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To CDN Or Not To CDN

As the great bard made a Prince of Denmark once say:

To be, or not to be, that is the question:Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to sufferThe slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,And by opposing end them

Or in the case of my journey to an more optimised site would have it: to CDN or not to CDN, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler to let your webhost suffer the traffic and attacks of an outraged internet, or to use a CDN in a web of trouble, and in load balancing end them.

For the uninitiated in the ways of networking, a camp into which I firmly put myself, a CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a method of distributing a service, for example a website, over a wider range of servers. For example, if you use a web host based in Switzerland, your website would likely reside on a server buried somewhere under a mountain in the country of chocolate, fine watches and very private banking.

If the people who access your site live in a neighbouring canton, they will probably experience a fast connection to your site. But what if someone lives on the other side of the world? Your site will likely be slower to access. This is where a CDN comes in, because your site is disttributed to a number of proxy servers based all around the globe. In technical terms, this shortens the bit of string between them and you as your visitors can access a server nearer to their location.

CDNs are also very useful to protect your site in the event of a sudden surge in popularity, or DoS attack, as there are more servers processing the requests, which lessens the likelihood your site will fall over following a surge of access requests.

Unfortunately, there is a flaw in this seemingly simple solution to speed and access requests. If the CDN network goes down, then access to your truly prolific collection of cat photos may be ‘disrupted.’ As happened in the recent upheaval, or should that be silence, following a Cloudflare outage.

Though perhaps a dearth of cat photos is a boon for civilisation generally, it is of concern to the tech minded and those seeking uninterrupted access to their content outpouring. The upshot is some people are sort-of dropping Cloudflare for their sites. I am in two minds, while I would be unlikely to use Cloudflare for tinfoil hat reasons, I am inclined to use a CDN for site speed improvement reasons.

At this stage I am not certain which of the myriad I will use, but given the recommendations I have read, am leaning toward BunnyCDN.

Good night and good luck.


NCDN – CDN by Kanoha is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

This post is day 078 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. If you want to get involved, you can get more info from 100daystooffload.com.