A CDN can help speed up your website so your users get the best possible experience wherever they are in the world. This article explains how CDNs work and why you should use one to improve your website’s performance.

What is a Content Delivery Network?

Instead of hosting your static website assets, such as images, on one server, a Content Delivery Network caches your assets across multiple servers (also known as Edge Servers or Nodes) around the world. When a user visits your website, they are served content from their closest Edge Server, thus reducing latency and speeding up your website.

The concept of a CDN is illustrated below. In the first example, there is no CDN, just a single server hosting a website. In this case, the server is hosted in London, with website users spread all over the world. Whilst users in Europe are relatively close to the server, users in Australia are considerably further away and therefore experience latency in receiving data. The consequence is that they will experience slower content loading speeds than visitors in Europe.

The second graphic, below, illustrates a Content Delivery Network. In this case, the Origin Server is still located in London, storing the original version of the website. But spread across the world are Edge Servers, which cache (essentially duplicate) the original website’s assets. When a user visits the website, they receive content from their closest server, and therefore experience reduced latency and faster loading.

 

Why use a CDN to serve images?

A CDN is not always necessary. If your customers are based on one country, it may well be sufficient to maintain a single server in that country. However, for those serving website visitors over significant geographical distances, a CDN can boost loading efficiency and therefore customer satisfaction. Utilising a CDN can also mitigate against spikes in traffic, which may otherwise crash a website. By distributing bandwidth across multiple servers, visitors can enjoy fast loading speeds even during peak periods.

Does SmartFrame use a CDN?

Of course! Okay, so we are NOT a CDN provider, but SmartFrame technology utilises a CDN to ensure our customers enjoy consistently fast loading speeds. In fact, in some cases we’ve found that our embedded SmartFrame can load faster than when images are served via our customers’ own Contend Delivery Networks.

But don’t take our word for it, if you don’t current have a CDN, but your websites serve lots of imagery to users across the world, try it out for yourself and see the difference.