Tips for Selecting a Content Delivery Network

Today’s users expect instant gratification, which means that websites face a tough audience. If your site takes too long to load, there are probably hundreds if not thousands of competitors that your audience will browse over to instead. One way to improve the performance of your site is to use a Content Delivery Network, or CDN.

This type of system uses optimised servers spread out around the world. When a user accesses the site, content is delivered via the closest server to their geographical location, which speeds up loading times and overall performance. Yet not all CDN’s are created alike, so here are a few tips for selecting one that will work the best for you.

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1. Shop around within your budget.

Prices can vary quite widely between different content delivery network providers. The first step to take is to shop around and obtain different quotes, so that you can get a feel for what these types of services cost. This lets you narrow down your options right from the start, so that you don’t waste time with vendors you can’t afford.

2. Define your needs before you begin.

Another preliminary step to take is to think about your particular network needs. Will you be offering streaming video on your website? Will it be live or on-demand? Does the majority of your audience come from a certain region, or are they spread out equally across the globe? For example, if you’re a small business with a heavy regional base in the United States, you’ll want a content delivery network with servers in this region. Your region, the size of your business, and your content schedule should all factor into the service you choose.

3. Ask what services are supported.

Service packages will vary between providers. Not all CDN’s will support live streaming, for example. Be sure to ask and find out which specific content delivery services are supported, whether this includes streaming, downloads, and Flash animation.

4. Find out how network outages are dealt with.

Even the most professional content delivery networks will have outages from time to time. Find out how they deal with outages, and whether or not you will be compensated when this happens. Make sure that if the service provider offers monetary compensation for outages, that this is included in a written contract and that you understand how it works.

One final factor to keep in mind is that vendors can define and measure performance in many different ways. Be sure to determine whether or not the performance fits your own criteria, whether that’s customer service or physical network speed. A content delivery network with Nokia Networks or other providers can provide the ideal solution for reducing loading times and optimising your website. Yet there’s no need to blow your budget on CDN services with frequent outages or hidden fees. By comparing and contrasting network services and prices, you can find a CDN that best suits your particular networking needs.

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