Whenever your customer visits your website, the webpage she is loading has to reach the browser from the web hosting company’s location. Even though data travels super-fast it is slow in the world of browsing and whenever the browsing experience is slow the the customer closes the tab or moves on to your competitor’s website and you lose a sale or a booking.
You want the pages to load fast!
This is a problem if your website is hosted in USA because of your web hosting company and your customer is in Bengaluru. Your web page the customer requested has to travel all the way from USA to Bengaluru. To reduce the distance and the time it takes to reach the destination CDN was born!
They have multiple servers, strategically placed around the world. Multiple presence in every continent. These bunch of servers in one location is called Point Of Presence (POP). Now with CDN tied to your website, a customer from Bengaluru will get the web page from the closest location. As the POP servers are present in all continents, your customer will likely get the webpage from somewhere in Asia instead of travelling all the way from America.
Now the non-sophisticated competitor without CDN on the other hand refuses to pay for quality infrastructure that can help him compete and grow his business. While he is upset at people not buying his stuff you are busy converting visitors into buyers and growing your money!
There are two types of POPs. Push and Pull. Some CDN servers pull the webpages from your website whenever a change is made to your webpage – say you updated a blog post. Or whenever a new blog post or a webpage is created. In Push mechanism your website pushes the changed or new content to the CDN servers.
The CDN companies generally charge by bandwidth. It’s the amount of data consumed by your visitors to your site.
CloudFlare offers free CDN. I strongly recommend you go with them since they have 3 POPS in India at the time of this writing. New Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai.
A good web hosting company usually has a tie up with CloudFlare to offer you free CDN service.
Do you really need CDN?
Not if you are a local business and your visitors are mainly from your locality or city. CDN comes in handy only if you have visitors at the national or international level!
But you still need a good, quality web host to load your pages fast! When they load slow people close the tab and go to your competitor’s site.
You can learn more about CDN at: https://www.cloudflare.com/learning/cdn/what-is-a-cdn/