Beginner’s Guide: What is Content Delivery Network (CDN) ?

CDN for wordpress

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A Content Delivery Network is a network of servers in different data centers around the world. These represent an excellent opportunity to develop a web page or application worldwide. When you access these types of networks, your web server is automatically connected to a large number of servers.

With the help of a proper WordPress website management system, the static content of your web server is transferred to the so-called replica servers. If users request only a certain content from your web page, the Request Routing System determines which replica server is the most appropriate in the content distribution network for the delivery of the requested data.

The number and distribution of the server, as well as the degree of integration of powerful backbone networks, will depend on the Content Delivery Network companies.

You can create CDN by getting in touch with your hosting provider to understand if they offer CDN WordPress services. BionicWP is one of the leading hosting providers, offering quality WordPress website maintenance service, WordPress security services, and 24/7 WordPress assistance.

How does data transfer work in CDN for WordPress?


When a user browses the Internet, they do not receive any information about whether the data is being retrieved from the source server of a particular web page or if they are doing so from a replica server. The data transfer process is usually executed in the background and is evidenced by shorter loading times. Interesting, right?



The two most important components involved in the operation are the distribution system and the Request Routing System.

The distribution system not only transmits the content from the source server to the replica server but also guarantees authenticity and quality.

There are two possible approaches: in the first one, the distribution system sends new and modified files immediately to all Content Delivery Networks servers, while in the second one a message is sent to the replica servers informing them that the current data is available and, if necessary, will be requested.

This is where the Request Routing System is responsible for ensuring that the user’s requests reach the appropriate server. Thus, with these simple steps, this ensures that requests are addressed optimally.

How to use CDN for WordPress


By always, always finding the right replica server!

The first step is to find the most suitable server to respond to the user’s request. To achieve this, the Request Routing System focuses on specific indicators determined by different measurement methods. These indexes are responsible for specifying, for example, whether they are connections made from the client or from the server.

The indicators from the server, which are responsible for calculating the use of the CPU or the number of active accesses, are useful so far as they recognize those connections with less load to transfer them to the replica server.

The Request Routing System uses the client indexes to determine the best connection between the server and the client. Other relevant factors are latency time, average data transmission speed, packet loss rate and geographic proximity.

In addition, the client-side indicators provide information on the identity of the user making the request and the system uses them, such as the weighting of the different indicators will always depend on the requested data. For example, those dynamically generated content will get better indicators from the server side, while a stable connection between the WordPress client and the server will be essential for the use of streaming content.

Redirect a request


Once the destination server is defined in CDN, the next step will be the technical redirection of the request through the Request Routing System. There are several methods for this “Request Redirection”, and its application differs, mainly, depending on where it is made (from the client, the network or the replica server).

Client redirection of the request is a simple implementation method, in which the client will select the replica server from a list. Its main disadvantage is, however, that the Content Delivery Network has little influence on the allocation process.

Redirection from the server – HTTP 302 Redirection – is very easy to implement and is very well equipped with information about the CDN. In this case, the outgoing server responds to the request with the HTTP status code and communicates it to the client through the determined replica server, which is automatically contacted through another request. The main disadvantage of this method is the duplication of the required connections.

The most commonly used type of redirection is DNS Request Routing. In this, the request made by the client to the local DNS server is redirected within a Content Delivery Network, which in turn sends the IP address of the replica server. The biggest disadvantage of this method is that accesses are delayed as a result of constant repetition in references to the Domain Name System.



Why is it worth using CDN?


Thanks to globally located servers, users of a Content Delivery Network benefit primarily from fast load times and reduced bandwidth usage.

As a web operator, the advantages of using CDN include a reduction in the use of the webserver and an increase in the security of cached data- preventing, for example, attacks of the type DDoS (distributed denial of service) – as a result of the redirects of the requests, because with these it is not possible to reach the origin server.

At this point, the requirement is only that confidential information, such as user data or passwords, be kept out of the CDN since its storage implies a greater risk of attack and often generates privacy conflicts. Another useful feature is the assignment of a single domain to the content of the Content Delivery Network.

In this way, in case of an attack by malicious people, its spread to other elements of the website is avoided. The following list summarizes the benefits of a CRC:

  • Static elements such as HTML pages, images, style sheets, documents or client-side scripts are cached on the replica server and do not have to be retrieved from the web server. This protects the servers and guarantees shorter loading times for users, which is reflected in the decrease in bounce rate and in good search engine positioning.
  • It has SEO importance because search engines are likely to rank websites higher that load fast.
  • The low use of the server and the applications involved prevents overloads and reduces the risk of possible damage or failure. This has a positive effect in terms of the hardware requirements for web hosting.
  • You can decide which static elements should be loaded by the client from the server in the Content Delivery Network. For example, if you only want to export the images of your blog, it is possible to load them in parallel to the other contents, thus making the web load faster. You can pick the best CDN for images.
  • Websites that offer music and video streaming services benefit from the use of a CDN to the extent that it is responsible for transferring large amounts of data in short periods of time. This also applies to live webcasts.
  • The moments of maximum influx or the increase in the number of users are easily manageable with a CDN. Making requests from the Request Routing System to a replica server with a lower load is especially convenient if you offer the option to download files or if you are the operator of an online store.
  • Loading times are not only reduced, but also bandwidth consumption is reduced, which is directly related to requests to load your web content.
  • The security of your server and, therefore, of your data and applications used increases thanks to the use of a Content Delivery Network, as possible attacks can be identified in order to be avoided in time.
  • CDN is important because slow web pages are a major turn off. In fact, 40% of visitors quit a website if it is slow.



So, now that we see that CDN can have a pretty good impact on your website. Why don’t you try it and tell us in the comments about your personal experience using CDN?

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