You have your website set up and running but it is not as fast as you would like it to be. You have followed different speed improvement tweaks, but the website is still not fast enough. What if you could simultaneously host your website content on hundreds of servers? Website visitors would then access your website from the server nearest them. That is the premise behind using a Content Delivery Network. In this article I will discuss how to use a CDN for a faster website.

When a visitor enters the address for your company website (i.e. www.mysite.com), the browser sends a request to a Domain Name Server (DNS) which discovers the IP address for the website. The web server found at the IP address then begins sending website content back to the visitor’s browser. Using a Content Delivery Network, the DNS returns the IP address for the CDN instead and it sends the website content to the browser.

Selects server close to visitors

This process is faster because the CDN sends content from the server closest to the visitor. A Content Delivery Network uses other techniques to speed up a website. First, they send a cached version of the website. This really speeds up a static website. For WordPress websites, which have both static and dynamic content, the CDN knows the difference and serves the right content. Second, a CDN also compresses images which improves website speed.

There are other related benefits to using a CDN. Because a Content Delivery Network uses a cached version of your website, the website stays in operation when your web server goes offline. They also provide extra security by protecting the website from attacks. These attacks include DDos and bot protection. The CDN blocks these attacks before they reach the web server, thereby protecting the web server from crashing.

Technical work requied

Implementing a Content Delivery Network requires a little technical effort. There are different options available. Some web hosting companies include the choice right from their control panel. For WordPress, some caching plugins include the ability to add a CDN. There are also plugins specifically created for adding a CDN.

There are many companies providing CDN services as well. These include Amazon AWS, Google Cloud CDN, Cloudflare, and StackPath. Each Content Delivery Network has different pricing options (some include a free starter option). Selecting the best CDN for your website requires some research. I look for the best combination of services and pricing. I also look for servers close to the location of my target audience. If you want a faster website, consider using a CDN.

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