Depending on the application, changing back-end architecture may include complicated tasks such as replicating database transactions and session details across several server locations. Rather than tackle the back-end architecture, look first at optimizing the front-end to achieve quick performance gains. Deploying static content across multiple, geographically-distributed servers, should make pages load faster from a user’s perspective.
Switching to a CDN is a relatively easy code change that can dramatically improve the speed of web sites. Because data is cached on edge servers and content requests are directed to the closest or most optimal network node, a CDN sends data along the shortest (or most timely) route to the user. This reduces latency and packet loss, allowing for faster load times as well as improved streaming quality.
CDNs also handle bursts in traffic. By offloading the static components of a page to a CDN, a site’s web servers are freed up to serve dynamic pages and content. Freed up resources can lead to a reduction in the number of web servers needed to support a website. Since most CDNs are designed to handle large bursts in traffic they should be able to handle sudden increases in traffic as well.
At GiftCards.com, we rely heavily on CDNs to offload the many images and other static content on our sites. Our gallery of predesigned gift cards contains thousands of images customers can choose from when ordering a personalized Visa® gift card or MasterCard® gift card. We also have hundreds of static images such as our logo and other web design elements on each page. We use a CDN to serve all of those images. Without a CDN, GiftCards.com would have to greatly expand our web server footprint to handle the traffic or speeds would suffer.
Using a CDN is just one of the many reasons that GiftCards.com is the highest ranking gift card website on the internet. Our quick response times positively impact our search engine rankings as well customer satisfaction—two things we take very seriously.
~~ Kyle Fulton