What is CDN? Do I Need a CDN?

A lot of my friend ask me What is CDN? And Do I need one? Simple answer cannot be Yes or No. I always say, it depends. First, you need to understand what is CDN?

CDN (Content Delivery Network)

In simple words, these are computer servers across different locations called data centres to provide static web content like videos, images or even web pages. The main purpose of CDN is to deliver the content with highest performance. Website speed depends on many static resources including images, CSS/Java Script files and videos. When you browse the website, CDN delivers the content from the closest server location near you making the website speed faster.

What is CDN Hosting

Most of the big e-commerce websites, video streaming websites and other websites use CDN to deliver content to the users. CDN increases the website delivery speed, increasing the load time and response time for the visitors.

These days not only big websites, but many bloggers and small companies use CDN to deliver content faster to their audience. CDN simply supercharge your website with fast delivery of content like text, images, videos or even css/java script codes.

If you would like to go in-depth about CDN, you can read the long techy article on Wikipedia.

Do I need a CDN?

It depends! It depends on your budget because you will be paying minimum $4 extra every month apart from your regular web hosting. Some of the new websites like Which Web Hosting does not require a CDN because I am not getting massive traffic, but I will definitely use a CDN when needed. So, it is not a good investment at this point for me to buy a CDN. Most of the new blogs or small websites doesn’t have high resource usage that is why it is not wise to buy a CDN straight away.

I am Fascinated as Everyone Recommends a CDN for Speed!

Content Delivery Network does help in increasing performance of the website. You can find a significant difference in your website speed with CDN and without CDN. Even when you run site speed test on Yahoo YSlow, you will see first recommendation of using a CDN to increase your website performance.

But CDN is not Always Needed!

You will find recommendation of using a CDN on most of the websites and blogs. You can still offer fast website to your users without CDN by optimizing every element of the website. CDN entirely depends on your future goals and budget. In most cases, CDN is not always the solution for website speed. There are other elements on the website that effect your page load time like number of http requests, large images, CSS/Java Script and web hosting.

If you are getting massive traffic or have big complex websites and serious about providing the best experience to your website visitors, then CDN is 100% recommended.

Website speed varies depending on the location. For example, if your website is hosted in Dallas, Tx and most of your traffic is coming from UK, then their speed will not be as fast as compared to the traffic coming from USA.

I am not using a CDN, but Which Web Hosting loading time is better than most of the websites on the internet. I am using Namecheap hosting, which comes with Cloud Flare CDN.

Implementation and Cost of CDN

Implementing CDN on your website is not difficult as modern content management systems have support to install easily through plugins. In WordPress, you can use W3Total Cache plugin to install CDN using any CDN provider.

CDN is not expensive as most of the CDN providers offer pay as you go option, making it affordable for most of the users. Some of them may offer trial and free month as well.

Recommended CDN Providers

These are one of the top CDN providers based on service and pricing.

If you are using KeyCDN, you can use their guide for WordPress to install CDN on your website.

If you have any questions related to CDN, please share in the comments.

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