The Best CDN: Everything You Need to Know

May 20, 2021
Ann Oliver

Are you noticing your website is slowing down, or videos you upload are buffering continuously? The time has come to switch to the best CDN (Content Delivery Networks) to make your content thrive on the web! Whether you own large websites or small ones, to make them flourish and ensure excellent customer satisfaction, you must use a reliable CDN service. 

CDNs are even more significant for IT companies where the web resources reflect the service competency and the businesses run on the swiftness they can ensure in content delivery. 

While businesses are ready to spend thousands to offer the best web experience for their visitors, picking the best CDN is not a cup of tea. 

To help you pick the most competent CDN providers and know everything essential, I offer a precise overview. 

What is CDN

A CDN or Content Delivery Network is a globally distributed platform of web servers and data centers that ensure faster loading by limiting latency: the delay between the user's request and the web page's response to loading fully. It thus reduces the distance between end-users and servers. 

Almost every second site uses CDNs to boost performance and ensure customer satisfaction. But not all websites can get the same benefits from this service. 

Sectors where CDN are indispensable part are:

How Does CDN Work

When the visitors have to access a page via the origin server, they may experience poor loading speed. CDN aims to combat this issue by caching and placing your content in various locations simultaneously after retrieving content from the host server. So the website is available to the users at a faster loading speed.  

  • A CDN saves cache content throughout its servers, also termed as PoPs (Points of Presence). 
  • These PoPs, with their caching servers, deliver the content to the visitors upon request.
  • Thus the visitors can access data from the edge servers closer to them, experiencing improved page loading.

Benefits of CDN

The tremendous benefits the best CDN services offer businesses are:

  • It Improves Loading Time: By placing your website content closer to your visitors, a CDN guarantees improved loading speed. By decreasing bounce rates, it ensures users spend more time on your sites. By serving site content from the closer proxy servers to the users, CDNs improve download speed and limit buffering. 
  • CDNs Contribute to Lower Bandwidth Utilisation: By offloading content delivery from the hosting server, CDN ensures reduced bandwidth usage. 
  • It Boosts Website Performance: Decreased latency coupled with lower bandwidth utilisation: the ultimate solution to boost website performance. Moreover, some CDNs come with a performance customisation facility with self-service tools.
Lighthouse Performance report
  • CDN Boosts SEO Ranking: As a website owner, you always want your sites to rank on Google, right? By ensuring improved loading speed, and crawling frequency, and reduced bounce rates, CDNs help your site rank. 
  • CDNS Ensure Higher Security: Modern CDNs are highly encrypted systems with SSL certificate, Secure Tokens, etc., and ensure utter security to the cached data. Advanced CDNs can also offer DDoS attack mitigation manually or handled by the providers.  
  • CDN Reduces Website Hosting Expenses: As a web hosting provider charges upon bandwidth (how much data is getting transferred from and to the hosting server in a fixed time), CDNs can help you lower the cost by reducing traffic load from the origin server. CDNs also limit the requirement of hosted infrastructure by efficiently managing your content resources. 
  • Offers Easy Integration: From framework integration to CMS integration, advanced CDNs come with a wide range of compatibility. 

How to Pick a CDN

With the market buzzing with so many services, picking the best CDN may seem a bit tricky. 

Before making the decision, count on considering the following factors:

Know Your Requirements

Not all CDNs can match everyone's requirements. To make the best decision, understand your content type. For instance, if you want your video and photo content to accelerate, focusing on network bandwidth must be your preference. For dynamic content, count on middle mile intelligence, end-to-end network connectivity, software stack optimisation, etc. 

Keep an expert eye on your user distribution. If your CDN service cannot offer coverage in your target region, count on providers who can cover your required geographical range. 

Assess the Performance and Capabilities

To pick the most reliable CDN for your specific case, you must understand the performance criteria and capabilities of advanced CDNs. The Key features every CDN service must include are:

  • Image optimisation
  • Mobile application and API acceleration
  • Advanced edge logics
  • Predictive cache, etc.

While evaluating the performance, count on analysing the following factors:

  • Network latency: The time it requires for data to get transferred from the server to the end-users plus the data processing time.
  • Availability: If the network is online and available to visitors. CDNs aim to make web pages more available and accessible to end-users. 
  • Throughput: The measure of data exchanged over a specific time between server and end-users.  

Before you decide on a provider, evaluate its performance data of 48 hours minimum. 

Latency report from cloudflare.com

Count on Security

Ensuring utter security should be the aim of every advanced CDN when hacking is a common occurrence nowadays. The CDN you pick must come with DDoS attack mitigation, SSL certification, abusive bot blocking, content spamming control, etc., to ensure your content and website are secured and user identity and transactions are shielded against cyber attacks. 

Customer Service

Pick the best CDN service that offers 24/7/365 surveillance and customer support worldwide backed by expert assistance. Thus the customers can get top-notch experience while video streaming, using the website, and mobile application.

Consider Cost and Pricing

It is another significant criterion to consider. If your website is for mission-critical works where even fractions of milliseconds matter, count on picking a CDN that offers high performance. Such a service will also cost you a bit high. If that's not the case, you can go with an affordable service that comes with quality performance. 

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