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 Our engineering team has been working hard in the background for the last few months to launch our Content Delivery Network (CDN for short), and as of last week the rollout of the Bigcommerce CDN is complete.

What is a Content Delivery Network?

A CDN helps your store load at lightning-fast speeds for all of your shoppers, no matter where they are in the world. So if you’re located in California and sell to shoppers in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK for example, your store will load extremely fast for everyone.

Without getting too technical, here’s how it works. Our CDN basically copies all of the photos and other files (what we call static assets) from your Bigcommerce store to over 20 different data centres (these are known as CDN nodes) around the world. Then, instead of loading these files from our main data centres in Dallas and Seattle, they are loaded from the data centre that is closest to where your shoppers are.

Enough of the technical mumbo jumbo — let’s get to what you care about most: How will a CDN help you sell more?

Faster Page Loads = Better Conversion Rate

You don’t need to understand how it works, but a CDN is so important because page load times are critical to the conversion rate of your Bigcommerce store, which is the percentage of shoppers that turn into paying customers.

The longer a page takes to load, the higher the chance of a shopper “bouncing” — that is, visiting your store once, leaving and never coming back. This chart from our friends at KISSmetrics shows just how important page load times are in relation to bounce rate, or page abandonment:

KISSmetrics have put together an excellent infographic discussing page load times and the effect they have on bounce rate, which you can see here.

How Much Faster is My Store?

The biggest speed gains will be experienced by shoppers who are closer to one of our CDN nodes, which are located in London, Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong and Singapore.

How Website Performance Affects Shopping Behavior

You can see from the chart above just how important page load speeds are in reducing page abandonment, and a CDN is one of the best ways to increase page load times; but how does a website’s performance actually affect a shopper’s behavior?

As you can see from the stats above, the performance of a website is absolutely critical in turning shoppers into buyers. The most important metric from the stats above is:

A 1 second delay decreases customer satisfaction by about 16%

Long story short — your online store needs to be lightning quick for shoppers, no matter where they are and a CDN makes that happen.

CDN = Better Search Rankings

Search engines are increasingly factoring page load times into their ranking algorithms, so the Bigcommerce CDN may also help your store rank better in search engines such as Google.

How to See Your Page Load Times

Google Analytics (free) includes a nifty Site Speed Reports section where you can see how long pages in your Bigcommerce store are taking to load.

As of last week, you’ll have started to notice your store’s page load time trending down as a result of the Bigcommerce CDN rolling out. Remember, the measurements reported by Google Analytics are an average taken from the shopper’s browser, and the speed gains will heavily depend on where your shoppers are physically located and the quality of their broadband connection.

You need to have Google Analytics enabled on your Bigcommerce store in order to get the Site Speed report. If you haven’t already enabled Google Analytics, it’s easy to do. Just read this article in our knowledge base and follow the steps.

Do I Need to Enable the CDN?

No, there’s nothing you need to do to enable the CDN on your Bigcommerce store. It’s already enabled (as of last week) and is of course absolutely free for all clients on all plans. We hope you enjoy the decrease in page load times and increase in your conversion rate.

The CDN rollout is one of many things we’ll be announcing between now and the end of the year which have been designed to help you sell more, in line with our new tagline. A CDN isn’t something you can “use” per se, but as you can see, it can have a big impact on page load times and conversion rate.

Leave a Comment
  • Janitha
  • Which CDN service did you decide to go with? Akamai?

  • Hi Soren and Team,
    I just wanted to say thank you for making Big Commerce work even better for us. It means so much you would not believe. We are a small retail store getting squeezed out by the bigger retailers and we see our online store as our salvation. We are closing our bricks and mortar store in 1 month due to high overheads and lower margins. We’ve paid a lot of people a lot of money in the past to help us build websites and never dreamed that we could afford a site with such an accurate inventory and postage calculator not to mention having a shopping cart for much less. A customer recommended you to us and I took what I thought was a big gamble given the amount of time we’ve put into loading our stock and am always worried that we’ll get dependent and then get slogged. Please keep up the good work. :-)
    My best regards, Marlene, Owner, Baby Booty

  • Thank you Soren Harner and Bigcommerce team!!! Good news!!!

  • Here is a link to the BC suggestion forum – most votes out there – this is a terrible issue as far as SEO

    http://ideas.bigcommerce.com/forums/178746-bigcommerce-ideas/suggestions/3250388-product-images-be-hosted-on-own-domain-url#comments

    Please vote for this issue to be removed or make it optional for store owners (not mandatory)

  • HATE THIS — this means that images are no longer stored on our own server – which means out images NO LONGER SHOW UP in Google Images

    SALES have dramatically dropped since CDN has been rolled out.

    Should be an optional thing – see message board – this CDN issue has the most votes from any feed out there from BC customers

    BC – please make this OPTIONAL to store owners

  • This new platform has been a disaster for me. The CDN takes away the image URL from being seen as my website’s and changes it to being seen as bigcommerce’s image by google. Google won’t list any of my products into the shopping feed because the images are ‘not mine’. I watched my business go from a thousand dollars or more each week in new customer sales, to almost zero.

    I make handmade dog collars. Folks who are shopping for items like mine need to SEE the item before becoming interested in going to the website. They won’t consider buying what they don’t see. I have my products listed and uploaded correctly in google shopping, and have paid for adwords, but google still won’t include my products because of the issue with the images. There are so many of us that will now need to change ecommerce providers because of this. It just saddens me greatly.

  • Charles

    CDN has done more damage to BigCommerce stores than it has helped. Now none of the product images are indexed in Google Images search and product images come from an outside domain instead of our site. If they implemented it correctly it would have been great. This is a “feature” I wish I didn’t have.

  • Paul

    Soren,
    What about the issues a lot of us are seeing with the CDN? It looks like all the Google images results do not point to the correct products. This is a major mistake!

  • Very cool. Love all the new stuff coming out.

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