What is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Google has recently made good on it’s promise to penalise slow web-sites. By inference, they are going to reward fast loading web sites. In the old days of hand-made web-sites you could (not) easily get a code monkey to tailor your code in such a way to speed up the loading process. However, with web development companies and WordPress agencies now using frameworks, we’re having to be a little more creative meeting the load-time targets.

One way to do this is by the implementation of a CDN, which is a distributed system of web servers deployed across multiple locations. By definition, these will be “closer” to the end-user and have the sole purpose of high-performance serving of content. Typically, these would be static items, such as images, HTML and CSS files and video files.

We utilise a number of CDNs, depending on the hosting and performance and scaleability needs of the client. CloudFlare for static assets, Google Hosted Libraries (typically for fonts and Javascript), Evercache and Amazon Cloudfront.

It’s not a universal solution – a CDN has an overhead that is not always recovered using hyper-caching and super-speed delivery. But in most cases there are other benefits.