Your website might load fine for you, but have you ever considered how long it takes to load for someone in another country? If you’re just working with one server, that’s a very long way your data has to travel. The result can mean a very slow load time, especially as the data is relayed back and forth. It also doesn’t provide much security should there be a cyberattack, or if the server has technical problems and cannot load your content.
One solution to overcome the above problems is to use a CDN (content delivery network). If you’re unfamiliar with CDNs, here’s everything you need to know, including how they can affect your website speed.
What Are CDNs?
CDN stands for content delivery network. In essence, it brings your website content closer to your visitors, by loading your website from the closest physical server to them. The result gives an optimised load time and performance for all visitors, no matter where they are located. It works by routing the user to the closest working server, instead of relying on just one based in your specific location.
Examples of CDN providers include Cloudflare, Akamai, Edgecast and Yottaa. CDNs can vary hugely in price, depending on how many server locations the company has, not to mention the speed they can offer you. That’s why it pays to shop around to get the best deal for your website needs, based on where your target demographic is.
The Need For Speed
Websites that don’t load promptly are off-putting to visitors. Not only does it look unprofessional; it’s downright annoying when a website takes a long time to load. Multiple surveys have shown the average acceptable load time for users, is just two seconds.
Therefore, you want to do all you can to streamline load times, so that it gives the best possible user experience. CDNs are just one of the many tools you can use to do this, as they dramatically cut the time taken to access your website because the data is coming from the closest server as opposed to one thousand of miles away.
In addition, slow website load times can harm your SEO ranking. Think about it, Google (or any other search engine) wants to send you to the best possible result. If the website has irrelevant content or is slow to load (causing a high bounce rate), that tells the algorithm your website is not providing a satisfactory outcome to the user. This, in turn, causes your rankings to drop sharply, resulting in fewer visitors to your website.
How It Works
Imagine you have a website and the server is based in Melbourne. While it’s not too much of a data trek for users in Sydney, think about users coming in from London or New York. Not only do you have to factor in the time it takes for your website to load for them; you also have to consider the return journey back. For every action, they try and complete on your website, that can add up to an awfully long wait.
A CDN acts as a middle-man, as it distributes your content to many servers in different geographic locations. As a result, users are able to access your website at the best speed possible, no matter where they are based. In addition, should there be an attack or cable outage at one of your servers, your CDN will simply re-route users, meaning your website always stays up.
Compare that to having one server in Australia, which would mean less speed for users in other countries, not to mention less security should your server break or come under attack. A CDN will effectively clone your website so that it’s available on many servers, giving optimum speed as well as overall performance.
If you are building a website to increase traffic to your business, the whole operation is pointless if your website is slow to load, prone to cyberattacks or has regular outages.
CDNs are one of the most effective ways to ensure none of the above hampers user experience, or even the ability to load your website in the first place. Speed and reliability are key, and by having your website accessible in multiple locations across the globe, you can rest easy knowing that visitors aren’t being slowed down.
Faster loading times converts into more visitors, therefore, more sales. Regardless of whether your business uses affiliate marketing (such as a blog), is an online store, or is just a marketing tool for your offline business – speed is key to retaining your audience and generating income as a result. That’s why CDNs make sense, plus they come with added security and optimisation features too.
Need more help in understanding how CDNs can help your business? If you’re located in Melbourne, give us a call on 1300 554 687 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.