With advancements in technologies and global internet connectivity speeds, fast website loading time has transformed into a key factor in customer conversion for eCommerce stores.
Not just end users, but search engines also expect websites to ideally load within 400 milliseconds (that’s literally a blink of an eye). Page load speed is no longer affected by the end user's internet connection speed with 4g cellular network available in most countries. It all comes down to how much the website is optimized and the server infrastructure that supports the website.
According to data from Akamai and Gomez, 47% of consumers expect a webpage to load in 2 seconds or less, whereas 40% abandon the website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Web applications like GTMetrix, Google Page Speed Insights, and Pingdom are designed to help users track the minutes of the reason that hampers page load speed and fix it up.
Such tools can help you to optimize all the essential on page aspects that affect the loading speed of your Magento website. However, if you want to push it to the next level you will need to set up a CDN (Content delivery network) for your Magento store.
A speed of a Magento store largely depends upon the web hosting where the website data is saved and the location from where the hosting provider provides the data to your website visitor.
Let’s say, your Magento eCommerce website is hosted with Godaddy that has its data center in North America. If a user visits your store from North America, your website will perform really well in terms of loading speed because of the close proximity of the user to the source of the data.
However, if a user visits your Ecommerce store from India, the website will work quite slow due to the distance between the source and the target.
To overcome this inconsistency and deliver a superlative experience in terms of site speed, merchants leverage CDN’s.
CDN service providers charge you for maintaining server infrastructure around the globe and places a cached version of your website’s static content on each node(also called edge servers).
Cached content can include - Images, CSS/JS files and other structural components that consume the most part of page load time. When a consumer opens your website, this content is loaded from the CDN node which is closest to the user’s geographical location. As the data takes less time to travel, the page load time is substantially decreased.
As Magento based E-commerce stores hosts a number of products, variations, descriptions etc, the time it takes to load all this static content can be a lot depending upon the number of products and pages on a website.
By delivering this static content through a CDN nearest to the consumer utilizing dispersed servers around the globe, merchants can deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Why you should use a CDN:
1) As your CDN will be serving static content using cached data, the bandwidth usage of your source server will decrease a lot. This is very useful for clients who utilize hosting solutions like Amazon EC2 that charge based on similar factors.
2) With CDN, you can decrease the page load speed by at least 50-60%
3) As a major portion of the content is dispersed across CDN servers, the data load on your website will decrease, hence there are fewer chances of your website to fail due to high disk utilization.
4) Fast website speed will elevate your website search engine rankings as speed and performance is a factor considered by search engines as well.
Why you can ignore a CDN:
1) Your target audience is in the same geographical location where your server’s data center is available.
2) You do not have a lot of products and multiple variations on your website that can increase the static files size.
3) Your website is in development mode and you are regularly pushing changes to the live website. This will mean you will have to purge your changes with the CDN cache regularly.
4) You don’t want an additional layer because of which your website can go down.If a CDN node malfunctions then that will affect the website visibility.
Note that this list is not sorting CDN. All these 5 CDN’s are the best in business and consumers can choose the one based on their business requirements.
Cost effective and superior quality services with rich configure ability and global reach.
Free for 1st year
Lots of configuration options
Advanced settings available
Free extension available for Magento 1.x
Extra costs for maintenance and support
Pricing is tricky as it is based on usage
No free extension for Magento 2
Basic CDN with limited features that are good for small business.
Up to 80 POP’s
Very limited features
Limited configure ability
Support can get inadequate at times
Latency can vary from region to region
Best in class with Google's superior infrastructure and low pricing model.
Premium quality services worldwide
Free SSL/TLS certificate
Single IP for all nodes
Easy to use
Value for money
No extension for Magento
A good starter CDN which doesn’t have data centers on all locations but still very fast in the US and UK.
Easy to set up
Value for money
Good quality tech support
Asian locations costs extra
No free trial
No dedicated Magento extension
Cloudflare offers an outstanding free plan with stacks of features and some valuable extras.
Pros: Free plan available
Superior quality over many locations
Highly secure - blocks ddos attacks
User-friendly and easy to set up
Free Magento extensions
Speed is average for US and UK region
There is no hard and fast rule that forces Magento store owners to use a CDN system, in fact, if you are a store owner who serves locally and uses a server that has a local data center, there is no point in utilizing a CDN. However, if your web store handles a lot of traffic and providing the best possible customer experience is your motto then a CDN should be a crucial part of your Magento store optimization strategy.