What the heck is a CDN (content delivery network)?
When a person ‘visits’ a website their computer makes a request to a server to deliver a bunch of files back to their computer. Those files are displayed by their browser as a web page. If they’re in the same town as the server that process happens quickly. If they’re on the other side of the world it can take much longer. That’s where a CDN comes into play.
Most page content is made from static files that include photos, images, videos and stylesheets. A CDN pre-distributes this static content to servers all over the world. No matter where the visitor is the files are nearby.
There’s another good reason for a CDN. Let’s say you get really popular and your website gets lots and lots of visitors. As a result your web server becomes overloaded. Soon your site slows down. If you were using a CDN this is less likely to happen. As a CDN delivers files from the server closest to a web visitor the heavy lifting is distributed and sites perform faster.
Aside from the obvious benefits to site visitors fast sites rank better on Google searches. That’s a benefit for web marketers.
The main benefits of a CDN then are:
- They make your website run faster
- A faster website makes it more user-friendly
- Faster sites usually have lower bounce rates and more pageviews per visit.
- Faster sites rank better in Google search.