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Content Delivery Networks – Why We Need Them

As a web site owner, if you are not using a CDN, then you should definitely read the rest of this article.

What is a CDN?

A content delivery network (CDN) is a service that hosts your website and distributes it to multiple locations across the internet. This might sound strange, but it has wide reaching benefits. Your web site can load faster, work offline and even served to users via a secure connection.

Using Cached Resources

The process for your computer to show you web pages is a complex one. Just know that your computer needs to go to the server, ask for the page (and all its text, images, videos etc), download that information one at a time, collate them and show them to you in your browser. Image how much faster it would be if your computer didn't need to go all the way to the other server to get those resources. That is what caching is.

CDNs are used by millions of users. Cloudflare is my CDN of choice and they serve 200 million people. If one of those 200 million people go to your web site, they will download your web page content (like I explained above). But Cloudflare is really smart in that it also keeps a copy of that information and stores (caches) it. The benefit of that comes when the next person goes to your website. If they are using Cloudflare, they get the cached copy. This "halves" the download time because their browser doesn't need to go all the way to the web site server to get the content. They get it from the cache. That means improvements in speed, bandwidth and download volumes. And all you have to do is configure your server to use Cloudflare - virtually no configuration required.

Reliable

If the CDN has a copy of web site content, then they can show "off-line" versions if the web site is down. This is great news for web site owners because it means that users can still browse their web site even if a server is restarting or (heaven forbid) has been attacked. Virtually zero down-time.

A content delivery network (CDN) is a service that hosts your website and distributes it to multiple locations across the internet. This might sound strange, but it has wide reaching benefits. Your web site can load faster, work offline and even provide SSL to your web site.

SSL

You may be aware that Google has rules that it uses to rank web sites. Some of these rules are mobile friendliness, quick load time and good content. They are adding a new rule for SSL. Initially, it will not have a huge impact on your page rank, but I predict that it will eventually. SSL gives users confidence that the information they enter on your web site is secure. You may not be taking credit card information, but a simple contact form has names, email addresses and phone numbers. People want to see that you take their privacy seriously. Cloudflare offers SSL. FREE! That reason is justification for using Cloudflare on its own.

If you want to know more, go to Cloudflare's website and get more information.