Content delivery network refers to a group of servers that are geographically distributed to provide fast delivery of internet content. They are the backbone of the Internet in terms of content delivery. Whether you are aware or not, every one of us interacts with CDNs on a daily basis; whether you shop online, own an ecommerce store, watching videos, reading articles or going through posts on social media.
No matter what you do, or what type of content you consume, chances are that you’ll find CDNs behind every character of text, every image pixel and every movie frame that gets delivered to your PC and mobile browser. CDN services continue to grow in popularity and most web traffic is served through CDNs
To really understand how CDN network works, you first need to understand the issue they are designed to solve. This is known as latency. It’s that delay you experience when you load the url of a page to that time you see the contents on your screen.
The delay experienced is caused by a number of factors, some caused by specific websites but in all cases, the delay is caused by the physical distance between where you website hosting a server is located and where you are. Therefore, how CDN network works is to shorten that physical distance thus making websites load faster with better performance.
CDN BEHIND THE SCENES
When you load that website URL , the web browser requests for a resource, the first action is to make a DNS request. Making a DNS request is similar to looking for a phone number in a phone book. The browser offers a domain name and expects an IP address in return. With the IP address, the browser then contacts the web server directly for subsequent requests.
How does CDN improve website load times?
When it comes to website speed, users drop off quickly as the site slows down. CDN can help reduce load times in the following ways;
- The globally distributed nature of a CDN means reduce distance between users and website resources. Instead of having to connect to wherever a website’s origin server may live, a CDN lets users connect to a geographically closer data centre. Less travel time means faster service.
- Hardware and software optimizations such as efficient load balancing and solid-state hard drives can help data reach the user faster.
- CDNs can reduce the amount of data that’s transferred by reducing file sizes using tactics such as minification and file compression. Smaller file sizes mean quicker load times.
CDNs are very useful for a different reason. For website owners who have visitors in multiple geographic locations, content will be delivered faster to these users as there is less distance to travel. CDN users also benefit from the ability to easily scale up and down much more easily due to traffic spikes.
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