Emily asks:January 18, 2023
How does a CDN increase the speed of a website?
I've heard that using a CDN can improve website speed, and I want to know how it works and how it differs from a "normal" server.
A CDN (Content Delivery Network) increases website speed through several key mechanisms, differing from a normal server in various aspects.
Key differences between a CDN and a normal server:
- Server location: A normal server is typically a single server located in one place, whereas a CDN uses a global network of edge servers distributed worldwide.
- Content delivery: A normal server directly serves content to users, while a CDN stores cached versions of your site's content on multiple edge servers.
- Performance: A normal server may experience performance issues when handling high traffic, whereas a CDN distributes traffic among multiple servers, maintaining optimal performance.
How a CDN increases website speed:
- Edge servers: CDNs use a network of edge servers to store cached versions of your site's content.
- Geographical proximity: CDN servers are closer to users than your origin server. When a user requests your site, the CDN serves content from the nearest edge server.
- Reduced latency: The shorter distance between the user and the edge server reduces data transfer time, resulting in faster content delivery.
- Load balancing: CDNs distribute traffic among multiple edge servers, preventing server overload and maintaining optimal performance.
- Content optimization: Some CDNs offer content optimization features, like compression and image optimization. These features reduce file sizes, further speeding up content delivery.
In summary, a CDN improves website speed by leveraging a global network of edge servers, reducing latency, balancing server load, and optimizing content. This approach differs from a normal server, which is typically a single server in one location, serving content directly to users without the benefits of a distributed network.