CDN biz – What is a CDN and How to Use It. Have you found out what a CDN is? The term Content Delivery Network must be familiar to those of you who are currently studying or dealing with hosting and websites. This technology is widely used by website managers/developers to keep the website stable and active when problems arise.
The Content Delivery Network is intended for large-scale websites with lots of content. However, actually, all websites can also use a CDN to improve performance.
If you don’t know much about CDNs, here we will discuss what CDNs are, how to use them, and a list of free CDN providers in the world today.
So, what is a CDN?
The definition of CDN or Content Delivery Network is a collection of global servers located in several data centers and spread across various countries. This network functions to send content from the server to a website.
What a CDN does is increase the speed at which data is transmitted over the server network to visitors from the closest possible location. Maybe you think if you are using a powerful hosting, such as a VPS or a dedicated server, using a CDN does not have a significant effect.
In fact, no matter how many server resources you have, the location of a server is one of the crucial factors to increase the speed of a website.
Let’s say the visitor’s location is in India, while the server of your website is in the US. Due to the distance between the visitor’s location and the server, content delivery is a time-consuming process. However, with CDN servers located in several places (for example India, the US, and Singapore) the process of sending content can be faster.
If your visitor is from India, the CDN will send files from the closest possible location. In this case, the file may be sent from a server also located in India. After discussing what a CDN is, now is the time to review the advantages and benefits of using a CDN.
- Advantages & Benefits of Using a CDN
- A CDN is a great solution for websites that have a lot of visitors.
- CDN ensures a website can be accessed globally.
- CDN is quite effective in reducing resource usage (eg disk space and bandwidth).
- A CDN increases the loading speed of websites, especially if the visitor’s location is close to the CDN server.
- CDN can increase your ranking better in search engines.
- CDN supports all types of websites and hosting.
Benefits of a CDN
Here are the benefits of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that you can get when implementing it on a website.
A CDN is a great solution for websites that have a lot of visitors.
CDN stores website cache on several servers around the world. When a visitor wants to access your site, the CDN directs them to the server closest to them. This will reduce the server load even when the site has a large number of visitors.
CDN ensures a website can be accessed globally.
CDN providers have several servers scattered around the world. This allows visitors from all over the world to access your website. Especially in some countries, sometimes implementing policies to block access to certain networks so that users in those countries cannot access sites that are on the network list.
CDN is quite effective in reducing resource usage (eg disk space and bandwidth).
The CDN caches and sends it to visitors by minimizing requests to the hosting server. This is very useful for those of you who have a web hosting with limited resources. For example, there is a bandwidth limitation that sometimes exceeds the existing capacity. In addition, some hosting providers also impose limits on disk space and RAM for hosting.
A CDN increases the loading speed of websites, especially if the visitor’s location is close to the CDN server.
When a CDN redirects the download to the server closest to the visitor, it can speed up the loading of the website. Visitors do not need to go through multiple routing servers around the world. Simply point it to the server closest to the visitor. This may not work very well if the server is located with the target visitors in the same country. But it doesn’t hurt to try to use it by comparing before and after using a CDN.
CDN can increase your ranking better in search engines.
A CDN can increase the loading speed of a website. This results in search engines trusting that the sites they visit are good. Of course, this positive information will bring the site to stand higher than other sites that do not use a CDN. Given that search engines prefer secure and fast websites. Some CDN providers have an SSL feature that can be used free of charge. This will improve the quality of the website and increase search engine trust.
CDN supports all types of websites and hosting.
CDN also does not refer to one type of website or hosting only. But all hosting services can use a CDN to maximize the performance of their website. So you don’t have to worry about whether your hosting can’t use a CDN. Even on websites that use WordPress there are plugins that can be integrated with a live CDN.
Now that you know what a CDN is and what are the benefits of using a CDN, how does a CDN work?
How Does a CDN Work?
In essence, a CDN is a network of servers connected together with the aim of delivering content as quickly, cheaply, reliably, and safely as possible using cache technology.
To be clearer. In this section, we try to discuss more clearly how this technology works.
During the first visit, the time needed was quite long compared to the second visit and thereafter.
On the second visit, visitors will retrieve content that has been cached by the CDN so that the hosting does not need to provide all the content because it is just a matter of completing it. This process will also streamline sending because it will retrieve the file from the server closest to the visitor.
So, even though you have made changes to a web page, it is usually not immediately replaced when accessed. This is because visitors still get cache from the old display, so it will take a few minutes for the CDN to double-check for updates on the hosting server-side.
How to use a CDN?
We can find a Content Delivery Network (CDN) on several sites that provide CDN services, such as Cloudflare. You can read the full article explaining what is Cloudflare to understand more about Cloudflare. Meanwhile, how do you use the Cloudflare CDN? One example you can read the article on how to sync VPS to Cloudflare.
In short, you can read the guide below.
What Do You Need?
Before starting the tutorial steps, make sure that you have access to the DNS settings for your domain.
Step 1: Analyze the Website First
To determine if the CDN is working properly on the website, you can use a tool to analyze the website, for example, WebPageTest.org. The following are the results of the analysis before using the CDN on the website.
There are several options you can use. For example, using a free CDN service provided by Cloudflare, or using a paid CDN (you can read more about a paid CDN in Step 2).
If you currently manage your website including a site that is not large with moderate visitors, using a paid CDN may not be the right choice, so using a free CDN is sufficient. However, if the website you have has high traffic and server resource usage, a paid CDN is what we recommend.
Or you can also read the article on how to set up Cloudflare in WordPress if the website you are developing uses WordPress.
Step 2: Configure your Content Delivery Network
Option 1 – Use the Free Cloudflare CDN
To use Cloudflare CDN, you need access to the website panel domain that you own.
After all CloudFlare configuration is complete, please wait a few hours for the full changes. Furthermore, your domain will fully use the CDN from Cloudflare.
Here is a list of free CDNs currently in the world.
One of the CDN providers is Cloudflare. Cloudflare offers a free CDN service. This is interesting, considering that most other CDN services offer paid packages. The features provided by this service include DDoS Protection, SSL Certificate, and Web Application Firewall.
It is a reverse proxy service with many facilities to offer. Besides CDN, protection against DDOS, free SSL, and others, CloudFlare also serves static content caches from nearby locations (CloudFlare has many servers spread across several countries), it makes loading a website faster.
Cloudflare has a free version that you can use with a fairly simple configuration and easy to implement. Of course, there are limitations to the free version. However, it is sufficient for websites with small to moderate traffic.
Similar to Cloudflare, Incapsula offers a reverse proxy with CDN facilities. Incapsula uses caching with machine learning and control panel options, balanced with fast storage and optimization tools to improve website performance by lowering spending on bandwidth.
You can try to use this service for 14 days for the Pro plan and 7 days for the Business plan. After that time you have to pay or cancel if you don’t want to be charged. You will also need to enter payment info if you want to try the free trial. So you have to make sure you cancel your trial if you don’t want to be billed at a later date.
Jetpack Photon is actually not a service that actually implements CDN technology. This service is in the WordPress service which is used to implement a special CDN technology for images only. You do this by using the Jetpack plugin which is already a default WordPress plugin.
Since Jetpack Photon only caches images it is not recommended for websites that only display a few images. But for websites that have lots of images in them, Jetpack Photon is one of the solutions that must be tried.
Option 2 – Use a paid CDN
If you plan to use a paid CDN service, here are some of the services we recommend.
MaxCDN is a great choice if your website uses a CMS (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal) with a lot of images. All features and performance of MaxCDN are now securely integrated with StackPath.
RackSpace and CDN77 are paid CDN services that are efficient enough for video content and streaming websites. Through their jargon “Transform The Way Yo Do Business” they offer services that help to grow the business according to its goals.
Step 3: Test the Change
If the CDN configuration has been successfully done, you can do an analysis on the website. For example, you can go back to using WebPageTest to check if everything works the way you want. The following is an example of the results after configuring the website.
The test results above show that the CDN has been successfully configured on your website.
Configuring a Content Delivery Network (CDN) on a website is one way to speed up blog loading and reduce resource usage at the same time. You’ve learned what a CDN is and how to take advantage of the features a free CDN provides.
In addition, activating a CDN does not require coding skills, so this is the right solution for both beginner and experienced website users.
Hopefully, this article related to what is a CDN and examples of how to use a CDN can help to develop the system you are developing. If you want to try to develop a system using a CDN, of course, you need hosting or a server to host the system or website.
If you already have it, then you can immediately try to apply the CDN. If you are already using our hosting, then using a CDN is quite easy, because at this time we are already using Cloudflare one-click account activation. So you can activate and deactivate the CDN feature easily through the available control panel. Easy, free, and practical.