There are many good reasons to use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) for asset caching. This article explores these reasons under separate headings for ease of reference.
The main principle we are discussing here is that by using a CDN for serving static assets, the assets are served closer to the client. The decrease in physical distance reduces the latency involved in loading these assets and since an average website is composed of up to 90% static content, page load times are therefore significantly improved.
To put it bluntly, if we are talking about the world of business, then
While there are many other considerations, from the point of view of many clients, this is the primary issue, and it is the one we will explore first.
There are some commonly quoted statistics found on the internet about the relationship between page load speed and conversions or at least user satisfaction. However, these statistics are unreliable and often quoted out of context.
What we can say for sure is:
- If people have to wait too long for a page to load, they will eventually give up and look elsewhere. Defining “too” long is tricky, but it is clear that “quicker is better.”
- Improving page load time is very likely to lead to more conversions.
Failover is "a procedure by which a system automatically transfers control to a duplicate system when it detects a fault or failure." This is a very good thing. Using a CDN means that your site's static files are replicated across a global network of servers, meaning that a problem in one server will not cause major problems for your users as the content is simply served from another server in the network.
Better content due to higher capacity
Having faster access to assets also means that serving larger files becomes more viable. This means for example that retina-ready images and high definition video can now be used without compromising page load times to the point where the increase in quality of assets is negated by a corresponding lag in display them.
Put simply, websites with faster response times tend to end up higher in search results. This is because search providers want to provide their users with the best experience possible to maintain and increase their user base. Using a CDN to serve your site's assets will keep your customers and the search providers happy.
A CDN can help with your site's security in a number of ways. It will help to filter legitimate traffic from less desirable visitors such as "bad bots." It will also help to protect you from Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDoS) by absorbing malicious traffic across a global network of servers. CDNs have specialized algorithms able to identify malicious traffic and prevent it from causing harm.
As a developer, a lot of time is often spent on tasks such as content minification and combination, image optimization and content caching. This can involve installing, configuring and understanding a wide range of tools, many of which come into fashion and go out again in a relatively short time span. Wouldn't it be great if much of this part of the development process could be "outsourced" to an external service which you trust, leaving you to focus on creating great functionality and visually stunning websites?
From a client's point of view, this means paying for less development time since the developers are not bogged down with all of these optimisation tasks, which are now handled externally.
The main reason people think of when considering using a CDN for serving assets is site speed. This is the primary benefit and the most obvious one for users of your site. However, there are other benefits for users and clients too, as discussed in this article.
Please note that MOZR handles Asset Caching automatically and leverages the world’s best CDN.
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