Website content - don't drop it like it's hot

Jun 25, 2019

When you have optimized your frontend for performance, then it’s time to look at how you actually serve your website files to the visitor, i.e. the content delivery. On the market there are solutions for content delivery, but if you are a growing e-commerce that wants to enter new markets you need to be aware of the fact that traditional solutions actually can make your website slower. You should make sure that your website content is “hot” all the time.

The problem: CDNs drop unused content from their cache.

The classical challenge is that even though you can get your website to load with a single HTTP request - if your server is located in Europe - the risk is that visitors from for example US still will have to wait 2-3 seconds to get it. Round trip times of over 300 ms and a lot of providers in between can make a website appear slow for remote visitors.

So what can we do about it? One solution, of course, would be to use a traditional CDN. However, most commercial CDNs pull the data from your server on request and then cache it for a while. This means that when using a traditional CDN, the initial page load is slower than without it. To illustrate this, see the example image below. The total time will be 700 ms with the CDN, and 600 ms without.

ShimmerCat Accelerator Network

The reason for this is that the CDN will mean a slight detour for the content. This is not a problem if you have a high traffic site since the website content will stay in the cache all the time. If, on the other hand, you are selling on a global scale and are expanding to new markets, where you haven’t yet gathered a lot of visitors, the content will drop out of the cache. So, in effect, a traditional pull-CDN would make the website slower.

The solution: A custom-made Accelerator Network

As a website owner, and especially as an e-commerce website owner, it is important to create a good user experience and make the website load fast. This is perhaps even more important when you want to enter new markets and new regions, as you only have one chance to make a good first impression.

To create a fast user experience for your website visitors, there is a clearl advantage if the website content is served closer to the visitors. To achieve this, you can create a custom made network of virtual servers, distributed in the regions of you choice. These servers will store the website content near the requesting visitors, thereby reducing latency and improving page load times. Since these servers provides an entry point and work on the edge of the network they are called edge servers.

By having your own custom made edge server network, configured to route the visitor to the nearest server, you will not have to worry about having unused content dropped from the cache. Instead the keep content will be “hot” at all times for high availability. At each server, you can also add ShimmerCat to leverage automatic HTTP/2 optimizations and substantially improve the loading time. And bazinga - you will have your own custom-made Accelerator Network that will make your website 30-60% faster.

Want to know how you can make your e-commerce faster with a custom-made Accelerator Network? Contact us now!

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