A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a geographically dispersed network of connected servers that provides faster and more efficient delivery of your WordPress Blog images, photos, videos, long-form content such as eBooks and many other forms of digital media that measure in the multiple megabytes and gigabyte range.
This network of connected servers stores a full version of your digital media on each server at what is referred to as “points of presence (POP).” These networked servers are located at geographically strategic locations, close to your intended audience or existing customer base.
Optimization, SEO, and CDN Acting Together
We talk a lot about page load speed is a critical factor. Whether a visitor stays on your website or does what we call “bouncing” from your site or a competitor’s website where the response time is much better. It’s one of those foundational issues when you optimize your site using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. Page load speed is a crucial factor in attaining a higher Google ranking on the search engine results page (SERP). You hope to land on page one as one of the top ten relevant sites. Discoverability is the priority.
In 2010, Google made page load speed an official ranking factor citing poor user experience as the motivating reason. Let’s face it- Google is driven by the people that search the Internet. These web searchers want their information fast and with a high degree of relevance. The Google ranking algorithm is built with that purpose in mind. However, SEO on page techniques are only 100% effective if the content of the website is hosted on a server that is geographically close to the people that want to view the content.
CDN to the Rescue
Augmenting techniques are needed to achieve the response time that will keep your visitors on your site. A CDN is that augmentation factor. An excellent SEO-inspired page load speed, coupled with a CDN that puts the content close at hand, will deliver the customer experience you want.
A superb example is an offer of a free 35MB eBook, filled with videos and professional graphics on a web landing page, in exchange for primary contact information of a visitor. If the eBook exists on a server that is geographically distant from the visitor, there are inherent time delays, as that content passes from server to server on its way to the visitor.
The bigger the file, the more data packets that have to maneuver through the web. If that time extends to be five seconds or more, or a data packet is lost and the upload fails, the visitor is likely to bounce and look for similar content elsewhere.
5 Reasons Why CDN’s Add Value to Your Business
- Speed – this is listed again, for the sake of completeness. There are additional technical details that make speed even better if you’re using a CDN service. Beyond close geographic proximity, most CDN providers offer HTTP/2 connectivity, which speeds up the delivery of content even more, given that its binary (pure digital) while the older HTTP/1.1 standard is textual.
- Security – this depends on your choice of CDN service providers. Most of them provide a SSL certificate with an automatic renewal service as well. It’s practically hands-free for you.
- Minimized possibility of a server crash – traffic distribution using CDN edge servers is automatic at peak periods of load. The traffic will be split among multiple edge servers so that your home server at the point of origin is less likely to crash as data packets are delayed in the delivery of content.
- Excellent user experience – a happy customer is much more likely to return to your e-commerce or business site for future business if they were treated well the first time around. You will end up on their favorites list in their browser that puts you one click away from a return visit.
- Cost and Revenue – one major CDN benefit is your revenue is going to increase because you’ve treated the customer well. Thus, the return on the investment for a CDN service is positive because you are now a customer-centered business.
How we use content Delivery Networks at Nolte?
At Nolte we use a CDN on a large percentage of the products we develop. While we’ve outlined the benefit, we feel it is important to give more specifics of the tools. We also believe security is extremely important, and for this reason, we recommend to always look for a safe service (https instead of http). Here is a more specific insight into how we are using these CDNs at Nolte.
CDNJS Directory – This tool allows you to browse through all of the available CDN networks available from one place. They also offer a great public API for developing your own projects. Here is a link to the top 200 most copied libraries on CDNJS.
Cloudflare – we use it on several of our sites. Cloudflare is great for performance, security (DDoS attack protection), and instant DNS propagation when you need to switch the server (i.e. they use cname).
What we have been talking about so far has been CDN’s set up in the client-server environment using a third-party service, usually a cloud-based operation. There are other options that we won’t deal with in detail here, but you should be aware of what they are.
- Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks are used to deliver massive-scaled, high-quality streaming content using real-time web communications (WebRTC) technology.
P2P permits these peer exchanges to be done entirely secure, without the need for the end user to install a plugin or extension of any kind.
There is no infrastructure required. You are going from one user to another.
This technique can be used as a hybrid CDN network as well which improves speed even more than what the HTTP/2.0 standard alone can achieve.
- Private CDN’s are an option for the business with deep pockets. It is precisely what it says it is. It’s a privately deployed set of edge servers located at vital geographic locations, that are connected to the company server of origin.
The critical issue here is that only your content will be on the servers. You are in control of your destiny.
Private CDN’s are also a risk management option as a backup to a public service such as Cloudflare. If the public service goes down, you have an option to stay online and deliver the content to critical locations.
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