What is a Content Delivery Network? Do you need one? What are the pros and cons? This is a high-tech topic involving a lot of technical language pertaining to web hosting but we will try to keep jargon to a minimum in this article. Here is what you need to know.
CDN or Content Delivery Network
That is what the abbreviation CDN refers to when you read the specifications of a web hosting plan. A CDN supplies nodes or places for information to be received and re-directed. A node is able to communicate with and detect the other, closest nodes in a network. A CDN supplies an alternative point from which data is then transmitted to users where nodes are located worldwide but spread out so information can be transported to a connection point near you.
Sometimes You Don’t Need CDN
If your site is doing fine as it is, a Content Delivery Network might be unnecessary. Changing server providers and accounts is a waste of time. Your website is fast enough for your needs and the server might even be close to you.
The top benefit of a CDN is faster downloading speed, but the sites they serve best are dealing with latency or speed problems; lag, essentially. Also, experts don’t recommend CDN if your clients mostly come from the local area. There isn’t far for browser requests to travel, nor for information to reach the end user.
Also, small businesses will often shy away from CDN. It typicallu costs more to sign up for monthly CDN hosting than to stick with the usual package, though CloudFlare does offer a free basic plan. When your expectations are low and needs are few, stick with what you have for $7 a month, especially if that does not involve e-commerce.
Many Times, You Do Need CDN
Experts also say that more companies should pay the money and choose a CDN plan. Their customers or readers come from all over the world, so network connections take a lot longer, especially where pages are complicated and full of information. A site that works with changing content, where updates are made regularly, probably needs CDN in order to improve download speed and to compete with others in their industry. These include pages which reach mobile users.
Better Up Time
Another reason almost everyone should pay for CDN is that uptime increases. Even if your site is only out 0.01% of the time, that’s several hours each year. Are you able to count the number of customers searching your site in the hundreds or thousands every hour? That’s reason enough to prevent hours of downtime yearly. CDN is successful because networks consist of a spread of connection points. If your closest one is down, the network knows where to find another node and will reroute information accordingly.
The Top Option
Web servers get better all the time, and you might find yourself thinking “if this is the newest improvement, something else is coming along so I’ll just wait.” That’s fair. Technical experts constantly push the boundaries.
For now, though, this is considered by many as the optimum choice. Your system will move more quickly than before to retrieve or send information around the world. When lots of consumers use a website and there is a lot of money at stake, a content delivery network is necessary.
Setting up is simple and cost-effective, especially if you already possess certain plug-ins for Open Source sites like Joomla et al. Easier is also cheaper, so the transfer should be painless. Monthly costs will rise, although you need to weigh that against potentially improved security, bandwidth, and site popularity.
Edge Hosting, Cloudflare, MaxCDN (now known as StackPath), and Dreamhost all offer packages and those are only a few of the names. Your site might already be hosted by a company providing this service in which case upgrading is easy.