What is a CDN and why would I need it?

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Last Updated on March 30, 2023

CDN is short for content delivery network, which may sound extremely complicated, advanced, and out of your field if you are a beginner. However, they are very simple and accessible to anyone running a website – big or small. Simply put, a content delivery network is a system that quickly delivers data to users using servers that are geographically closest to the user. These systems transfer static content, such as webpages, videos, images, and more.

One way to think of it is if you are browsing a website based in the United States, but you are physically located in Australia, your request will be processed much faster if it goes through a server located in Singapore, which is much closer to Australia than the United States. To facilitate this faster loading time, a content delivery network, or CDN, saves content on servers around the globe so loading times are increased from users at a vast distance.

When is a CDN Necessary?

Many websites choose to use CDNs to help increase their loading speeds, particularly large websites or big businesses. Any website that finds loading speed important, has large files stored such as videos or images, and receives worldwide traffic, can benefit from a CDN.

Websites that don’t need a CDN tend to be those that are for local businesses or that expect to generate traffic from a very specific and precise geographic location. Most websites, however, do not fall under this category—even most blogs expect or aim to receive traffic from many geographic locations.

Reasons to Use a CDN

Most users will abandon a website if its load time is more than 4 seconds. Unless the traffic you are getting is local, unless you are using a CDN, then having an extended loading time like that is extremely likely. While 4 seconds may not seem like very long, it has been proven to be long enough to lose you most of your traffic. Even of those users who do stick around, 46% will not return to your website if it performs poorly due to slow loading times.

If that seems unlikely to you, consider this: Amazon reported an increase in conversions of 2% for every second of load time they eliminated. That’s a lot of conversion you are missing out on if your website spends a lot of time lagging, so this is a problem you should take seriously.

Load speed has been proven time and time again to be important. If you are receiving traffic from around the globe, a CDN is the simple, easy, and effective solution.

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