Slow loading of your site can turn into a failure for your business. It sounds unpleasant, but it’s true. At the very moment when a visitor hits your site for the first time, he makes a decision for himself whether it is worthwhile to trust and communicate with this site.
And if it takes a lot of time to download the site, it’s a painful blow to your business. There is a dangerous possibility that the visitor will simply close the tab, without waiting for the download to finish.
CDN can come to the rescue. Using CDN significantly affects the download speed of the site and has a number of advantages. Although with some reservations in the case of WordPress.
In this post, we will discuss in detail what CDN is, what this service works, and why you should (or vice versa do not) include a CDN for your site on WordPress.
What is CDN?
CDN stands for content delivery network. In fact, this is not one network, it’s several distributed networks, and their number depends on the number of CDN service providers.
The bottom line is to download the site requested by the visitor from the part of the network that is closest to it (to the visitor). Instead of sending site files over wires across the globe, they can be downloaded from the server near you.
You can, of course, follow all the steps for internal optimization of your site, but if that’s not enough, and the site still loads slowly from other regions, the next step is to enable CDN.
Especially it concerns sites with the calculation for a global audience. If your site is physically located on a server in the USA, then a visitor from India will spend unnecessary seconds of time downloading it, as well as vice versa. With the help of CDN, a visitor from India will be able to download a copy of your site from a server that will be located nearby in his data center, without wasting time to download data across the ocean.
How does CDN work?
When a visitor opens your site in a browser, at that moment, certain site files are downloaded. Duplicates of these files are stored on CDN servers scattered around the globe. Thus, the downloading of files does not take place from the main server of the site, but from a certain CDN server, which is closest to the visitor.
If you do not use the CDN, all downloads come from a single server of your web hosting provider, which for some may be close, and for others – on the other side of the globe.
In the case of CDN, the files are much shorter when loaded, so the total time for downloading them is reduced.
CDN and normal hosting
If we are talking about a site on WordPress, then most likely your site is hosted on some hosting in a certain place. And all the files of your site are physically stored on the server of this hosting company. When a visitor opens your site in a browser, he downloads the site files from this one hosting server.
CDN works as a companion with your hosting. Your dynamic files will still be downloaded from the hosting server, but all other static files will be duplicated and stored around the world on CDN servers.
Please note, some WordPress webhosts have built-in CDN support in certain tariffs, so you do not even need to separately configure the CDN over what your hosting already provides.
Advantages of CDN
Let’s now look at the advantages of having a CDN to understand whether it is worth spending money and using such a service.
1. Improved performance
CDN significantly improves the overall performance of your site. The page load time is reduced, regardless of the region or country, it is loaded from.
This entails a positive user experience. Visitors like it if your site opens instantly. Also, it can bear fruit in the ranking of the site in the issuance of Google.
2. Higher uptime
With the inclusion of CDN, the resiliency of your site is increasing. If earlier your site began to behave unstably or did not fall under the onslaught of large traffic, now there will be no problem with CDN, the load will be distributed among the participating servers of the CDN network.
CDN also provides a higher level of security for your site. For example, if your site has undergone a DDoS attack, then the attacker’s traffic will simply be redirected to another server. This way, your site will still be accessible from other CDN servers.
Do I need a CDN for my WordPress site?
In most cases, connecting CDN to WordPress site will only benefit. According to the survey from Akamai, more than half of the world’s web traffic will go through CDN networks after 2 years.
However, there are 3 scenarios, when CDN can be delayed:
- If all traffic to your site is concentrated locally in your area
- If the traffic is small and completely falls into your hosting tariff
- If you do not have a CDN budget at this stage
But if you do not fall under any of the scenarios above, you should definitely think about switching to CDN.
If your site is growing and you need to be more efficient, then a CDN can be very useful.
If your site grows, traffic increases every month, the site’s audience will not just be coming from your country, and you want to add another layer of security to the site, then CDN will solve all these issues in one fell swoop.
Now that you have figured out what CDN is, and whether it’s for your site, you can choose one of the CDN options and connect to your site.