Content Delivery Network, commonly shortened as CDN, is a system of networked servers that are synchronized to deliver web pages and content to individual users based on the nearest web server.
The system is designed to take one’s web content and distribute them across different web servers, doled out in different geographical locations for easy accessibility and speedy conveyance.
The content requested is often pulled from the closest web server. For instance, if you happen to be browsing the site from Singapore, the content requested will be fetched from a CDN server in Singapore. If another user is browsing the same web page in, say, London, the content will instead be pulled from a Content delivery network server in London instead of Singapore. Therefore, it will increase your site speed and improve your content marketing strategies in Singapore.
To determine which server is closest to an end-user, the network utilizes content delivery network mapping technology, which is basically an algorithm that scans all web servers within the network in a matter of microseconds to pull out the closest.
What happens is that web owners and companies pay content delivery network operators to deliver their web content to individual users in the fastest way possible. CDNs will pay ISPs and network carriers to host their servers in their respective data centres.
So basically, CDN is an all-encompassing term for the different types of content delivery services in the gamut of video streaming, mobile content acceleration, software downloads, transparent caching, and a series of other services for measuring CDN performance, Multi-CDN switching, load balancing, cloud intelligence, and analytics to name a few.
At some point, CDN vendors may decide to cross over into an array of other industries including WAN optimization and security.
Content Delivery Network in Layman’s Language
In simpler terms, CDN replicates web content to distribute it across a number of servers for easy and speedy retrieval upon request. This way, when a user searches for a piece of content on the network, the system scans through the various servers to deliver the content from the nearest one. The algorithm running the process does everything at a lightning speed, thus lowering the latency and giving your site a wide exposure, spanning a wider geographical location.
Cloud Content Delivery Network Benefits
CDNs come with tons of benefits for users and web owners.
Improving Web Security
CDNs can help improve your web security by making necessary improvements to security certificates, providing DDoS Mitigation, and optimizing your security settings.
Clients pay for bandwidth. Meaning they pay for the capacity they utilize thus avoiding unnecessary costs like paying for unutilised capacity.
CDNs can also reduce the amount of data loaded through caching, thus significantly reducing your hosting charges.
No upfront investment on infrastructure. All the required purchases and maintenance costs will therefore be carried out by the ISP.
Faster Internet Access
The system works by bringing content closer to visitors, thus ensuring faster and more efficient delivery. The network is designed to reduce latency, increase performance and avoid traffic congestion.
Your visitors are NOT restricted to one place. Regardless of where the visitor is, the network can pull content from the nearest server to deliver it. That way, web owners are given the opportunity of exposing their content to new markets, some of which could be way out of their reach were it NOT for CDN.
CDN allows you to handle fluctuating traffic. With the network, you don’t have to worry about your web traffic overstretching your server resources as with shared hosting or VPS. Designed to scale your web resources up and down depending on the amount of traffic you’re driving, the content delivery network can handle almost any amount of traffic with little to zero downtime.
How CDN Works in Real-time
The transfer of files will take more time if a Singapore user sends a request to a server located in the UK or the US. However, with a CDN POP, the system can easily cache the web files and distribute them to different servers across the world. Meaning when the Singapore user requests for a web page, the files will be pulled from a Singapore CDN server instead of the US or UK server as it’s always been the case, thus reducing latency.
The Concept of CDN is NOT new and can enhance your Singapore local SEO efforts. If anything web owners have been using it to boost the performance of their websites since the 90s. The difference is that it was only available to the big wheels with a war chest of cash in venture capital.
The definition of CDN has however changed a great deal over the years. It has also revolutionized the digital landscape by making content delivery more efficient and cheaper, in addition to accommodating any website out there however small it is.
Besides latency (the amount of time it takes for your request to get a response from a web server), CDN can also help to improve your throughput. Let say, for instance, some user somewhere streams for a video online, waiting for an extra 200ms for the video to start loading can be devastating in a way.
It’s much more crucial that the video streams at a much-sustained speed of, say, 3 Mbit/s.
Now try comparing an old fileserver to a CDN – besides improving your latency by bringing your web content closer to the end-user, CDNs will also be working to improve your throughput.
For file servers, there’s the expected risk of your site chocking up really quickly with multiple users streaming it simultaneously, and the only way to allay the effect is to have multiple file servers to handle the task at hand. But since file servers operate from one location, you’re bound to suffer the risk of network congestion during the transfer of files from a webserver to the end-user.
CDN relieves you of the burden of scaling down your web servers where files delivery is concerned. More of your data can be delivered to the end-user and at a much faster rate than a file server, considering all your web content will be cached and globally distributed for easy accessibility and speedy conveyance.
Using CDN to Make Your WordPress Site Load Faster
Google nowadays considers load time as one of the biggest ranking factors for their result pages. To secure a favorable spot on the SERPs, it’s advisable that you keep your load time under 2 seconds.
This is NOT easy as there’s a lot to be done, including picking a best-performing hosting service for your site. If your website is loading like terrapin, then odds are – every single one of your competitors with better load time will most likely displace you in the search engines.
There’s also a fair chance your site will completely disappear from the search engine.
Simple logic dictates that you choose the best hosting provider or, better, CDN. For WordPress, you’ll also need a good caching plugin and overall site optimization for speedy load time.
Top 12 Free Content Delivery Network Software for Businesses
As discussed earlier, a CDN is essential for all e-commerce businesses. Let us shift gears and look at the top 12 free content delivery network software for businesses available today. Be sure to compare and contrast the features as well as the pros and cons to identify one that best match your brand’s needs.
Pho credits: cloudflare.com
Cloudflare is the most preferred CDN software among bloggers and small business owners since it has a free plan and has no bandwidth restrictions. It also offers reliability, speed, and protection against common DDoS attacks.
This software has an automated platform optimization feature that enables you to deliver your website to the final consumers through its worldwide server network. This helps in reducing your website loading time.
When you change photos, content, or other material on your website, Cloudflare automatically caches it and clears the cached copies from your control panel.
This software is easy to use, and you can operate it directly from your WordPress dashboard. If you decide to use it without customising, change it to default settings with a single click and allow the plugin to handle the rest.
Cloudflare allows you to view performance indicators, including your saved bandwidth, number of blocked threats, and people who have visited your site.
This CDN software is suitable for established online businesses and has functional websites. Also, if you allow customers to give you their personal information, this might be the best CDN software for your business since it ensures data protection. However, to use all their security features, you need to upgrade to the premium plan.
Photo credits: aws.amazon.com
Amazon CloudFront is a content delivery web tool that works with other Amazon Web Services to ensure companies deliver information to the consumers with minimal latency.
Renowned platforms like Slack and Spotify use this software since it is one of the leading content delivery software in the industry.
Most people prefer this CDN software since it allows a free trial for a maximum of one year. The limitation for the trial period is 50GB outbound transfer.
Photo credits: cachefly.com
CacheFly is among the most established CDNs on the market. You can use this software to watch videos and listen to podcasts without any difficulties.
CacheFly has an easy-to-use interface that allows you to handle everything with ease. It comes with numerous security features, including DDoS and virus protection, to safeguard your site from hackers.
The main disadvantage of CacheFly is that it is expensive compared to other CDN software offering the same features. Therefore, despite the numerous advantages it offers, it cannot be suitable for small businesses.
Photo credits: imperva.com
Incapasula is increasingly becoming a popular CDN software in the market. It has an extensive server network and many data centres worldwide.
This software is simple to install and integrate into your WordPress site. It comes with a great free plan that offers several security features like login and spam protection and protection against DDoS attacks.
For people running a small business, this is the ideal CDN software. It is also suitable for amateur bloggers.
If you are operating a big business, the free version may not help you. Therefore, you need to upgrade to Incapasula premium. This premium package contains features that will help you run your business better.
Photo credits: netlifly.com
Netlify is a comprehensive tool for online project automation. You can use the program to create, test, and distribute all your web applications internationally. You can also use it to access your repository, add build parameters, and successfully launch your website.
This CDN software has in-built apps that can help you customize your tools efficiently. You can also use your most preferred tools for managing content, making payments, posting reviews, and searching.
Netlifly has a streamlined process that offers customers effective tools for launching and managing their websites better. You can also utilize the built-in add-ons to create a dynamic site by integrating a tool of your choice.
Photo credits: akamai.com
Akamai is among the most popular free CDNs available. It provides a more stable connection and lower latency by privately creating interconnections with Google edge sites.
This tool has the necessary API and CMS integration to serve users appropriately. It also has several features, including origin pull, custom SSL, dynamic and static content routing, cache clearing, and a shareable SSL certificate.
Akamai is used by several well-known firms worldwide, including Adobe, Facebook, and BBC.
- It is safe from external attacks
- The caching functionality is fast
- Has a reliable API
- Excellent customer service
- Great dashboard
- Real-time reporting
- Setting up takes a lot of time
- The user interface is a bit confusing to new users
- Learning how to use this tool takes a bit of time
- Activation takes a while
Photo credits: jetpack.com
Jetpack is an easy-to-use CDN software that offers various features, including backup, security, and speed improvement. It has a service known as the site accelerator that helps in reducing your website loading time.
This tool allows you to back up your data, clone regularly, and migrates sites. Additionally, it optimizes your images and keeps your CSS files and video content in its server network without any charges. As a result, YouTube’s suggestions and advertisements will not overshadow your video content.
The main disadvantage of this tool is that it doesn’t have in-built caching. Therefore, if you need to cache your website files, you need additional plugins like WP Super Cache.
If you are a new website owner or your website is rapidly expanding, Jetpack is the ideal software to use. This is because it is pre-installed with numerous WordPress hosting providers, making it simple to use.
- You can conveniently add essential features
- Frequent updates
- Well-organized user-interface
- You will not lose your content if you decide to change your theme
- You can add quality stuff to your website even when using the free plan
- Suitable for people with little knowledge of WordPress
- Slows down your page
- It makes it harder for search engines to locate your bogs
- It gives you limited options for the plugins to use
- You may encounter difficulties with other plugins
- To get access to all free options, you need to log into WordPress.com
Photo credits: arvancloud.com
ArvanCloud is a comprehensive CDN software equipped with cutting-edge and unique technology to provide data security and fast data delivery.
This software is convenient since its free plan has similar features to those of the premium plan. Therefore, there is no need to upgrade. The free CDN plan offers 200GB of monthly bandwidth for both downloading and uploading.
Any website can take advantage of this software because it is quick and secure.
- Easy to use
- Intuitive user interface
- Has clear limits on pricing plans
- They offer free SSL certificates
- You don’t need to upgrade to the premium plans
- Easy to set up
- It does not have some crucial functionalities
- Limited documentation
- The are a bit confusing
- A bit slow
- The mobile user interface is a bit disappointing
Photo credits: gumlet.com
Gumlet is a CDN software designed for new-age media delivery with low or no code plugins.
Nowadays, most businesses use the internet to communicate with their clients through videos and pictures. Having a slow website is the last thing you need since most people will not trust your business. Therefore, you may end up losing potential clients.
Most developers use Gumlet to deliver small pictures and videos to customers with the highest resolution faster.
This software is beneficial to most developers since they don’t need to worry about creating different versions and sizes of media files. The tool automatically optimizes the media files for all users once incorporated. It resizes, compresses, and converts them to different formats.
- Images load faster
- Easy to set up
- Compresses your images without losing quality
- Intuitive user interface
- Improves website speed
- Each time you customise the domain name, you need to pay
- Poor customer support
- It uses more bandwidth at times for little saving
- If you don’t have any technical expertise, it may be challenging to know the suitable options
Photo credits: litespeedtech.com
When installing this WordPress plugin, you need to exercise extra caution. This is because specific cache plugins do interfere with the functionality of other existing ecommerce plugins. However, LiteSpeed is compatible with WooCommerce.
This CDN software is suitable for well-established website owners.
- Easy to learn
- Excellent customer service
- Guaranteed safety and quality
- You don’t require big hardware
- It can read Apache configuration files
- Offers in-built cache
- They have a licensing policy that limits how you use it on your server
- The free version is limited
Photo credits: smartvideo.com
SmartVideo is a free CDN software that Swarmify developed. It makes it easier for you to intergrate videos into your website without relying on YouTube’s code.
This software is majorly used for creating videos. Therefore, if you are a vlogger, content producer, or educator, this software is ideal for you. However, if you need additional features, you need extra plugins.
Moreover, SmartVideo enables you to create buffer-free videos. It also allows you to customise the video player and convert YouTube embedded codes into smart videos.
SmartVideo works with various WordPress page builders, including Elementor, Beaver Builder, and Divi.
- Fast video speed
- Quality videos
- Updated technology for video creation
- It saves both time and money
- No cons reported so far
Photo credits: fastly.com
Fastly is a free CDN software that helps the world’s most popular online enterprises keep up with emerging trends and customer expectations.
Most organisations trust Fastly due to its advanced technology, which speeds up technical innovation, mitigates emerging risks, and grows on demand.
Examples of companies that use Fastly include Pinterest, Vimeo, Airbnb, The Guardian, and Ticketmaster.
- You can modify customer reviews by stripping cookies
- Supports various forms of media, including videos
- Image add-ons make video editing simpler
- It may not be easy to set up
- Poor customer service
- It can be slow at times
It’s a Wrap
The content delivery network boasts a barrage full of benefits. If your site is NOT on the network, then there’s a whole lot you’re missing.
This post answers some of the obvious questions web owners have concerning CDN. If you’d like to learn more about the content delivery networks and how to go about it, feel free to take advantage of MediaOne’s free SEO consultation by contacting them today.