WordPress CDN – Why You Should Be Using One
By Ali Raza, Updated: August 25, 2016
As many SEO companies put it, young online businesses can leapfrog their popular counterparts by manipulating search rankings. These manipulative tactics used to work well half a decade ago, when search algorithms were passive and focused little on enhancing content quality and user experience. In recent iterations however, search engine algorithms sort websites on grounds of accessibility and quality – not just content quality, but how well the content reaches its appropriate audience.
Since gaming search engines as clever as Googles is not really possible, network infrastructure designers have invented a cunning technology to deliver content efficiently. The aptly named Content Delivery Network (CDN) technology delivers your website information via multiple sources instead of a single hosting server. Google’s latest search algorithm Hummingbird is designed to reward responsive websites with higher search rankings. However, the concept is as complex as the way it works, which calls for a bit of explanation. Read more below about what a WordPress CDN entails.
What is a WordPress CDN?
CDN is short for Content Delivery Network. On a CDN the content hosted is on a server within a network is made available to internet users across the Web, residing within all other networks. It takes several networking hops (communication instances between intermediate networking devices) to serve data request from browsers to hosting servers and the requested content from hosting servers back to web browsers if the content is hosted only on a single hosting server at a faraway location.
Imagine a user from China accessing your ecommerce WordPress website hosted on U.S. based servers taking painstakingly long time to load the list of special discount offerings to Chinese customers – yes, tapping the market potential of densely populated South Asian markets creates unprecedented business opportunities (think Apple and Samsung!).
The internet user would much rather search for a locally-hosted, fast-loading website offering similar products for cheap and make a quick purchase. According to recent research study, 40 percent of internet visitors abandon a website if it takes anything over three seconds to load. This consumer behavior in turn, costs online businesses up to 21 percent in revenue losses as pointed out in our recent Kinsta blog.
Fortunately, advancements in the internet technology segment have come a long way to address these concerns, so why not empower WP website owners to deliver content directly from servers nearest to requesting users instead of a single master server hosting the website core.
Yes, that’s exactly what a CDN does – in layman’s terms at least. Speaking more technically, CDN is an interconnected system of servers located at disparate geographic locations, containing duplicated (cached) static (and sometimes dynamic) website content such as images and video streams, and serving this information to requesting users directly from the nearest located server within the CDN (phew!).
WordPress CDN Benefits
Accessing content from the nearest available CDN server reduces the number of network hops required for successful client-server communication. Traffic density accessing hosting servers also reduces dramatically, preventing traffic spikes from overwhelming hosting machines. Website visitors can access static content such as bulky images and videos as pre-cached replicated files on nearby CDN servers, eliminating the need to download the content repeatedly and increasing page load speeds as a result. In essence, visitors to a CDN ‘see’ virtually unlimited bandwidth and experience minimum latency, which is the primary benefit of deploying CDNs. These quality factors add up to deliver killer website experience justified by the cost incurred to subscribe for a CDN service. (Some free options are available as well).
Since the replicated content is available across multiple servers present at disparate geographic locations, Web traffic is dynamically routed to another server containing the same content if the nearest one crashes for any reason. It’s virtually impossible for every server machine to go down across vast CDNs simultaneously, and the technology practically guarantees 100 percent uptime and full crash resistance.
The general sentiment in the SEO industry will hope you to believe CDNs increase PageRank. Technically, they don’t. But practically, the performance boost coming with deploying CDNs drastically improves website experience. And according to many studies, fast-loading and easily navigable websites retain visitors for longer duration and encourage frequent repeat visits. These characteristics in turn prompt search engines to reward well performing websites with higher PageRank, albeit from an SEO perspective.
The technology comes with a number of concerns, shared with the all-so-popular enterprise-friendly cloud networking technology. Shared concerns include issues such as privacy, data security and loss of control. Yet, business strategically investing in cloud computing are enjoying high productivity and business opportunities barely possible without the technology.
In the same way, CDN is not a plug-and-play offering for WP website owners. Some understanding of the technology and service delivery to end users across the world is required to develop appropriate deployment strategies, such as load balancing and distribution. The last thing CDN users would want is to deliver content from servers where it is blocked as per local governing authorities.
Put these concerns in perspective, and CDNs promise a considerable boost in your online business.
You might be interested in this blog post: CDN v2.0 For The Cloud Generation