You’ve invested hundreds or thousands of hours into perfecting every detail of your website. Agonizing over dozens of decisions about the design flow, code optimization, SEO, payment processing cascade, traffic acquisition, UI/UX and all the other elements of building a site capable of earning a profit. Now, it finally looks and feels exactly the way it should … on your own office computer. But, what about the way your site performs on the mobile device or computer your customer is using 7,000 miles away?
When you want to sell something to someone, the only person who really matters in that equation is your potential customer. How your site looks to you really doesn’t impact your revenue much at all, so if it’s blazing fast and loads properly every time in your office, that’s worth almost zero. On the other hand, getting it to load flawlessly on the viewing device of your customers can quickly be worth a fortune. A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is essential for any revenue-producing website in the modern era of online commerce, and yet many business owners aren’t aware of exactly what a CDN does, how it does it or why it can be such a powerful component of your site’s success.
If you are new to the term “CDN,” it’s actually a fairly simple thing to understand. Without a CDN, your site is hosted on a single server somewhere in the world, and every person who wants to access your site has to reach that one server from wherever they are at the moment. So, let’s say you have your site hosted on a server in Amsterdam. That will work great for your customers who are in Amsterdam, but what about your customers in Australia or Alaska? For them, that same site data has to travel thousands of miles, creating the kinds of latency, lag and poor performance that cost you sales. All of that is preventable with a CDN.
When your site uses a CDN, it is cached on many different servers around the globe and when any person wants to access your site, the CDN dynamically sends them your data from the closest and fastest node in their local area. Your customer in Australia gets access to the files nearby, and so does your customer in Mumbai. It personalizes their data by immediately finding the best local source and sending it from there instead of your main server, which may be thousands of miles away.
Is a CDN an Expense or a Profit Engine?
When your site loads slower your bounce rates rise, your search engine ranks fall, your conversation ratios suffer and your revenue never reaches the ROI you intended. All of that has been proven by countless studies of online traffic patterns. For visitors in most countries, using a CDN on your site is often the difference between a truly enjoyable experience on mobile devices and having your users leave to find another site that loads properly for them instead. So, if your site has no traffic, then a CDN would be an added expense, but if your site is doing actual business, a CDN will almost become a profit engine by enhancing your conversions and retention far more than the cost of adding a CDN would ever be.
Remember all that time you put into perfecting your site for yourself in your office? Keep in mind how frustrating the site was to use when you started, before you fixed all the bugs and got it to load properly every single time you visited it. You did all that to make yourself happy with your site, and a CDN is the best way to make all your hard work count the same way for every potential customer on the planet.
Why Use One CDN Instead of Another?
Let’s start by saying, any reputable CDN is better than no CDN, but not all CDNs are created equal. In fact, because “CDN” has recently become a popular buzzword, we are seeing many new entrants in the field that barely outperform basic hosting. If you are paying for a CDN and your site performance benchmarks aren’t significantly better than they were before your CDN was added, you might be paying a lot for next to nothing. As with any tech you use on your site, it’s always important to test, track and make informed decisions.
MojoHost has provided hosting services to clients in this industry for nearly two decades, and during that time we have worked tirelessly to earn our reputation as an award-winning service that helps our clients’ websites perform even better than they expected. The new MojoCDN we are now offering is the next step in our evolution as we continue to find ways to help our clients optimize all aspects of data throughput.
On the technical side, we’ve also invested years in developing webmaster-focused tools that make CDN integration easy and efficient. That includes all the plugins you need to immediately work with popular content management systems, like: WordPress, ElevatedX, MechBunny and the other scripts many of our clients rely on. These integration libraries are each available under a permissive open source license, so if you require some kind of custom integration, it usually takes just a few lines of code to complete.
MojoCDN also provides Origin Shielding and our MojoCDN Gateway free of charge. Origin shielding puts an independent high performance cache server between your origin server and the CDN. When using your CDN, your files will need to propagate to dozens of locations around the world. Without a shield, you would have to pay for that outbound bandwidth over and over. By using our origin shield, only a single copy of each file is required, and we intelligently minimize the load on your origin server which reduces bandwidth costs for you and eliminates many errors that other unshielded CDN providers will suffer through until they finally figure it out.
MojoCDN Gateway is the connection between cloud storage providers like: Amazon S3, MojoCloud (MojoHost’s new Amazon S3 competitive product), Google Cloud Files, Backblaze B2 and Dropbox (as well as many others) with your CDN. Using the Gateway, your developers and webmasters won’t need to change their workflow at all. If you like the storage you are using, you can keep using that storage system securely. MojoCDN Gateway also provides a drop-in replacement for Amazon CloudFront CDN, allowing developers to use the S3 storage engine while liberating site operators from the high costs charged by CloudFront. The best part is that the entire MojoCDN Gateway also makes use of Origin Shielding, so Gateway users only pay the file access fees once, instead of many times, as happens when using CloudFront directly.
Yeah, That All Sounds Great But What’s the Cost?
CDN pricing varies widely and for many it becomes hard to compare apples to apples because each provider can assign the costs differently. Some charge high fees for integration, some have significant costs for proper support, and worst of all, there are providers who will cost you money and time as you end up having to support them more than they ever supported you. Take a close look at the systems your site already uses and make sure your CDN provider can easily integrate all of them. Ask around and make sure they are a trustworthy brand with the resources necessary to properly care for your sites. Then get a complete cost quote and make sure to compare it line by line to others who provide similar levels of service.
At MojoCDN we’re making “big bandwidth” pricing available from the first GB, ensuring that even modest sized sites can affordably benefit from a CDN without breaking the bank, and integration is completely free without any month-to-month contracts. We don’t obligate you to remain a Mojo customer because we are confident that our team is capable of earning your trust every month, so that you’ll choose to use our services for all your sites voluntarily.
Many CDN providers nickel and dime customers for each feature, even those which almost every customer needs, such as the ability to customize the domain name, SSL certificates and basic content security measures. Your MojoCDN includes all of these resources for free from day one, as well as the Origin Shielding and Gateway.
Finally, from a support standpoint, Mojo is second to none. Support has always been Mojo’s greatest strength. Many CDNs that offer low prices do so at the cost of little or no support, with huge fees when site owners need to access support staff. Instead, like always, Mojo support includes 24/7 phone support. Best of all, if you are with another hosting company and like the way things are now, you can keep your current host and still use MojoCDN to your advantage. That’s right, instead of limiting MojoCDN to MojoHost clients; we have opened it all up and made it possible to include everyone. That means you can use MojoCDN right now, even if you aren’t a MojoHost client, because MojoCDN is inclusive, affordable, simple and secure. Now that’s good mojo!
Brad Mitchell is the famed founder of MojoHost, which has won numerous XBIZ Awards for Web Host of the Year and earned many loyal clients for nearly two decades. Known for his dapper style and charismatic wit, Mitchell is a regular fixture at trade shows, where he frequently shares hard-won wisdom while striking profitable deals.