The rule of the thumb is that when you have a great load of work, divide it. You will be able to complete it faster. When this work given to you, gets divided amongst three other friends of your’s, the work gets completed at a faster rate in comparison to you doing it alone. Plus you will not be under the pressure of a time limit. This seems stop be more like it. This is the same way a Content Delivery Network or a CDN works. You might be wondering how to use CDN for website. It takes the data from your server and sends it to the servers of those searching for that data.
To explain you in simpler words, when we go on to a site and search for content, images, videos and another information, this site requests the server to get that content to you. The server looks for the content and loads it. You might notice a certain amount of delay in doing so. This delay happens because there is created a little pressure on your server in order to give you the result for your search. Therefore the server gets slowed down a bit. This can get annoying at times. Now let’s take a bigger area. 20 other people around you are also looking for similar information and these are linked to the server you are using. Imagine the kind of delay you might experience… and they too of course.
To solve this problem and remove the pressure off your server, a content delivery network is used. This network gets the information you might be interested in and sends that out to you directly instead of the server. So the server is saved from excess pressure. If you own a site, then you need to know about CDN systems well. If you are not using CDN for your site, when people visit your site, it will get slower and slower. If your site has got the material that they are looking for then there will be more traffic on it. Which will lead to slowing down of your server as it will load the results all by itself for those that are on it. If the performance of your site is not as good then why would someone want to visit often. If a site is taking too long to load, people begin to look for alternatives.
There are many CDN providers available. You need to choose the one that you could use and pay in order to use their services. These CDN can be of two natures, push and pull. Both work on different principles. You can select which ever works best for you. But the big question is, how to choose the right CDN for your site?
Understanding Your Needs
The first step for you to consider is to understand what your website is all about, who are the users and what is it you want for the future in terms of your site. How to use a CDN for website lies on this basic step, know your users and your work.
You need to first figure out whether your site has static files or dynamic files. There might be a possibility that you have both, in that case see which one has a major space coverage and which is more important. Once you have done this, you can select the CDN. There are certain CDN that optimize static content delivery. There are others that work best for both dynamic and static content delivery.
You need to know the geographical locations of your users. This will help you in selection a CDN that has a presence in those countries. Though it would be advisable to use a global CDN if you are looking for future expansion.
Performance of your website lies on the cost you are ready to put into CDN that you select. Let’s say you have a site that is not affected by a latent period of a few hundred milliseconds. You do not require to choose a CDN that costs more. You do not require that. On the other hand, if a latency of even a few milliseconds brings about a major impact on your business then you will have to make your choices accordingly. You will have to invest into a CDN that is efficient enough to hold up the traffic to your needs.
Evaluate the Performance
Once you have finalized a CDN for your site, you are required to test it. You need to be sure that the CDN you have selected is giving you what is expected of it. A basic way of testing this is sending traffic to the site to see if it is functioning properly. This is not done by you or your users but a third party.
There are companies that send out what is known as synthetic traffic to your site. This mimics the behavior of your probable users. There are a certain patterns that they see to find out the discrepancies in your site. They monitor the response time, error rates, availability of your site and so on. There are two types of tests that can be conducted.
The Backbone Testing comprises of tests being run from data centers that are close to CDN servers. This will show a good performance of your site as the latency decreases. This can at times show better results than the real users. The second type of testing is the Last Mile Testing. In this testing the test agents work form within the user networks instead of the data centers. This can be accurate given the fact that most of the user networks if not all are covered.
A CDN definitely boosts the performance of your website. But this depends on you. If you know thoroughly what you are looking for and where you want your site to be functional, you can be sure to have these CDN work up magic for you. If you know how to use CDN for website, you can steer through the performance errors that might otherwise takes months or more to solve.