The web is a collection of several data centers or networks. The enormous ballooning of world-wide-web and its related advancements leverage users to access internet from multiple devices. Web servers need to cater numerous user requests from numerous devices and it becomes difficult for web servers to handle multiple workloads when the web servers are located in a single location. This scenario negatively impacts the performance and efficiency of a website as the users are prone to access a wide range of applications including multimedia applications, audio, video, millions of dynamic web pages etc. Efficient and robust network infrastructure is required to handle these multiple workloads, hence CDNs are employed in data centers to balance the load on infrastructure and to swiftly deliver contents to end users.
CDN and eLearning
In the technological era, e-Learning has completely changed the manner by which the learning was conferred to students. Many of the organizations have adopted this system due to the simplicity of the process and accessibility of the material anywhere anytime quickly.
CDN’s enable you to offer a smooth, quick, and consistent experience to the learners regardless of where they may be on the planet. It comprises of various servers which are distributed globally.
For instance, if you are conducting a training program globally, one server should be placed in each participating country and these servers will copy the content of learning management system or websites, enabling a cached version to be available readily. Whenever a new content is added, they are pushed to the servers enabling the servers to stay up to date. When a learner tries to access a content, the request is automatically redirected to the nearest server, and it immediately sends the cached version to the learner. Data gets transferred quickly with the CDN system as the distance between the client and the server is significantly shorter.
Let’s explore the different methods through which CDN’s deliver the learning materials
Learners can choose from a library of video feeds and can be utilized anywhere and wherever it is most advantageous for the learners.
eLearners can tune into live events and ask questions through “Question manager”.
Possessing a network connectivity and browser, learners can attend and instructors can present from anywhere in the scheduled delivery time. Instructors can make use of different e-learning methodologies and they can poll the audience, receive questions etc while the learners can chat or break into work groups.
Virtual labs facilitate real-time practical training for learners. Learners are allowed to pick a suitable time for practice and they can focus on specific skills which they feel they have to enhance before moving to another topic.
These tools allow organizations to identify skill gaps and competency deficits.
Benefits of CDN in eLearning
CDN’s are extensively used in online learning methodologies as they serve content quickly to users from different locations. Organizations by implementing CDN solutions benefits in the following ways.
Learners don’t have to wait too long for accessing their training content as CDNs are faster in responding and delivering content to the end users. They also reduce the strain on servers which improves the overall performance of your system.
Availability and Scalability
CDN’s can be integrated with cloud models and the content remains accessible even in situations such as excessive traffic, server outages etc.
CDN’s facilitate content redundancy which in turn minimizes the errors without the use of additional hardware.
Enhanced User Experience
Majority of the websites redirect learners to correct CDN and navigate to a new URL in a swift of time which facilitates learners to enjoy online learning.
CDN’s also effective addresses data integrity and privacy concerns.
To conclude, CDN’s are seen as an ideal solution in eLearning as they improve response times for content delivery across the servers deployed at multiple locations and many organizations and business have successfully implemented eLearning methodologies with the deployment of CDN.
A Content Delivery Network also called as a Content Distribution Network (CDN) is a network of proxy servers and data centers that are distributed across multiple geographical locations. The prime aim of this sort of distribution is to ensure that the end-users can make the most of this layer of the internet ecosystem. They can enjoy high availability and high performance of web pages surpassing their spatial constraints. CDNs also help protect the site from huge surges in traffic.
With all these factors concerning CDNs in place, it makes sense to choose a befitting CDN. If you are confused about how to pick and choose the right CDN, here are the pointers that will become your guiding light.
- The Geographical Coordinates of Your Web Visitors
First and foremost, you should be in a position to determine the current location of your web visitors. For this, you need answers to two important questions. They are:
- Is your website registering traffic from various parts of the globe?
- Is a substantial percentage of traffic coming from visitors residing in a particular geographical location?
If you are able to answer these two pertinent questions, then you will be making a well-informed move in choosing the right CDN based on data points. And the data points here concern the location of your web visitors. If you notice a combination of these scenarios, it can be an intelligent move to choose a CDN with multiple POPs. This will enable your visitors to always check on your website, promising you increased traffic.
The second most important consideration to choose a CDN would be to delve deep into your financial needs. For this, you can knock on the doors of many CDN providers who can provide you with a monthly payment plan. There are others who bill as per the GB usage. Several others follow the “pay-as-you-use” plan. Hence it is crucial that you come up with your bandwidth requirements which can help your CDN provider to craft a befitting plan that will suit your pocket.
You simply don’t have a choice between HTTP and HTTPS. It is always advisable that you incorporate the HTTPS protocol to your website. And here is a smart way of doing this. Given a scenario that you haven’t migrated your original server to HTTPS, you can still avail the benefits of HTTPS assets that are available with your CDN. This way, you can secure your website from registering mixed-content warnings.
The “pull” and “push” zones are the determinants which enable your content to be cached on your CDN. Tagged as the most commonly used method, the “pull” zone ensures that you automatically copy your assets on to the CDN. You are lucky if you are operating with a CMS like WordPress. This will help you set up your “pull” zone within minutes.
In contrast, a “push” zone involves the manual upload of your files on to the CDN.
It is a normal practice with most of the CDN providers to provide you with a shared zone URL to host all your assets. But this comes with certain disadvantages. You will not be incorporate the principles of SEO and branding to a shared zone. Hence the way out would be to choose a custom zone URL which comes with a CNAME. Employing this zone, you will be in a comfortable position to host all your assets on your own domain.
The speed of your CDN can make or mar your website traffic. Hence it comes as a wise move to test the speed of a CDN before signing up for it. You can avail the free trial period that is offered by many CDN providers to make a befitting choice. Resting your decision on the test results, you can employ the “performance test tool” to evaluate the speed of a particular asset that your CDN can provide across 14 different geographical locations.
Last but not the least, you should tie up with a CDN provider who guarantees you data security. To arrive at a right choice, you should look into the security parameters like two-factor authentication, DDoS (Distributed-Denial-of-Service) protection, secure token and hotlink protection. Assessing the security capabilities of your CDN provider on the basis of these parameters will ensure that your website data is safe and secure at all times.
Wrapping It Up
You now have 7 pointers that will help you make a well-informed choice of picking the best CDN from the lot. You can thus conduct spade work with each of them to ensure that your website ranks high with fast and secure media delivery to your end-users.
A Content Delivery Network also called as Content Distribution Network (CDN) is a network of proxy servers clubbed with their data centers across multiple geographies. All in an attempt to offer a high performing service to end users, it is through a CDN that the stability of a website can be ensured. In addition to this, a CDN promises swift retrieval of information across multiple geographies.
Consider an instance when an online shopper in the USA is looking to connect with a server in Australia to shop for an item. His request to access the same will take longer when compared to a situation to connect with a server in the US itself. This issue concerning geographical boundaries is conveniently addressed by a CDN.
Promising better user experience with lower transmission costs, CDN is a practice followed by large web-based companies by investing in servers which have copies of data stored across multiple geographical locations as caches. These servers, also called as Edge Servers are a part of the company’s CDN which significantly reduce the distance between one server and the other at a remote location, offering better user experience to the end user.
A stable website which improves the speed with which your site performs is the dream of every e-commerce site. This is also a merit that is sought by online shoppers. And to make this happen, it is important for large businesses to introspect their CDN needs. This helps them ask the right questions to CDN providers, focusing on the parameters like costing, technology and performance that govern the success of their e-commerce site.
Following are the tips that will help you choose the right CDN provider who can promise you a better return on your investment.
- Check Whether the CDN Provider Guarantees Better Website Speed
- CDN Technology Favoring Reliability
- Price Negotiations
- The Promise of Revenue Gains Through Site Performance
Processing speed is what makes an e-commerce site garner popularity with online shoppers. Hence speed is the first parameter that needs to be evaluated as part of your “site acceleration” needs. It is an important piece of information to note that many of the CDNs that are currently in vogue were designed according to the needs of online shoppers 15 years ago. With more of online shoppers adding to the list of shoppers, a host of web complexities have emerged. These complications have simultaneously brought in the need for enhanced processing speed that is required for modern e-commerce websites to survive in the competitive digital marketing space. Hence, without a doubt, speed is the primary feature that needs to come under the scanner while signing up with a CDN provider.
Attention to detail concerning the type of CDN technology that is offered by a CDN provider is the second most important factor to probe. One should be informed about the type of CDN technology employed by the service provider which will eventually be passed on to you, so that you can strike a deal with a good CDN provider.
All for the sake of making your site process information faster, it is also the need of the hour to offer reliable web services to your loyalists. A CDN technology which promises front-end optimization along with the delivery of swift online features should help you zero in a provider who can boost the speed of your website. It is hence very important for you to pose specific questions concerning all the front-end capabilities that the provider can offer along with the benefit of increased website speed. These two important features of an e-commerce site are favored by a provider who changes with time. A CDN provider who incorporates state-of-the-art optimization techniques can become your top bet who will not only guarantee but also deliver 100% speed increase to your site.
Undoubtedly, money matters should demand your keen attention. Gone are the days when CDN providers raised hefty bills when their services were still in the nascent stage. Now with the growing popularity and awareness of CDN services, you can save monies when you are watchful towards the unnecessary solutions that are offered by such providers. You should also assess the implementation of certain solutions that will no longer be viable in the dynamically changing technological spheres. Negotiating the price is an option you can always have as an alternative to sign up with a cheap yet best CDN provider.
It is also important for you to note that a CDN can be established with minimum set-ups costs. In the event that a CDN provider is quoting high prices for CDN implementation resources, consider this as a red flag to look for another reliable service provider.
Every e-commerce business is driven by a vision to generate increased online sales. This is a function of the speed of the site. A website which swiftly responds to the requests of an online shopper tends to gain over the other which takes too long to load or process. Online retailers scouting for reliable and affordable CDNs should thus be watchful towards site speed which leads to enhanced customer satisfaction. And once a customer is satisfied, repeat orders come as additional benefits helping you rake in more revenue. You can still make money on a weekday which registers slow traffic or on an eventful “product launch” day when shoppers are queued up to order your newly introduced product.
These are the 4 tips that can help you strike a deal with a good CDN provider. To sum it all, a provider who can safeguard your website from performance issues including slow page loads times, “service unavailable” error and website downtime can turn into a human asset. Mindful of the fact that every CDN comes with a different set of features, the concept of legacy CDN technology should prompt online retailers to arrive at a perfect choice concerning their CDN service provider.
How to Know If a Content Delivery Network Can Improve Your Website
You have heard so much about content delivery networks, and a couple of industry people also recommended that you choose a content delivery network. But how do you confirm whether your website actually benefits from the deployment of a content delivery network? Here are a few pointers
You don’t want to be limited to a local audience: If you do not plan on restricting your business to a particular local area and want the world to know of your existence and expertise, a content delivery network can help you a lot with the timely delivery of your website content across the world.
You Blog Regularly: If you are blogging weekly more than twice, you are bound to have a decent traffic. In that case, it would be better to depend on a content delivery network for proper distribution of blogs to your target audience.
Your global website is suffering from slow load time: You are having a global website and there are a good number of visitors to your website as well. But unfortunately, they are not staying on your website as the loading time is too high. The current load speed leaves a lot to be desired and you are experiencing a lot of drop outs in traffic due to the same.
In such cases, a content delivery network ensures timely delivery of content through cached static content. When visitors download resources from your website, it becomes very slow and at times even crashes. These can be avoided with the use of a good CDN.
You are having huge volumes of traffic: You have become a popular online destination for content consumption in your particular niche’. This has driven huge traffic to your website regularly. This would mean a slower website if you are using a dedicated server. If a content delivery network is used for such cases, you would be able to manage the traffic more effectively and deliver your customers a better experience.
CDNs have the ability to share traffic to a number of servers, thus reducing the load on your server and preventing surging traffic or traffic spikes from bogging your system down.
Security and reliability are serious concerns for you: CDNs are extremely capable of distributing bandwidth between servers and thus preventing unforeseen system crashes. Also, all the servers distributing your content have cached copy of your content, providing you additional data safety in case of Trojan attacks.
You want higher Google rankings: Online marketing is a serious aspect for online businesses as it comes with several advantages. If you have invested in digital marketing efforts, it would be worthwhile to opt for a CDN. Google values user experience dearly and CDN plays an important role in making your website stable and fast loading to users across the globe.
Reasons to Use Content Delivery Networks for Your Blog
Internet usage is increasing day by day. A lot of new websites are being introduced daily. This has made website owners to think and implement new marketing strategies to attract customers. This is the reason why you come across several varieties of content these days. The increasing importance of content has made content delivery networks quite popular.
Here are 8 reasons why you are supposed to use content delivery networks:
- Enhances website speed
It doesn’t matter that your web server is faster compared to other servers; it is not possible to maintain same website speed. If the distance between the visitor and the web server increases, speed of the website starts decreasing.
A CDN can sort out this issue by distributing your content throughout the world. CDNs would have a collection of distributed servers all over the world. Using this you can increase the speed of website as it will decrease the request time.
- Attacks and spamming bots will be prevented
Most content delivery network have features to prevent bots and attacks. They have the capability to block different types of threats such as comment spam and unnecessary bots crawling to malicious attacks like Denial of Service (DOS) and SQL injection attacks. CDNs have algorithms to automatically detect new attacks and protect all sorts of threats to keep your website secure.
- Make your Content visible across the world
CDNs have their own networks of distributed servers across the world. Therefore, you must be careful whenever you make any changes to your website as it will automatically make a cached copy of your website. After creating a cached copy, it will start distributing the respective content to all of its servers located in different locations. So, whenever a visitor visits your site, the website content is delivered through the nearest location.
- SEO Advantages
In the field of SEO, page speed is a necessary factor as it affects page rankings. Many search engines include page loading time in their formulas. Google always goes for fast websites. In 2010, Google announced that search engine rankings will be getting affected by the website speed. The faster your website is, the better your chance of moving up in SERPs.
Using CDN to make your website load faster will increase the frequency in which Google crawls your images. This will make your images get indexed fast in Google and also make it more available. Ideally, a website’s loading speed must be 2 seconds or less.
Many website owners might have experienced their website going down at some or the other situation. It may make you frustrated. Whenever you add additionael 3rd parties into the mix, it might become a failure. But if it is CDNs then this problem might not happen as it provides reliability. With a content delivery network, requests to your website are always routed to the nearest available POP. This will create a good web presence.
Another fallacy about CDN is about its cost. Yes, it is true, but only with a few CDN providers. There are a number of affordable CDN plans. The increase in website speed is surely worth the small investment. A WordPress blog with 50,000 visitors per month will cost near about $3.40/month to make use of a CDN. It may vary depending on the files and content you make use of, but for normal traffic, it is cheap. Depending on this, it may even decrease to $0.01/GB. Usually, the cost of the bandwidth is less as compared to the traditional hosting provider.
- Lower Costs On The Origin Server
CDN will reduce the cost on your origin server as it will handle 60% of bandwidth of your website. There is one more way to reduce the cost that is by allowing hotlink protection. Thus you can prevent others from embedding your possessions such as images to other websites.
- Fast DNS Resolution
Sometimes you may come up face to face with a situation when you have to change your web hosting provider. But for this, you have to upload your backup files to a new hosting provider. This is not your final step to migrate your site. You also have to change your name server in your domain name to move towards the new web hosting provider. The domain might require 24 hours to move towards another hosting provider. You can move towards your domain name just by changing the IP address in few clicks. But this is possible only if your site is integrated with CDN.
Top 10 Content Delivery Network FAQs You should Know About
The performance of websites has become a major factor for all businesses, and the term CDN has cropped up every now and then. Here are some of the popular questions asked about Content Delivery Networks and their answers you should know about.
1. What is the purpose of a CDN server?
A CDN ensures that your website is available to audience at different geographical location within minimum loading time. CDNs transfer data at a faster rate than normal, delivering reliable and stable page load speeds at different locations. Also, they help you in times of huge traffic by handling them more effectively than most of the other set ups. This can reduce scenarios where your website goes down.
2. How does a CDN solve the above problem?
A CDN is a network of globally distributed servers. It reduces the limitations of normal internet by storing and delivering cached static data whenever a user requests for the website.
This means that if a user requests for a page with 100 different elements and 70 of them are static (which usually is), then, the CDN will quickly load the 70 elements from a nearby location while the dynamic content would be delivered from your main server. This helps you save some precious seconds, delivering an improved performance for your website.
3. Can we use a number of datacentres across the globe for the same?
If you are going to use multiple datacentres, it’s going to take up additional time and money. It can be quite expensive to manage a network of datacentres. You will require a lot more resources and incur other operating costs. Also, it would take time to set up datacentres across different locations and build a network.
4. Is acceleration of dynamic content possible with CDNs?
Yes, acceleration of dynamic content is possible but all CDNs are not capable of the same. Usually CDNs only provide cached data for faster delivery and user experience but dynamic content acceleration is possible and is provided by tier-one CDNs alone which is set for the specific purpose.
In dynamic acceleration, data from the main server follows a direct path instead of accessing the usual internet nodes. Thus, there would be a significant decrease in page load time.
5. Do CDNs have any significance in Video Streaming?
Video streaming can be made much faster by accelerating the rate at which videos are delivered using CDNs. It also helps you to handle traffic surge more effectively.
6. I want my online store to have global online presence. Can a CDN help?
Depending on the size and reach of CDNs it is possible to provide your business a global presence. A large CDN might be able to deliver globally without any issues. But a smaller CDN would have limited geographical access. They might be limited to a particular region.
7. Would the mobile experience be accelerated with CDNs?
Yes. There are mobile CDNs to improve the mobile user experience. It is accomplished in 3 simple steps.
- Use text compression to reduce traffic for mobile data.
- Use video pacing to reduce excessive progressive downloading and finally
- Use TCP acceleration for making it suitable for the mobile user’s environment.
8. Does CDN enhance my site’s security?
CDNs have regular security checks and always try to meet the strict regulations in place. There are even cloud-related options to protect you from numerous security threats
9. What are the time and resources required for successful CDN implementation?
Both time and resources are dependent on your requirements. Usually, CDNs are relatively simple and easy to set up and use. When you start, they would already be configured to meet the standard performance needs. If you want to customize further, there are options for that as well.
10. How do CDNs help my business?
Faster websites mean better user experience. And with better user experience, you can retain existing users and hold the attention of new users. By reducing the load time, CDNs offer great opportunity for you to grow in the online business space.
What Makes Content Delivery Network (CDN) a necessity for Your WordPress Blog
You finally have a WordPress website or blog for your business. Blogs are being posted regularly and your traffic seems to grow slowly but steadily. That’s when you hear about Content Delivery Network (CDN). So, what is it, and are you missing something by not using it? Let’s see.
What is a CDN (Content Delivery Network)?
Can CDNs replace regular hosting?
As servers are involved, there is a misconception that CDNs are used instead of regular hosting servers. But it is not a replacement. Rather, it is an add-on to improve your website performance.
So, are you missing out by not using a CDN for your WordPress blog?
In short, yes.
There are 5 major reasons
Reduced Server Issues– A Content Delivery Network reduces the load on your main server, thereby the chances of getting your website crashed due to overload during busy periods would be remarkably low. This can affect you if your site experiences high traffic at any given point of time. Maybe you have a blog post that has gone viral, or you are running a campaign or contest which might bring all in unusually high traffic.
Increased Page Speed –Each time a user access your website, the whole content doesn’t need to be downloaded from a distant hosting server if you are using a CDN. The closest server in the Content Delivery Network will deliver cached static content along with dynamic content from the main hosting server. This results in much improved page load speed across the globe, transcending geographical location.
Better User Experience – If you are able to access websites at a faster pace, then the user experience is bound to improve. A user doesn’t have to wait for the pages to load, and thus the bounce rate for your page will drop significantly. Meaning, users will be happier to explore more of your website.
Improved SEO – Increased page speed directly lowers the bounce rate and increases average user session duration. All three of these factors play an important part in signalling to search engines that your website is valuable to users. If it’s valuable to users, its valuable to them; resulting in a better ranking.
Save Money & Time – Setting up CDN for your WordPress blog is cost-effective and hassle-free. Due to their popularity, WordPress websites usually have a setup plug-in from most CDN providers. So, setup is as easy as installing plug-ins. Also, there is no additional hardware cost associated.
Another hidden benefit is that your expenditure on buying extra processing resources such as CPU and RAM is reduced due to the efficient, improved performance provided by a CDN.
First What Is a Content Delivery Network?
Simply put, a content delivery network (CDN) is a means of accelerating access to the information from your company or other business’ web pages to the end user viewing them. This could be content for any type of information including eCommerce pages to retail customers, video streams to social media viewers, game pages to hundreds of on-line participants, business video feeds, and other applications. In today’s digital age, the “Internet of Things” (IoT) has made reliable high-speed communications essential to many types of businesses.
Performance is key in this market, as customers or gamers who lose interest due to poor response will quickly move on to other media that provides response levels that hold their interest. A CDN provides a solution to web page performance by providing content to the viewer from a CDN server closest to the end user. This provides accelerated viewing of web pages, video streaming services, or games being played. The result is an improved experience by the end user, especially for high-traffic and geographically-diverse locations.
Why a CDN Is Important to Your Business
Today’s IoT means that all sort of consumers are demanding online access from their retailers, social media, video streaming providers, educational resources, and gaming providers. The only limit is the imagination of business and demands of the consumer. As your customers become increasingly savvy in this digital environment, you must be prepared to meet these expectations. Benefits of CDN implementation can help you meet these requirements by providing these benefits:
- Accelerated viewing of web pages
- Improved performance of video streaming and gaming
- Reliable and high-speed access to company web pages
- Capacity provided without company infrastructure cost
- Distributed network results in improved local performance for users
- Cost control – pay for what you need, don’t build the capacity internally
CDN Is Already Available and In Use
CDN is a time-proven technology with multiple providers of the service who provide differing options and capabilities. Examples of companies profiting from implementing CDN technology:
- Gaming companies – players experience faster download speeds and more enjoyable gaming experience
- Video – providers captivate viewers with consistent high-quality video streaming that keep them engaged
- Retailers – all types and sizes benefit through improved performance and consistent access to their sales web sites. This is true for small businesses and global enterprises alike
- Publishers – online content is delivered consistently and globally
As you can see from this partial list of businesses and applications the benefits from adoption of CDN technology can be achieved across industries of all types and sizes.
Why do You Need a CDN?
In a word—speed. When performance and user experience are important elements in your content delivery, a CDN can provide significant advantages. When a target audience can be located over a greatly dispersed area typical of today’s global enterprises, there can be considerable delays in content delivery caused by latency. Application servers may reside in California USA, with the end user’s computer in Germany, generating a large amount of data traversing the Atlantic Ocean with resulting delays in delivery to the user. With a CDN, the same static content desired may also reside on a server in Frankfurt, Germany, or London, England providing the user with significant performance benefits due to proximity to the source.
Additional scenarios exist where a CDN can provide similar improvements in response. There may be peak periods of demand for your content, putting extremely high demand on a dedicated server in a fixed location causing performance issues and even system crashes. By distributing this load over a CDN that problem can be totally eliminated.
CDNs are available to meet your specific needs, providing a cost-effective solution for reliable and high-performance content delivery and video streaming.
Important Objectives before you consider implementing a CDN Solution:
When evaluating your options in implementing a Content Distribution Network strategy, it’s critical to consider all the aspects of your decision including these criteria:
- Performance – Will the vendor provide the level of service you need, that will keep your audience engaged? When considering performance, be sure this applies to all intended destinations, whether national or global.
- Location – Does your potential vendor provide access in multiple locations? This can impact the resulting performance experience at the end destination, as the closer your user is to the CDN provider’s server, the more reliable the performance and viewing experience will be.
- Scalability – Can you purchase just the capacity you need, to control cost? After implementation, can you expand to quickly accommodate growth?
- Flexibility – Is the vendor service compatible with every form of technology your end users will potentially utilize? This is likely to include PCs, Mac computers, tablets, and smart phones.
- Support – After signing up, will you receive the level of support you require to ensure you receive continuous reliable service?
- Cost-effective – Is the service available within your budget? Available services may vary greatly in cost. Be sure you’re not signing up for a long-term service that cannot truly accommodate your needs at a cost-effective price.
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