Website Help
What is CDN (Content Delivery Network)

What is CDN (Content Delivery Network)

Nowadays, website performance and speed are crucial factors that can significantly impact user experience and engagement. In a world where users are accustomed to fast-loading web pages and seamless online experiences, CDNs have proven to be a powerful solution. They optimize content delivery and increase customer satisfaction.

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) play a vital role in enhancing website performance by efficiently delivering content to users across the globe.

In this article, we will explore what is CDN, how it works, and its benefits for websites and online businesses.

CDN stands for “Content Delivery Network” or “Content Distribution Network.” It’s a network of interconnected servers distributed across various locations around the globe. These servers are called CDN edge servers. The primary purpose of a CDN is to provide users with a fast and reliable way to access web content, regardless of their location.

When a user visits a website, the CDN delivers the site’s content from the CDN edge server geographically closest to the user. This reduces the time it takes for the data to travel, resulting in faster load times and a smoother browsing experience.

What is CDN (Content Delivery Network)

CDNs are particularly useful for websites with a global audience, as they ensure that all users receive the same high-level performance. They also help to reduce the load on the website’s origin server. This can improve overall site performance and lower the risk of the site crashing during periods of high web traffic.

How does a CDN work?

The technology and mechanisms powering a CDN are quite sophisticated. However, the way a CDN works can be boiled down to a few general steps.

  1. User Requests: When a user clicks on a website or types in a URL, a request is sent to access the website’s content.
  2. Routing to the Nearest CDN Server: Instead of directing the request to the website’s origin server, the CDN routes the request to the nearest edge CDN server. The ‘nearest’ server is determined based on the user’s geographical location.
    A CDN (Content Delivery Network) routing a user request to the nearest CDN edge server
  3. Checking the Cache: The edge server checks its cache to see if it already has a copy of the requested website content. If it does, it will deliver this content to the user. This process is much quicker than retrieving the content from the original server, especially if the user is far away from where the original server is located.
    A CDN edge server cache
  4. Retrieving from the Origin Server: If the edge server doesn’t store the requested content in its cache, it retrieves it from the original web server. Once the content is retrieved, the CDN server delivers it directly to the user. The edge server also stores a copy of the web page in its cache for future requests.
    A CDN edge server retrieving website content from the origin server
  5. Delivering the Content: Whether the content comes from the CDN servers’ cache or the origin servers, it’s delivered to the user quickly and efficiently. The user can now view and interact with the website.
  6. Updating the Cache: The CDN regularly updates the cached content in its edge servers to ensure that users always receive the most recent version of the website.
    A CDN edge server updating its CDN server cache and serving content to users

Benefits of Using a CDN

1. Content Delivery Networks Improve Website Performance

By delivering content from servers closest to users, CDNs significantly reduce latency and improve loading times of web content. This enhanced performance leads to higher user satisfaction, increased engagement, and higher conversion rates.

2. CDNs Reduce Bandwidth Consumption

Traditional web hosting providers impose a bandwidth consumption limit on website owners. This limit prevents website server overload and ensures a fair distribution between users on shared servers.
By using CDNs, websites can deliver web content to their website users without exhausting their bandwidth limits. The users retrieve the cached content from the CDN proxy servers and not the origin server.

3. Global Content Delivery

Content Delivery Networks have a vast network of edge servers spread across different regions, allowing websites to deliver internet content to users worldwide with minimal delays. This global reach ensures that users from various geographical locations can access the website quickly and reliably.

4. Enhanced Scalability

CDNs are designed to efficiently handle high volumes of traffic. With load balancing and scalable infrastructure, CDNs can manage sudden spikes in traffic without affecting website performance, overloading website resources, or causing downtime.

5. Increased Website Security

CDNs often provide additional security features, such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection, SSL/TLS encryption, and web application firewalls. These security measures help protect websites from cyber threats and ensure data integrity.

Introducing SiteGround CDN

As a front-runner in the web hosting industry, here at SiteGround, we implement the latest technologies to provide top-performance results for our clients. One of the numerous features is the SiteGround CDN, available on all hosting plans in free and premium versions.

SiteGround CDN consists of multiple servers and data centers in multiple geographical locations, ensuring optimal loading times and user experience for your website visitors. Once activated, the CDN will create a copy of your website and distribute its content on the content delivery network servers. On this page, you can see the various locations covered by our network.

Unlike other CDN providers, we’ve made the CDN activation process seamless and user-friendly. You can enable the CDN for your website with a single click.

From your Client Area, navigate to Site Tools > Speed > CDN. Click on Activate Free to choose the free plan. To select the premium version, press Activate Premium.

What is CDN (Content Delivery Network)

The Premium plan adds several advanced features to the free plan:

  • Dynamic content caching
  • Apart from the primary website domain, the Premium SiteGround CDN is available for all subdomains and parked domains.
  • Unlimited bandwidth traffic
  • Under Attack mode
  • Keep site online mode

To learn more about SiteGround CDN, read this guide on how to manage SiteGround CDN.


CDNs have revolutionized content delivery on the internet, allowing websites to deliver content to users across the globe in a fast and reliable way.

By leveraging the power of content delivery networks, websites can improve web performance, enhance scalability, and ensure a seamless online presence.

If you’re looking to optimize your website and provide an exceptional user experience, considering CDN services is a step in the right direction.

Content Delivery Networks FAQs

Is a CDN necessary for all websites?

While a CDN offers numerous benefits, its necessity depends on various factors, such as website traffic, target audience, and content delivery requirements. Websites with a global audience or high web traffic volumes can benefit significantly from using a CDN.
However, small websites with modest traffic may only need a CDN once they start attracting more visitors.

Can a CDN improve website SEO?

Yes, a CDN can indirectly impact website SEO by improving website speed, enhancing user experience, and reducing bounce rates. These factors are considered by search engines when determining search rankings.

Is setting up a CDN complicated?

Setting up a CDN can be relatively straightforward, especially with the assistance of CDN service providers who offer user-friendly interfaces and documentation. However, technical expertise may be required for specific configurations and integrations.

Are CDNs only beneficial for static content?

CDNs are highly effective for delivering static content due to their caching capabilities. However, many CDN services support both static and dynamic content acceleration, enabling efficient delivery of personalized and frequently updated content.

Can I use multiple CDNs for my website?

While it is possible to use multiple content delivery network services, it requires careful configuration and management. In most cases, using a single reputable CDN provider that suits your requirements is sufficient for optimal performance.

Share This Article