A deeper look into CDN benefits

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CacheFly Team

Date Posted:

December 18, 2013

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When discussing the benefits of a content delivery network (CDN) within a business, the two biggest aspects business owners typically emphasize are increased website speed and significant IT infrastructure bandwidth cost reductions. While these are crucial considerations, a few other CDN benefits exist that are often overlooked but can greatly improve a company’s operations, including improved usage analytics, easier scalability, and built-in version control.

Improved usage analytics
While your site likely already has server logs configured, one of the biggest benefits of many CDN systems is that they have logging enabled by default. This allows you to easily spot trouble points and bottlenecks and resolve them with ease. Since CDN systems are completely separate from a standard data center, this is a vital feature, as infrastructure and equipment can vary by location. It is important to note that since CDNs typically follow a pay-as-you-go model, their logs tend to track usage down to the byte, allowing you to better track multimedia views and file downloads.

Improved reliability
One of the biggest challenges any business owner faces is scaling a website efficiently to keep up with demand without going over budget. Purchasing too little power puts your business at risk of a website failure, while purchasing too much equipment can lead to significant amounts of wasted money over time. CDN systems provide a valuable solution by allowing companies to scale up their infrastructure in a matter of minutes, while only having to pay for the resources they use.
CDN systems allow clients to pick and choose the data centers they use, ensuring they keep costs in check by focusing on their target demographic. Additionally, since many providers do not require customers to sign long-term contracts, companies can partner with a CDN during the times when they need extra support, and cancel when things settle down. Since changes can be made virtually on the fly, this ensures that you are able to maximize your website reliability in almost any situation.

Built-in version control
While CDNs can speed up load times on most websites, developers can use the systems to expedite the coding process. One of the biggest problems developers face is a website breaking simply because of an update to the code. In a traditional setup, changes often are immediately made to a website’s code, and it is up to the developer to test each change as it is made. This makes development a tedious process that consumes significant amounts of time and money.
By using a CDN, developers can break up core website scripts into separate files for each significant revision to the code. This allows developers to use the CDN to mix and match versions of core website files to ensure maximum performance.

Picking a CDN vendor
When picking a CDN vendor, a large focus should be on performance and support from the provider. In particular, you should look for a vendor capable of complementing your IT team—integrating a CDN system into your site is a task you shouldn’t have to handle yourself. The vendor you chose should be able to assist you with forming an implementation strategy to ensure that you are receiving maximum CDN benefits from the provider.

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