The earth is surrounded by wires and user experience.

Why A CDN Slows Down Local Businesses And Page Performance

Why A CDN Slows Down PageSpeed

The earth is surrounded by wires and user experience.

CDN’s Hurt Local Businesses

Seen Your Pagespeed Score Drop?

By: Simon | Category: Web Hosting
Published Date: 26th January, 2024

Content Delivery Networks (CDN’s) have long been hailed as the solution to global content delivery challenges, promising faster load times and improved user experiences.

However, in this controversial article, we will challenge the conventional wisdom surrounding CDN’s and argue that they might not be the holy grail they’re often claimed to be. Specifically, we will explore how CDN’s can be counterproductive for local businesses, add to load times, and negatively impact pagespeed scores, shedding light on the often overlooked downsides of these widely embraced systems.

The Local Business Conundrum

Local businesses, with a concentrated customer base, may find that the distributed nature of CDN’s introduces unnecessary complexity. Instead of streamlining delivery, CDN’s can lead to increased latency for local users.

This is because the CDN server will almost certinly be located farther away from the user than the original ‘origin’ server, adding an extra layer of distance that local businesses, and their clients simply don’t need.

Load Time Blues

One of the most commonly touted advantages of CDN’s is their ability to reduce load times. However, the reality is more nuanced. While CDN’s excel at accelerating content delivery for users located far from the origin server, the same cannot always be said for local users.

For users close to the origin server, the CDN will introduce additional steps in the data retrieval process. This paradoxical outcome occurs as the CDN server must request content from the origin server, leading to a longer load time compared to a direct connection to the origin server.

Pagespeed Scores – The Misleading Metric

Developers often rely on pagespeed scores to gauge website performance. However, the pursuit of high scores can lead to misguided decisions.

CDN’s introduce extra headers to the HTTP request response. This increases the time it takes for a user’s browser to render a page and contributes to the complexity of the data transfer process. This complexity adversely affects pagespeed scores, creating a paradox where the very solution designed to enhance performance ends up actually causing a lower score.

It’s Really Quite Simple

Global Sites Need A CDN

Local Or National Sites Do Not

The Myth Of Simplicity

Advocates of CDN’s often emphasise their simplicity in implementation and management. However, this simplicity can be deceptive, especially for smaller businesses with limited resources and technical expertise. Integrating and maintaining a CDN requires a level of technical understanding that may be beyond the capabilities of some local businesses.

Moreover, as CDN’s become integral to a website’s infrastructure, any issues with the CDN can have cascading effects on the entire site. Local businesses may find themselves grappling with troubleshooting complexities that divert their focus from core business activities.

Overheads And Resource Draining

Contrary to the promise of cost effectiveness, CDN’s can incur additional expenses for businesses, particularly smaller ones. Many CDN’s operate on a subscription model, where businesses are charged based on usage. For local businesses with modest traffic, this subscription cost may not be justified by the marginal improvements in performance.

Furthermore, the overhead costs associated with CDN integration, maintenance, and troubleshooting can strain the resources of local businesses. Devoting time and manpower to managing a CDN might be a luxury that smaller businesses cannot afford, especially when alternative solutions may provide comparable benefits without the associated complexities.

The Environmental Impact

In the era of heightened environmental consciousness, it’s crucial to examine the environmental impact of technologies we adopt. CDN’s, with their distributed network of servers, contribute to increased energy consumption. The additional infrastructure required to support CDN’s, along with the ongoing operation of multiple servers, results in a larger carbon footprint compared to simpler, localised solutions.

The environmental cost of CDN’s is often overshadowed by their perceived performance benefits. However, as businesses and consumers become more eco-conscious, it’s essential to question whether the advantages of CDN’s are worth the environmental toll they impose.

My Conclusions

While CDN’s undoubtedly offer benefits for websites with a global audience and high traffic volumes, their universal application is not without its drawbacks. Local businesses, in particular, may find that CDN’s introduce unnecessary complexity, increase load times for local users, and contribute to lower pagespeed scores, thus reducing the user experience satisfaction level for their core customer base.

As the digital landscape evolves, it’s crucial to question the conventional wisdom surrounding technologies like CDN’s and consider alternative solutions that align more closely with the unique needs of businesses, especially those operating at the local level. The pursuit of simplicity, cost effectiveness, and environmental sustainability should be at the forefront of technological decisions, challenging the status quo and encouraging a more nuanced approach to content delivery. It’ll mean a better bottom line in the long run too.

Technial blog author

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