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What Questions to ask you CDN Provider

March 17, 2016 Published in: CDN Author: Goran Čandrlić

Despite the fact that we’re living in an age where web is all about performance, speed and security there are still plenty of web businesses that aren’t quite familiar with the concept of web optimization.

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The adoption of CDNs has never been greater, but a lot of organizations are still clueless of what to expect from a CDN provider; or what questions should they ask to begin with. To make the whole thing easier, we’ve made a list of the top questions (and answers) you should ask when engaging a CDN provider. Let’s start things off:

Question 1:

How can your CDN improve load times and decrease bounce rates?

Don’t shy away from this question, it might be the most important one. User experience and website speed is a business’ ticket to conversion; it’s very important to cover this one. A CDN directly impacts user experience by:

  • Reducing page content loading time – this way the customers are less frustrated, are quicker to review your products and are more likely to conduct  a purchase.
  • Reducing checkout times – customers often get frustrated during the checkout stage and drop the purchase. It’s a key step that a CDN can greatly improve and speed up, making sure that the purchase stage goes as smooth as possible.
  • Increasing website availability, ensuring your website can be accessed anytime, when shoppers return.

Question 2:

Aren’t CDNs supposed to be primarily for international businesses – does hiring a CDN make sense if my traffic is primarily domestic?

Keep your eyes on this one, because it’s pretty important. Yes, CDNs are known to improve performance if you’re trying to reach distant markets such as China, Australia, South America, etc. But hiring a CDN for domestic traffic isn’t a bad idea at all; a CDN can carry large amounts of your traffic, relieving the pressure on your own servers. That way you reduce the risk of downtime during peaks and you get to reduce costs with your ISP provider, making this a pretty strategic move.

Question 3:

How does a CDN fit in A/B testing of my website performance?

This question is extremely important, and it doubles down as a smart tip in general. A CDN fits the A/B testing picture pretty well. You can ask a CDN provider to run a 48 hour test on your website. Your bandwidth, availability and page load times get scored and the end report shows how well your website works with and without a CDN. This is generally a great idea; if you’re not happy with your current CDN provider, test their service and see if you should cancel their services.

Question 4:

Does implementing a CDN mean big changes to the current infrastructure of my web business?

Your business doesn’t have much use of a nonadaptive service. Fortunately, that’s not the case with CDNs. A CDN takes as much as 48 hours to to be up an running on your website. Simply because CDNs don’t host websites – they just redirect web traffic through their data centers all around the globe. When your performance is bad, every second counts and the solution should be fast and easy to deploys. A CDN fits the description perfectly, a quick and effective solution.

Question 5:

What is the network size of your CDN and how big is your reach?

The aim of this question is to determine the size of the CDN you’re engaging and what your business is getting by choosing this provider’s services over someone else’s. If you want to get your money’s worth, you shouldn’t skip this one. When evaluating a CDN’s network, find out if it has PoPs in your targeted regions. The closer a PoP is to your end users, the lower the latency (time required to deliver web content to the client). Larger networks with more PoPs are more reliable as it can easily scale and maintain consistent performance during traffic surges and heavy loads.

Question 6:

What is the level of customer support I’ll be getting if I side with your CDN?

Things often go wrong, especially during seasonal peaks or a DDoS attack. The CDN you choose should have a support team that’s available 24/7. The response has to be fast; the longer it takes to fix your issue, the longer your site is not performing optimally. A top class user support team will alert you to issues before you even know about them; that’s the customer support you should be striving to. Don’t hesitate to ask this question.

Goran Čandrlić

"I am an online marketing manager with experience in both B2B and B2C sectors. Before joining Danidin LLC to build GlobalDots brand and expand its marketing reach in performance / CDN industry, I worked with various clients in almost any niche. My previous experience includes managing online marketing for travel agency, managing an online publishing platform and co-founding a tech startup."