CDN hosting has quickly overtaken traditional web hosting in popularity. It plays a significant role in improving your site’s overall performance as well as the user experience. There was a time when traditional hosting housed only basic and static websites. However, these techniques are no longer capable of meeting the demands of next-gen website design and content.
CDN or Content Delivery Network: Meaning
CDNs, or Content Delivery Networks, are neural networks with powerful servers in various locations to seamlessly serve both site owners and visitors. The location of the server is kept confidential, but these networked servers are stationed throughout the world, surpassing the computing techniques and resources of traditional web hosting. Thus, using a reliable CDN network delivers optimum efficiency. In this article, you will discover more about the aspects of CDN hosting and how CloudFlare’s CDN can help boost your website speed.
The web hosting industry has seen tremendous change and growth over the years. In the mid 90s, if someone had to host a site, they were required to have a personal server and computer, making the process a bit tedious. Although shared hosting was reasonably priced, it was still pretty expensive if you compare it to the current hosting plans. The cheapest hosting plan was around $2 a month, providing only 1MB of space to build a 100MB website. There were just a handful of service providers since the concept back then was still gaining momentum.
Today, various companies have thrown their hats into the ring, simplifying the process and making it accessible to even non-technical users. Nowadays, anybody can afford to have a web presence.
What Exactly Is Web Hosting?
It is only through web hosting that you can publish your website on the Internet. When you plan to host your site with a hosting provider, they are responsible for getting all your design, content, images, and other data on their server and making it available for your visitors without interruption. To some extent, your site is also protected from malicious attacks as it securely loads the data onto your visitors’ browser.
In simple terms, when a visitor accesses your website, the server sends across the necessary data, and that is how the site gets “live” on the Internet. Traditional hosting provides you with 100% of the data all at once. So, even if the data center is located thousands of miles away, your visitor has to wait until all of the content and images load onto their screen. Web hosting generally employs only a single server, whether it be shared, cloud, VPS, or Dedicated server hosting. However, CDN hosting is a global network that creates a multi-host environment for your site and delivers the data accordingly.
What is CloudFlare?
CloudFlare is a popular CDN service available for both beginners and expert users. It is feature-rich, comes with both free and paid plans, and offers efficient performance.
CloudFlare has data centers in over 160 locations across the world – all the way from North America to Africa, Europe, and beyond. The network is distributed to help enhance the overall user experience. The service is user intuitive and also easy to control. You can read more about exactly how cloudflare helps to enhance the user experience in this blog post by 101domain.
How CloudFlare Works?
Anycast is CloudFlare’s proprietary technology that helps route the visitor to the server nearest to their location. During this process, copies of your website are cached globally on various servers. So, when Anycast is routing the visitor, it opens your site’s cached copy twice as fast as it would load originally. The service is free of cost, and despite serving the files directly from a host, these are taken through the globally present CloudFlare data centers. It does not change your current hosting plan but works alongside it.
CDN hosting decreases the load time and improves the site’s efficiency. In short, once you update the DNS nameserver and the CloudFlare service kicks in, the content will start caching automatically. So, the closer the CDN, the faster your visitors’ accessibility.
Speed and Security
CloudFlare optimizes your website speed and loads the pages at a lightning-fast pace. How? When your site does not have to travel far before reaching the visitor’s computer, it instantly results in lowered network latency. For instance, if the HTML files are hosted in Florida, and the images are hosted in Ohio, visitors on the West Coast might not want to wait for all these files to reach their devices. The page load time might only be a few seconds, but this is what causes users to bounce to another website.
Additionally, CloudFlare offers security features such as web filtering which prevents your site from virtual threats that may otherwise affect your site’s bandwidth. The service safeguards your website against cyber attacks, while also preventing content scrapping, comment spamming, SQL injections, DDoS attacks, and more. There are certain standards to manipulate traffic, plus they enable the developers to take full charge of the service so they can accelerate as well as protect their website. Not to mention, a vulnerability scanner which can play a significant role in detecting and mitigating any unethical activity.
You may also like: Cloudways vs. ServerPilot-Review & Comparison
Why Does Your Website Speed Matter?
Your site’s first impression is often its last impression. Even before users notice the design, slow website speed leaves its impact. If it loads quickly though, you’ve instantly won your visitor’s trust. It’s a very human assumption- if a site is fast, it must be professional. Here are four primary reasons why your website speed matters:
Because Google prioritizes your website’s performance in terms of the speed on mobile devices as well as on desktop, you should ensure your website isn’t only optimized for one platform. This is one of the best SEO practices to consider.
A shorter page load time impacts the visitor’s overall experience and gives them a reason to stay on that site or page, creating a positive response.
3. Bounce Rate:
If the speed of your site is lightning-fast, the bounce rate will remain nominal. Of course, the content you offer plays a major role in attracting your audience; however, the speed at which the content loads also decides whether or not it will retain the visitor’s attention. Several surveys point out the fact that visitors are more likely to close the tab and jump on to your competitor’s website if the page doesn’t load within just a few seconds.
4. Conversion Rate:
Most importantly, studies demonstrate how a slower page load time also affects the site’s conversion rates. In a particular survey, Walmart mentions how speeding up their pages by just one second raised their conversions by almost 2%. So, that’s the kind of impact you can create when your site is fast.
How to Choose the Best CDN?
To deliver a complete experience to your visitors, you must consider these three major factors and choose the right CDN service:
Support System: A free 24-hour support system is what you must look for. CloudFlare also offers on-call assistance, chat, and email support for enhanced convenience.
Speed: CDN providers offer varying metrics, but it’s recommended that you choose the fastest one. You can use CDNPerf to compare which one is actually the fastest. CloudFlare offers worldwide accessibility, adequate speed, easy usability as well as 100% reliability.
Cost: Pricing might vary with all CDN providers; however, the least expensive plan that covers all of your needs is going to be the most cost efficient option. The providers consider factors like traffic to decide on the right plan for you.
Security assurance and a high performing Content Delivery Network is a perfect match. CDNPerf ranks CloudFlare CDN at number 9 in the Top 20 list worldwide. If you would like to choose something that protects your site from malicious attacks and also offers a boost to the website speed, then CloudFlare CDN hosting is worth considering.
Author Bio: This is a guest post by True Tamplin, a technology specialist, author, and public speaker. He writes on a broad range of technical topics including search engine optimization, cyber security, and technology relating to the internet.