What Is A CDN?
A network of servers that are distributed in various locations across the globe, along with their associated data centers, make up a CDN, or Content Delivery Network. CDN's exist to help speed up the internet in general and the websites that are cached on them more specifically. They have become a very important factor in a website's over all page speed, which is so important to your ranking in Google search - especially the mobile search.
How Does A CDN Work?
When you go to a website, lots of objects, many that you can't see, are delivered to your web browser. These objects combine to form the website. Here is a sampling of the type of objects that are included:
- Media files
- e-commerce applications
- Social Media
If a website is utilizing a sound CDN, many of these objects are cached or saved on these servers whenever the site is loaded in that particular servers geographical area. Once that has happened, if anyone in that region goes to that website again, it loads quicker because many of the objects needed are already there, saved in that local server. If CDN's did not exist, every object would have to be fetched from the server the website lives on every single time the site was loaded. That would slow the internet as a whole and that website individually down by a bunch.
McDonalds headquarters is located in Chicago, Illinois. If every Big Mac was cooked at their corporate headquarters, you may get a bit hungry before you get to eat, depending on where you are located. So If I'm in Springerville, Arizona and I order a Big Mac, how long would it take to get it if it was cooked in Chicago? Luckily, there's a McDonalds location right here in Springerville. McDonalds ships the products needed to make Big Macs to Springerville - and all of their locations world wide - and they are stored there, ready for when we place our order. That greatly speeds up the eating experience - and the heartburn in many cases.... The Content Delivery Network works much the same way: it stores a lot of what is needed to load a website at a location closer to the user, which speeds up the web surfing for that user by a bunch.
So, does your website need to use a CDN? Yes, along with a lot of other tools that help to optimize and speed your site up. Slower sites definitely suffer in Google search rankings. The use of a sound Content Delivery Network will absolutely help and, if you use the right website hosting company, can be free, too!
I hope this article helps you understand why a CDN can help your page speed and your overall online presence. And I hope that if you need help with a CDN you'll consider Websites That Work as your online solution. Please share - Thanks!