What Is a CDN and Why Is It Important to Your Business?

The beauty of a great CDN is that you never see it, hear it, or worry about it. But what exactly is it? CDN stands for content delivery network. It’s a group of servers geographically distributed and linked together via the Internet. The servers’ purpose is to improve content delivery performance by using a server closest to the the end user. In short, a CDN helps your website load more quickly, which may keep visitors around longer.

For example, say your site is hosted in Arizona. A user in the UK visits your site and now the full site must load all the way from Arizona, which could take several seconds. But when using a CDN, the end user loads your site from a proxy server closer to them, allowing the full site to load faster.

Why Is That Important?

Fast loading time for your website is crucial because, well, people are impatient. If your site takes too long to load, there’s a good chance that visitors will bounce rather than stick around to see what finally appears on their screen. This is especially important for businesses that use a lot of graphics, videos, or software downloads that can slow down load times. Not to mention that site speed became part of Google Ranking Factors in 2010. Good speed = good SEO.

CDN’s also reduce bandwidth costs, increase content availability and improve redundancy. They provide security for your site through authentication, encryption and data integrity. In particular, they protect against attacks that attempt to overwhelm the network, in addition to those that aim to steal information.

Where Do You Get a CDN?

Many companies offer a CDN service à la carte, but many will bundle a CDN with everything else you need to run your website. Hammersmith Support exclusively works with WP Engine, as it provides not only a fast CDN but also reliable hosting. While you can host a website without a CDN, you cannot have a CDN without a host. The combination of the two creates an efficient hosting environment for even the busiest website.

Want to read more about website hosting? Click on over to the Hammersmith Support blog “Website Hosting 101.”