What is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?
As user interactions with online content become more complex, CDNs help improve user satisfaction by optimising websites. Their importance can be gauged by the rapidity and numbers by which CDNs have bloomed over the past few years. In this article, our SEO experts help you understand what a content delivery network is and how it improves UX.
What is a Content Delivery Network?
A content delivery network (CDN) refers to a network of servers distributed over different geographical locations. This group of servers work together to load internet content faster by serving it from the nearest location of the user.
How does a CDN work?
The longer the distance between a server and a browser, the longer it will take for the server to respond to a request. A CDN moves the server closer to the client (i.e., the browser). How? A CDN places servers at high-speed exchange points. Internet exchange points (IXPs) are locations where Internet providers connect to provide access to traffic originating on their own networks. A CDN takes advantage of these highly interconnected locations and places servers at IXPs to reduce transit times.
What are the benefits of using a Content Delivery Network?
CDNs increase site speed
A CDN may use tactics like minification or file compression to reduce file sizes. Reduced file sizes consume lesser data and load faster.
CDNs enhance scalability
CDN provides faster load times and the load is spread over multiple servers. This means more traffic, more potential leads, better conversions and better responses to traffic spikes. If your business has periodic or seasonal highs, or if you plan to run a limited period offer, you may find traffic spikes to your website. With load balancing, CDNs distribute the demand across multiple servers. Your primary server is not impacted, and the website performance remains intact.
CDNs control bandwidth consumption
Your web hosting provider will charge you according to the data used on the primary server. As CDN caches content on the servers on the network, less data is transferred from the host server. This helps to bring down the bandwidth consumption and thereby cutting costs.
CDNs enhance security
CDN providers use tools and settings to act as a firewall against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and other common attacks. This acts as an extra layer of security in addition to your standard cybersecurity solutions.
CDNs reduce infrastructure costs
A CDN provides you with the server’s infrastructure, so you do not have to spend on building and maintaining your own network. Of course, you will have to pay for the service, but it will be much lesser than maintaining your own network.
CDNs improve content delivery
In additions to fast delivery of content, CDNs also contribute towards improving the quality of content delivery. This is especially true for live streaming, videos and other playback media, where transmission quality is important for user satisfaction. Buffering and broken or incomplete transmissions can be avoided with CDNs with load balancing.
Latency – Time needed for the server to respond to a request.
DDoS attacks – Distributed Denial of Service attacks are where an attacker overwhelms a server or network with more traffic than it can handle.
Minification – Minimising code or mark-up in script files to remove unnecessary characters without affecting functionality, to reduce load times and bandwidth usage.