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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a CDN and its benefits?

A Content Delivery Network (otherwise called Content Distribution Network) stores your website’s assets (like images and video) in multiple servers across the world. The advantages are:

  • A faster, more efficient, and more reliable way to get your website’s content to the people accessing it from their browsers around the world. In other words, better customer experience.
  • Since modern online users are impatient (it’s been proven that even a 4 second delay in accessing a site causes people to click away), a faster website also boosts brand trust and sales.
  • CDNs protect your website from modern cyber threats that older security methods such as traditional Firewalls can’t cope with, like DDoS attacks and SQL injection.
  • With a CDN installed, you get real-time analytics providing deeper levels of insight on your website traffic.
  • Because your website assets are spread out across the world, you need less bandwidth from your core hosting supplier, which lowers the costs. Most CDNs also automatically minimize the file sizes of common website assets like HTML and text, further saving on bandwidth.

2. Why is CDN used?

Content Delivery Networks are becoming a modern website necessity, for these four main reasons:

  • Faster website speed, with no latency (delays).
  • Good customer experience which amounts to brand trust and more sales.
  • In-depth protection against the most dangerous modern cyber threats.
  • Lowered bandwidth, so less hosting costs.

3. What does a CDN do?

In a sentence: CDNs speed up access to your website content and can also bring in-depth Internet protection.

Firstly, they cache (store) your site’s multimedia assets, like video and audio, in multiple additional servers around the world. When someone accesses your website content through their browser, the closest server delivers the requested content to them. That’s how CDNs speed things up.

Secondly, because your website content is spread out instead of only stored in one place, you’re protected against DDoS attacks (where criminals flood your central server with fake traffic to slow or crash your site). CDNs with a Web Application Firewall also analyze traffic at a deeper level than traditional firewalls, giving you better protection against modern cyber threats.

CDNs also give you greater control of your website traffic. For example, you can choose to store more of your content in locations where it’s in high demand, while minimizing content served to low demand areas.

4. How does a content delivery network work?

As the CDN meaning suggests, it supercharges your traditional hosting by making sure your website multimedia assets reach the people accessing them without delay. It does this using multiple ‘edge servers’, located at Points of Presence (PoP) around the world. These edge servers cache (store) parts of your website’s content, so they can be delivered closest to your audience’s location.

Think of it like this: you have a large superstore (your central hosting provider), but many customers live far away from it. So you open lots of express stores (CDN edge servers), which give locals fast and easy access to what they need.

Delivering content by closest geolocation gets rid of latency. This is where you get packet loss, or small gaps missing in the content during transit. That’s what causes streaming content to stall, which really frustrates people.

And because your website content is spread out instead of only stored in one place, it prevents DDoS attacks — where criminals flood your central server with fake traffic to slow or crash your site.

Quality CDNs also have the added feature of a Web Application Firewall. This monitors and filters traffic data exchange at a deeper level than traditional firewalls, protecting your website against modern Internet threats that would otherwise go unnoticed.

5. What is CDN and how it works?

As explained in the question above.

6. What is a CDN server?

A CDN network is made up of edge servers, located at multiple points of presence (PoP). These edge servers are strategically placed to deliver cached (stored) versions of content from the origin server (your main hosting provider).

When a person accesses your website, a CDN edge server closest to their location delivers parts of your website assets, like downloadable content, images, HTML and JavaScript.

Because the data has a shorter distance to travel, the CDN server reduces latency (load time delay).

7. What is a CDN PoP?

A Point of Presence (PoP) is the geographical location of a CDN edge server, which contains cached (stored) content from your website. Quality CDNs have numerous POP edge servers, distributed effectively around the world to serve a global audience.

8. Do I really need a CDN?

If the success of your business, like most these days, depends on quality content and a global audience, a CDN is basically a necessity for the online experience that modern customers expect.

Research by Google shows that 53% of your website visitors are likely to click away if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load. That’s a huge loss in sales conversions for any business.

If your website is purely a text brochure and mostly used by people in the same country that you host your website in, you could be ok without a CDN. Just be sure that you don’t have large images on your site that slow down load time. Google’s research also reveals that one out of two people expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds.

9. What is a CDN provider?

It’s important to clarify that a CDN provider is not the same thing as your website hosting provider. Most of the time they are two different services from separate companies, which is a good thing, so you don’t get tied into compromising on one service to keep the other.

Think of a CDN provider as an added complimentary service that supercharges your main hosting, to meet the needs of today’s digital world where we consume vast amounts of content.

10. How do I create a content delivery network?

It’s important to note that unless you have a dedicated development team and a high traffic website delivering large amounts (GB) of content per second, the time, complexity and cost to build your own CDN would not be justified.

If you’re a large company that fits the above criteria, these are the steps involved in building your own private or hybrid CDN:

  1. On-Site or Cloud — this applies to both your origin server and PoP edge servers. You’ll need to weigh factors like what kind of traffic you have and whether building your own infrastructure will be cost effective.
  2. ISP — your chosen ISP will need to be able to efficiently route each browser access request to the closest PoP.
  3. Origin Server & PoP — in-depth analysis of your website’s global traffic patterns will be crucial at this stage of selection.
  4. CDN & Caching Software — make sure that the configuration is flexibly suited to your needs, now and in the future. Your development team will want to keep a close eye on ensuring it integrates well with your website for effective PoP performance and fail safe security.

11. How do I get my CDN?

Each CDN provider and website platform will have different instructions. But these are the three main steps:

  1. Choose a CDN provider and package that fits your bandwidth needs.
  2. Prepare your website.
  3. Connect and configure your CDN.

With Supersonic CDN, we keep things as simple as possible. All the important configurations come pre-set, so you only need to check a few details for your CDN to be up and running.

12. How do I choose a CDN?

These are the three main factors to consider when choosing a CDN provider:

  1. Network Cover — you want a CDN that is spread out across the world to give your website users fast access from anywhere they’re located, and multiple servers in areas of high traffic. More edge servers means less chance of latency (like content buffering when streaming), and more scalability as you grow. Many CDNs have good coverage in the US and Europe, but do they also have servers in Asia and South America?
  2. Affordable, Clear Pricing — many CDNs are priced using tailored contracts, so it’s hard to know what you’ll end up paying until you actually sign up. And a large number of providers charge per GB, which also makes it hard to know the cost, because each month can bring vastly different traffic volume. As yet, not a lot of CDN providers give you transparent monthly pricing.
  3. Ease of Use — this is crucial for entrepreneurs and small businesses, many of which may not have in-house professional IT resources. But even if your company has a dedicated IT or developer team, the goal is intuitive tools that don’t take up needless time. The CDN should have a clear, simplified Dashboard where everything you need to configure is clear. Having the most important settings already configured by default, so you can basically plug and play then finetune later, is an ideal scenario.
  4. Strong Customer Support — if something goes amiss on your website and suddenly your customers are having delays with viewing important content, not to mention your site being exposed to the cyberthreats that a good CDN protects it from, you want to be able to speak to someone right away. Preferably 24/7 in an increasingly globalized world.

As an example, Supersonic CDN ticks all these boxes: global network cover (even in Asia and South America); transparent pricing per month based on a maximum amount (you can downgrade or upgrade at any time); an easy Dashboard with everything you need pre-set (but flexibility to make changes to suit your individual needs); and 24/7 Live Chat.

13. How much does CDN cost?

It varies depending on the provider. Most give you a free trial period, without the advanced features. Many CDNs are priced using tailored contracts, so it’s hard to know what you’ll end up paying until you actually sign up. There are also a large number of CDN providers that charge per GB, which also makes it hard to know the cost, because each month can bring vastly different traffic volume.

Our price is a set amount , with a choice of 250GB, 500GB or 1,000 GB per month.

14. Is there a free CDN?

Yes, free CDN options are available. The downside is they tend to come with only the basic features. For example they don’t include a Web Application Firewall for more in-depth protection against modern cyber threats.

Sometimes you’re offered a CDN free in return for advertising the provider on your website. There are also free open-source versions where you can manipulate the code yourself, if you have developer skills.

The paid version of a quality CDN gives you the entire package of convenience: super fast speeds, in-depth cyber security, at-a-glance traffic insights, easy configuration, and great customer support.

15. What is the best CDN for WordPress?

Most CDNs can be configured for WordPress. Be aware that most online reviews telling you what the best CDN is are affiliates, who get paid for their recommendations. We recommend you choose a quality CDN that ticks all the boxes, as described in the question on this page: How do I choose a CDN?

16. How do I add CDN to WordPress?

These are the steps you’ll follow:

  1. Choose CDN Provider & Package — make sure they tick all the right boxes.
  2. Prepare Site — the exact setup will depend on your CDN provider. But generally it’s relatively easy on WordPress, with the right plugin. Two of the best plugin options are: WP Super Cache (the simplest), and W3 Total Cache (more advanced control over your caching and CDN settings).
  3. Connect CDN — follow the setup instructions from your CDN provider.

If you’re looking for a provider that simplifies things with Managed WordPress and Supersonic CDN, Namecheap has you covered.

17. What is the best CDN?

If you do a search online, there will be lots of review sites claiming to tell you what the best CDN is. But they’re affiliate marketers who get paid for their recommendations, so we suggest you do your own research and choose a quality CDN: How do I choose a CDN?

18. What is the fastest CDN?

While a number of CDN providers like to shout about their network being the fastest according to tests they run, the fact is that CDN speed depends on a number of factors:

  • Distribution & Volume — global coverage and amount of edge servers, to be able to deliver closest to the points of presence (PoP) where people request your website content from their browsers.
  • Traffic Volume — the amount of people accessing content from a website at any given time.
  • Intelligent Caching — your CDN should ideally automatically have a default setting to compress content and streamline caching (storing of content in edge servers). You should also be able to easily edit these settings, depending on the global traffic and content demands of your individual company.

19. How do I know if my CDN is working?

Once you’ve integrated your website with your chosen CDN, you can check if it’s working using these two methods:

  1. Speed Test & URL Check — the simplest solution is to visit a speed test website that lets you input different locations. There are a number of them to be found in a Google search, such as Web Page Test. Choose a location and analyze the URLs of your site's static assets (content that servers don’t change, like images and video). You should be seeing the CDN URL you listed during setup, if things are running as they should.
  2. Page Source — view the page source (HTML) of your website. For example, if you’re using the Chrome browser, right-click on a page to select ‘View page source’. Scroll through the HTML, looking for static assets (e.g. files ending with .css, .js, .png, etc.). The URL used to deliver those assets should be listed as the CDN URL you defined during integration setup.

If you’re not knowledgeable about the tech side of things and don’t have an IT team, you’ll want to choose a CDN supplier that has 24/7 Support, so you can always have peace of mind if you need them to check for you.

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