Do You Need a Content Delivery Network?

Server Concept 3

Site speed is critical for optimal performance. Studies show that the average user will wait 6-10 seconds for a page to load – but they’re not going to be happy about it, and many bounce when they encounter even a second or two of delay. One of the ways that you can shave off some time is to opt for a content delivery network, or CDN? How does this work, and is it a good choice for your business and website?

What is a CDN?

Don’t be intimidated: it’s just a network! Typically, when a visitor comes to your site, he is redirected to your webhost server, which could be next door or a half a continent away. When a high volume of visitors sends requests to the server at the same time, it can lead to sluggish load times. CDNs solve tackle this problem on two fronts:

  • CDNs utilize a network of server, reducing the chances that you’ll overload any one server with high volume requests.
  • Visitors are redirected to servers closest to their geographical location, which speeds up the entire process.

Other benefits include:

  • Improved user experience and decreasing bounce rates.
  • Customer retention.
  • Greater network security and reduced risk of crashes.
  • Seamless delivery of content, including video streaming.
  • Removal of global barriers and expansion of reach.
  • Cachable files for reduced load times.

Is there any reason why a CDN is not an optimal solution? Cost is a major issue. It may not be useful for a small business, for instance, to invest in a CDN given the startup costs and maintenance fees. While large companies can save money by serving faster content, the same may not apply to smaller entities.

Another issue is that you’re sharing resources; if other customers within your particular CDN are experience high volumes of traffic, it could impact your load times. And, as always when you introduce more moving parts, there is a risk that there could be failures somewhere along the delivery line. Now, this is true no matter what server option you choose, but it’s something to consider.

Is a CDN right for you? Weigh the increased speed against the cost. Will it provide a solid ROI, or can you get by with a centralised web server? There is no right answer – just the one that will benefit your business most.

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