WHAT IS A CDN?

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CDN's and what they're all about

If you are an EngineRoom customer you might have noticed in our hosting details that your site is set up on a CDN as standard. In this article we will go some way to explaining exactly what a CDN is and how it works.

If you’re not particularly interested with the ins and outs, put simply they are a fantastic way to speed up your website and to ensure it can handle large amounts of traffic.

If, like us, you want to dig in the technical details and know exactly how they work then read on.

 

What is a CDN?

CDN is short for Content Delivery Network and is a network of servers that deliver cached static content to the visitors of your website based on their geographic location. Easy, we’ll leave it there then! To explain this, let’s break it down into simpler terms…

Ordinarily when a user visits your website they will be directed to your website’s server and this will be in a single location. If you have loads of visits to your site then this could overloads the server, slow it down or possibly even crash it. Different types of hosting are explained here in our hosting blog post.

This is where a CDN comes into play. It is a network of servers delivering some of your website content and taking the load off the main server. Most importantly they are spread across the world and through some server wizardry the CDN will deliver the content from the closest server to ensure the best speeds.

For example our hosting data centres are located in the UK, but if someone from Australia tries to access your site they will be sent some site content from a server based in Sydney, Melbourne or Perth (our chosen CDN’s Australian locations).

 

So why are they important?

The use of a CDN can have a huge impact on your site and is important for lots of reasons, the main ones being:

  • Speed – The primary reason to use a CDN is to load your website quickly.
  • User experience – With a fast site less people will leave the website in the first few seconds and you will have users browse your site for longer and as a result. This, of course, can only be a good thing.
  • SEO – Google and other search engines love fast sites and will mark you up in their search results.
  • Crash resistance – If your site suddenly gets a link from the BBC and gets thousands of hits, a CDN will help the main server to handle the load and will decrease the chance of it slowing down too much or crashing.

So, all in all, a CDN is a great tool and should always be considered when looking to squeeze the maximum out of your site.

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