What And Why Your Company Website Needs A CDN
You may or may not have heard of CDNs before. There are a lot of important parts to your website, especially if it's the life blood of your business. However, a CDN can be considered an important external part of your site. In this short article we will cover more on what and why you should be using one.
What is a CDN
CDN - it stands for Content Delivery Network. What it actually amounts to is other servers across the web that contain your website and deliver your site content to a user remotely closer to the user that your website is hosted on. That was a little confusing :) Here is a better definition from Webopedia by Vangie Beal:
A content delivery network (CDN) is a system of distributed servers (network) that deliver webpages and other Web content to a user based on the geographic locations of the user, the origin of the webpage and a content delivery server.
This service is effective in speeding the delivery of content of websites with high traffic and websites that have global reach. The closer the CDN server is to the user geographically, the faster the content will be delivered to the user. CDNs also provide protection from large surges in traffic.
Her first sentence explains it better than we did, with less words. We wanted to include the second paragraph as well because this is another great advantage of using a CDN - and that is speed and security.
By now you should now that how fast your website loads is not only a ranking factor, but better for the end user also. Your customers will not wait 7 to 10 seconds for your website to load. While proper construction of your website has the biggest effect on site speed, a CDN will help improve speed even more.
Smart Insights did an article that goes more indepth about CDNs and the impact of site speed:
Remember, if you ignore speed, you will be ignored... Speed is a ranking factor for Google.
If it takes time for Google to crawl your content, you need to re-work on the speed. Speed makes a huge difference when it comes to page loads. If you are slow, users will engage less with you.
Statistics from recent studies indicate that one in four people discontinue browsing a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load...
Seriously, this is something to be worked on.
Content that loads more slowly will get fewer visits.
Reports indicate that mobile devices lag behind in customer engagement metrics due to low speed. Nearly 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages stretch beyond 3 seconds to load. Wait time not only affects performance metrics, but it can be costly for the companies too.
Amazon recently revealed that an extra second in loading its content page will cost the company close to 1.6 billion in sales. With more than 244 million active users, Amazon constantly tries to optimise its presence with a special focus to reduce the load time of its content.
Be it games, software, advertisements, mobile or website content, ecommerce etc., the speed of delivery marks success. CDNs play a huge role in achieving this.
Read The Full Article "How to use CDNs to increase your site speed by 200%"
We wanted to give you that snippet just in case you didn't believe us about how important speed is to your site. Those are crazy numbers from Amazon and how much just ONE second of extra load time cost the company 1.6 BILLION! Granted, you are probably not running a site as large as Amazon, but you should take into consideration the same things they do for a successful online presence.
CDNs For Website Security
This is a subject that we are adamant about, Site security. Hackers can do a lot of damage whether they are gaining access to your site or DDoS attacks.
Your Website Will be Safer with a CDN
The next reason why a CDN is essential for your website is security.
Did you know that more than 51% of the web’s traffic actually comes from bots rather than humans?
When I first saw this report, I was completely taken aback: (See Info Graphic)
The even scarier statistic from the above is that 29% of web traffic comes from malicious bots.
That means your website is constantly under a deluge of bad bot traffic. If you’ve ever taken a look at analytics data, or used a security plugin like WordFence, you’re already aware of this fact.
These bots are constantly probing your site for vulnerabilities. If you slip slightly in your security efforts, if you have not chosen a good WordPress host, or if you miss a WordPress security update or a plugin update, rest assured your site will soon be suffering the consequences.
Most CDNs are able to identify and block bad bots rapidly, making your site safer when plugged into a CDN. The collective knowledge gained by the network can be used to prevent attacks on your own sites.
Good article from David. He also gives the same reason earlier in his article that it helps increase speed. He also goes on to talk more about DDoS attacks. DDoS stands for "distributed denial of service".
The way we like to explain DDoS goes like this. Let's say you actually have a brick and mortar store. Then you have a competitor that doesn't like you. This competitor pays a bunch of people to stand outside in front of the door, not allowing customers to get in. This is the basic premise of a DDoS attack. A bunch of computers or servers all going to your site at once. Then your regular customers can't access your site because your hosting server is overwhelmed by the DDoS attack. A CDN will help eliminate this threat.
Summing It Up
If you didn't know what a CDN is, you do now, as well as why you should be using one. Speed and security are the 2 biggest in our opinion. You can either setup a free account with someone like CloudFlare, or get a paid account with someone such as Amazon CloudFront, or a host of others. We have everyone of our clients on a CDN.
For more on how we build and design websites, visit our site. Until next time :)