What Is a Content Delivery Network? (CDN) Ultimate Free Guide 2021

What Is a Content Delivery Network

Hello friends, how are you hope you all are well. If you are here that means you want to learn about CDN networks, if you are a website owner or blogger,

Then you must know the value and importance of the speed of a website, if you want to rank your website then as per google’s algorithm, website’s speed is also an important factor for ranking,

So we are going to explain What Is a Content Delivery Network and how it helps in increasing the speed of a website.

What is a content delivery network or CDN – A content delivery network is a network of servers, which is spread all over the world, CDN takes temporary files of the website from the hosting provider and saves in their cache memory in all their servers, and when any user requests the files of that website, CDN delivers files from their nearest server, in this way website loads fast in users machine.

If you are reading this post means you also have some questions in your mind related to content delivery networks, like what is a content delivery network? (CDN), how does CDN work?

Which is the best free CDN? how CDN helps in improving the website’s speed? so be with us till the end of the post, and you will get all these answers and many more.

What Is a Content Delivery Network And How Does CDN Work

If you have seen the Bollywood movie Lagaan, which was acted by Aamir Khan, in that movie they play a cricket match, Aamir Khan explained to players that all players should not run in a direction for catching the ball, in which direction ball is going only there’s a player will run for catching the ball.

When you build a website and purchase hosting from a hosting provider company, that means you upload your website’s files on that hosting account, then that hosting company stores all files on a computer, this computer will be on a specific location and the visitor of your website will be on other location,

They can be anywhere in the world, so basically, the files of your website are traveling from one location to all visitor’s locations every time whenever they request the website on their computer.

The traveling time of your website’s files makes your website slow, so what will be the solution to this problem, if your hosting company has their server all over the world in all locations, so that the files of your website don’t have to travel so much, and CDN exactly do this work.

CDN or content delivery networks already have their network of servers in all locations, all over the world. It is a network of servers, which is spread all over the world.

CDN takes temporary files of your website from the hosting server and saves them in their cache memory, and they do this procedure in all their servers, and when a visitor wants to visit your website, they deliver the files of your website from his nearest server.

So the files of the website don’t need to travel so long from the hosting server to the user’s location and as a result, your website loads fast on his computer.

Here we have learned what is a content delivery network and how does CDN works, now we will talk about its benefits and drawbacks.

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Benefits Of The Content Delivery Network

  • Minimize downtime of a website – Content Delivery Network increases the availability of your website because they minimize the downtime of your website, as the hosting service also Runs on CPU and RAM when your website loads on users device at that time server of your website faces so much load on his CPU and RAM, and if so many user requests at a time, so the computer of your server becomes slow and your website will load slow. If you use CDN, so the files of the website will be delivered to the user from his nearest CDN server and the user’s request will not need to go to your website’s server, so your website will not become slow because of the load on your website’s server.
  • Increase the security of your website – Hosting companies always try to minimize the price of their hosting plans and because of this, sometimes they did not provide enough security for the website, but CDN provides better file security, if they find any suspicious traffic from any IP address then they can detect it in real-time.
  • Improve User experience – CDN picks files from your website but sends the files to users as per their device and requirements. Users only have to download the files which they need, which improves the performance of the website and user experience becomes so good.
  • CDN’s are inexpensive and free – CDN provides so many benefits, and after all these benefits, they are inexpensive and free. Cloudflare has its free plan, and you can use it for any website, and stack path gives you a 1000 GB transfer facility is only $10, you can add so many websites to this 1000 GB plan, and key CDN starts only in $4 per month.

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Drawbacks Or Negative Points Of CDN

CDN’s are inexpensive, and they have so many benefits, but there are some points which you remember before using a CDN =>

  • It is not a Magic Solution – It is not a Magic Solution which makes your website fast magically, they only save files of your website in their cache memory, to deliver files of your website to the user from their nearest CDN server.
  • If you have any fault in your websites code, and if it is making your website slow, then the same problem will be on the CDN server, if your CSS files are not minified or javaScript files are not synchronized then they will remain the same on CDN, so don’t select CDN assuming that only this will make your website fast.
  • CDN is not compulsory for every website – For example, if your website is only for any specific City, then you will have all the visitor from that city, so in this case, you don’t need a CDN which increase the speed of your website in any other country, and if your website is hosted in a hosting company, which has it’s hosting server in your country, then you will not have many benefits in speed and performance from a CDN service. If you provide services all over the world from your website then you can use a CDN service that can improve your website speed and performance.

Here we have completed our first part and learned what is a content delivery network and how does CDN works, and their benefits and drawbacks. Now we see some CDN provider companies and will learn how to set up a free CDN on our website.

Content Delivery Network Companies Or CDN Providers

CDN providers are the companies that provide content delivery network services, they have their own server networks all over the world, Here are some popular CDN network companies as =>

  • Akamai CDN – Akamai is a well-known CDN services provider company, they also provide cybersecurity and web internet security services. They have different types of CDN services in all locations but they don’t have any free CDN plan.
  • Stack path – Stack path is also a popular CDN provider company, they have very inexpensive CDN plans but there is no free plan of CDN if you want to use a stack path then you have to take their paid CDN plan.
  • CDN Cloudflare – Cloudflare is one of the most popular content delivery network provider company, they also have different CDN plans but they also offer a free CDN plan of CDN service, so if you are a beginner then you can choose their free plan it will provide the same CDN services as paid plan but with limited features.
  • Key CDN – Key CDN is also a well known CDN provider company, they also have different content delivery network plans, you can check out on their website and are on a very low price, they also provide on of the best security services but they don’t have any free plan of CDN services, so if you want to go with key CDN then you have to take their paid plan of CDN services.

These all have their different strength and different ways of setup, but if you want to use free CDN then you must use Cloudflare, it is so good in performance, security, and uptime.

It has its free plan and it is the most popular CDN provider company, you must have listened to it. So here we will learn how to set up a Cloudflare free CDN plan.

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How To Set-up A Cloudflare Free CDN Plan

Set up your account on Cloudflare – Go to cloudflare.com click on sign up, fill in your email id and password and then click on add account, your account will be created on Cloudflare.

Add your site on Cloudflare – After Creating your account on Cloudflare click on add site, then enter your website URL it doesn’t need WWW or HTTP you can enter a naked URL. after filling in your URL click on add site.

Select plan – After adding your site, you will be directed to the next window where you have to select your CDN plan, here we will go with a free plan, select a free plan and click on continue.

Cloudflare DNS management and creating proxy files – In the next window, it will check your website’s DNS records and will create proxy files of your website files, you don’t have to do anything here just scroll down and click on continue.

Prove your ownership – Now you have to prove your ownership of your website because cloud flare will need a confirmation that this website belongs to you and you are not making changes on other websites. For doing this there are two methods 1- changing nameservers, 2- domain transfer.

Domain transfer is a newly added method and it will only work if your domain is a minimum two-month-old and you have not made any changes in your domain within two months, so we prefer the first default method change nameserver to Cloudflare nameservers.

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Change nameserver to Cloudflare nameservers – click on default method here you will see your existing name server and two new name server of Cloudflare which you have to change in your domain registrar account. Now copy this Cloudflare’s nameserver and go to your domain registrar account click on DNS.

You will see your existing nameservers, click on change, and replace your nameservers with Cloudflare nameservers. It can take a maximum of 24 hours to update your nameservers globally or it may take one or two hours.

Cloudflare DNS settings – When your nameservers are successfully changed, then you have to do some configuration as SSL/TLS encryption mode select full, always use HTTPS turn on then, checkmark on minify HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, brotli turn on and then click on Done.

Recheck nameservers – In the next window, it will ask you to complete your name server setup, but as we have just changed our nameservers, so click on recheck nameservers, it can take some time once your name servers are changed, then your website will be linked with Cloudflare.

Conclusion

Here we have learned what is a content delivery network, how does CDN works, CDN providers, and how to set up CDN, and so on. CDN is a good option to increase website speed and security, it improves the user experience, and decreases the bounce rate of the website, and helps in ranking.

But we should always remember one thing that CDN’s only make the delivery of your website’s files fast, but they do not make any changes or improvements in those files,

So if there is any fault or mistake in your file or in coding which is one of the reasons of slow loading of your website, so CDN will not help in that it will serve the files as it is, so you also have to check other factors that are affecting your website speed.

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