Content Delivery Networks (CDN) are groups of servers distributed geographically to transfer website content to the end user. Instead of content being delivered from one server in one specific geographical location, content is cached (saved) and can be served from multiple locations. The two most notable advantages of this method of content delivery are reduced individual server resources and faster delivery of content to the end user. This can be especially beneficial for websites that use Content Management Systems like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc. As you make changes to your content, the cache is updated with the new information.

Advantages of using a Content Delivery network

Reducing Server Resources

When one server is responsible for delivering all of the content for a website, that server alone must handle every request from every user. When you consider that even a single web page is created from multiple requests (images, stylesheets, scripts, etc) it's easy to see how that can add up to many simultaneous requests. With content distributed across multiple servers in a CDN, those requests are instead handled by multiple servers.

Here are some illustrations showing the use of a CDN:

Web server without CDNServer without CDNWithout a CDN, heavily used media files can often take up a server's resources and also increase bandwidth usage at the webserver
Web server using a CDNServer using CDNWith the CDN, heavily used media files are accessed at a CDN server in a different location. This removes the bandwidth usage from the web server and also frees up resources on the web server that were used to store the files.

Speed Page Delivery

In addition to housing your cached content on multiple servers, a properly configured CDN will deliver content from the server closest to the end user. For instance, let's say you have a user near the East Coast of the United States who visits your website. To speed delivery of the page requested, the CDN will deliver content from the server located in or near the East Coast. This can dramatically decrease page load time for your end user.

Faster delivery is affected by both access to servers less loaded and also by distance. The following illustration shows how this is an advantage for file access:

Using a CDN over a large geographic regionAdvantage for using CDN over large geographic regionsHere you can see how having multiple servers providing nearer access to media files helps to make access quicker to these files while also reducing the bandwidth at the actual web server

How Much Does a CDN Cost?

This can vary from provider to provider. There are even some free options available (such as CloudFlare). The best place to start is a search in your preferred search engine for terms like CDN or Content Delivery Network.

Can I use a CDN With a Web Hosting Hub Account?

Absolutely! The method to integrate a CDN with a hosting account may vary from CDN provider to provider, but you can keep your hosting account for uploading files and updating your site (as well as email service) while using a CDN to effectively distribute your content to your site visitors. If you have a CDN provider you want to use and need help configuring your DNS to use that provider, please contact us for assistance. We do ask that you provide instructions from the CDN provider so that we can properly advise and assist you in the DNS set up for your domain.

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