If you want to increase the speed of your website you have to look first internally – What bloat is added to the site via oversized images or unnecessary plugins and scripts, can be reduced or eliminated. Then, can reduce the load time via a faster server, caching, and how the site is loaded.

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) will reduce the physical distance between your website visitor and the location where their browser connects to load the page. This makes the pages load much faster. This is achieved by a CDN provider that has stored cached versions of your website in many locations and serves the initial page load to the visitor. Instead of loading from your website’s origin server location.

How much faster are page load speeds with a CDN?

Can a CDN reduce costs?

The short answer is yes. A CDN can offset your bandwidth usage on a traditional server. If you are paying for a set limit on your bandwidth usage, it can help prevent overages because the heavy lifting will be done on CDN servers closest to the user’s location.

The number of choices is increasing daily and many of the choices are reselling one of the bigger services. Nothing wrong with that, but there isn’t a wide difference in the performance between most of the competitors. The biggest differentiators are the services rolled in with the CDN services offered and as well as, customer service.

Which CDN is the best?

Amazon CloudFront

Certainly the front runner from a technical sense. The scalability of any and all Amazon Services is nearly infinite. No matter how much your demand for your website grows, the service can expand in every imaginable way to support it. However, the user interface and ease of use is lacking. It’s like receiving an automobile in a crate and the user manual is 10,000 pages in size 3 font. I’m trying to say it’s a little frustrating to just ‘make it work’ without some digging to learn how first.

Cloudflare

One of the most popular CDN offerings out there primarily because it is easy to set up, plays very nice with most web applications like WordPress, and has some great features to mitigate spam and DDoS attacks. Does have some free plan options that are limited but can get you started.

Akamai

One of the largest CDN networks available. The price tag is for enterprise to large businesses who they cater too. If you are a small business or entrepreneur you may wish to use another option. But this is an excellent option if you wish to pay the money.

Google CDN

Google offers an affordable plan and comes with a free SSL cert. So from a pricing arena, it’s difficult to beat. The scalability of other services is immense and is second only to Amazon. However, they fall behind when it comes to ease of setup and customer support. My biggest issue with Google ‘anything’ is by the time the ink is dry on the documentation on how to use ‘anything’ they have, they will have changed the interface 7 times. Getting live help is nearly impossible.

Google’s search results in weight a great deal in the speed of your website. Let’s be clear not as much as content relevancy, but it has a huge value if you are trying to get an edge. If you are a very competitive niche with your site, then I would say a CDN is absolutely necessary. If you are gaining traffic then have a growth plan for your site. How will it scale when you hit 10k users, 100k users, 500k users, etc. What will you need to keep the site competitive and efficient? Those few future choices can make for huge cost savings later.