Do I need a CDN if I’m already Running My Website on a Cloud Host?

Hosting a website on a cloud-based server is a smart decision. It typically makes your website faster, more secure and agile. Cloud hosting is also helpful in letting you manage the scalability of your website depending upon its traffic. Compared to regular hosting, cloud hosting is a major advantage for any website.

[easy-tweet tweet=”If everyone is moving to #cloud hosting, is everyone going to be on par for web performance?”]

However, virtually every notable website today is increasingly shifting to cloud hosting, which means that even if you are using cloud hosting and are enjoying all its benefits, you are nearly at par with most other websites in terms of performance. At this point, the key is to implement other methods of improving your site’s speed, security and customer experience. One way of accomplishing this is to deploy a content delivery network (CDN).

the key is to implement other methods of improving your site’s speed, security and customer experience

A CDN is a set of servers distributed in strategic locations all over the world. The network caches elements of your website, which are then delivered to visitors from the server that is located nearest to them. With the reduced distance, latency is reduced, and thus page load speed is also minimised. This means the user gets to see the content from your website faster. A CDN is used in conjunction with web hosting and it essentially enhances the performance of your website.

Following are some of the major advantages that a CDN brings to your website:

Lower Bandwidth Consumption

Bandwidth consumption can be a major bottleneck if your site has heavy traffic. On one hand, limited bandwidth can cause disruptions in access to website. On the other hand, it is also one of the key drivers of maintenance expenses. By using a CDN, both these problems are instantly resolved.

Since the CDN delivers data such as images, stylesheets and scripts from your website through its own servers, the amount of data served directly by your main host is minimised. And your main server consumes less bandwidth. For a cloud-hosted website, this can minimised bandwidth expense. In other cases, this will help mitigate any bandwidth limitations, thus ensuring higher availability.

[easy-tweet tweet=”A #CDN can stop the #bandwidth bottleneck says @daanpepijn” user=”comparethecloud”]

Lower Maintenance Costs

Bandwidth consumption is directly tied to the maintenance expenses of a website. The more bandwidth your site consumes, the greater will be the amount you are billed for your hosting subscription. Or, at the very least, you are more likely to exceed your bandwidth allocation.

Since a CDN delivers cached website elements from its servers, it reduces the amount of data delivered from your main server. This means the reduced bandwidth consumption directly results in a reduction of bandwidth expenses as well.

Better Global Coverage

Cloud based hosts usually maintain a more centralised architecture compared to CDNs. So a cloud hosting service may have its data centre mostly in a single country or region or only in a very few locations globally. In comparison, a CDN has a far greater global coverage, in terms of data centres. Since the strength of a CDN is its geographical Points of Presence (POPs), CDN servers are typically located in a larger number of global locations. So between the two, a CDN is more effective in covering your site’s users all over the world, all the while offering better site-load speeds.

the strength of a CDN is its geographical Points of Presence

A Solid Layer of Security

Cyberattacks and website security breaches are becoming an everyday affair. No matter how improved your site’s security is, there is always room for improvement. A CDN comes with an additional layer of security for your website. CDNs like Incapsula make use of the reverse proxy topology which puts the CDN infrastructure ahead of the main site servers in the face of incoming user traffic. As a result, if any bad actors decide to launch a barrage of DDoS attacks, the CDN infrastructure will meet it outside the doorstep and mitigate it before it can affect your servers. Since DDoS attacks are a very common nuisance for websites, such an effective solution against them is very advantageous.

Incapsula also makes use of its Web Application Firewall (WAF) to deal with hacking attacks on your website. Although cloud hosting services also come with some security features, a dedicated solutions like that provide much higher grade of protection, while also enabling compliancy (e.g. meeting PCI DSS requirements) . So if you opt for a CDN, not only will be getting better site speeds, you will also have a more secure website.

To answer the question: Yes. You need a CDN even if you are already hosting your digital assets on the cloud.

[easy-tweet tweet=”A #CDN brings immense value to your #website in terms of speed, efficiency and enhanced security”]

Cloud hosting has a huge number of advantages but it has a different set of capabilities compared to a CDN. A CDN brings immense value to your website in terms of speed, efficiency and enhanced security. So even if you have your website hosted on a cloud server, deploying a CDN will provide better protection and optimisation for your digital assets.

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