What Is A CDN and Why Do You Need One?

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A content delivery network (a.k.a CDN) is one of those things you hear whenever someone is talking about speeding up a website.

But what is a CDN and why is it useful?

CDNs have become one of the easiest ways to make your site load faster. In fact, all speed checking tools like GT Metrix and Google Page Speed suggest using a good content delivery network (CDN) to improve a site’s performance.

People with technical backgrounds are aware of what CDNs are and the benefits of using a content delivery network. But for non-technical people, the concept can seem alien.

Well, there’s nothing to worry about because, in this blog post, I will be talking in-depth about content delivery networks and why you should be using one.

What is a CDN a.k.a Content Delivery Network?

Let me start out in layman’s language.

We bloggers and website owners usually use shared hosting, and all of our files are hosted at a data center. For example, my site is hosted with Kinsta hosting, and I’m using a Texas (USA) data center.

Now, when a user opens ShoutMeLoud.com, their request goes to my data center in Texas, and the files from my site load onto the user’s browser. Sounds simple, right?

But if the user is far away from my Texas data center, there will be many high pings and latency, and thus, it can take a lot of time for the site to load.

Now, a content delivery network has data centers in different geographical locations, and when your site is using a CDN and a reader opens your site, your files (images, static files, etc.) are served from the nearest data center of the CDN you are using.

This reduces the pings and latency, and your site serves faster.

This is the first and prime benefit of using a CDN.

What is CDN
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(Infographic by KeyCDN)

In other words, they use a technique called content replication. This is where your content is copied on different servers located in different regions.

A good CDN service will have multiple servers in different locations. When you are serving your WordPress (or any other website) files using a content delivery network, you are essentially saving the time of your readers and reducing the server load. Files will now be served from other servers and not your hosting company.

  • Quick Tips To Speed Up Your Website Load Time

When you configure a CDN, you use the pull or push technique to upload your existing files to a server.

Here is a self-explanatory image from MaxCDN which explain how this works:

CDN benefits
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Benefits of using a CDN

There are many direct benefits of using a CDN:

  1. Your page speed improves (and ranking will improve).
  2. Your readers/clients/customers will be happier.
  3. You can handle more traffic.
  4. You will be saving money on your limited bandwidth hosting.

1. Google Ranking

Google has made it clear that page load time is one of the search engine ranking factors. By using a CDN, you will be speeding up your site by a great extent.

Moreover, it will help you reduce the bounce rate (which is also good for SEO).

For any website, the faster it loads, the better it is.

2. More Conversions and Sales

Because your site loads faster, your readers and clients will be much happier.

Where there are happy clients, there are more sales.

I’m willing to bet that you would be pretty frustrated to do business with someone whose website took ages to load.

3. Handle More Traffic

Whenever your blog posts go viral, your server gets a huge amount of traffic. Many times, your site crashes and gives errors like: “Internal server error” or “Database error”.

With a good content delivery network service, you can easily minimize such down times and your site can handle a lot more traffic.

4. Reduce Hosting Cost

When you are using dedicated or VPS hosting, or any limited bandwidth hosting, using a CDN will reduce your costs by a great margin.

CDNs are way cheaper than web hosting, and since your files will be served from CDN servers, you need not worry about the bandwidth cost of your web hosting.

If you are still not convinced and are still not sure about the benefits of using a CDN, here is a simple video which explains it all:

There are many free and paid CDN services like CloudFlareAmazon CloudFront, and MaxCDN. Soon we can also expect Google’s own public CDN service.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your site is, using a content delivery network service will surely help you boost your site’s load time and server response. The only hard part for newbies is setting it up.

To learn about setting up a CDN, check out these articles:

For more articles related to CDNs, check out:

So, how many of you are using CDNs, and which one are you using with your WordPress blog? Do you think it’s essential and beneficial for a blogger to serve their site with a content delivery network? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

21 thoughts on “What Is A CDN and Why Do You Need One?”

  1. I would be interested in knowing more about How to Host a blog with CDN Process with Amazon Cloud Front as I already have an account

  2. Hi Harsh, thanks for your useful sharing. I am thinking to upgrade to vps hosting. Do I still need a CDN with vps?

    1. @Taswir
      Yes, CDN on any hosting (Shared, VPS or dedicated) is useful, as it will server content to users from nearest server, and your blog will load faster.

  3. That will be me and I use the MaxCDN which I think Shoutmeloud is the same as well. It is essential because it really helps in boosting page load speed and I hate speed with slow loading speed. I’m not too sure if there is anyone that love to wait…

  4. After reading this article, I got a clear idea on what is CDN. I managed to get an account from MaxCDN and will add it to my blog. Thanks for this informative article.

  5. Hi,
    I started using yesterday. I can ensure that you can’t regret. The speed is great and I am very satisfied with MaxCDN.
    Best regards,
    Amrik Virdi

  6. Hey harsh can you please answer if my website is targeted geographically in India, then having the website server in India helps in better rankings. Wouldn’t using CDN prove harmful here.

  7. I am still designing my blog and just registered with CloudFlare and followed all the possible instrustions and integrated it with WP TotalCache plugin. After doing this, my hostgator ad image stopped showing. Please, do have an idea what the problem might be coz messing up with all these settings are making me dizzy. Thanks in advance.

      1. I really dont know what I did but the ads are now showing. Seems lyk I setup my security in CloudFlare too high.

  8. Thanks Harsh i was in need to get some trick which can reduce my page load time and can be optimized more faster. Thanks for this information.

  9. Ashwani Kumar Singh

    Hi Harsh,
    I was thinking to use Free CloudFlare CDN on my website(since I can’t afford to pay) . But in some reviews on the net said that it affected SEO and also Google Adsense Income since the original IP is not sent to the server instead proxy IP of CDN is sent to the server logs. Pleasde help. whether I should go for it or not.. I don’t have an Adsense account yet but I will apply within a day or two for adsense so just want to clear my doubts ..and who could be better than you to ask these doubts.. Please reply… I need urgent help since my hosting provider says that my website is high on CPU usage …PLease help ……

    1. Shubham Trehan

      Hello,

      Right now I’m using GoDaddy shared hosting with 2gb ram and when I get 150 live visitors my site goes down. Can you please suggest me with hosting plans I can use for a 20k daily visitor. Should I go for a VPS? or CDN alone can do the job or I have to purchase both of them?

      1. Harsh Agrawal

        @Shubham
        You should use Cloudways hosting. Also, add CDN from MaxCDN. These two will make your website very solid & you can handle high traffic. One good thing about Cloudways is, you can increase-decrease resources anytime.

  10. Hi Harsh!
    I am using MaxCDN. Previously, I used the free version of Coludflare and I didn’t see good results with it. So I shifted.

    Now my site has a response average of about 1000ms with MaxCDN against 4000+ms when using Cloudflare and no CDN.

  11. Gurmeet Singh

    This is important to answer Sir. I am using Cloudflare CDN on my site and shared hosting plan. If somehow, suddenly my website got lots of traffic, or if the traffic spikes very much high suddenly, can CDN helps in preventing my site letting down?

  12. I don’t know much about CDN, after reading here, I implemented immediately on my site. I am seeing amazing results. That’s wow. Thanks harsh

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