Something worth noting for people looking for website hosting is that my host, MediaTemple just announced that they partnered up with CloudFlare. CloudFlare is a CDN, or Content Delivery Network. A CDN works by taking “clones” of your website, and copying them to various locations/servers around the country and in some cases around the world. So instead of having one location that everyone goes to when surfing, website content is served up to your computer from the nearest location. Essentially, it translates into increased speed.
100 milliseconds of waiting doesn’t sound like a lot, but there’s been a lot of studies and statistics surrounding people’s browsing habits. Some studies have claimed that a 100 millisecond wait translates into a 2% visitor loss, and the number increases exponentially as people have to wait longer. From a business perspective, 2% is a pretty big loss. If you can reduce that wait as CloudFlare claims to do (and I’m sure it works), this means people will stick around longer.
Secondly, Google announced last year that they were going to start factoring in website page load times into their ranking algorithm. So the faster your page loads, then that should help your website obtain more traffic in return. It only makes sense that this is one factor in determining a website’s quality. So if you implement a CDN, you will probably see a greater return in traffic as a result.
My blogs are running on MediaTemple and I’m using MaxCDN as my CDN. I pay an annual rate for this extra performance service, but now that the CloudFlare basic plan is free, I’m considering canceling my paid service.
The installation for CloudFlare on MediaTemple is pretty quick and takes less than 5 minutes. It’s just a simple matter of registering, clicking a few “next” buttons, then waiting 12-24 hours for everything to populate. I set it up this morning, and by this time tomorrow it should be working. It will be interesting to see how well it works.