Today we will be talking about CDNs. CDN stands for content delivery network, but what is it?
A CDN helps to improve the page load speed of a site by moving some of the content closer to the end user via a network of servers all sharing the same content. This means that content can be delivered more efficiently and there is less down time for the user who has requested that file. They can be used to store static files such as stylesheets, images and pdfs.
How does it work? The website owner must upload the content to the network so that it can be stored outside of their server. Then, when the user clicks on the page on the website, the file is requested from the network. Instead of waiting for the file to come from the original server, it is redirected to the nearest located server and delivered.
Why should you use a CDN? It can help to improve page load speed by closing the distance between user and the content, so knowing where your user base is located can make all the difference. Since page load speed is a known variant in search engine rankings, decreasing the amount of loading time may have a positive impact on traffic, conversions and rankings.
Making use of a CDN can also keep a server from crashing when a lot of users are trying to access the site at one time by distributing the load across multiple servers. Because the content is stored on a network of servers it can be accessed from multiple points and distribute the users more efficiently. This is also a benefit to optimization efforts, as the less time a website is down, the more time it is available to be accessed by potential visitors and bots.
Are there any potential downsides to using a CDN? A CDN must only be used if there is also a plan to keep the majority of content located on the original server, as allowing other servers to own 100% of the content on the site can make it appear that the site has nothing original on it. When a site does not own any content, it is difficult for the search engines to attribute any great value to the site and there is a potential for missed rankings.
Overall, It is best to use a CDN for frequently accessed files or larger pieces of content and always in moderation so that only the benefits are gained.