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How to effectively make use of a CDN

, Posted in: General News

With Google upping the ante on speed of delivery as a factor in relevance ranking, even medium to smaller sized sites may now need to consider a CDN (content delivery network) to supplement the performance of their primary servers. For those unfamiliar, a CDN is a network of computers used to increase the speed of delivery of a website to users, as well as decrease the load on the originating web server. A CDN has delivery servers placed at data centres all over world, with each of these feeding data from one originating web server, the content of which is then transferred to every server in the network.

When a user accesses a website, they are viewing a copy of the website served from one of these networked computers. The primary benefit of using a CDN is reducing load on the originating server. Each user is served data from a computer the CDN sees as the closest to their computer, therefore decreasing the bandwidth used by your servers. The second and less widely understood piece is that this proximity greatly reduces the time it takes to serve the content, thus speeding up the website in the eyes of the user. Decreasing the time it takes to load a website is great, especially when the ‘user’ is Googlebot, and delivery includes traversing and indexing of your content.

While the benefits seem like a no-brainer, it’s important to keep in mind that using CDNs, like any other technology, requires a certain level of trust. You trust the network to deliver your content from the closest computer, or the most available, or the least expensive location depending on how you want to be optimised. But does having many copies of your site on many computers all over the network lead to duplicate content issues?

The ultimate answer is no—and here’s why. External search bots, such as Googlebot, key off a domain name, not an IP address. Each computer on the network has a separate IP address, but all point to the same domain name. Because of this, the content on each of the edge computers is essentially one as far as search engines are concerned. Adding a CDN to your site is worth the investment, and over 95% of our customers utilise our CDN Partner CloudFlare to deliver content at lightening speeds. For more information on how you can benefit from a CDN, why not get in touch and drop us an email or give us a call?