The internet has evolved. It’s all about speed and efficiency.
Yes, everyone hates the slow web.
And let’s just say distance matters. Bits travel at a limited speed and the longer they take, the slower the speed is. To cover long distances, data packets are routed through more machines.
Surveys have revealed that most web users expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less.
When you visit a website, you are loaded with content from that server. If you do not have a way to filter this, you could be in trouble with your server under constant stress.
With people who do not have a ton of visitors to their website, this is not a cause to worry about. But, if your site is up and running and attracts thousands of visitors each day, you need to step up your game.
A stressed server means a slow website, unresponsive pages and eventually, you begin to lose the traffic.
So, how do you ensure this doesn’t happen?
Do you know how important speed is even in SEO performance?
This is where a Content Delivery Network service comes into play.
First, it’s important to understand what CDN is. There’s a reason why all the experts including your WooCommerce expert developer swear by it.
In simple words, CDN distributes the static content of your websites like pictures and videos, and puts them in locations closer to the places where your target audience is. A content delivery network or content distribution network (CDN) is a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and their data centers. The way it works also depends on the Content Delivery Network you are using.
Amazon, Akamai, etc., are just a few of the many names. These services have servers everywhere in the world. These services cache the content to their servers.
When someone visits your website, the images, videos and pictures are loaded from those “Node Servers” instead of your servers.
In other words, CDN is the backbone of all content that is shared on the Internet today. We all interact with CDN through the videos we watch, the social media feeds and the articles we read on the web.
Today, CDN is used to speed up the performance of your website, thus, engaging the audience better.
A recent Cisco report indicated that content delivery networks will carry over half of internet traffic by 2019. Globally, 62% of all internet traffic will cross content delivery networks by 2019, up from 39 percent in 2014.
So, How Does CDN Work?
It is simple. Quick. And you can automate it to do everything for you.
You implement a CDN by making changes to DNS. You get a DNS record for your CDN, and you replace it with all the pictures and video links that are there on your website.
Let’s just say they have a mirrored copy of all your site content.
Just like any ecommerce website design agency, CDN also uses a variety of tools to store a cached version of your website’s content. This is done in various locations around the globe. These are called Points of Presence (PoP).
The PoPs use some caching servers that deliver content to visitors within that geography.
The PoP of a particular location is responsible for content delivery in that specific area.
To put it in simple words, in a single step, CDN is at the core of data scattered around the world. This aids in ensuring that your users have more comprehensive coverage. For instance, someone sitting in New York will be able to access your website through a local NY PoP.
As a result, your website works better, and quicker. A CDN service cuts the geographical distance from your customer to a server. They speed up downloads by keeping a copy of your data closer to your users.
Let’s understand some terms before getting into a detailed understanding of how CDN works.
Here are a Few Terms You Must Understand:
Upload Time: Time to get Bit from client to server.
Download Time: Get Bit from server to client.
Round Trip Time (RTT): Upload Latency + Download Latency.
Packet Loss Ratio (PLR): Average Percentage of Loss packets.
And finally, Effective Bandwidth, which is the Real Upload and download speed after RTT and PLR. This is the actual rate at which a client can pass data to a server and back again. This is done after factoring in the round trip time and the ratio of packets that require resubmission.
Who is CDN Meant for?
CDNs are already serving most of the traffic on the internet. This service is for everyone who is trying to get traffic online, make sales online, and especially for those with vast geography of users.
They are mostly used as a free service. But this does not mean that CDN is for everyone.
If you have a local website and targeting people in the area of hosting, CDN is of no use. CDN can trouble your website’s performance in this case.
This is because it will add another additional point between the server and the visitor.
That being said, CDN is an excellent tool for many other fields like advertising, gaming online, government websites, higher education, and healthcare. Not to forget, media and entertainment!
Benefits of Using CDN
1. Find Different domains
In an age when browsers can limit the number of file downloads to one area; you need something more. Since most servers allow the use of four active connections at the same time, the fifth download will be blocked. Try downloading large files from the same site, and you will know what we mean. Now when it comes to CDN files, they are hosted on a different domain.
You can download another four files at the same time.
2. Taking the load off your Central Server
With CDN, you can divide your website traffic into different servers around the world. This also decreases the money spent on your infrastructure.
3. No Problem if the server is down
Until a few years back, a problem with web hosting would mean limited options. It wasn’t easy to change the hosts quickly enough. You will end up wasting your time as you wait for the host to fix the issue.
CDN has fixed this. It caches your web pages. In case of a mishap where a web host stops responding, CDN comes into play and serves the cached pages. So even when the host’s servers crash, your website is still up and running.
4. Zero downtime Data Centre
For those who do not have CDNs, for instance, if your primary web server is based in California, it will require many trans-continental electronic hops for your users in other countries to access your files.
CDNs provide localized data centers. These are closer to the user’s location and yield faster results and downloads.
5. Boost Response time
You need speed for all kinds of businesses online. If the page is not downloading within a few seconds, it can put people off very quickly. CDN is perfect for Internet-based sales. It speeds up download times and seamlessly blends all aspects of online business resulting in higher customer satisfaction.
6. Better Service and Analysis
CDNs do not just offer better and quicker content; they provide valuable analytics. This information is vital in the world of advertising sales. You will see that commercial CDNs also offer you the provision of file usage reports because the charges are usually per byte. These reports can help you understand your website analytics better. You can even get a better impression of how your videos are doing and the number of downloads.
7. Save Costs
This goes without saying.
CDN will save you a great buck. There is no elaborate infrastructure required anymore to make your website work smarter and better. CDN does that for you. So, rather than investing in separate service providers, you can now reduce the cost by choosing one network that works globally.
8. Reverse proxying
Reverse proxying is one of the many benefits of modern CDNs. Unlike traditional CDNs, where customers used to upload their content directly to the cache servers, you can now fetch and store the content from your original server without front-loading the cache servers. The modern CDNs do it on their own.
9. Protect your website
You can now protect your website against traffic spikes with CDNs. If your site gets a great response overnight, you can drive traffic sensibly with CDN services. Because CDNs run vast networks of servers, their reach is widespread, and offer scalable solutions to managing the influx of traffic.
Even if you have the traffic coming in that you find difficult to handle, the CDNs do it for you, effortlessly.
10. Resource Caching
We all know how vital caching is for any server to work correctly. It plays a vital role in how the bandwidth works.
But if you don’t know how to implement it, then you can be in trouble.
The catch is— Caching is among the primary roles of any CDN provider. They do it all for you without you worrying about it. After all, it’s caching that makes all the difference in speeding up your website.
How to Choose the Right CDN Provider for You?
The market for Content Delivery networks is elaborated. You must know where to start else you will find yourself in the wrong place. There are many things to evaluate before you choose the CDN for your business. For instance, ask yourself, “Do I Need a Dedicated Server”.
Here are the factors that come into play.
Measuring Response Time
Dig deeper into how the CDN works on its analytics. You want to choose something with the provision of multiple reports, a comprehensive and robust platform for analytics that segments data cleverly.
How much does it cost?
You might think it’s quite obvious, but deciding on the price a particular CDN deserves can be tricky. The theory is simple—the transfer of bits and bytes can cost a significant amount of data and escalate the costs.
With a CDN, spend according to the kind of traffic you will serve on a given day and in the months to come.
There are many pricing models like annual contracts and monthly contracts, and those are explicitly customized for your business type. Before you pick on the additional services too, find out why and what you are investing in. If you are running an eCommerce website, consult with your Magento 2 development company before you choose any plan.
The additional services can increase the cost of your package, so ask yourself if you need them.
Which model will suit your business?
It’s important to consider the architecture of CDN that suits your business type. After all, it is the CDN structure that decides how the system will respond to specific performance tests.
You can choose from these two architectures:
1) Traditional: Smaller PoPs that disperse in a large area.
2) Modern: Mega PoPs in the significant Internet Exchange Points (IXP).
When you are analyzing performance metrics, architecture plays a vital role. The performance of these architectures varies according to geography as well as other factors.
For instance, the latest MegaPoP designs work in countries where the peering relationships are smarter and more mature. Smaller and primarily distributed traditional PoP designs are working better for countries like India and Latin America, with lesser developed peering relationships.
Compensation for Network Outages
The rule is simple — Do not believe everything you are told.
No matter what they say, all kinds of networks suffer from outages. Systems will offer you 100 percent uptime, but SLAs are generic when it comes to streaming media delivery services. So, find out how you will be compensated in case of an outage.
In most cases, service providers write down the terms of compensation in numbers to be clear. But find out what happens when you have frequent outages for a specific period.
Just like Magento website developers, CDN is an essential tool in how you run your business. Do not assume things that come as a part of the package. The good news is that today, CDNs are now responsible for a significant chunk of the load on websites. And that’s how you save money on your web host.
You use fewer resources when all your essential work is coming from one single place. Cisco’s report pointed out that CDN traffic will deliver over half of all internet video traffic by 2019. And, by 2019, 72% of all Internet video traffic will cross content delivery networks, compared with 57% in 2014.