CDN is short for Content Delivery Network. The CDN can help your viewers load your website quicker by storing static images of your website in nodes located around the world. The viewer will automatically use the node closest to them. This ensures that they will get a faster response and reduced download time or basically, your website will load faster. This should help to improve your rankings as page speed is an SEO factor.
Do you Need a CDN?
Not everybody needs a CDN. It is important to understand how a CDN works. If your clients are all in the location surrounding where you host your website there is no real need for a CDN even though it will load slightly faster. If they are spread out over the globe then a CDN is a great idea.
How Does a CDN Work?
A CDN is made up of a network of servers scattered around the globe. Each of these CDN nodes caches the static content of your website such as images etc. By having the majority of the content of the website close to the viewer/potential client your website loads much faster.
Basically, your CDN ensures that users download data from the server that is closest to them.
Is a CDN Necessary?
Depending on your client location a CDN may or may not be necessary. If your potential clients are all in the same area that your website is hosted then a CDN is not really necessary. If you are aiming at different locations such as Europe, and Australia then a CDN is a very good idea. When hiring a CDN remember that if you only have an interest in targetting certain sections of the globe you can install nodes that only target these locations.
Another benefit of a CDN is that it can also be a big help for high traffic websites by helping to prevent site crashes due to volume. The CDN helps to distribute bandwidth across several servers instead of having just one server trying to carry everything.
What is the Cost of a CDN
Most CDNs are 3rd party paid services. They range from cost effective solutions for small / medium websites to very expensive high end setups for enterprise websites. Things such as bandwidth, security, SSL needs and geographical range affect price. By doing research and only paying for what you need a CDN can be affordable for website owners no matter the budget.
Implementing a CDN
For those of you using a popular CMS such as WordPresss or Drupal will easily find plugins that will do most of the work for you. For more complex websites they made need to make adjustments to their DNS and nameservers.
No matter your website a CDN WILL get you faster load speeds. You will have to decide for yourself does the extra cost justify the speedup or not. If you have made all the onsite improvements you can then it may be the next step to take, especially if you are in a high competition niche. For very busy websites they should be part of your website maintenance / SEO plan.
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