Is CDN worth it? pros and cons of cdn

Hi, I am Praneeth.

In this blog, you will learn everything related to the pros and cons of using CDN for your website.

Without further ado let’s get started.

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What is a CDN and how it works with examples?

Here is a graphic image of the website without CDN and then with a CDN.

pros and cons of using cdn

pros and cons of using cdn

A CDN is an acronym for Content Delivery Network.

It is a network of servers located worldwide used for the simple purpose of reducing website loading speed by minimizing the distance between server and user.

Here is a perfect example of how CDN works.

A person from America visits your website which is hosted in India based servers then through CDN,

The server that is nearest to the person in America gets a copy of your website shows it to the American guy instead of,

Taking the web request to the server from America to India and then Going back to America.

To reduce the latency, which is the time gap between the moment when you search for a website on the internet and it to appear and full load on your device or browser.

The latency is reduced by reducing the distance and time for the request for the website to the server and back to the user’s browser or device by having your website’s near and available to users’ location soon through CDN.

I don’t want to get much technical here,

If you want to learn more about how CDN works with technical details click here.

Pros and cons of using CDN.

Here is a quick table of the pros and cons. Pros  Cons
1. CDN helps websites load fast-improving UX and conversions. Restrictions of IP addresses can be an issue.
2. CDN keeps the website up and available all the time. The location of the servers of CDN can cause problems.
3. CDN enhances and improves website safety and security. You might have to invest money.
4. Easily scale your website audience without much investment in hosting.
5. Saves a lot of your resources overall.
6. Traffic spikes are handled smoothly without fail.
7. Easy integrations with other software.

Let’s see the pros of using CDN in detail.

Pros of using CDN.

Here are the pros or advantages and benefits of using CDN for your website in detail. 

  1. CDN helps websites load fast-improving UX and conversions.

pros and cons of using cdn

The most important reason people use CDN is to improve the website loading speed.

As you have learned how CDN works with examples, in short, 

CDN helps your website load faster by letting your website files be copied and stored on a network of servers across the globe so a website is served by the,

Nearest server to the user across the globe who are accessing your website on the internet.

The smaller the distance there for requests to be sent and files to be received by the browser, the lower the time it takes to load, the slower speed of the website will be.

Even other than having a cached version of your website, CDN does a few things to load your website fast like,

  • Enabling http2 loading to simultaneously load all the elements on the browser instead of one by one.
  • Minifying code, JavaScript, and other things in the backend of the website for faster and smoother loading.
  • Enabling file compression for faster loading.

Thus, using a CDN is one of the biggest things you can do to improve your website loading speed in a matter of minutes.

And it is just not about technical aspect or issue which is resolved by the addition of CDN for website speed,

The fact is that conversion rates increase when website speed is between 1-4 seconds, 

And as per google website loading speed has a direct correlation with bounce rate and user experience on the website.

Look no one wants to visit a slow loading website and a website with fast loading will have higher conversion rates as compared to the one with slow loading because of the user experience.

  1. CDN keeps the website up and available all the time.

Another interesting thing about CDN is that they keep your website up, available, and running all the time.

You can call this 100% uptime and availability of the website.

The reason being is that, 

Your website’s copy which is called cache files is stored in a network of servers which are located across the globe in a CDN.

The point here is that it does not matter if your current website server or your hosting server is up, running, or down,

If your website is getting lots of traffic across the globe because a copy of your website is stored in the respective servers in different locations in the CDN,

The website will be served to the users respective to their locations by servers of CDN.

It is not that website is copied and stored on a single server within the network,

Your website copy is stored on multiple servers so if one server fails to serve the request for a website then others will get replaced and complete the job of serving website copy to user,

It is based on cloud servers like even if one server fails, there are dozens of others parallel to take the job.

This is how CDN keeps your website up and running even if your hosted server is up or down.

This enables the opportunity for your website to get accessed by users from all over the world at any time without letting your website go crash or down at all.

  1. It enhances and improves website safety and security.

pros and cons of wordpress plugins

CDN can also enhance and improve your website safety and security in many ways including things like these,

  • Enabling SSL/TLS certificates for safe encrypted transfer of important information of users between browser and server.
  • Manage brute force attacks and hotlink protection.
  • Manage and reduce DDoS attacks which are attacks to website normal traffic with a lot of spam traffic to a server at once and CDN protects the website with its advanced cloud-based solutions.
  • Enable Firewall wall protection for your website from online threats like malware, spyware, SQL injection, IP spoofing, etc.
  • Enable advanced backups and a Top class 24/7 customer support team always there to help you solve your issues with your website.

CDN can help your website by not just improving the technical aspects of your website rather also by the security aspects of your website.

It is always a great deal to have things and services like CDN to figure out things for your website and improve things.

  1. Easily scale your website audience without much investment in hosting.

Now that you know CDN is all about saving and serving files to users.

With the help of CDN, you can now scale your business or website to an international audience.

You don’t have to worry about investing money in higher web hosting resources or higher plans for better performance.

You don’t need to invest a lot of money in the security of your website either because, 

CDN is there to take care of it for you.

You can start targeting audiences from different parts of the world or even different areas with your blog articles keeping the thought of your website performance aside.

It is a big deal that you have with services like CDN to stream your high-quality videos and serve high-resolution images without buffering in good quality to users of your website and maintain user engagement on the website.

  1. Saves a lot of your resources overall.

pros and cons of using cdn

Overall a CDN can save a lot of your resources like money, time, and data from getting wasted.

Here is a list of top 5 ways a CDN can save a lot of your resources in many ways, take a quick look.

  • A CDN can reduce your website web hosting costs by reducing bandwidth consumption.
  • A CDN can save your website from going into financial losses if your website gets any DDoS attack or server crash and becomes unavailable or down.
  • A CDN can help improve your website and online business conversions of your products by improving the speed and UX of your website along with improving the SEO performance of your website.
  • A CDN can save a lot of your time by managing website security and automated backups and a top-class customer support team at a few clicks to solve issues with your website on your behalf.
  • A CDN can save a lot of your time by giving you access to awesome analytics of your users, it is much like Google analytics where you will have an additional source of data to consider and compare about your audience and improve conversions.

CDN can save a lot of your resources overall.

  1. Traffic spikes are handled smoothly without fail.

If you have a website not connected with a CDN and all of a sudden your website traffic is high due to reasons like,

  • Getting your content to go viral.
  • Being featured on authority websites.
  • Ranking high on Google for seasonal keywords.
  • Getting a DDoS attack.

At that point of time, with a normal web hosting provider, if your website is in case hosted on shared hosting then the website will have more chances of getting crushed due to excessive requests on servers and,

That can hurt your website performance if your users can’t access your website at all,

With CDN the problem is resolved, 

Irrespective of how much traffic you have to your website, if the traffic spikes, instead of giving too much load on a single server and getting crashed,

CDN is designed in such a way that with its massive architecture and thousands of servers working parallel to the server,

The website requests are evenly distributed to all the servers which already have a copy of your website stored within that network of servers in that location.

This in technical terms is called load balancing.

This reduces excessive server load if traffic spikes on your website then CDN distributes traffic to different parallel cloud-based servers to manage,

Server load from a single server and to show the website without compromising user experience by,

Serving high quality of media loading with no buffering of videos or the bad resolution of images and maintaining the speed and availability or uptime of the website.

This is how a website with a CDN manages to surpass the phase of traffic spike to a website without going down or crashing with server load rather than balancing,

The traffic among its large number of parallel cloud servers working behind to complete the task.

  1. Easy integrations with other software.

A CDN can be easily integrated and connected to many software in a few minutes and clicks.

Softwares include,

  • WordPress.
  • Drupal.
  • Joomla.
  • Magneto.
  • Online apps.
  • E-commerce sites.
  • Squarespace.

You can easily integrate and connect a CDN in a matter of clicks in a few minutes.

For example with wordpress which is the largest CMS in the world, you can connect it with a CDN with just the help of a plugin in a matter of 5 minutes without any need of much technical knowledge.

With that said, let’s look at the cons or drawbacks, or problems of using CDN for your website.

Drawbacks of using CDN.

Here let’s learn all the drawbacks in detail.

  1. Restrictions of IP addresses can be an issue.

pros and cons of using cdn

We are living in a world of borders both physical and digital.

There are physical borders which we all know which determine the length breadth and confinement of countries land and resource,

There are digital borders and restrictions as well.

Some domains and IP addresses can be restricted or blocked in some countries from entering into the internet of a specific location.

It is possible that some of those blocked or restricted domains could be from a few well known CDN services.

For example,

Some websites and apps like Google services, pornography, YouTube, social media, normal business websites, etc are,

Specifically banned in countries like China, Japan, Egypt, North African countries, North Korea, and Syria.

In such cases,

Even if your website follows all types of rules and guidelines of all governments of all locations but

Your CDN service is hosting multiple thousands of websites and apps which may not follow the guidelines of these governments.

Then if the government of that country wants to reduce the access of a website in its country’s internet access,

It will block the flow of service which is hosting and serving the website to users aka CDN or web hosting.

This way all the websites, apps that are hosted and served to users through the CDN servers of that data center in that country are not allowed to be accessed by users in that country as a whole.

This is the reason you can’t use Facebook and Google services in countries like China and North Korea in specific.

  1. The location of servers can cause problems.

pros and cons of using cdn

Although CDN is meant for serving your website to people across the globe connecting the nearest server to the user to reduce resources usage,

If a CDN does not have servers and data centers or a point of presence located in countries where the majority of your audience and traffic to your website is coming from can be an issue.

In such cases, you might have to invest extra money in hosting your website in that region servers for better UX and speed of the website despite having a CDN.

In that case, you should know where your target audience lives and the best CDN services that have servers in that region to avoid issues in the future, it requires a bit of further research about CDN services.

  1. Even though it saves a lot of money, you might need to invest.

Another disadvantage you have with CDN is that it can be pricey.

Although there are free versions available and enough for most of the times for most people and website owners,

If in case your target audience lives in countries where free CDN service IP addresses are blocked or you have a large Audience base with a lot of bandwidth and data transfer requirements or,

You need higher resources and features because of your website’s overall size, or.

If you just want higher advanced features and security of your website as well all come with a price tag.

Things can be pretty costly when it comes to CDN services mainly premium services with monthly based subscription plans.

These small things can add up into a big-budget plan including all your website expenses from hosting to themes and plugins to CDN to tools.

All these things can be a big cause of headache for you at the end of the month.

With that said let’s see some important things like.

In what situation CDN should not be used?.

pros and cons of using cdn

Well, CDN is all about reducing the distance of the server and browser when a user tries to access the website.

Here are 5 scenarios not to use a CDN for your website.

  1. If you have a local website hosted on the local server with an audience highly localized like a local business or an institution avoid using CDN as it can increase loading speed in return for decreasing it.
  2. If you have concerns and issues with the security of your data then avoid using a public CDN and switch to a private one instead.
  3. You can choose BLUEHOST hosting which offers free CDN within its hosting plan so that you can avoid investing in CDN in the future.
  4. Your website already has hosted premium hosting servers like dedicated servers with fast speeds.
  5. Your website is simply dead or does it get any traffic or low traffic whatsoever.

With that said, you now know when you should use a CDN and when not to use one.

Is CDN faster than local?

CDN is faster compared to local files because CDN is connected very close to users most of the time, the latency is small.

And the website will load fast to the user with reduced distance as compared to the local.

How to get it on your website?

There are lots of free and paid services that offer CDN services for your website.

But I highly recommend you consider using Bluehost hosting for your website.

The reason being is that it offers a free CDN service for your website.

Apart from a free CDN, it gives many more excellent features for your website including things like,

  • Free domain and SSL certificate.
  • 2 step account authentication.
  • Unlimited storage and bandwidth.
  • Free caching and wordpress updates.
  • Easy wordpress installations and recommended by WordPress.

I don’t want to get into much details about Bluehost in this blog,

I have written an honest analysis of Bluehost hosting in 2021,

Check the review, Bluehost hosting analysis.

Use the Bluehost hosting with a 65% discount with this link.

If you already have a website and looking for a CDN service,

Here are the top 5 free CDN services.

  1. Cloudflare.
  2. Netlify.
  3. Js deliver.
  4. Hostry.
  5. Arvan cloud

Here are the top 5 paid CDN services.

  1. Cloudflare.
  2. Akamai.
  3. KeyCDN.
  4. Microsoft Azure CDN.
  5. Sucuri.

With that said let’s end the blog.

Ending remarks.

There you go, I have answered everything related to CDN’s pros and cons in detail.

Do comment on what you think about the CDN below.

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I will catch you next time,

Till then keep learning and keep growing.