What is a Content Delivery Network?

What is a Content Delivery Network?

You may be wondering, “What is a Content Delivery Network?” Content delivery networks optimize the provision of web content through a system of distributed servers — a network — that shifts depending on the location of visitor. The closer the computer of the user is to a specific server, the fewer potential problems exist in terms of network bottlenecks, which boosts speed and performance. Offloading static pages, CSS style sheets, images and other content allows you to increase your eCommerce site’s ability to handle more concurrent users and improve responsiveness — two musts for the holiday shopping season. We will answer the question, “What is a Content Delivery Network?”, as well as discuss how CDNs work.

What is a Content Delivery Network?

A content delivery network (CDN) is a collection of distributed servers across the world. These servers store files accessed by website visitors. Transmission of content on the web is possible with the assistance of a CDN. Delivery is according to users’ geographic locations, the content delivery server and the website’s origin.

Content delivery networks allow eCommerce stores to quickly deliver content such as images and other files, regardless of bandwith (traffic levels) or the user’s location. With CDNs, load times for eCommerce stores would be considerably longer for users hundreds of thousands of miles away from the host servers (such as international customers).

CDNs and Location

The geographical proximity of a user to the CDN server determines how fast the content delivery occurs. People who are closest to the server will receive content quicker than those who are further away. Other than deliver content, CDNs also guard against important spikes in web traffic that would otherwise cause significant load times or even server crashes.

How CDNs Work

The nearest server handles a website visitor’s request to view content online. The role of content delivery networks is to perform the following:

  1. Copy the requested website’s pages to a server network dispersed along numerous different geographic locations.
  2. Cache the website’s content and redirect the user’s request from the initial site’s server to the CDN closest to the user.
  3. Deliver the cached content. The network communicates with the initial server to transfer content that was not previously cached.

All of these steps take place behind the scenes, outside of the user’s view. The user will only know that a CDN is accessed if there is a difference between the delivered URL and requested URL.

The Importance of CDNs for eCommerce

Interactions between businesses frequently rely on CDNs, as do businesses that serve online content to customers. eCommerce stores serving a global audience use CDNs to make sure that all customers have a positive user experience, regardless of location.

CDNs are common for applications beyond eCommerce, which include catylizing the following:

  • video
  • games
  • voice
  • mobile content
  • etc.

Typically, websites that feature videos or other large media files utilize a CDN. Simply put, CDNs are essential to providing lightning-quick access to web content. If it weren’t for CDNs, users would be loading files from across the country or the world rather than accessing them through nearby servers.

 

These are just few of the many reasons why content delivery networks are important for your eCommerce store. Don’t hesitate to contact us here at Centennial Arts with the link below for more information!

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