How do Content Delivery Networks (or, CDN) operate? A CDN is primarily responsible for delivering content assets such as images, web pages, videos, and data to users worldwide by using a network of servers distributed throughout several locations.
Usually, the further your web server is from your customers, the slower your website is to them. Suppose you have a site hosted on a server in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We don't often think of websites as being in a physical location because the internet makes it seem they are available everywhere.
Still, a website and all its content assets must be based on an origin server. A Content Delivery Network can route these content assets from the origin server in Kuala Lumpur to a visitor's browser in Penang, Singapore, and even Tokyo. This means that your prospects in Singapore or even Tokyo can view your site as nearly as fast as your visitors down the street.
The closer a user is to a connection point of your CDN, the faster their loading times will improve their user experience on your website. Furthermore, the process of delivering a website through a CDN is almost undetectable by users, so they'll never even know that this is happening.
What is CDN?
In short, CDN refers to a geographically distributed set of servers that work together to deliver Internet content assets quickly. The pandemic boosted the popularity of CDN services, and today the majority of web traffic from popular streaming sites such as Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon is served through CDNs.
Businesses usually can use CDNs in two different ways, through a website building platform with a built-in CDN, or by purchasing one from an established CDN vendor. In terms of costs, CDNs range from free service to quite costly depending on the requirement for infrastructure, service-level agreements, scalability, redundancy, and speed.
Moreover, bandwidth consumption costs for website hosting are high for websites. Through caching and other optimizations, CDNs can lower the amount of data an origin server must supply, thus lowering hosting costs for website owners.
How can CDNs benefit businesses?
Improving website load times
As mentioned briefly, CDNs can distribute content closer to website visitors using a nearby server that allows visitors to experience faster page loading times. As Web visitors are more prone to leave a slow-loading site, a CDN can lower bounce rates by reducing the website loading time, and increase the time people spend on the site.
It is important for any website to ensure fast loading times as a global online study finds 73% of customers would move to a competitor if a website is slow to load. While outages are a problem for businesses worldwide, the survey indicates that a slow website is much more damaging than one that's temporarily down. Hence, businesses must focus on website speed and availability to stay competitive and retain customers.
Improving content availability and redundancy
Uptime is a vital part of web visitors. Hardware issues and huge spikes in traffic, as a result of either malicious attacks or just a boost in popularity, can bring down a web server and discourage users from opening a website.
Thanks to their distributed nature, a CDN can automatically shift traffic loads, withstand hardware failure better than many origin servers, and lower the risk of downtime and connectivity problems.
Users will enjoy higher uptime and fewer errors when communicating with your web platform. Data purging is also used to quickly eliminate outdated data and ensure that the entire CDN network is up-to-date. This eliminates errors and content delivery issues.
Improving Website Security, Data Integrity, and Privacy
Information security is an essential part of a CDN. CDN can keep a site safe and secured with fresh TLS/SSL certificates, ensuring a high standard of authentication, encryption, and integrity.
A properly configured CDN can also help protect websites against common malicious attacks, such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks.
Most leading CDN platforms equip users with robust security and privacy tools, using HTTP/2, SSL tunneling, and integrated data backup tools. For these primary reasons, a CDN is an excellent investment for businesses.
This is the seventh in a series of MarTech Stack articles, and we hope that this has provided insight into the MarTech landscape.
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