GoDaddy is currently undergoing a significant transformation in their efforts to provide more value to customers, and probably as a way of keeping up with the rapid advancements in the field. The newest addition to their series of 21st century makeovers is the roll-out of a Content-Delivery Network, or CDN.
What’s a CDN?
Content-Delivery Networks are mainly used by large businesses and websites that want to speed up the delivery of their web pages or multimedia content to visitors, simply by caching their content in servers that are physically located closet to the site visitors. The service can be very expensive, and are usually beyond the budget of businesses that rely on GoDaddy’s affordable hosting packages.
The Importance of CDNs
The ability to load a website as fast as possible is very important because visitors, especially in this day and age, have very little patience for slow loading sites. If they end up waiting for slow pages to load, they tend to just leave and go somewhere else as other sites are only a couple of clicks away. A slow loading site could mean the loss of visitors to larger competitors whose websites perform better due to having better hosting and more optimized website design. Technically, a CDN won’t be able to cure unoptimized web design, but it can help a ton in making content load faster in cases where latency is the culprit.
GoDaddy’s Website Accelerator
GoDaddy’s transformation bore a new CDN service called the “Website Accelerator,” which was launched for users of the company’s Ultimate hosting package. According to GoDaddy President of Products and Technology, Jason Rosenthal, the service is designed for fairly unsophisticated sites that use a lot of straight HTML, and are fairly image-heavy instead of relying on dynamic database interaction.
Website Accellerator is designed to be intuitive, even for people with no coding skill or experience, with the act of intelligently caching parts of the web pages done with the simple push of a button. It doesn’t require webmasters to go through all their content and tag each one that they want housed on the CDN’s servers.
Due to the fact that GoDaddy handles many web and domain hosting for many customers, the company is able to route traffic without the involvement of third parties. Users tend to see improvements in performance ranging from 25 percent to 100 percent, with the discrepancy being attributed to the routing process remaining entirely within GoDaddy’s network. The company plans to expand the service internationally at some point, which will get rid of the discrepancy and allow users of the service to achieve more consistent performance gains.
Besides the increased performance, GoDaddy’s CDN will also provide members with metrics that will serve as a means of gauging the sites’ performance. It will also suggest steps on how to further improve performance. GoDaddy has partnered with webpagetest.org in order to provide the backend for the site performance gauging system.
Part of a Bigger Transformation
The CDN, while a significant change, is just a part of GoDaddy’s bigger push to transform their business from a straightforward domain and web host into a veritable cloud provider for users without software development or system administration skills. They’ve already tried in the past, and failed to offer something similar to Amazon’s AWS, but Rosenthal admits that it’s only because of their poor judgment on what GoDaddy users really needed when it comes to server-level control.
When they killed their Cloud Servers offering in the past, GoDaddy promised to use the technology left behind and the lessons they learned to build new cloud offerings that are better suited to their users. Rosenthal admits that the first project to come out of it was the Website Accelerator.
The basic principle that GoDaddy is following with their transformation is based on their customers’ responses to their past cloud offering and to their new website accelerator, such as not having any desire to know what makes the website go fast, as long as it works. This means the users may not be interested in looking at other CDN options, such as Yottaa or Akamai, both of which may work even better but would require greater effort, technical skill, and cost than just sticking with GoDaddy.