Arin Adamson
By Arin Adamson | Web Dev | March 14, 2016

Why you should use a CDN for your website

Is your website slow to load?

Have you completed all of the page speed optimizations outlined in “How to Optimize Website Page Speed“? If you have completed all of these page speed optimizations and your website is still slow to load, there are still a few steps you can take to enhance your website’s speed. One solution is using a content delivery network or CDN. Even if your website doesn’t look slow, implementing a CDN is a great idea if you want to take your website to the next level of optimization.

A content delivery network is a network of servers that deliver content from a website based on the location of the user. How does this help to speed up your website? It works similar to how purchasing an item from Amazon works. Imagine you live in Florida and you just purchased a football online from Amazon, which is only stocked in their California warehouse. It might take a week before that football is delivered to you in Florida. However if Amazon were to stock that football in warehouses throughout the United States, no matter what state you are in, the delivery will be reduced down to a couple days. Visiting a website using a content delivery network shortens the distance between the user and the server by “stocking” the content in multiple “warehouses” throughout the world. Even though electrons carrying the data driving the internet travel at an amazingly fast speed, they are not immune to the hardships of distance. It’s safe to say that shortening the distance those electrons have to travel will most certainly improve the time it takes for a user to download and then view the website.

Besides making your website faster and more optimized, what other value does a content delivery network provide your website?

Many CDN providers will include other services such as spam protection, SSL certificates, improved security and protection against DDOS attacks. Besides the extras CDN providers entice you to subscribe to their services, there is another great reason to use a CDN. Online service and software providers can utilize a CDN to serve up javascript libraries, plugins and other content assets you want to stay in control of, but also want to provide to your clients. I am sure there are some other great positives and uses for a content delivery network that are not being pointed out in this article. If you know of a good use, please contribute to this article in the comment section below.

Unless you have a huge world wide network of servers readily available for your company, you are going to need a content delivery network provider. There are quite a few CDN providers out there, however the best providers are MaxCDN and CloudFlare. Each provider has their benefits and differences in provided services. Both are great selections for using as your provider. Ultimately I believe the deciding factor would be the cost of each service. While MaxCDN is more expensive, CloudFlare has a free option and much cheaper options for integrating a CDN into your website. If you have the budget for MaxCDN, I’d recommend this service over CloudFlare. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

If your website is currently not using a content delivery network, it’s time to upgrade. As more and more of the population becomes acclimated to fast websites and a faster internet, the slower websites will get left out by the internet user base. If you need help setting up your CDN or optimizing the performance of your website, get a consultation from us today.

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