In Nublue Blog

Using a CDN to speed up and crashproof your site

Stefan Posted by

Getting more and more visitors on your site during busy times of the year is great for business – so long as you have the hosting resources to deal with user demand.

If you don’t have the resources then your visitors could see slow load times or even a crashed site, and your conversions could suddenly drop off a cliff during peak time. Using a CDN can be a highly effective way to avoid this.

What is CDN?

CDN stands for ‘content delivery network’. It’s a way of offloading your website’s static content including images, JavaScript and CSS, so that your hosting is freed up to serve only the dynamic parts of your site. This means that your site performs faster and more responsively for your visitors, both in the UK and in other countries.

This method can be especially useful during busy times of the year, when the sheer volume of visitors on your server could be putting a strain on your hosting resources and risk slowing down or crashing your site. It could also be a great year-round solution for your website if you want to ensure consistent ‘traffic spike resistant’ performance, decrease bounce rates and expand your site’s reach around the world.

A CDN could also boost your site’s position in search engine results, increase your page views and improve your site’s user experience – potentially increasing conversions too.

How a CDN speeds up your site

A CDN works by ‘outsourcing’ the workload involved in serving parts of your website to your visitors, by caching (storing) secure copies of your website’s static content to a network of data centres in the UK and overseas.

This network of ‘edge’ servers serves your site’s cached static content from data centres which are physically closer to your visitors around the world. The result is that it takes less time to bring your website to your visitors’ screens.

Since your hosting server has less work to do when using a CDN, without having to serve multiple images every time someone loads a page, it can carry out its remaining tasks faster and more efficiently

What are the key benefits of using a CDN?

•    A CDN gives you greater performance in terms of site load, due to images (the biggest components of most websites in terms of download size) being served from the closest CDN server to your visitors – and not from your usual hosting package. Even if you’re using a CDN in the UK, all site images will be served through the CDN. JavaScript and CSS can also be dealt with in the same way, but images make the biggest difference – and this makes sites noticeably faster. Images are also the easiest and safest thing to offload onto a CDN, since there’s no risk of breaking the site’s design.

•    Since your hosting server has less work to do when using a CDN, without having to serve multiple images every time someone loads a page, it can carry out its remaining tasks faster and more efficiently whilst using less resources. On a busy site this could mean that more users can connect to the site simultaneously, since the hosting is only serving the page – and not the page plus 20 images, JavaScript and CSS for each visitor, for example.

•    As the server is less likely to be at the point of failure due to images (and potentially other less significant static content) being offloaded, a CDN also improves site stability and reduces the chance of server crashes during busy times.

•    There’s also the benefit that your website will perform well across the globe if your images are offloaded, since these make up the bulk of page load on most sites. This can give you global trading benefits, such as better conversions, lower bounce rate and better search rankings. These benefits also apply if you’re operating a CDN for a UK-focussed site too.

Smart Serve CDN

Our own Smart Serve CDN is available in five packages to match your needs and budget. If you choose Smart Serve CDN then you can create your own CDN resource and choose your global server groups, or we can set this up for you.

You’ll also have the help of our top-notch hosting support team if you should ever need them, who will make sure that you’re getting the best from your CDN package. We’ve also created a range of user guides right here on the Nublue blog, if you’d like to integrate your Smart Serve CDN package yourself.

You can control your Smart Serve CDN cache for your site, and clear individual images or CSS files from this cache. It’s also possible to implement or remove Smart Serve CDN from your site instantly, simply by updating your static images URL in your web app settings once you have your CDN resource.

More and more of our clients are seeing the performance benefits of switching to Smart Serve CDN for their sites, with the added reassurance that their hosting setup is equipped to handle increased site traffic at busy times of the year. We’d love to tell you more about our Smart Serve CDN packages and how they could help your site’s performance too – just get in touch if you’d like to learn more.


Author Stefan

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