What is a Content Delivery Network? (CDN)

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A Content Delivery Network (or CDN) is a collection of servers scattered across the earth in different locations that work cohesively to deliver top class internet speeds. I network such as this makes transferring the likes of HTML pages images, stylesheets and javascript files far easier. Data delivery and transit times are much reduced when using a CDN.

Such is the effectiveness of CDNs, the majority of online content is delivered using this method today; their popularity is assured with the likes of Amazon, Netflix, Facebook and Instagram all using them.

Another added bonus of properly set up and configured CDNs is that they are able to protect your website from Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks amongst others.

CDN or web host?

They’re actually two different things. A CDN does not host content, but it does help with the cache process which enhances performance. Traditional hosting often can’t get the job done which is why many organisations choose to use a CDN. Caching effectively reduces the number of service interruptions; it reduces hosting bandwidth and bolsters your security.

CDNs: the benefits

There are four broad benefits associated with using a CDN; here they are:

Loading times

CDNs improve your website loading times by storing content at different points throughout the world nearer to the various end users. Reducing bounce rates is crucial for your user engagement and it is also an important metric for the search engines; if the search engines recognise your site as one with higher that usual bounce rates they will not rank your site highly in their search results.

Bandwidth costs

Bandwidth consumption is a serious expense for businesses, but via effective caching and various other optimisation tricks CDNs can drastically reduce your bandwidth expenditure.

Content availability and redundancy

A CDN can just handle far more traffic as a result of their geographically distributed nature. As a result they are far more resistant to hardware failure when compared to standard origin servers. If one element of the CDN goes down, there are immediate fail safes that kick in to eliminate redundancy and downtime.

Security

CDNs will improve your website security no end. You’ll benefit from DDOS migration, enhanced security certificates and many other security enhancements and optimisations.

A CDN will keep your site secure by maintaining fresh TLS/SSL certificates which aid integrity, encryption and authentication; these are essential in your cyber security efforts.

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