.
By getting the content delivery network to take some of the burdens from your web host, you’ll find that you need less bandwidth than you traditionally have done. This then lowers the cost of your website to host and run, so over the longer term, a CDN can prove a worthwhile investment.
5. Content Delivery Networks Are Reliable
One of the biggest frustrations for business owners is when their website goes down. After all, if customers can’t see your website then it’s hard to incentivize them to come back.
While a CDN might sound like too many moving parts to be reliable, the actual structure of a content delivery network increases reliability. In standard hosting, a request is sent to the server and if it cannot be fulfilled, it times out. Yet because a CDN request is always routed to the nearest POP server, if one happens to be down then the request is sent onto the next one.
The Take Aways
When it comes to working out if a CDN is for you, in general, the answer is going to be yes. It’s worth shopping around for the best deal for your needs. It can drastically improve your site’s performance, as well as helping your SEO and conversion rates while increasing usability and your customer experience. Why not try out a CDN and see for yourself the difference it can make to your web presence?