Major sitespeed initiative – cloud-based content delivery network (CDN)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Having completed a month long testing of CloudFlare, a content distribution network (CDN), we decided to go ahead and activate it on some of our live sites.

Cloudflare, our cloud-based CDN service, improves the user experience of our websites at three different levels.

AFor one, it auto-optimizes some elements of our websites enabling a Google site speed gain of about 10%. In our experience, this actually translates to visually detectable website load speed increase!

BIt also provides enhanced security for our websites. The proxy servers, from which our sites are loaded, have a constantly evolving firewall that protects our websites from unnecessary queries and hacking attempts. This saves the server capacity to legitimate users.

CLast, but not least, the CDN ensures that visitors from overseas can enjoy our websites independent of the available international internet bandwidth. This is a significant benefit for some of our clients serving European markets as well as for RebeccaMarino.ca, which gets visitors from all around the globe. While Rebecca was playing in Wimbledon this June, her website got large volumes of visits not only from Canada, but from Europe as well. We noticed that the load times were significantly slower in Europe than in Canada, most likely due to the limitations of the cross-Atlantic internet bandwidth. Our cloud-based content delivery network resolves this issue now.

The websites we switch over to the content delivery network are loaded from different proxy servers around the world. For internet users in Europe, as we speak, those websites are loaded from proxy servers of four data centers that are based in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.