A Content Delivery Network or CDN helps speeding up the access to a website by shortening the virtual distance between the people visiting a site and the server delivering its content. In most cases, a site’s components and its static data are distributed and saved on servers around the globe. That way, anyone accessing the site from anywhere in the world is able to load content from a local server instead of having to wait for it to be provided by the original server. This can have a positive impact on load times, as it decreases the strain on hosting server as well as saves bandwidth costs for users.

Nowadays, all the top online retailers make use of some form of CDN. With the wide range of options and suitable pricing plans available (including free services), a content delivery network is something that’s just about every web professional should look into.

What actually is a CDN?

A CDN is an interconnected cluster of web servers, which are located in various data centers around the world where the static contents of any website are saved, like the images, JavaScript files etc.

The CDN service copies a site’s static files to its servers; which are then loaded from the server closest to site visitors. This process works as a load equalizer; the CDN providers have multiple networks of servers per location, which means they are made to handle huge traffic and web queries. Rather than hosting the web files on your own server, this is a far suitable option and easy way to manage your web load.

Why Use a CDN?

Using a CDN allows you to handle much more visitors to your site together with improved, fast load times. If your site has ever experienced a surprised and an unexpected traffic spike and broke down thanks to being featured on a popular newspaper front, a CDN could have stopped that from happening to give your worthy visitors a satisfying experience.

What to Look for in a CDN?

1. HTTP/2

These days, the most adopted web protocol standard is HTTP/2. With an HTTP/2 enabled CDN, you can increase your site’s speed largely and cut off its loading time to minimal.

2. Network Locations

The more server locations a content delivery network has, the greater flexibility its user will enjoy. This may have called POPs also known as Points of Presence. Always double check that your CDN provider has locations/POPs covering all the major continents.

3. Custom Rules

Rules allow you to set up various behaviors for how your content should be handled or if files some should be included or not. If your CDN provider doesn’t give you the control over what is and isn’t served via its network, don’t use it.

4. Cost

Some CDNs charge per GB of the web traffic, and some use old monthly basis approach with no bandwidth costs. Costs may vary depending on various options, like how many areas you set up and what features you want to take advantage of.

You’re probably familiar with few of the CDN options, but there are lots of other options worth checking out. So let’s go through the top CDN providers and the features to keep an eye out for:

5. MaxCDN

A very well-known and widely used content delivery network that offers an extremely comprehensive range of networks, including high performance and powerful SSD services. You can serve your website at the very best speed to every part of the world by using its servers available on every continent.

This amazing CDN also supports the real-time advanced security, powerful analytics, content reporting, and purging. Its committed experts are available to make sure that the CDN is proficiently working at any time.

6. CloudFlare

The CloudFlare is one of the largest platforms used in the CDN world. With unique features and excellent results, the network emerged as a kind of reliable and free CDN services. At present, this highly adopted platform is helping, protecting and accelerating thousands of active websites. It is also equally popular among web hosting providers and tech bloggers because of its top-notch security features.

7. Amazon S3 & CloudFront

This popular network includes lots of effective services in order to speed up the websites. It includes an Amazon CDN, known as CloudFront, as well as a striking cloud storage service, called Amazon S3. This excellent service helps you to store your classic website in a fast and effective cloud. Together with this, you can use the CloudFront CDN in order to serve your website to your potential visitors at very fast speeds.

The S3 provides you 5GB of effective web storage entirely free, while the CloudFront provides 50GB of storage as well as two million HTTP files truly free of cost. It means that based on your regular users, you can utilize these services without investing a penny. Both these options are highly secure and efficient as well as backed by a reliable Amazon brand.

8. KeyCDN

KeyCDN is another great CDN service that comes with lots of powerful and useful features. It does not possess the same recognition as the MaxCDN, but it does provide far more affordable rates. Even as the bandwidth truly increases, the KeyCDN remains the most affordable option.

The KeyCDN is an effective platform that includes very powerful and extremely effective SSD-optimized servers situated everywhere around the globe. It was designed with high performance in mind, which is achieved with low latency and reducing gaps between service providers. It also supports nice intuitive management dashboard, real-time reporting, and great security features.

9. CacheFly CDN

CacheFly CDN is a cool CDN service that delivers lots of static objects on the websites up to twenty times faster along with more than thirty points of attendance exclusively spread all over the globe near the vital peering points of an Internet. These real-time servers truly enable the content providers to easily place their content nearer to their audience, resulting in more reliable, efficient, faster and excellent delivery of good media content.

In addition to all these amazing features, this classic robust platform also provides complete access to the web files, making it a very good option for true web professionals.

10. Custom SSL

If you have an SSL-enabled website, make sure that the CDN you choose supports the use of custom SSL without adding extra charges.