Everyone loves multipurpose products. Swiss-army knives. A splitting maul that’s half sledgehammer, half axe. A wine bottle that doubles as a glass when you drink out of it. Not only do multipurpose products give you more bang for your buck, but they make life undeniably easy.
That’s exactly what a content delivery network does for website owners. With one solution, websites can reap a number of bigtime benefits and have four significant issues completely taken care of.
Website Issue #1: Slow Page Load Time
A content delivery network or CDN is a network of data centers located all over the globe. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the point of a CDN is to deliver a website’s content to users as quickly and efficiently as possible, improving page load time and overall website performance.
When users go to a website using a CDN, they are automatically redirected to the data center closest to them, reducing the physical distance requested data has to travel and reducing the time it takes for the requested page to load as a result. This has a major impact on how quickly pages load. The other main component of a CDN when it comes to page load time is the proxy cache server in every data center which stores a website’s cacheable content – both static and dynamic – and eliminating the need for lengthy trips to the origin server in order to fetch this content.
Website Issue #2: Struggling With Traffic Bursts
Many websites experience natural bursts of traffic. They can be due to anticipated product releases, noteworthy reviews, or links posted on social media or popular platforms like Reddit, among others. For any website, these bursts of traffic are more than welcome. Unless, of course, the server can’t handle them and buckles under the strain, resulting in a slow website or one that’s offline altogether.
A CDN is a multi-server environment that provides built-in load balancing, keeping any one server from becoming overwhelmed in the face of these influxes and providing excellent website performance for all users. However, it’s also worth noting that not all bursts of traffic are created equal. DDoS attacks cause immense bursts of malicious traffic, and the built-in load balancing can help deal with this. Leading CDNs also provide additional DDoS protection, ensuring the site is protected against even large and complex attacks.
Website Issue #3: Big Bandwidth Bills
A CDN reduces the burden on a website’s hosting system and its bandwidth usage through the cached content delivery, reducing how many requests the hosting system has to handle, as well as compression of image files and other content files, the stripping of unnecessary characters from source code, and through the efficient management of multimedia resources. Leading CDNs have been shown to significantly reduce a website’s bandwidth bills.
Website Issue #4: Outdated Protocols
HTTP/2 is a major revision to HTTP/1.1, and it’s also a major improvement, offering faster loading for websites as well as better resource management and improved security among other advantages. Similarly, IPv6 offers important advantages over IPv4, including improved security, more efficient routing and packet processing, IP multicasting and simplified network configuration.
The major disadvantage of both these new protocols? Updating to them, a treacherous and messy process for those who aren’t well-versed in the transition. Leading CDNs take the headache out of it by automatically enabling support for HTTP/2 and IPv6, providing all the benefits without requiring any upgrade to the origin infrastructure.
The Swiss-Army Knife of Website Solutions
A content delivery network is an all-in-one that website owners increasingly can’t go without, an easy way to improve website performance, increase website availability even in the face of traffic bursts, reduce bandwidth bills, and equip websites with the latest protocols. A CDN may not be a wine bottle/wine glass, but truly, what is?