Dcode Group Blog

What is a CDN

If you've built a new site, chances are you've heard "CDN" mentioned, and if not, you can be certain that your developer is using one for your site. But what is a CDN? CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. Put simply, it's a network of servers that deliver content to users closer to their location - ensuring your website works faster for users across the globe. And that's important in today's "now" world.

What are the benefits of a CDN and Why Should I Use One

There’s several benefits to using a CDN. There is a lot of high-end and complicated tasks you can achieve with a CDN, but for the most part people use it to keep latency time down and website speed up. These are the main reasons to use a CDN

Increase Site Speed

While it may not be obvious to you because you are near your web host, a CDN will deliver a significant speed boost to other users who may not be near your physical server. We'll discuss this in more detail below. If you've never tested the speed of your site, head here to check

Reduce Bandwith Cost

A CDN will still have a cost associated with the service, however it will reduce your web hosting costs as a CDN serves content to users on their servers, not yours.  This means you won't exceed the limits of your hosting plan and cop extra fees. In addition, CDN costs are often reduced from regular hosting plan costs - meaning a more economical hosting plan.

Add Scalability and Availability

A CDN increases uptime and availability of your site. We've discussed uptime in this blog in more detail. The majority of CDN providers use load balancing tactics to ensure that your site doesn't go down.

Improve Security

CDN providers use many tools to help protect your site. It can serve as a kind of firewall to protect your site from going down. Using a CDN uses HTTPS to create a secure connection further improving the stability of your site.

What does a CDN Do?

CDN's cache static content at a number of locations across the world. This is HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Image files that stay the same (or similar) for every user. By making these files available in more locations, (and closer in geography to your users), your visitors are accessing this content quicker - ensuring a faster browsing experience.

Think about this: Choose a city to host your site eg Melbourne, Australia. If you're using a computer in, for example, South Yarra (a suburb in Melbourne)  the content will load quickly because you're physically located near the host of the website and the content doesn't need to “travel” far to reach you. But if you're in Singapore, the user is far less likely to have the experience. Why? Well primarily it's because of Latency. The further the distance between a server and a user, the longer the latency. This is the time the server takes to respond to the request - which is often affected by the distance the data needs to travel from the host computer/server to the user's browser. Using a CDN, you are effectively moving the site closer to users (regardless of their geographic location) resulting in  less latency and a faster load time.

Implementing a Content Delivery Network is a next level optimisation. It is not a small code modification. It's a paid, third party service so implementing one for your site will depend on your needs and budget. You can still provide a solid experience for your users without a CDN, but you can provide an even better experience with one. Although it may sound quite complicated, implementing a CDN is actually quite easy. In the long run, the benefits far outweigh any negatives. If you'd like to work through your options, let's have a chat about the requirements for a CDN to suit your site. It may very well be only a small cost to achieve some significant results.

Written by

Andrew Sirianni

Andrew founded DCODE GROUP with the goal to develop custom software solutions...