The world of web development is full of confusing jargon and provides a seemingly endless supply of acronyms. A CDN or “Content Delivery Network” is one of these concepts that can seem very foreign or intimidating at first, but a good CDN can provide a plethora of benefits when serving up your website.
Site speed is always a main focal point from both the development and end-user standpoint. Many site speed checking tools and developers suggest using CDNs as a great way to serve your website faster.
To understand how CDNs speed up load speeds, you first need to understand how the typical shared hosting plan works (typical Godaddy, HostGator, etc. type hosting plans). Let’s say for example I am using a Hostgator shared hosting plan and I know my data is being served through a data center in Utah. When somebody visits the site their request goes to Utah and is then returned and loaded on the user’s browser.
This load time might not seem so bad to a person in Texas but if the person is in Asia this request is traveling a long way, which drastically increases load time and the effort needed to serve up the site.
This is where CDNs come in to help us out. Content delivery networks have multiple data centers strategically placed throughout the globe. Now when somebody in Asia visits my site, my sites files are being served from the closest possible data center reducing load and wait times. This is only one of the many benefits of a good CDN.
Cloudflare is the CDN of choice for many developers. Not only does it provide the all-important faster load times, it also has added security features as well as analytic tools. Many CDN services are paid; however, Cloudflare has a completely free account level and still provides you with incredible services.
Cloudflare’s multitude of benefits include:
- Increase in site performance
- Saving bandwidth
- Faster DNS change propagation than its shared hosting counterparts
- A broad security layer and protection against DDoS attacks
For BuildThis, Cloudflare has made things more organized as all of our sites can now be seen on the one Cloudflare dashboard as opposed scattered throughout multiple hosting accounts. It has given us peace of mind that our sites are now protected by new and constantly updating layers of security.