We see lot of webmasters recommending and using something called as CDN or Content Delivery Network nowadays. I am sure there are many website owners who are not sure whether they need a CDN or not. Some of the webmasters believe that a CDN is needed only for websites which have very high traffic while others simply say that this concept does not work and will die pretty soon. I use CDN on some of my sites (not on this blog) and I will post my experiences on using a Content Delivery Network. I guess this post will help you to decide on whether to use a CDN or not on your website.
What is a CDN?
Why do people use a CDN?
Whenever we try to open a website on our computer, we pull files from a server. The speed at which the website opens depends on the distance between our computer and the server where the website is hosted. This means that a website hosted on a server in Mumbai, India will open quickly for me as compared to a website hosted in Texas, USA. The reason for this is because I am located in Mumbai, India. As a Content Delivery Network hosts files on various servers located at various locations, you get access to the nearest server and the website will open fast for you. CDN is very important for websites who have visitors around the globe. So if your website is hosted in USA, it will be faster for people in USA but it won’t open as fast for people from India or China. This is where your competitor might get an edge over you.
Should you use a CDN for your website?
It all depends on how important is the website for you. I use a CDN on all my top money making affiliate sites and I have seen some change in terms of traffic, page CTR and conversions after implementing a CDN. One important thing that I always keep telling people is not to judge a website revenue by looking at it the quantity of traffic it gets. The traffic quality and ways of monetization are very important. Hence, a website getting 5000 unique daily visitors might not make as much profit as a site getting only 200 unique visitors. So if your site is making lot of money, you should go ahead and think about a CDN immediately for that site. You won’t really need a CDN if your server is located in Texas and all or most of your visitors are from Texas. This is not the case with most of us so a CDN does help each and every website that has visitors spread across different states and countries.
How does a CDN help in conversions or page CTR?
With my experience in affiliate marketing, I always see that a person who spends less time on my page and immediately goes to the product purchase page converts more often. People who have already made up their mind about purchasing a product will not really care about your product review or the pictures you have posted. He/She will come to your page and look for the buy now link so that He can purchase the product and make you some money. Imagine your page loading slowly for such people. These guys are in a hurry and will look for other options on the Internet to make a purchase if your page is loading really slow for them. Hence, fast loading pages are very important for your site visitors. Especially, for them who are in a hurry and have already made their mind to buy the product or service.
CDN for high traffic sites
If you have a very high traffic site then a CDN will definitely benefit you. A CDN will always distribute your traffic among various edge locations so that your main server is not heavily loaded all the time. Again, the closed edge location server will be accessed which means the site will open faster for your visitors. You can also save on your bandwidth cost as your files are hosted on different servers.
Does CDN help Google rankings?
It definitely does. Some time back, Google announced that the load time of a website will affect it’s rankings. The another more important point that many people miss is the “browser back button”. Your site can suffer if a user lands on your site using Google search and then clicks the “back” button on his browser. Once your site visitor does that, He/She will get an option to block all results from your website. Here is an image of how it looks:
Blocking all the search results means the person will not see your site in search results till the time they are logged in to their Google account. This can be really bad. Most of the times a person would click the back button when your site is taking some time to load. Hence, it is very important for your site to load faster.
What CDNs do you prefer?
I personally use Max CDN mainly because it is cheaper and easy to set up. You may get different results with other CDNs but I am pretty happy with Max CDN. CloudFare is another option which is Free but I wouldn’t really risk my stuff with something that is available for Free. For starters, you may try CloudFare and see if a CDN is really working for you. Excale has a CloudFare set up included in their hosting so it will be easy to set it up.