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Due to the broader use of 4K (aka ultra high-definition) video on social platforms and business websites, along with the higher amount of data being consumed across industries, the content delivery network (CDN) market is growing at a remarkable clip. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the global CDN market was forecast at 32.8% by MarketandMarkets for 2018 through 2023.

Content delivery networks are used both to deliver content to consumers as well as between businesses. These systems are used to improve the performance of games, video, voice, ecommerce orders, mobile content, dynamic content, and static content.

Since CDNs are typically discussed in terms of boosting performance, it is worth considering the value of performance – as indicated by a couple case studies. The BBC determined that 10% of site visitors would abandon their site for any additional second of loading time. Similarly, COOK found that improving their average load time by 850 milliseconds resulted in a 10% rise in pages per session, 7% reduction in bounce rate, and 7% boost in conversion.

You can see why this technology is compelling. Its benefits are even broader than those described above.

Content delivery network benefits

Why exactly are these systems used? Here are the basic reasons the CDN is adopted:

#1 – User experience

You are able to give end users a better experience by accomplishing improved robustness (with the capacity to draw on more than one delivery server) and lower latency (stronger throughput between the delivery server and user, as well as lower round-trip time).

#2 – Cost savings

It can reduce the amount of money you spend each month on web hosting by saving bandwidth and broadly distributing the work. You can save on power, space, data center capacity, and other IT infrastructure costs as files are increasingly handled by the CDN. Additionally, you are able to minimize your bandwidth usage and, in turn, minimize the expense of delivering cacheable files.

#3 – Performance

The distribution and intelligence of a CDN tends to improve performance. Strong performance for users regardless of their location on the globe is achieved because you have your origin server along with replicated server clusters. Within the server clusters are JavaScript files, CSS stylesheets, videos, images, and other static content. The replicated web servers within the CDN will answer the user requests typically, rather than them having to go all the way to the origin machine. Launching a CDN can give you a major boost, depending on where your typical users are located and the amount of content you need to load.

The raw speed improvement of a CDN is by itself incredibly compelling. In an experiment that tested the implementation of a caching plugin (W3 Total Cache) and CDN found that the initial average load time was improved by 1.5 seconds with the addition of each technology. In other words, the case study, published in WinningWP, found that site load times could be improved by 3 seconds with the addition of these two standard best-practice caching measures.

#4 – Better conversion rate

The people who visit your site will be happier if your site is fast, yielding happier customers and more sales.

#5 – SEO-friendly

A key ranking factor that is core to search engine optimization is the speed of your site. You will get better rankings as you deliver your site faster.

This is not new information: Matt Cutts of Google announced back in 2010 that speed was a site ranking factor. Most recently, speed was announced as a ranking factor for the same search engine’s mobile searches in July 2018.

#6 – Web caching

A CDN excels as a way to manage a cache of small, static files, such as JavaScript, CSS files, static images, or animated GIFs. They can also be good for caching audio recordings, video files, and other items that are particularly large and costly to deliver. A key aspect of management is determining when files expire to make room for new ones.

#7 – Request routing

One key benefit of using a CDN is that it involves file storage hardware and servers at numerous places worldwide. When users interact with the system, the request routing capacity allows the request to go to the content repository that is in closest physical proximity to the end-user by leveraging GeoDNS.

#8 – Geoblocking

You are able to set restrictions in terms of where your content is visible based on the location from which a user is accessing. You can make any content unavailable as desired.

#9 – Distribution

A content delivery network is essentially user-friendly because it considers where the user is on the planet. If you are not using a CDN and have all users requesting from you handled by a server in Dallas, people in Asia and Europe will have to make transcontinental hops to get to what your site has to offer. A CDN allows you to get downloads to people much more quickly because the technology leverages local data centers.

#10 – More than one domain

A browser puts a limit on how many simultaneous downloads can occur through one domain. Typically you can only have four connections going at once. Additional files have to wait until one of the four is complete. Since a CDN is located at a separate domain, the browser is able to double the connections (typically resulting in eight). 

#11 – Security

A content delivery network will also improve your ability to defend yourself against cyberattack. It is a layer between you and the Internet, essentially. The traffic will be filtered and greatly improved when it hits your site – with the CDN pulling out the spammers, bots, hackers, and false calls of distributed denial of service (DDoS) botnets. In this way, no one will be able to touch the origin server, the core of your system. Proxy machines might go offline; but users could still get to your site, because it would only damage service related to that single machine. 

Content delivery networks have some built-in defenses against the bogus traffic spikes of DDoS. It helps to remember that these systems were built in order to analyze and properly handle strong fluctuations in traffic. A CDN sends any fraudulent requests to a scrubbing node called a blackhole so that the site does not experience any harm. CDNs have sometimes been able to mitigate small DDoS attacks by simply sending out the requests to the larger network; however, that tactic does not work for mitigation of large DDoS events. When a CDN is bolstered with DDoS protection, it is optimized to prevent your site from ever being driven offline.

A CDN that has a strong DDoS toolset and knowledge will be able to protect web applications and sites from various malicious efforts, keep the load times rapid for users at peak times, and handle out-of-nowhere surges in demand. If you choose a managed service provider for your CDN that also has specialty in DDoS mitigation, you can know that the proxy servers of the CDN are giving you substantially improved security along with its clear performance benefits.

The right CDN to boost your efforts

Do you think a content delivery network could help your online efforts? At Total Server Solutions, our CDN utilizes equipment in over 150 data centers worldwide so that wherever your audience happens to be, they’re always close to your content. Plus, we are specialists in DDoS prevention. Load your content faster!