Nowadays, the majority of websites are hosted on WordPress (WP), the leading, free, open-source content management system equipped with plugin and template system features. It is currently being used to power over 60 million websites all over the world, including over 30% of the top 10 million performing websites as of April 2018. Established on May 27, 2003, by Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg, WP is currently the most popular website management system in use.
In today’s digital age, a website basically resembles a company’s reputation and the quality of the products/services it provides. In other words, if your website doesn’t cut it, chances are you’ll be losing a lot of potential revenue.
Apart from functionality and UX, one of the key performance features is undoubtedly page loading speed, with two seconds being the current maximum acceptable threshold. To give you an idea, just three years ago, that same threshold was 33% higher, when 60% of people would accept a website that would load in three seconds while today, some of the best companies in the world aim for half a second page loading speed (Google, for instance). In 1996, the acceptable limit was around 30 seconds.
Moreover, Google has recently started to penalize websites that take more than two seconds to load. Google is highly focused on delivering the best user experience to people, and since page loading speed is an essential factor, the algorithm is designed to limit the number of URLs that will be crawled from your website. This can eventually lead you to lose your positions in the search results, resulting in countless missed opportunities.
Now the problem with slow loading sites is highly connected to geographical location, or in other words, the distance from your server to the client’s device. If a user in Australia lands on a website located on a server in Africa, slow loading speed will be inevitable.
This is where content delivery networks (CDN) step in. In simplest terms, they take the load off of your web server and accelerate the delivery of your content regardless of geographical location, dramatically improving user experience and cutting bandwidth costs.
What is CDN and how it works
CDN is comprised of a network of over 50 servers – aka points of presence (PoPs) – scattered around the globe and designed to host and deliver a copy of your WordPress website’s static, and even dynamic, content to visitors from closely located PoPs, resulting in reduced page loading times. When a user lands on your site from any part of the globe, the system automatically detects the closest CDN server located to that user’s location and uses it to deliver the copy of your website, without causing any delays, lags or UX issues.
It’s important not to confuse a CDN with your WordPress host. A CDN doesn’t replace your original host, but rather makes copies of your content and provides additional hosts to improve the content delivery speed and quality.
Benefits of WordPress CDN
1. Significant Performance Boost
The first, and probably the most important benefit is the improved performance of your website. Countless studies, researches and surveys have proven that faster loading speed is directly correlated to higher conversion rates, decreased bounce rates, prolonged average visit duration and customer retention. Here are some facts to consider:
- A one second delay in page loading speed can reduce conversion rates by 7%. In other words, if your e-commerce website is making $50.000 per day, one second page response delay could potentially cost you 1.25 million dollars’ worth of sales per year.
- BBC has calculated that they lose an additional 10% of users for each additional second their website takes to load.
- 79% of customers are less likely to return to your website if they aren’t satisfied with its performance, and 44% would tell a friend about their poor experience.
- CDN also helps reduce the time to first byte (TTFB), which is the time that it takes for the browser to receive the first byte of data from the server. The longer the wait, the slower your website will load. A proper CDN system can reduce TTFB by up to 55%.
2. Lower Costs
Thanks to the big network of servers, CDNs help offload the CPU and resources of your original host. Moreover, it allows you to decrease bandwidth costs by preventing high traffic spikes since the traffic is spread across multiple servers, most of which are taken care off by the CDN provider.
3. Safety and Scalability
Whenever a CDN server goes down, the copy of your content is dynamically transferred to the next nearest server guaranteeing 100% website uptime, regardless of geographical location. Also, many providers include additional, built-in security systems that help guard your content from DDoS attacks.
4. Improved Google Rankings
While there is no concrete information on how exactly does page load speed affect user rankings, we know for sure that it is considered a ranking factor based on an official announcement back in 2010. “Quality should still be the first and foremost concern,” said Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team. “The speed change affects outliers; we estimate that less than 1% of queries will be impacted. If you’re the best resource, you’ll probably still come up. We want to return to faster sites, but not at the expense of relevance”.
In a broad sense, if two websites share the same level of relevance for the given search query, the website that loads faster will appear higher in rankings.
WordPress CDN deployment
While deploying a CDN may have been overwhelming a few years ago, technological advancements have made it extremely easy to reap the benefits of the system, even if you have close to zero technical knowledge or skills. Here are the three steps you need to take to integrate a CDN:
- Choose your CDN provider – Choose a CDN provider and subscribe to the most suitable service pack based on your needs. For instance, CDNsun charges customers on a monthly basis and is most suitable for handling 100 GB-500 TB volumes of data/monthly.
- Download the WP plugin – Most CDNs offer a WP plugin to seamlessly integrate your website with the system. All you have to do is download the plugin and you’re good to go. There are no additional steps that need to be taken on your part.
- Once this is complete, your WordPress website’s content will be loaded from the nearest CDN server for each user, depending on their location. To make this possible, we utilize two different technologies to route users to the correct location – IP Anycast and geolocation routing.
CDNsun was established with the mission to provide affordable, reliable, secure and fast CDN services and has been helping clients accelerate their online content delivery since 2012. Our network consists of over 50 global data centers and all of them are equipped with the fastest SSD drives, truly pushing your website’s performance to its limits. We offer some of the lowest costs on the market ($0.04 per GB of data spent) and 24/7 email, phone and live chat support to all clients, regardless of their payment plan.