A content delivery network (CDN) accelerates the delivery of your website’s pages, video and other content to its visitors. A CDN is often used for retail and ecommerce websites; Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other public clouds; and web-based applications that receive a lot of traffic, offer streaming video and interactive media, or have a far-reaching global audience.
A CDN uses a system of distributed servers to rapidly deliver web pages and related media to a website visitor based on the geographic locations of the visitor, the origin of the web page and the CDN’s nearest server. Besides quickly delivering content to a visitor, CDNs also help websites cope with unexpected or large surges in traffic.
In a CDN, the server closest to the website visitor responds to the visitor’s request. To improve the delivery of web pages, a CDN copies a website’s pages to its geographically dispersed network of servers. When a visitor requests a web page, the CDN redirects the request to its server that is nearest to the visitor and delivers the cached content. The CDN also communicates with the originating server so it can deliver any requested content that hasn’t been previously cached.
The operations of a CDN are nearly invisible to your site’s visitors. A visitor will not know if a CDN has delivered a website’s content unless the delivered URL differs from the requested URL.
Why CDNs matter
How important are quick page loads? According to recent research, 47 percent of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. Moreover, if a website takes more than three seconds to load, 40 percent of visitors will abandon the site and go elsewhere.
Fast-loading web pages are of the utmost importance. Per the report, a one-second delay in the response of a web page can cause a 7 percent reduction in your conversions. In business terms, this means that if an ecommerce site has revenues of $100,000 a day, a one-second delay could potentially result in $2.5 million in lost sales every year.