Activating a content delivery network (CDN) service is one of the best things you can do for your website. It is a technology that benefits in two aspects that are most important for every website of high quality – performance and security. Even though it is a sophisticated technology, it ultimately makes sense even for the not so tech-savvy users. It brings content closer to those who want to access it. Thus making it faster for both parties to exchange information. And the other good part of this process is that the content is stored in a secure environment, so it is safe for everyone.

Except for having servers with enormous resources, content delivery network is the other main reason why big websites can serve massive amounts of traffic without suffering from slow loading pages. If you are running a successful website there is a big chance that you are taking advantage of a CDN service. It is the quiet, hidden power behind the good performance of big websites. Let’s see how it manages to do all that and what the benefits of CDN are.

How does the CDN work?

The simplest explanation would be that a CDN is a distributed network of servers. It moves parts of your website to locations closer to your client upon request. This is done because of the actual, physical distance matters in the virtual world as well. Distributing the static content of your website, like pictures and videos, and moving it in locations, closer to your visitors, takes a massive load off your server.

Depending on where in the world the new visitor of your website is, these pieces of content will be delivered faster because of the large network of servers that CDNs have. It happens because this content is now cached somewhere in those computers instead of on your personal server that hosts your website. The original server has now freed up bandwidth because of this process.

Performance benefits of content delivery network (CDN):
The CDNs have a cached version of your website all around the world. Thanks to them your visitors will not have to send requests to your original servers which is going to be further away from the client’s location. Showing the cached version is going to increase the responsiveness. Furthermore, it decreases the latency. This is because of the physically closer location of the server.

Less travel time = faster service.

If there are many clients that are visiting, there will be less load on it than usual because not the whole traffic is going to your server.

Tactics such as minification and file compression of the data are also used by CDN. They improve the load time because they make the sizes of the files smaller. Also, if there is a content that is not static, the content delivery network can still lead users to your original server so there is no danger of showing faulty or outdated version of your website.

Security benefits of CDN

Improved security levels is another benefit of CDN that you should not underestimated. The technology offers additional DDoS protection that can save your website from becoming inaccessible. What DDoS attacks do is sending a large number of requests to your website, exhausting the capacity of the web server that is servicing it. Because of CDN’s big amount of points of presence (servers), it starts sending the request to different servers all around its network. Thanks to this, the attacks are being distributed, which saves your server and helps your website stay always up.

The CDN is also equipped with a firewall. The firewall is a great defense between your website and malicious bots. It is acting similar to a buffer that is filtering out the bad requests from reaching your website. By detecting vulnerable directories that are often being attacked by bots, the firewall sets rules that are essentially going to block the incoming attacks. In addition to that, these firewalls are often automatically updated according to the latest threats that apply to a large proportion of the users that are taking advantage of the CDN.

CDN usually goes exceptionally well with WordPress websites. The reason is that it provides the extra security that even some of the best WordPress plugins can’t offer.