Many of us would recall when even a simple task, like webpage loading, appeared to be a lifetime wait. In the last two decades, web browsing experience has come a long way, and now not only do we browse faster – we surf, shop, learn, get entertained, and virtually live our lives on a browser. We are in a digital era where even ordering a pizza is a click away. With being online becoming a norm in this virtual age of smartphones, the seamless performance of a brand on digital platforms plays the most significant role in engaging a visitor.
How do we make digital platforms highly interactive and personalized without sacrificing performance? Content Delivery Network (CDN), along with Dynamic Caching, helps achieve this.
In this blog, let's look behind the scenes and learn about the role of CDNs in improving website performance with dynamic content caching.
What is dynamic content? How does a CDN manage dynamic page caching?
Typically, a website comprises of both static and dynamic content. Static content refers to content stored on a server, which remains the same every time it is presented to the users. Texts, images and files can be static. Dynamic content is any frequently changing content based on user-specific factors of locations, time of visit and device type. The dynamic content gets modified in real-time, letting websites adjust to different site visitors by delivering information based on who the viewer is. The online store experience is not the same for a regular shopper and a first-time customer. Online shopping, credit card transactions, response to sale offers and banner advertisements are some examples of dynamic content. Online news websites, weather updates on our mobiles as per location, blog feeds, social media feeds and video chats are additional examples of dynamic content. Ecommerce and media sites use the power of CDNs to keep their content updated with the real-time information.
CDN refers to a network of powerful servers placed in geographically distinct locations aimed at enhancing the performance of websites, applications and video streams. Caching is the process of storing data in a temporary storage area called cache. A cache helps to achieve a highly efficient data retrieval and enables quick access to the stored content. Caching reduces the page loading time, thus providing a more responsive site for its users. Dynamic content is difficult to cache as it is specific to each user or event, and the same data cannot be served to multiple users. However, with advanced technology and intelligent caches, CDNs can be configured to quickly check requests and adjust the caching logic's actions as per the requirements.
How dynamic caching happens?
Webpages are created using HTML documents and are the foremost connection point between the website origin server and the browser. The more visitors, the more stress is caused on the origin servers. Caching of the HTML document ensures that only the caching server is involved, thus freeing up the website servers for important transactions. When a visitor browses a website using a CDN, a local copy of the content from a nearby cache server is served, which allows the website to load fast. These Proxy cache servers and points of presence (PoP) are placed in different parts of the globe based on regional traffic patterns. Active locations with a large number of users may have many data centers and remote locations while non-active locations may have only one PoP to cover a large geographic area. The dynamic content acceleration service is responsible for efficient connectivity between the network PoPs, thereby reducing response time. This service can leverage a private backbone Software Defined Network (SDN) and attains enhanced ‘back-to-parent/origin’ network connectivity.
Some benefits of dynamic caching for an enterprise include:
- Decreased hosting and server costs
- Reduced bandwidth costs
- Enhanced personalized user experience
- Improved access speed
- Decreased load on origin server
- Dedicated caching layer
- Reliable content delivery
- Secure and stable CDN cache servers
With the rise in data consumption, there is a growing need for an infrastructure that is capable of delivering faster speeds, quicker downloads and seamless streaming. Content Delivery Networks with Dynamic Caching is a critical piece of building that ‘extra’ edge over competition. With these technologies in place, digital strategists are able to gather visitor data like frequency of visits, and pages visited to deliver a personalized user experience at no additional cost. Visitors are spending more time on sites as they are now seeing content relevant to them. During peak traffic events like sports events, Christmas or Thanksgiving, the insights help make the performance predictable. Usage of multiple devices is not hampering performance even by a little.
The near future will witness more content being created and delivered over the web, and this may lead to enormous congestion of data. The most promising solution may lie with upcoming modern content delivery service providers.