What is CDN ?
Content Delivery Networks (CDN) is a system of servers deployed in different geographical locations to handle increased traffic loads and reduce the time of content delivery for the user from servers. The main objective of CDN is to deliver content at top speed to users in different geographic locations and this is done by a process of replication. CDNs provide web content services by duplicating content from other servers and directing it to users from the nearest data center. The shortest possible route between a user and the web server is determined by the CDN based on factors such as speed, latency, proximity, availability and so on. CDNs are deployed in data centers to handle challenges with user requests and content routing.
The main benefits of CDN are-
Faster performance is the benefit most people think of when considering CDNs, and for good reason. Websites that start using a CDN have seen 50% reductions in load times, or even more in some cases. CDNs speed up content delivery by:
- Decreasing the distance between where content is stored and where it needs to go
- Reducing file sizes to increase load speed
- Optimizing server infrastructure to respond to user requests more quickly
Sometimes, things go wrong on the Internet. Servers go down, networks become congested, and connections get interrupted. A CDN enables web applications to provide uninterrupted service to users even in the face of these problems.
CDNs balance the load of network traffic, ensuring no one server gets overwhelmed. In the event that a single server stops working, a CDN can initiate a “failover” process that allows a backup server to take over. Some CDNs, like the Cloudflare CDN, can route around network congestion, like GPS navigation software finding a way around heavy freeway traffic.
Since CDNs are composed of multiple servers spread out in many different data centers, they can also offer a great deal of redundancy. If a server, a data center, or an entire region of data centers goes down, CDNs can still deliver content from other servers in the network.
The main way that CDNs cut down on expenditure for website operators is by reducing trips to and from the origin server. Because CDNs cache much of the content on a website and serve that content from the cache, the origin server does not have to deliver the same content over and over. Instead, the CDN does this on the origin server’s behalf.
Web hosting providers typically charge websites for the data that gets transferred to and from the web host. The more data that gets transferred, the greater the cost. People often refer to these expenses as “bandwidth costs,” even though “bandwidth” really refers to network capacity.
But when a CDN serves most of a website’s content on the origin server’s behalf, far less data needs to be transferred. Fewer user requests go to the origin server, because the CDN handles most of them. And less content goes out from the origin server for the same reason, lowering bandwidth costs.
Resilience against attack
CDNs are especially well-suited to defending websites from denial-of-service (DoS) and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. In these attacks, an attacker directs vast quantities of junk network traffic at a website to try to overwhelm and crash the website. With their many servers, CDNs are better able to absorb large amounts of traffic, even unnatural traffic spikes from a DDoS attack, than a single origin server. By doing so, they keep websites online even when under attack.
How Can CDNs Affect a Website’s Rank In The Search Engine Results (SEO)?
Page Load Speed
As mentioned – the faster your site, the more likely people are to stay around. This reduces a key element of page rank – bounce rate. Google defines bounce rate as the percentage of people who leave your site from the entrance page without interacting. Although a high bounce rate is also affected by poor site design and irrelevant content, load speed is still a key element because people have become impatient.
HTTPS and HTTP/2
Google ranks secure pages higher than insecure ones, for the sake of protecting customers. However, HTTPS slows pages down, causing problems with one and two (It is also very important to keep security certificates up to date as many people will leave a site immediately if they get a security certificate error). Let’s take a closer look at how exactly CDN services affect HTTPS.
CDN speeds up the implementation of HTTPS, mitigating the effect on load speed. “Edge” servers can handle the SSL/TLS handshake, reducing connection latency. To implement this smoothly, you need to choose a provider that explicitly offers a secure CDN, ideally using the newer HTTP/2 protocol, which is designed to be even more secure.
The time people spend on your site is increased by ensuring that every page you have loads quickly. Implementing CDN is a faster way to do this than going through and optimizing every single page on your site. Track your time-on-site durations – you want an average of one minute or higher. Anything less than that indicates that even if people are not bouncing right off your site, they are not sticking around. The longer somebody stays on your site, the more likely you are to get a conversion.
CDN allows you to optimize your images. This is not just important for page speed, but because about 63% of Google image search clicks turn into site traffic. Depending on your niche, you may get a high rate of traffic from image searches – and image rankings also take load speed into account. Obviously, this is more effective for some industries than others, but it is important enough that marketers should not ignore it.
Having striking images is essential, using a CDN helps make sure people see them.
As you can see, CDN integration is important for any company that operates outside its local area and vital for companies with global operations. It is cheaper than running your own servers in other locations but will provide your customers with the same impact. CDN improves page speed and optimizes image load times, which in turn reduce bounce rates and improve dwell time – all of which will see your website load faster.