Use a Content Delivery Network

One way to speed your website up is to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). Using a CDN ensures a fast delivery of your static content by delivering this content from a server close to the location of your visitor, which improves the server response time. The type of content you host on a CDN (photos, CSS files, Javascript files, downloads, etc..) usually amounts to about eighty percent of the downloadable content of the average website in total, which is why a CDN can greatly speed up your website. Most smaller sites do not need to use a CDN though, it is meant for bigger sites with a lot of static content.

How Can a CDN Speed Up My Website?

Whenever someone browses your website, their browser has to connect to the location of the server where your website is hosted to download all the files needed to fully load your website. The longer the distance between the location of the visitor and your server, the longer the visitor has to wait until this connection is made. On the other hand, the shorter the distance, the faster your content will be delivered. This is where a Content Delivery Network can come in handy. A CDN service provides a network of servers across different locations all over the world where where your content can be downloaded from. Whenever the browser of one of your visitors requests your content, the CDN service will automatically choose the server with the fastest response time. This way you can deliver your content in a very fast way to anyone all over the world. You are no longer dependent on the location of one server.

Advantages Of Using a CDN

  • Provides you with the quickest response time possible by serving your content from a server close to the location of your visitor
  • Your visitors don’t need to connect to just 1 server to get your content anymore but instead download your static content from a different server, which speeds up your website by reducing the number of HTTP requests and server load
  • Decreases the amount of bandwidth usage of your main server
  • Allows you to quickly change hosts without having to move huge amounts of downloadable content

Does a CDN Service Benefit Everyone?

Certainly not. Many businesses only use a CDN for a big website with a million+ images but none for smaller sites. A CDN is mainly meant for larger websites with a lot of content (and usually traffic). If you have a small website with a few pages and photos you most likely do not benefit that much from using a CDN.

Which Service Should I Choose?

Choosing the right CDN service depends on the type of content you want to host. Different CDN services are specialized in different types of content and sites.

  • First of all there’s Cloudfare which is one of the best and most widely used services available right now and also has a free starting plan for you to check out. Cloudfare can be used for all of your web content.
  • If you run a CMS powered website like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal use MaxCDN or Photon which specializes in quick delivery of photos/images used on WordPress sites.
  • If you run a website with a lot of media files you can use services like RackSpace or CDN77 which specializes in streaming video.
  • When you host a lot of Javascript files you can make use of JSDeliver who specialize in quickly delivering Javascripts.

Another one worth mentioning is CloudCache which provides a network with 500 peers.

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