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Contentful: The significance of using a CDN

Iñaki BarturenJuly 28, 2021

We've already covered what Contentful is and its versatile and polyglot technology, but this time we will delve into a key aspect of this platform: its integrated content distribution API based on a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Contentful uses its Content Delivery API via a CDN, enabling it to deliver content to any device, anywhere.

Even though using a CDN for content distribution brings benefits and results in an advantage in search engines, it is still common to find configurations in which the use of a conventional server is considered to deploy a digital development; however, the fact that this is common is rather a matter of customs than convenience.

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What is a Content Delivery Network?

A Content Delivery Network or CDN, as its name implies, is a network of nodes that host and distribute the content of sites and applications when various devices request it via an API call.

The main feature of this network type is that the various nodes are servers distributed (points of presence or POPs) in different locations globally. Let's think that the content may be available both in Tokyo and Medellín; since it will be delivered from the closest location to the place of the call if the POP with the closest proximity to Colombia is Chile, that is where it will be distributed from.

This network approach considerably reduces the latency compared to a conventional server: regardless of where the call is made, the data will travel the entire distance to the server.

Thus, using a CDN allows for better load distribution. When receiving thousands (or millions) of requests, the content will be sent from different locations (ideally the closest), avoiding server overload, slowing downtimes, or interrupting the service when there are many concurrent users.

Advantages of using a CDN for your headless eCommerce

The secret (not so secret) is that data can be cached when dealing with static developments, so sharing demands less bandwidth as it is temporary storage and not a complete path to the server. In short, using a CDN gains the following:

1. Greater content availability

Content distribution networks are constantly updating stored information, removing what is considered obsolete, and loading new data when added by the development teams, so that only the most up-to-date content will be delivered without the need to reload the entire site.

In this way, using a CDN considerably reduces loading latency for the various elements that make up the sites, which provides positioning advantages in search engines, thanks to light content and fast distribution, which directly enhances visibility.

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2. Security for your content and your entire company

This technology is a key element in the development under a headless methodology since it allows doing away with a classic database and reduces complexity in the backend infrastructure. Data is stored in a content repository, as Contentful distributes it to various spaces, making it available and reusable as many times as necessary.

In turn, this condition reduces the contact surface, as there is no direct access path to the infrastructure, since technology partners such as Contentful work under the API-First philosophy, that is, development begins on an API, so all required information arrives as a specific response to the call, without further code or access routes.

Furthermore, a CDN - because it is a series of interconnected servers - considerably reduces the effects of a DDoS attack (Distributed Denial of Service) which consists of exceeding the bandwidth limit of a server with multiple (perhaps thousands) simultaneous calls. In this case, if one of the servers is overloaded, the network will still have all remaining POPs.

3. Peace of mind when using Contentful's CDN

Contentful takes content distribution a step further, as this smart headless CMS not only uses a CDN for distribution but also uses two different providers: Fastly for JSON document distribution and CloudFront for media content and binary files.

Diversification makes us better prepared for attack risks and abrupt increases in customers and queries to our sites or applications. With Contentful, you will be prepared for the future. Goodbye to the unexpected.

The best thing of all is that the maintenance work of this infrastructure is delegated to Contentful teams, which provides peace of mind to the company, and frees developers so they can focus on other areas of greater interest in the business model.

Hence, with Contentful, in addition to greater visibility in search engines and the various benefits we have discussed, your business will always be available at 99.9% uptime and, if 0.01% downtime occurs, the Contentful team will deal with recovering the service in the shortest possible time.

At Reign, we have a clear view of the benefits and peace of mind of using Contentful to develop our clients' omnichannel strategy. That is why we are Gold Contentful Partners, a seal granted to a very few. We do this with a vision: deploy headless technology for business success.

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