CDN is short for Content Delivery Network which is a network of servers that deliver cached static content from websites to users based on the geographic location of the user.
You can/must use CDN on top of having a web hosting account. CDN helps speed up things, but doesn’t replace a web hosting account.
Akamai and Gomez.com explored the correlation between website load times and visitor activity. Here are just some of the facts they found:
- 47% of people expect websites to load within 2 seconds.
- 40% of people consider 3 seconds too long to wait for a website to load.
- If a page were to delay in loading by just one second, it could mean a difference in 7% in conversions.
For websites with a lot of traffic and/or with a large global audience, this is a huge deal. Those few seconds you lose in load time (and in potentially converted business) are extremely valuable.
Akamai predicts that within two years 55% of global web traffic will pass through CDNs.
Cloudflare with Akamai, Fastly, Highwinds, Level3 and EdgeCast is part of the Google Cloud Platform CDN Interconnect program. Cloudflare is a content delivery network (CDN) and acts between your website and your visitors.
CDN providers are usually using a cookiless unique subdomain for every site. These providers usually use pull technology, so they can proxy the content for the first request, and serve the following requests from the cached version from their server.
Cloudflare will handle the traffic at DNS level, which means it won’t change the host for the static content. Because of this, it can also improve security. Whenever a user visits your site, Cloudflare will first check for any indicators of malicious intent. Once Cloudflare verifies the visit isn’t motivated by nefarious purposes, it serves up data from the data center that’s geographically closest to your visitor
That provides your web security and much faster website load speeds.