Recently I was shopping online for a new laptop that would satisfy even the most demanding technophile. I found several sites frustrating because their content loaded slowly and unevenly. I wondered why these sites didn’t employ any of the various Website Performance Optimization (WPO) technologies available today that can solve these problems.

It’s important to understand that web content displayed on most websites can be categorized into cacheable and un-cacheable. Likewise, there are two WPO technologies that can be applied to each. Cacheable content (mostly static) can be served either from the application server at the origin or from the edge server utilizing a technology called a Content Delivery Network (CDN). The idea behind a CDN is to move the content closer to the user by loading it on a network of geographically-distributed servers (the edge of the network). This allows content to be delivered more efficiently from a server located close to the user rather than from one where the website actually resides. In essence a CDN acts like the cache in a computer, which ensures that data commonly sourced by the user is available upon request.

By definition, dynamic content is un-cacheable since it is generated on demand. Dynamic content must be served from the application server located at the origin, and therefore unlike static content, does not lend itself to being accelerated by a CDN. This is where TCP acceleration becomes very useful. Since latency between the origin server and the user is generally much greater than between the edge server and the user, TCP acceleration is able to produce measurable acceleration results by improving the throughput rate. It’s also important to know that TCP acceleration can be delivered as a service or by an appliance. The Acceleration-as-a-Service method is generally more flexible and economical than acceleration via an appliance. It also serves a slightly different use case by targeting companies whose user base is distributed rather than collected in a remote office, as would be the use case for an appliance.

Want to make sure your online buyers don’t experience the same frustration? Download our IP Buyer’s Guide eBook to learn more about WPO technologies and how they can enhance your Internet performance.