In today’s digital age, everything is fast paced. Businesses are striving to make their customers lives easier, quicker, and more convenient. Meeting clients, learning DIY skills, dating, and shopping can be done in just a few clicks. There’s no time to wait.
If you run an e-commerce site, you know how important it is to hook your visitors right away. But as browser speeds continue to accelerate, consumers expect faster website loading times. If your homepage fails to load in three seconds or so, your site is likely to have high bounce rates. Consumers can easily go back to the search results page and pick another site to go to. And they will.
This is where a content delivery network (CDN) comes in. A CDN hosts heavy content elements of a page, such as high-resolution images and video content, reducing the page’s loading time no matter where the user is located or which device they use. It acts as an alternate source, which stores your website content or data as cache and serves it to users located far away from the hosted server.
To explain it better, here’s what typically happens when your site doesn’t have a CDN:
A user clicks on your website link, sending a request to their web browser.
The web browser transmits that request to your website’s host provider or origin server.
Your website’s origin server responds by sending single or multiple packets of data.
Each packet, however, could take a different path to travel across the Internet and reach a user’s web browser at different times, causing some elements of your website to load slowly.
Many factors can affect the speed of each packet’s travel, including the user’s internet connection speed and web browser. Since you can’t control such factors, it’s better to have CDN as an alternate source of website data, especially for heavy content elements, to process the user’s request in the least time regardless of their location, their browser or device, and internet speed.
Take Netflix, for instance. When Netflix uploads the latest releases, millions of users across the globe visit the site at once. A normal website host server can’t process this immense traffic at once — CDN jumps into action. It ensures content is delivered fast, improving the experience of every Netflix visitor.
But there’s much more to CDN than that. Beyond fast website loading speed, here are seven more ways your e-commerce can benefit from a CDN:
1. Lower your bandwidth consumption
With CDN, users requesting to see your website don’t pull the data directly from the origin server. This enables fast delivery of high-quality media and reduced bandwidth requirements. Savings on the bandwidth will lower the load from your website’s origin server and consequently result in less expensive bills from your hosting provider. Even if you pay for a robust CDN, such as Amazon’s content delivery network services, you still enjoy lower hosting expenses in the long run.
2. Establish brand loyalty
Say, you’re looking for courier service online. You click on the first website on the search engine results page (SERP), but it is takes forever to load. So you do what anybody else would do — you abandon the site, go back to the SERP, and click on another site. The next website you visit loads in a snap. You book a parcel pick-up, and it’s processed right away.
Now here’s the question: when it’s time for you to book a courier service again, which site will you go to? Odds are, you’ll return to the second site that loads quickly and provides a good user experience.
The same goes for your e-commerce customers. If you want them to have repeat purchases, make sure they have a great experience each time they visit your website. Remember, you have multiple competitors on the Internet. And when two online stores offer the same products at the same prices but load at different speeds, chances are customers will buy from the faster site — again and again.
3. Maintain site stability during a sales promotion period
One good thing about online business is you have the luxury to launch sales promotion without preparing your physical store for an increase in foot traffic. You don’t need to hire extra personnel nor extend store hours to accommodate all the interested customers during the promo period. But if there’s one thing you should look out for during sales promotion, it is site stability during peak time.
Again, traditional servers may cripple during peak load. But with CDN servers across the network sharing the load, you can ensure your website is live, fast, and stable even if thousands of users are browsing and checking out different sale items on your website at once.
4. Boost your SEO campaign
Page loading speed is one of the signals that Google seems to consider when ranking web pages. After all, Google is a user-focused search engine. Google finds quick-loading web pages beneficial to users, so it will likely rank these pages higher in SERPs than those sites that take forever to load.
Also, Google indexes images more frequently than other content types on web pages. Many web hosting servers, however, can’t handle too many images as images data heavy.
With CDN on your e-commerce site, you can display more high-resolution product images without worrying about page loading speed. Your site becomes appealing to users and Google as well — boosting your overall search engine optimization or SEO campaign.
5. Protect your website against DDoS attacks
DDoS attacks often crash a traditional server by enforcing a heavy load to it, taking your website down. CDN edge servers help protect your e-commerce site from such attacks by bearing most of the load on your website, keeping it up and running, and making it impossible for DDoS attacks to crash it. Also, many CDNs today can mitigate DDoS attacks on their own. This is beneficial for your business since attackers may have to pull data from CDN servers before they even reach the origin server.
Using a CDN will help speed up a website, especially for e-commerce sites with customers located in various geographic areas, many of which are far from the site’s origin server. But as we’ve outlined, using a CDN also comes with other benefits that can help grow your business online, making it a great investment that pays for itself or even gives you huge savings in the long run. Check out or other blogs to learn more about what CDN can do for your business.