CDN, which stands for Content Delivery Network, is a popular term amongst web developers. CDNs are globally distributed networks with numerous server farms designed to handle requests for static files. Such a network can offload all the CSS/JS and media files hosted on your website’s server and scatter them all over the world for faster processing.
Some examples of (free) CDNs are BootstrapCDN, Cloudflare and Incapsula. By using CDN, your website will be able to withstand huge surges in traffic, without slowing down or becoming inaccessible.
How it works for you
To begin acknowledging the benefits of CDN, you must first understand how exactly it works. Traditionally, each static file that you upload to a server is distributed throughout a number of proxy servers around the world. When someone attempts to access your website the CDN determines the geographical location of the user based on the total number of exit nodes.
So, for instance, a visitor from the USA accessing your website hosted in Spain will typically experience a much longer loading time than one who accesses it from some other country in Europe.
By using CDN, your media files will load faster which essentially frees up bandwidth with each HTTP request. Naturally, a shorter loading time will have a positive impact on your site’s performance and user experience, which eventually translates to an increase in popularity and revenue.
What are the drawbacks?
While CDN can do wonders for your website’s loading speed, it is also bound to have some drawbacks as well. One of them is certainly the cost. If you have a well-established business with a resource-hungry and heavy-traffic website (or network of websites), then a few extra bucks per months should not be a problem.
However, for those just starting out in the online business world, a CDN is not exactly a cost-effective option. Therefore, make sure that your website or company is profitable enough before you go on investing into greater hosting support.