Is Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) Worth the Cost?

A content delivery network consists of several servers spread throughout the world. All these servers have a mirror image of your website. When someone tries to load a certain webpage, the server closest to his or her physical location is used for content delivery. This technology may seem too complicated but these days it is within every bloggers reach. On WordPress you just have to install a decent cache plugin to integrate your site with a CDN. However, just because you can use this technology doesn’t mean you have to. In some situations a CDN is completely redundant. In this article we have listed a couple of such situations, but before that lets have a look at the advantages that these networks have to offer.

A CDN has more than a few benefits. Firstly, internet users tend to use a site more frequently if it loads quickly, and obviously, website owners want to keep people on their site. Secondly, the faster a site runs, the higher it is likely to rank in Google and other search engines, thus leading to higher profits. Thirdly, website speed has a significant impact on conversion rates. In other words more people will end up buying your products if your website is fast and responsive. Lastly, without a CDN, your main server could be overwhelmed with all the requests, causing the transfer of information to slow down, or worse, stop altogether.

So yes, in general, CDNs are worth it. There are, however, situations in which using a CDN is a waste of money:

1. When a Website’s Traffic Is Low

If you just launched your website and only a few people visit it everyday then a CDN won’t be very useful. In the beginning you should be extremely careful with your money. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars for access to a content delivery network you could buy other important stuff to make your website better. For instance you could invest in a premium theme or purchase an ad on Facebook.

The best way to find out if a CDN is needed is to determine how quickly the site is transferring information to its users. If the average page load time is under 2.5 seconds then you don’t need to worry. Even if it is more than 2.5 seconds, chances are you can bring it down significantly without a CDN.

2. When a Website Is Used Mostly By People Within a Particular Vicinity

As I mentioned above, a content delivery network lowers the loading time of a page by delivering content via the server closest to the user’s location. Therefore, if all the users of a website are within a particular area then using a CDN doesn’t make much sense.

For example, Jakarta National High School’s website, which is meant mainly for parents to be able to keep track of school activities, will likely only have visitors from within Jakarta. In this case, an additional content deliverer in Canada won’t be of much use to JNHS.

In short, using a CDN is worth the cost if a site has heavy traffic and that traffic is coming from different parts of the world. Otherwise, it is just an unnecessary expense.

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