A school was celebrating a recent success by distributing chocolates to all the students. The principal distributed the chocolates to the teachers who in turn distributed it to the children. To think of it, the principal could have personally distributed the chocolates to all the children but by giving it to the teachers, the principal saved time. The result was the same – the children got the chocolates. The benefit was that everyone was able to save time.
In the same way, the internet uses CDNs to reduce the duration of time spent between a user asking for information and the website’s hosting server sending it to them. CDNs are designed to solve the problem of latency which occurs when a user requests data for a website to the time the data finally appears on their screen. Latency is usually caused because of the physical distance between the user’s location and the location of the website’s hosting server. CDNs, just like the teachers, help in distributing data quickly and more effectively so that the site can benefit from improved speed and performance.
Now that you know why CDNs are gaining popularity in the internet universe today, here is some insight on who may benefit from it, and when and how to use them.
When should you use CDNs?
Knowing that they can considerably speed up the loading time of your page and help you improve your website performance, CDNs seem to be a technology that should not be missed. However, the truth is that CDNs are not meant for every website. Even as a free service, you may want to avoid using CDNs if your website is meant to run a strictly localized business. If the majority of your users are located in the same place then using a CDN can only add chaos to an otherwise simple website model. So if you are targeting the local audience and want to ensure that they enjoy a good experience on your website then avoid the addition of another connection point through a CDN. Keep it simple and avoid CDNs.
But if you are aiming to reach a larger audience and want that your website should enjoy a global reach then your website definitely requires the services of a CDN provider. There are some very popular CDN providers and one of the most renowned ones is Cloudflare. It offers its services through a variety of plans which can be suitable according to the ambitions of your business.
In addition to providing global reach and better loading speeds, CDNs also improve the reliability of your website. Users like visiting a website which they can rely on when it comes to producing high quality images, videos and better performance. As a result, CDNs can improve your revenue and help you build customer loyalty.
So if you are building a website or if you own a website which caters to a large audience and may have users located in different parts of the world, then you must consider using CDN.
Making CDN work for your website
CDNs have been around since the early 90s. But they were way too expensive then for small businesses to consider using them. Now, there are lots of providers who offer their services for free making it much more viable for personal website owners and bloggers as well. With CDNs becoming more accessible, using them for your website has become less complex too. Most CDN vendors will help you with clear instructions on setting up CDN for your website and activating it so that you can enjoy its benefits.
Online and over-the-phone assistance is also made readily available by the CDN providers so that the customers do not get stuck trying to use the services. For someone who understands the technology, it usually takes less than five minutes to complete everything and get going.
The idea is to make the CDN the default inbound gateway for all the traffic. This requires modifications in the root domain configurations as well as those of the subdomains. By changing the configuration of the root domain and the subdomain the DNS will route all the visitors to the CDN as opposed to directing it to your original server.
A number of web hosting providers give their clients the option to activate CDN services by checking on a box which is an add-on. Knowing the importance of speed and performance, hosting providers are being intuitive about the needs of their clients, but they do not use it by default keeping in mind that some users may want to use CDN services from a provider of their own choice or they may not want to use it at all.
Take Home Message
Content Delivery Networks are gaining traction because of the unprecedented rate at which the internet is growing to accommodate more users. With more and more people staying online for longer period of time watching videos, playing games, reading blogs or shopping online. Videos are becoming a more integral part of the web experience which makes it important for website owners to have a strategy in place that will not lead to poor customer experiences because of bad quality of the videos. CDN has finally been able to step into the limelight and website owners are beginning to value the benefits it provides to their website.
In addition to improving speeds, CDNs are also emerging as a safety measure to improve the security of the website. A number of CDNs are known to block threats and prevent bot attacks and abusive crawlers from wasting your bandwidth. It means that you will be able to enjoy lower spam and hacker attacks. But all of this can largely depend on the services that your CDN provider is offering.
The CDN market is growing at a fast pace and it is estimated to continue its growth to accommodate the growth of internet users. An increase in the number of smartphone users throughout the globe is also leading to an increase in the use of CDNs by website owners.