CDN or how to make your website lightning-fast

No Comments » Written on February 8th, 2014 by
Categories: Website Development

contentdeliverynetworkIf you run a website or plan to develop one that should attract a good amount of traffic, CDN services are something you should consider. You might have heard already about CDN or Content Delivery Network, but you are not sure what that is. Well basically a CDN service helps a website get faster and takes off some loads that otherwise are meant to your hosting account / server. For a regular website / blog, not using a CDN might not be a problem, but for websites with 1000s of hits / day, this could add up to important server bandwidth and process loads.

First, some insights on Content Delivery Networks: CDNs are a network of computers located in various places on the globe; a website using a CDN service will have its static files (images, CSS files, static HTML files, scripts) saved in all these places around the world; when a user will visit such a website, all static files will be loaded from the closer CDN location, resulting in much faster page loading times (many times more than 80% of a page loading time is given by static content). The picture of the service is simple: the closer the location of files downloaded for a website, the faster it is. As not all websites can pay to have their own servers located around the world, CDN services provide a simple and reliable solution to these needs.

There are a few CDN networks available on the market, but one of them stands out with a free solution available as well. The CloudFlare service uses the power of cloud computing with servers in over 24 locations in the world. There is a free solution as well offering most of the tools any would look in a CDN service:

  • globally load balanced content delivery network (with over 24 server locations to serve your static content faster to users)
  • static content catching (saves your hosting server bandwidth and CPU by serving static content directly from the CDN servers)
  • website always online (serves static content of your website even when your server is down)
  • website security (blocks many threats before they even get to your website / server; it offers DDoS protection, blocks malicious IPs, comment spam protection)
  • website analytics (CloudFlare also offers free analytics for your website, offering insights into all of your visitors)

These are just a bunch of all features available, for more details visit the CloudFlare website. These services will basically get your website faster, much faster, for users all around the world.

But if you want to get your website lightning-fast, in this case I would also recommend using a web hosting that offers SSD hosting (Solid State Drive). The SSD drives are different from the regular Hard-Drives by operating similar with the flash memories, giving access to information up to 300% faster. So if you operate a dynamic website (with a content driven database), then opting in for a SSD solution will also increase the delivery of content by up to 3x. You don't need a dedicated server to find a SSD solution: A2Hosting offers shared hosting accounts on SSD drives, making it a viable and affordable solution.

Using CloudFlare & A2hosting I managed to get a website increase 2x in performance based on Google PageSpeed Insights. This can only translate for any webmaster in more pages served to users in the same time, more sales opportunities and not to mention that search engines also use among their ranking algorithms the page speed. Bottom line: the faster the speed of your website the better.