CDN (Content Distribution Network)

CDN (Content Distribution Network) is a feature that can improve the speed of your store for your customers by up to 60%. CDN is a proven technology used by ecommerce giants such as Amazon, Staples, and Apple to ensure the fastest and most reliable online shopping experience possible – and as a Volusion merchant, you get it for free!

When enabled, your online store will use a CDN which distributes your website content from the Volusion data center to more than 90,000 CDN servers. This means that when customers access your store they will receive its content from the CDN server geographically closest to them rather than a single location. So a customer in San Francisco will get content from the server nearest San Francisco, a customer in London from a server near London, and so on.

This means faster connections, faster page loads, and less congestion at busy times. And with your content being held on so many servers, it will not be afflicted by high loads or even hardware failures; the system will automatically reroute internet traffic to the next closest server with the highest availability and performance.

CDN is enabled by default when your store is set up.

Replacing and Refreshing Images

When you update an existing image in your Admin Area, images are automatically refreshed on all the CDN servers. However, if you use FTP to upload images, it can take up to 24 hours for these images to be automatically refreshed. In this case you will need to manually refresh your site’s image cache.

To manually refresh your site’s CDN cache:

  1. From your Admin Area, go to Setting > Maintenance.
  2. Under Maintenance, click the Refresh button next to CDN Image Cache. article/cdn-camera show image-replacing and refreshing images-click refresh
  3. Select the image(s) to be refreshed (i.e. those you have just uploaded) and click Refresh. You also have the option to refresh all product or all category images, although this will take much longer and may affect your store’s performance. article/cdn-camera show image-replacing and refreshing images-select images refresh
  4. A confirmation message will be displayed when the selected images have been refreshed. Click OK to close.

Disabling and Re-enabling CDN

There is no reason why you should ever need to disable CDN. Doing so will slow down the delivery of your product pages to customers and potential customers. However, if for any reason you do need to disable CDN:

  1. From your Admin Area, go to Settings > Maintenance.
  2. Under Maintenance, click Disable next to CDN. article/cdn-camera show image-disabling and reenabling cdn-click disable

CDN is now disabled.

How do I re-enable CDN?

To re-enable CDN after disabling it.

  1. From your Admin Area, go to Settings > Maintenance.
  2. Under Maintenance, click Enable next to CDNarticle/cdn-camera show image-disabling and reenabling cdn-click enable

The CDN is now enabled again.

Important

Toggling between enabling and disabling CDN is not recommended. Image requests sent to the Volusion data center server will be redirected to the appropriate CDN server when enabled, but the reverse is not possible; any hardcoded links to the CDN site (for example on blogs, Facebook, etc.) will not be redirected and will result in an error message.

Further considerations

SEO for Product Images

Unless you are an advanced user who makes use of SEO strategies for product images, CDN will have no effect on your search engine rankings. In fact, in April 2010 Google announced that site speed would become an increasingly important factor in search rankings.

Using your Admin Area

Administrative functions are performed in Volusion’s data center, so you will experience regular site performance. This is also the case when you visit the storefront while logged in to your admin account. If you would like to experience your storefront using CDN, you must first log out of your Admin Area or use a different browser.

Summary

CDN means faster page loads, which means happier customers and higher SEO rankings. The Akamai Content Distribution Network (CDN) used by Volusion is made up of more than 90,000 high speed servers spread over 72 countries.

Throughout the day, the Volusion data center copies your website content to all these servers, enabling them to deliver faster page loads to customers near each server. Uploading images through your store’s Admin Area will immediately refresh your store’s images but you will need to manually refresh your cache if you upload images via FTP.