Should You Use a Content Delivery Network?

You’re a webmaster who wants to do everything possible to get visits to your website. You’re constantly looking for new ways to drive visitors to your site, and you’re reading this article to see if it can help you improve your site. Let’s get to the point: Should you use a content delivery network?

What is a Content Delivery Network?

Maybe you’re wondering what a content delivery network is. It’s basically a network of servers worldwide which distribute your content. Think of it like having a webhost in Europe and in the United States. When somebody accesses our website, an IP check is performed and the content is served to them from their nearest server location.  The good news is that it doesn’t need to be so difficult for you. Content delivery network providers will handle all of this for you. Many CDN providers have multiple servers in Asia, Europe, the United States, and other locations. The content is automatically served from the appropriate locations.

Why use a CDN?

Now that you know what a CDN is, you’re probably wondering why you should use one. Why should you pay extra so your users can load some pages a little faster? Firstly, you can rank higher in Google if our site loads faster. (http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/04/using-site-speed-in-web-search-ranking.html) You will also increase your sales if your site loads faster. Many people won’t wait for  your site to load, and if your site is slow they will be less likely to click around. Having a site which loads a little faster will also increase the number of returning visitors you get. Using a CDN will also help you handle serer load spikes. Let’s say you have a big story which becomes popular on Digg and Twitter. You wouldn’t want your server to stall in those situations. CDN providers are highly scalable for your visitor spikes.

The choice is yours as to whether or not you want to use a content delivery network for your site. When checking the different CDN providers, don’t immediately jump to the most expensive. Amazon CloudFront is probably the cheapest you can get. If you’re looking for quality at a low price, I highly recommend Voxel CDN because it’s cheap but also has features of a more expensive provider. There really isn’t a site small enough to use their size as an excuse, because you can start out paying only a few cents a month. Most software on your site (like WordPress) has plugins available which makes using the CDN a breeze.

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