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Content Delivery Network (CDN) Server Side Set up using CloudFlare

Content Delivery Network (CDN) Server Side Setup Using CloudFlare

Learn step-by-step how to integrate Server Side CDN using CloudFlare and TAGGRS for an optimized user experience and more efficient content distribution. We explore the basics of a CDN and its benefits such as improved loading speed and reliability. Also important is the role of a Server Side CDN in the context of the latest iOS 16.4 update, with the use of CDNs providing a solution to the restrictions imposed on first-party cookies, important for effective marketing and analytics.

What is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?

A Content Delivery Network, often abbreviated as CDN, is a network of servers spread across different geographical locations. The main purpose of a CDN is to efficiently and quickly deliver Internet content, such as Web pages, images, videos and other files, to users. Hosting content on servers closer to the end user significantly reduces the load times of websites and other online services.

how-does-a-cdn-work

Why should you use a CDN?

The main reasons to use a CDN are:

  1. Speed: Faster loading times for your website.
  2. Reliability: Less chance of website downtime during traffic spikes.
  3. Security: Better protection against cyber attacks.

Disney+ as a Practical Example of CDN Use

Disney+ demonstrates the power of CDN technology in the streaming world. When launching a new series, immediately accessible to a global audience, the CDN plays a crucial role. The content, hosted in the U.S., is available almost immediately to users in the Netherlands, thanks to local CDN servers. This approach eliminates long loading times and provides a seamless viewing experience. The CDN reduces initial delays by saving content locally, making subsequent access attempts faster. This method highlights how CDNs increase the efficiency of content distribution in the streaming industry.

Taking advantage of CDN as a Webshop

The differences between web shops with and without the use of a Content Delivery Network (CDN) are:

AspectWith CDNWithout CDN
Loading speedFasterSlower
User ExperienceEnhancedMay be reduced
Server loadReducedIncreased
Performance during peak hoursHigh QualityCan decrease
Sales figuresIncreasedMay be lower

This table highlights the benefits of using a CDN in terms of loading speed, user experience, and overall performance, especially during peak periods such as sales or special events.

The Integration of CDN with Server Side Tracking.

Integrating a Content Delivery Network (CDN) with Server Side Tracking offers benefits to Web administrators. By using CDN functionality, it is possible to rotate your Server Side Google Tag Manager (sGTM) custom domain. This allows sGTM traffic to be routed through your website’s DNS provider.

This method ensures that the IP addresses of your website and the custom sGTM domain match. This has the important advantage that cookies set by the Server Side are treated as first-party cookies. At a time when third-party cookies are under increasing pressure due to privacy laws and browser restrictions, this approach provides a more reliable way to collect and analyze user data.

Advanced adblockers block these third-party cookies, for example. Since by integrating CDN with Server Side Tracking, Cookies are considered first-party cookies they cannot be blocked by adblockers.

Choosing the Right CDN Service

There are several CDN providers available, each with their own features. We often see the following from our clients:

CloudFlare is known for its fast content delivery and strong security measures. This makes it a good choice for companies looking for an effective and secure CDN solution.

Setting up CDN using CloudFlare and TAGGRS

What do you need before you can begin:

1. Find DNS Settings subdomain within TAGGRS.

where-to-find-dns-settings-taggrs

Start by finding your subdomain’s DNS settings in TAGGRS. These are available during container creation or can be found in your Dashboard if you have already created a container. You’ll need these settings for the next steps in CloudFlare.

2. Website add CloudFlare part 1.

cloudflare-dashboard

If you already have a website operational on CloudFlare, continue directly to step 6. If you haven’t added a website yet, follow these steps: First, create an account with CloudFlare and then add a new website by clicking Get started.

3. Website add CloudFlare part 2.

Add your website or application to Cloudflare

After entering the website name, click Continue. Then choose the desired plan (you can start for free) and click Continue again to continue.

4. DNS Records review main website.

review your dns records cloudflare

After selecting a plan, it’s time to check the DNS records. CloudFlare automatically collects the DNS Records known to them for your website. Check that these match the records within your own domain hosting. Are any records missing? Then add these.

5. Name servers change within own hosting.

change your nameservers cloudflare set up

The third step in the process of adding a website in CloudFlare is to find the nameservers within your hosting and change them for the new ones. Nameservers are systems that link domain names to IP addresses, allowing Internet users to find your Web site. Replace these nameservers with the new ones from CloudFlare that you see in step 4. This ensures that your domain is forwarded correctly through CloudFlare. Ready? Then click Done, check nameservers.

6. Selecting existing website on CloudFlare.

websites cloudflare dashboard

Then go back to your dashboard and select the website. If you already have a website running on CloudFlare, navigate to the Websites section and select that website.

7. DNS settings CloudFlare.

go to dns settings cloudflare overview dashboard

Then navigate to your DNS settings by clicking on DNS within your overview.

8. Records subdomain creation CloudFlare.

add-record-cloudflare-records-dashboard

We are going to add the Records of the subdomain to CloudFlare. You do this by first clicking on Add record.

9. Adding records subdomain CloudFlare.

dns management for server side cdn cloudflare

Under Name enter your subdomain name and under IPv4 address enter the corresponding DNS Records, as described in step 1 where you will find the DNS settings for your subdomain. In the case of demo.taggrs.io, we fill in demo under Name. After entering this information, disable the Proxy status and save the new DNS settings.

10. Validating DNS within TAGGRS.

validated dns records taggrs dashboard

As you can see in step 1, next to the DNS settings are a button that says validate. Click this to validate the custom DNS. If the status changes to Validated, everything is set correctly! Are you getting an error? Then check out our support page for more information.

11. Activate proxy status subdomain records.

set proxy status active cloudflare server side cdn

The final step is to reactivate the proxy status, which completes DNS activation. You do this by clicking Edit and then setting the proxy status back to active. Then Save the record and you have set up DNS Server Side via CloudFlare.

Conclusion

We covered the steps for setting up a Content Delivery Network (CDN) with CloudFlare. This setup improves the speed, reliability and security of your website. Integrating a CDN with Server Side Tracking, as implemented with TAGGRS and CloudFlare, optimizes the user experience and increases the efficiency of your online presence. Curious about even more ways to improve your website? Then check out all our tools and solutions.

Happy Tagging


About the author

Ate Keurentjes

Ate Keurentjes

Server Side Tracking Specialist at TAGGRS

Ate Keurentjes is a Server Side Tracking specialist at TAGGRS. He has experience with various Google Tag Manager concepts. Keurentjes has been editing and writing about the latest developments and trends in data collection / Server side tracking since 2023.

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