How to Use a CDN: Integrate a CDN with Your Website for Better Performance

May 10, 2021
Ann Oliver

Instantaneous web page loading, both on computers and mobile devices, is a vital criterion to scale a site's performance when there are innumerous websites available on the internet today. 

Users demand a seamless browsing experience, and the conversion rate can decline by around 7% if there is a delay in page loading even of 100ms. To convert your visitors into leads and extend your website reach, integrating a CDN with your site is the call of the time, especially when people have a handful of speedy websites to get their information online. 

Are you searching for how to use a CDN to boost your business online or make your website flourish? I have come up with the essential information. 

What is a Content Delivery Network

A Content Delivery Network or shortly known as a CDN is a distribution of caching servers and their Points of Presence (PoPs). These servers get scattered worldwide in a well-planned manner. So they can offer coverage to your target locations and convey the static content (HTML and Javascript files, video, image) (some CDNs deliver both static and dynamic content) your end-users demand from their closest data center. The result is, your site experiences decreased latency that can ensure better browsing to the visitors. 

Example of a performance report from gtmetrix.com

Are you wondering which enterprises or websites use CDN as an integral part of their business?

These are:

  • E-stores
  • Government organisations
  • Financial institutes
  • Technology related websites
  • Different mobile applications
  • Media and advertising websites

Why You Need a CDN: CDN for Improved Performance and Loading Time

CDN services strive to boost your website performance by improving your site's speed and decreasing loading delay. 

Let's get in-depth how it optimises the performance:

  • CDNs can limit the virtual distance between servers and end-users as they have edge servers located in multiple locations to deliver the requested content. So the round-trip delay decreases, and the loading time is improved, resulting in a faster website. The faster the speed is, the prompt the delivery process is. The outcome is, your site performance gets boosted. 
  • CDN servers comprise high-end RAM and SSD to store cache high-priority and low-priority content, respectively. So your site's static content is always cacheable, which ensures your visitors are served as soon as they request content, resulting in rapid loading.
  • CDNs not only optimise the content delivery, but they can also optimise the content like images by compressing or resizing them, making the site load faster.
  • With efficient traffic distribution and handling, CDN servers ensure guaranteed uptime, even during traffic spikes. It makes your site always available, ensuring better performance. 
  • CDNs come with TLS /SSL encryption, WAF protection for each CDN server, and DDoS attacks protection as a part of their service. The more encrypted the system is, the more robustly it can perform. 

How to Use a CDN

Now that you have a brief overview of CDN, let's get into how to use a CDN.

You need to execute three steps, and you are done with the CDN implementation process!

The steps to use a CDN are:

  • Picking a CDN provider and register
  • Preparing your website for integration
  • Connecting the CDN with the site

Now let's explain the steps briefly:

Picking a CDN provider and register

The foremost step of using a CDN with your site is to pick the most befitting CDN for your specific case. 

You will have a handful of options, both a free plan and paid one. Evaluate your requirement and pick one.

  • If you run a large website with massive loads, pick a CDN that you can install manually and configure it with the hosting service.
  • For medium to small sites, select a hosting provider that comes with a CDN service. 
  • If you want high-end automation with improved scalability, you can pick from the next-gen CDNs specially engineered based on the one-size-fits-all policy. 

A hosting that incorporates CDN service only requires you to update your account setting. But for the CDN that needs manual configuration, you have to purchase the CDN license first and follow the succeeding process. 

Preparing your website for integration

Now that you have decided on the CDN provider, you have to prepare your website for integration. The process may vary a little bit based on the CMS you use. 

As WordPress is the leading CMS today, let's discuss this step by taking this CMS into account. WordPress offers effortless integration with CDNs with its efficient plugins: WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. You can also add the CDN manually. 

While the WP Super Cache plugin works excellently, for more scalability and controlled settings, pick the W3 Total Cache.

The next task is to install and activate the plugin you have picked on your site for integration. 

Connecting the CDN with the site

The final step is to integrate the CDN with WordPress. This process may vary based on the tools you have chosen previously. 

Check if your CDN requires any specific steps to follow, as many providers come with custom plugins for perfect content syncing. 

You now have to use your picked plugin to take the CDN into action for delivering your content instead of the hosting server. For that, you need to configure the plugin to get it synced with your preferred CDN. While for the WP Super Cache plugin, you only have to copy and paste the URL given by your CDN provider in the off-site URL box, the configuration process may seem a bit complicated for the W3 Total Cache.

Now you are done with integrating a CDN with your site! Does the process seem intimidating? Don't fret. Contact your CDN support team, and they will be happy to assist you!

Subscribe to our newsletter