A Content Delivery Network or CDN is a network of servers distributed across the globe that delivers contents of your website to visitors without depending a lot on host servers. I know that this is not the perfect definition but its the main idea of a CDN. When you visit a website all the static files, scripts, css etc are delivered from the web server of that web site.So if you are accessing a website from a server that is 5000 kilometers away there will be some latency since the data has to travel a lot of distance. A Content Delivery Network has servers all over the world and instead of delivering data from your web server placed far away it delivers the data from its own servers which are more closer to the visitor. CDN caches your website and delivers the files from the cache when requested. Thus CDN can reduce site loading times.No one likes a slow loading web site therefore a CDN is important for your web site.
So now we know what is a CDN. Now lets look at why you need one.
Why you should use a Content Delivery Network ?
- The main advantage of using a Content Delivery Network is that it greatly reduces page load times by serving static files of your site from the cache on its servers.
- The next advantage is that even if your main web server goes offline the Content Delivery Network will be able to delivery a cached copy of your site from its servers.
- Once your site grows you will be needing a lot of bandwidth. Generally web hosts charge a higher price for bandwidth than what a CDN charges.You will be able to save the bandwidth of your main server by using a CDN which will reduce your costs.
- Using a Content Delivery Network will give you higher scores in page optimization tests.
- Using a CDN will reduce the load on your web server. This is especially useful if you are on a shared hosting package where your server resources are very limited.
- Advanced analytics
- Most Content Delivery Network providers provide protection against DDOS attacks which makes your site more secure
Our review of Cloudflare
This is a honest review of our experiences with Cloudflare on our site.We use Cloudflare on our website. Cloudflare has a free plan which is enough for most of the sites. Our site uses Cloudflare. Before installing Cloudflare our site took above 3 seconds on almost all tests to load. Now after using Cloudflare our site loads under 2 seconds. Also we are seeing reduction in bandwidth used from our web server which is great. This is a small screenshot of Cloudflare analytics page showing bandwidth usage.
From the above image you could see that we saved around 48% of our total bandwidth usage. Our experiences with Cloudflare on our website has been wonderful. It is definitely recommended that you add some CDN to your website.
In order to get the most out of CDN for your website we recommend using some caching plugins like WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache.
We have made a detailed article on how to set up WP Super Cache. You may read it by clicking here
Also we have made a detailed article to help you choose a web host for your website. You may read it by clicking here