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Why CDNs Put Your Site In The Fast Lane

An F-18 takes off in the desert, resulting in a dramatic vortex

When it comes to websites, we’re all Mavericks (with a need for speed and all that).

And using a CDN helps your web pages load as fast as possible. 💨

In this post, we break down what CDNs are and how sweet it is to live (web) life in the fast lane. ⬇️

What is a CDN?

An illustrated graphic with a CDN in the middle distributing content to servers all over the world

A content delivery network (CDN) is a geographically distributed group of servers.

These servers work together to provide faster delivery of your “static” website content to users located all around the world. ➡ 🌍

So when someone goes to your website, the files come from the server closest to their computer, shortening the time required to receive them.

What is “static” content?

Gif of a pup on a couch with very static-y hair

Static content is the stuff on your website that never ever changes.

Static content includes things like:

  • photos and PDFs
  • company logos and page styles

In contrast, “dynamic” content changes based on user interaction, like an online shopping cart.

  • For example, if we’re looking at a sweater in an online shop, we may want to see it in a specific size and color.
  • After we input those preferences, the content management system (CMS) fetches that information for us.

Do I really need a CDN?

A tortoise and a hare are waiting at the beginning of a race line on a dusty track

If you don’t use a CDN, all is still a-okay, but you’re more the tortoise than the hare.

  • The web server where your website is hosted will still load your static content.
  • But your site visitors will have to wait longer for the same static content to load before they can interact with your site because it’s coming from farther away. (And let’s not forget the 4-second rule!)
Did You Know? illustrated graphic of people looking at various digital devices. Next to the graphic are four stats about what happens with slow-loading websites.

The stats in the above graphic by Website Builder Expert tell a clear story about just how important site speed is:

  • 1 in 4 visitors would abandon a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load.
  • 46% of users don’t revisit poorly performing websites.
  • 64% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with their site visit will shop somewhere else next time.
  • 1 second delay reduces customer satisfaction by 16%.

Does WP Engine use a CDN?

A gray and teal line illustration of a CDN

They sure do! In fact, WP Engine (in partnership with Cloudflare) offers their new Advanced Network to anyone who hosts with them. (And that includes CodeGeek’s hosting clients.)

Key highlights include:

  • faster page load speeds
  • lossless image compression
  • added security features including enhanced protection against DDoS attacks

You gotta admit: Life in the fast lane never felt so smooth. 😎

53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Think With Google

Got a CDN, hosting or website question?