What is Content Delivery Network?

A content delivery network or content distribution network (CDN) is a system of computers containing copies of data, placed at various points in a network so as to maximize bandwidth for access to the data from clients throughout the network. A client accesses a copy of the data near to the client, as opposed to all clients accessing the same central server, so as to avoid bottleneck near that server. Content types include web objects, downloadable objects (media files, software, documents), applications, real time media streams, and other components of internet delivery (DNS, routes, and database queries). [via Wikipedia]

Well, I’m sure it sounds alien to some of you. However, I can try and simplify this for you. Let’s take an example – You upload a 2 Mb file on a server that is located in United States, one of your visitor comes to the website from UK and at the same time another from US only. Who’ll get the faster download speed of that file? Of course, it’ll be the US guy. That is how a normal scenario runs. In CDN, a normal file is replicated on multiple servers (shown as middle servers in the image below) placed across the world. So, if a UK guy will be trying to access the same MP3 file, then he’ll get it delivery through UK server only and that will considerably reduce the page load speed.
cdnetwork.jpg

[Image credit - netdna]

Should we use CDN for a blog?

As we found out that CDN helps in reducing the speed. However, the question is that is the speed difference considerable enough? There have been many bloggers who have done their tests and found huge difference in the speed. Joost de Valk found out that his blog pages started loading in 2 sec. as compared to 7 seconds prior CDN’s application.

Well, that certainly sounds effective! Other than that, Dave Ward gives us a tip where we should use Google’s CDN based hosted javascript libraries to improve the blog page load speed. Other than that, Yahoo also suggests website owners to use CDN to improve the page load speed. Well, this only means that it makes sense to use CDN. Now, the big question arises -

How to use CDN with WordPress?

Of course, if you just want use the Google’s CDN based Javascript library then Dave Ward’s link will be more than enough for your help. However, if you want to make proper use of CDN, you’ll have to shell out some money from your pocket. Thankfully established companies like Amazon, MaxCDN, RackSpace and various others offer CDN services, you can always choose the one that suits your pocket.

Once you’ve decided the CDN provider, then you can use its power with the help of W3 Total Cache -

W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your blog by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download time of your theme and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.

[Click the image for bigger version]

So, as you can see with the help of W3 Total Cache you can easily make use of power of CDN’s and it should certainly help in improving the page load speed. Are you going to apply CDN on your WordPress blog?

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  1. Great blog post on CDN installation with W3 Total Cache plugin. You might be interested on who needs CDN network services and its benefit

    http://instantcdn.asia/instantcdn/content-delivery-network-cdn/who-needs-cdn/
    http://instantcdn.asia/instantcdn/benefits/