A Business’ Guide to Improving Page Speed with Amazon CloudFront

Don’t you just loathe it when you’re browsing a website and it takes eons for the page to load? If you don’t like experiencing that when you’re browsing other sites, either does the audience of your own website. Even search engines give slow-loading pages a thumbs down. They’ll penalize you by dropping your SERPs ranking.

So, what’s the solution? Remove the elements that slow down a page’s loading time – including high-resolution images and videos. But, while this would improve loading speed, it may be to the detriment of your site’s overall value, too. As cliché as it may sound, a picture (or a video) is still worth more than a thousand words. In fact, Cisco forecasted that video traffic will constitute 82 percent of all online traffic by 2021. If you go against this trend, your website’s going nowhere fast.

What you need instead is a Content Delivery Network (CDN) like Amazon’s CloudFront.

CDN and Amazon’s CloudFront: The Basics

A CDN’s job is to put the static or unchanging files on your website on faster servers around the world. With the help of cloud technology and CDN, someone browsing your site from halfway across the world does not have to wait for data to travel from your end to theirs.

Think of it as a pair of scissors you keep in your bedroom. If you’re in any other part of the house and suddenly have a need for those scissors, you have to make a trip to your room to get it. But if you instead positioned a pair of scissors in different parts of your home, you get to it right away and accomplish your task faster.

As part of the Amazon Web Services (AWS), the leading cloud service provider in the world, CloudFront acts as the CDN. It’s ideally partnered with Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3), which is a location to which your website’s static files are stored and where CloudFront accesses your most up-to-date files.

CloudFront and Its Benefits

To further understand how AWS CloudFront can help your web pages – and therefore your business – here are a few benefits to consider:

1. Content Privacy

CloudFront has private features that can regulate who can access your content, as well as who cannot. The application is also seamlessly integrated with AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF) and AWS Shield Advanced.

The AWS WAF is a firewall that lets you monitor HTTP and HTTPS requests forwarded to your CloudFront. It also gives you control over who has access to your content based on specific conditions that you impose, such as the requests’ IP addresses. The AWS Shield, meanwhile, helps minimize the effects of a DDoS attack.

These actions are useful when you want to serve content to public websites while also blocking requests from potential attackers.

Additionally, CloudFront’s processes and its infrastructure are compliant with PCI, DSS, HIPAA, and ISO. You can rest assured that the application securely delivers your most sensitive data.

2. Cost Effective

The pricing for Amazon’s CloudFront is simple: you pay for the data transfer and HTTP/HTTPS requests used to deliver content to your customers. When you use CloudFront, you won’t have to pay for upfront or fixed platform fees. There’s also no need for long-term commitments, though once you try it, you’ll want to stick to it. You don’t have to pay for dynamic content, either; even the AWS WAF and AWS Shield Standard come at no additional cost.

What’s more, since it’s a cloud-based CDN, you don’t have to set it up at all the locations from which you operate your business. You can set CloudFront up at one location and it will function globally.

3. High Performance

CloudFront as a CDN is optimized for low latency and high data transfer speeds. According to Amazon, “CloudFront’s intelligent routing is based on real-world latency measurements continuously gathered from popular Internet sites, including Amazon.com.”

The CDN is directly connected to hundreds of end users’ ISPs, using AWS’ backbone network to speed up the delivery of your content. With regional edge cache locations as part of the standard CloudFront offering, you can rest assured that there are consistently high cache hit ratios across the globe.

When Should You Switch to CloudFront?

With these benefits and more, you should already be clamoring to get CloudFront. However, if you’re unsure exactly when it’s most useful to you, below are a couple of scenarios.

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1. When your user base is geographically distributed

As we’ve mentioned earlier, Amazon CloudFront proxies and caches your website’s data at edge locations so it reaches your users as soon as possible. These edge locations are like data centers around the world, which replicate the content you need to deliver to your users.

If your user base is localized, simply using AWS S3 might be enough, as long as you choose the right location to place your bucket in. But, if your users are spread across the globe, using CloudFront is an option that will give you the speed that users look for.

2. When you want to serve on-demand live streaming videos

The internet is full of websites that use live streaming. Since search engines reward websites that people spend a lot of time on, live streaming can help your stats.

However, streaming live videos is not easy. And it only gets more difficult as your audience grows. The more viewers you have, the more content your CDN has to deliver. According to Amazon, this means that “more requests have to go back to the origin of the live stream” and that “the origins for live streams have to scale to match the peak requests.”

The cloud technology that comes with CloudFront not only makes streaming easier but also more affordable.

Learn More About CloudFront and Other Business Cloud Solutions

There is a lot more to learn about CloudFront, Amazon Web Services, and other cloud solutions for businesses.

Here at Business Cloud Deals, we bring you all the vital information you need with our reviews of these products and services. What’s more, we partner with the distributors of cloud service providers to give you the best purchasing deals possible.

Visit Business Cloud Deals today to learn more.

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