What is a CDN?

May 23, 2016 in Small Business

If your website doesn’t load within 400 milliseconds – literally the blink of an eye – your visitors might leave. Take it from Amazon. In 2006 the online retailer analyzed its ratio of sales to its web performance and found that for every 100 millisecond delay in page load time, there was a 1% decrease in conversions.

Studies show that nearly 50% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. Not only that, but 40% of people will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. So how can you increase your website’s speed? We suggest using a content delivery network (CDN).

What is a CDN?
A content delivery network is a distributed network of servers deployed in multiple data centers. It is responsible for delivering website content to the end-user with high speed and performance. A CDN’s goal is to reduce latency, the delay that occurs from the moment you request a web page to the moment the page actually appears on your screen (simply when you click on the link to when the page loads). This delay is caused by a number of factors, one being the physical distance between the end-user and the web page being requested from the server.

How Does a CDN Work?
There are a few components that make up a CDN: PoPs, Caching servers, solid-state drives (SSD), hard-disk drives (HDD) and random-access memory (RAM).

CDN Points of Presence (PoPs) are strategically located data centers. They aim to reduce latency and bring content closer to the website’s visitors. Typically, a CDN PoP contains multiple caching servers.

Caching Servers
Caching servers store and deliver cached files. They accelerate access to data and reduce bandwidth consumption by placing previously requested information in temporary storage, or cache.

Inside CDN caching servers, cached files are stored on solid-state and hard-disk drives (SSD and HDD) or in random-access memory (RAM).

What are the Benefits of using a CDN?
Ultimately a CDN works to minimize the virtual distance between the website’s visitor and the website’s server. To do this a CDN stores a cached version of its content in multiple geographical locations (a.k.a. PoPs). Essentially no matter where your customers are located, they should be able to access your website within milliseconds. Content delivery networks are especially beneficial to websites that have a global presence.

When Walmart reduced its page load time by one second in 2013, it saw a two percent increase in conversion rates. If you’re still reading, you probably have a clear idea of why speed matters when it comes to your website. TrueSpeed, the SiteLock content delivery network, can increase a website’s page load time by 50% on average compared to if it did not have a CDN in place.

Click here if you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of using a CDN.

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