November 22

0 comments

What Does CDN Stand For And Is It Helpful In Business?

By Hanson Cheng

November 22, 2022


Does your website take forever to load?

Do you often experience downtime or slow loading speeds?

You might need a content delivery network (CDN) if you said yes to either of these questions.

In this article, I'll explore what a CDN is, what it does, and how it can help your business succeed online.

What Is CDN?

CDNs are networks of servers that deliver cached content to users based on their geographic location. This means that instead of your website visitors waiting for content to load from a single server, they can receive it almost instantly from a server closer to them.

CDNs can deliver all kinds of content, including images, videos, and applications. They're also not just for large businesses; CDNs can benefit small businesses if your website helps you generate leads or sales. a CDN can be a critical tool for improving your website's performance and ensuring that your visitors have a positive experience.

How Does A CDN Work?

Here are the key steps to know regarding how a CDN works.

 The Client Sends A Request To The CDN

Firstly, a user will send a request for content from your website to the CDN. In simple terms, they will type in your website address or click on a link that takes them to your website.

The CDN Retrieves The Content From The Origin Server

The CDN will then retrieve the requested content from your origin server. The origin server is where your website is hosted and all your files are stored.

The CDN Caches (Stores) The Content

Once the CDN has retrieved the content from your origin server, it will store it on its servers. Caching content helps to improve loading speeds because the CDN doesn't have to retrieve the content from your origin server every time a user requests it.

When Another Client Requests The Same Content, The CDN Serves It From The Cache

If another user requests the same content that has already been cached, the CDN will serve it from its servers. This is much faster than retrieving the content from the origin server each time, and it helps to improve loading speeds and reduce downtime.

If Unavailable, The CDN Retrieves Content From The Origin Server And Caches It

If the content is unavailable in the cache (for example, if it's a new piece of content that hasn't been requested before), then the CDN will retrieve it from your origin server and cache it for future use.

What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Using CDN?

If the above hasn't convinced you of the benefits of using a CDN, then here are some key advantages that CDNs offer.

Speed

CDNs deliver content from servers close to the user rather than from a single server. This reduces the distance the data travels and results in faster loading times.

Consistency

CDNs store copies of your website's files on multiple servers worldwide. This means that if one server goes down, others can take its place and keep your website up and running.

Global Reach

CDNs can help you to reach a global audience by storing your content on servers in multiple countries. This ensures that users from all over the world can access your content quickly and efficiently.

Security

CDNs can offer added security for your website by protecting it from denial of service (DDoS) attacks. DDoS attacks are a type of attack where hackers attempt to overload a server with requests to take it down. Using a CDN, you can distribute the load across multiple servers, making it much harder for attackers to take your website offline.

Scalability

A CDN can be scaled up or down as needed, meaning that you only pay for the resources you use. This is in contrast to traditional hosting solutions, where you would need to pay for a certain amount of resources whether you used them all.

Better User Experience

Ultimately, CDNs can help improve your website's user experience by delivering content faster and more reliably. This can lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction and can even help to boost conversion rates.

How To Set Up A CDN From A Business Point Of View

If you're ready to set up a CDN for your website, here's a brief overview of what you need to do.

Choose A CDN Provider

There are many different CDN providers to choose from, so it's essential to take the time to research the options and select the one that's right for your needs.

Some factors include the following:

  • Pricing
  • Features
  • Network size and coverage
  • Reliability and uptime
  • Customer support

Check out the next section on features for more information on what to look for in a CDN provider.

Set Up An Account With The Chosen Provider

Once you've selected a CDN provider, you'll need to set up an account. This usually involves providing basic information such as your name and email address.

Configure Your Origin Server To Work With The CDN

Your origin server is the server where your website's files are stored. For the CDN to work correctly, you'll need to configure it to work with your origin server.

The exact process will vary depending on which CDN provider you're using, but it usually just involves adding a few lines of code to your website's configuration file.

Set Up CDN URLs For Your Content

This step involves telling the CDN where to find the files it needs to serve.

The exact process will again vary depending on which CDN provider you use. A high-quality CDN will be able to help out with this.

Configure Caching Rules

Caching is a process whereby the CDN stores copies of your content on its servers to deliver it faster the next time it's requested.

You'll need to configure caching rules to tell the CDN how long to keep content cached for and which types of content should be cached.

Test The CDN Setup

Once you've completed all the steps above, testing the CDN setup is essential to ensure everything is working. This generally involves requesting a page from your website via the CDN URL and checking that the correct content is delivered.

Monitor The CDN

Once your CDN is up and running, monitoring it to ensure it's performing as expected is essential. This usually involves looking at things like:

  • Response times
  • Cache hit rates
  • Data transfer volumes
  • Error rates

Most CDN providers will offer a monitoring interface that you can use to keep an eye on these metrics.

Key Features Of A CDN

The following are the key features to look out for when choosing a CDN.

DDoS Protection

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is where the attacker attempts to make a website or server unavailable by bombarding it with requests from multiple computers.

DDoS attacks can be very damaging, and they're becoming increasingly common. A good CDN will offer some level of DDoS protection, which can help to mitigate the effects of an attack and keep your website online.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a protocol to encrypt traffic between a website and a user's web browser.

While SSL used to be reserved for sites that handled sensitive information, such as online stores, it's now considered the best practice for all websites and can even help with your SEO efforts.

A good CDN will offer SSL support, which means that the platform will encrypt your website's traffic as it passes through the CDN's servers. This can help to improve security and boost your search engine rankings.

Application Load Balancing

Application load balancing is a process whereby the CDN balances traffic across multiple servers to improve performance.

This is particularly important for websites that experience spikes in traffic, as it can help to ensure that the site remains accessible even when there's a lot of demand.

Web Application Firewall (WAF)

A web application firewall (WAF) is a piece of software that's designed to protect websites from malicious traffic.

WAFs work by analyzing incoming traffic and blocking any requests that appear to be malicious. This can help to improve security and reduce the risk of your website being hacked.

DNS Services

DNS is a system that converts domain names into IP addresses. This is when you type a URL into your web browser; the DNS system translates the domain name into an IP address and directs your browser to the correct website.

A good CDN will offer DNS services, which can help improve your website's speed and reliability by using a faster and more reliable DNS system.

Origin Shield

Origin shield is a feature that's offered by some CDNs. It creates an extra caching layer regarding your website's content on the CDN's servers. Your origin server doesn't have to handle as much traffic.

This can help to improve performance and reduce the risk of your origin server going down.

Rate Limiting

Rate limiting is a process whereby the CDN limits the amount of traffic that's allowed to reach your website. This can help prevent your website from being overwhelmed by too much traffic, improving performance and stability.

Will A CDN Help A Small Local Business?

A CDN is probably not worth the investment if you're just starting an online business or you have a small website with low traffic levels.

However, if you have a large website or experience spikes in traffic, then a CDN can help improve performance and ensure that your site remains accessible.

Here are the main types of businesses that might benefit the most from using a CDN.

Businesses With Global Reach

If you are scaling in business and want to expand your customer base to a global level, then a CDN can help improve your website's speed and reliability for users worldwide.

Businesses With High-Traffic Volumes

Those that use business intelligence tools to monitor their traffic volume as part of their operations will likely find that a CDN can help to improve performance and stability.

Businesses With High-Traffic Volumes

Those that use business intelligence tools to monitor their traffic volume as part of their operations will likely find that a CDN can help to improve performance and stability.

Businesses That Handle Sensitive Data

If you have an online store or collect sensitive information from users, a CDN can help improve security by encrypting traffic as it passes through the CDN's servers.

Businesses With Mobile Apps

CDN can help improve performance by caching content on the user's device if you have a mobile app. This can reduce load times and improve the user experience.

Businesses With Time-Sensitive Content

Suppose you have a website that regularly publishes time-sensitive content. In that case, a CDN can help ensure that this content is delivered quickly and reliably to users worldwide.

Businesses With SLAs

If your business has an SLA (service-level agreement), then a CDN can help ensure that this agreement is met. Moreover, if you have KPIs that must be hit, then a CDN can help to improve your website's performance.

In such situations, you might also consider recruiting a business manager with experience to ensure you hit your agreed-upon goals.

Businesses With Multiple Websites

A CDN can help improve your website's speed and reliability if you have more than one website on the same server.

Businesses With Ecommerce Sites

Whether you're just learning how to make money online with ecommerce or consider yourself an experienced ecommerce entrepreneur, using a CDN can help improve your ecommerce website's performance and ensure that your customers have an overall positive shopping experience.

Tips For Using CDN In Your Business

To conclude, here are some final tips regarding CDNs and how to use them in your business.

Do Your Research

As with anything, it's essential to do your research before you commit to using a CDN. Make sure to understand what a CDN is and how it works before you decide if it's right for your business.

Consider Your Budget

CDNs can vary significantly in price, so you must consider your budget before choosing a provider. There are many options available, so you should be able to find a CDN that fits within your budget.

Consider Your Content

When you're deciding which CDN to use, make sure to consider the type of content that you'll be delivering. If you have a lot of images or video content, then you'll need a CDN optimized for this type of content.

Consider Your Goals

Before setting up a CDN, think about what you hope to achieve using one. Do you want to improve the performance of your website? Increase security? Improve the user experience? Once you know your goals, you can choose a CDN best suited to achieving them.

Conclusion

A CDN can be a helpful tool for businesses of all sizes. If you're considering using a CDN, do your research and choose a provider that's best suited to your needs. This will help to ensure that you can achieve your goals and improve the performance of your website.

Last Updated on November 22, 2022 by Hanson Cheng

Thanks For Reading!

You can get more actionable ideas in my newsletter.

 I'll give you info on actionable ideas to grow and cool things that are getting me excited.  Enter your email and join us!

Hanson Cheng

About the author

Living in Bali with my Fiancee and puppy, (Alina and Pickles).
Scaling online businesses and sharing lessons learned on this website and in our email newsletter.

Always happy to hear from you, so find me on Instagram if you want to say hi!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>