What Is jQuery CDN?

Posted on March 12, 2020 | Updated on September 29, 2023

jQuery CDN is a powerful library you can use to improve your website’s performance, simplify dynamic elements and minimize load times. As a CDN, you can integrate jQuery into your site without requiring developers or users to download the entire library to their devices. CDNs are a great way to improve performance without making your site too data-intensive. 

Why should web developers use jQuery CDN? How do CDNs work? This guide covers everything you need to know about jQuery CDN, including functionality, use cases, benefits, installation instructions and more. 

What is a CDN?

CDN stands for content delivery network. It is also known as a content distribution network, but both terms refer to the same thing. A CDN in a network of many connected servers spread across a large geographical area. By distributing servers within a shared network, the network’s data doesn’t have to travel as far to reach users. 

For example, imagine a small business based on Los Angeles, California wants to expand their customer base to the East coast. They’re selling goods through their website, which now has to be fast and accessible far from their offices in LA. With a CDN, customers in New York City can access the small business’s website with the same speed and performance as someone on the West coast. 

CDNs effectively minimize the distance data has to travel from a server to a user. Data is stored across all of the interconnected servers in the CDN so users can access it from the nearest server. This is especially helpful when dealing with data-heavy websites and large file sizes, which can take longer to transmit. 

There are 23 different CDNs in the U.S. covering every major city. Some include over a dozen cities spread across the country, such as the Lumen and Cloudflare CDNs. Many major CDNs include jQuery today, including Cloudflare, Google, Microsoft and more. 

jQuery CDN takes the compact, highly functional jQuery library and expands it over numerous servers. This allows developers to include jQuery in their websites without requiring them or their users to download the entire library. jQuery CDN is mainly used for interactive and aesthetic features, such as CSS animation. 

A Brief History of jQuery

John Resig created jQuery in 2006. The cssQuery library that came before inspired him. At one time, jQuery was licensed under both GPL and MIT licenses, but that led to confusion. Now,  jQuery is only under the MIT license.

Resig said writing Javascript code should be fun. His goal with creating jQuery was to get rid of the unnecessary markup and make common, repetitive tasks easy to understand and simple. Years later, jQuery is extremely popular. Over 74% of the 10 million most popular websites use jQuery in their code. 

How Developers Use jQuery CDN

jQuery is mainly for aesthetic and interactive functions, such as creating colorful animated buttons or a responsive homepage. It’s commonly used for CSS animations as well as AJAX techniques (Asynchronous Javascript and XML). It helps developers improve the speed and UX of their websites, particularly when it comes to functionality across different browsers. 

Those features sound great, but why do so many developers opt for jQuery specifically? Simplicity is a big part of it. jQuery is just easy and effective to use. It works consistently, it’s free, it’s open source and it’s great at what it does. 

Additionally, jQuery addresses an increasingly important consideration for web developers: page load speeds and device compatibility. At least 58% of web traffic is from mobile devices today, up 20% from 2015. At the same time, users are getting less patient with websites, especially when they’re browsing from a mobile device. 

So, load speed is incredibly important in web development today, especially mobile web dev. jQuery is highly effective at minimizing load times and improving dynamic website performance. As a result, sites that use jQuery are more likely to load and function faster, which decreases the likelihood of losing a user’s attention or patience. 

How to Add jQuery to Your Site

Integrating jQuery CDN into your site is fairly easy and straightforward. However, it does help to have an understanding of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. 

If you aren’t familiar with the code of your website, make sure you do your research or get help from someone who does understand code well. Otherwise, you may accidentally break your site’s code. (If you want to learn how to code, there are plenty of free resources and apps available online where you can learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript and more.)

First, head over to the official jQuery CDN website and find the right version for your application. For most users, this will be the latest version of jQuery Core. 

Next, navigate to the HTML file for your website and add the code to connect the jQuery CDN to your site: 


<script src="jquery-3.5.1.min.js"></script>  


After this initial call for jQuery, you’ll need to insert a block for jQuery setup under the header for your site: 

<title>jQuery Setup</title>
<script type = "text/javascript" src = "/jquery/jquery-3.5.1.min.js">
<h1>jQuery Setup</h1>  

After these two basic chunks of code, the rest of the setup process will depend on the specific CDN you’re using. Take a look at this comprehensive guide for all of the above code, plus import code for a variety of leading CDNs, including Google, Microsoft and Cloudflare. 

Possible Issues With jQuery

There are some disadvantages to using jQuery CDN that you should be aware of. We believe the benefits outweigh the advantages. However, knowing what the cons are helps you navigate issues before they arise.

  • jQuery is a huge library. It is basically a single Javascript file and holds DOM, effects, events and AJAX. At first, the user has to download this library, which slows the process.
  • Developers may not learn more complex JavaScript. They can call up a command to do a rollover, but they can’t do their own DOM manipulation.
  • Modern browsers can do much of the same work of jQuery and eventually make it obsolete.

Although there are a few disadvantages to jQuery, there are also many pros:

  1. jQuery helps pages load faster and is SEO friendly.
  2. The syntax is simple and easy to read and edit for even amateur developers.
  3. It’s used widely, so there are new scripts and features added almost constantly as well as experts updating current code and fixing bugs.

One of the biggest benefits is that jQuery is readable by nearly any browser because of its simple language.

Recent Advances

jQuery CDN libraries are constantly evolving. New scripts are added and code gets refined on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. Although the basic syntax of jQuery hasn’t changed much from the time it was first created in 2006, the commands users can call on have increased. 

The first version of jQuery (1.2) was a mere 77.40 kilobytes. By comparison, the most current version (3.4.1) is around 266 or so kilobytes.

With faster internet speeds and better connectivity, most users hardly notice the time to initially download the jQuery files. Even though the file size has remained relatively small, the software is packed with fixes. jQuery developers constantly improve the library.

Impact on IT

jQuery can be used on local machines or called up from CDNs, making it popular with company IT departments. IT experts use jQuery to develop AJAX-based applications and ensure cross-browser support. It’s very easy to learn, so even new hires or those without a lot of experience in website development can pick it up easily.

IT departments might find they need to keep less material on in-house networks, reducing costs for the company. Because code is stored on other computers for fast delivery, the IT department can easily move to cloud-based computing.

Why Should You Use jQuery?

You might be wondering if a simple website really needs to use jQuery. Those who say jQuery bogs things down are not entirely correct. While there have been a lot of features and fixes added to the library over time, the program is still slim.

The raw production is around 88 kilobytes. The slim version is about 71 kilobytes, and it doesn’t contain AJAX or effects. It’s likely the same size as many of the images on your site.

Others say you must know Vanilla Javascript before you can understand jQuery. Remember, though, that Resig created jQuery for simple, fun Javascript programs. It’s designed to be easy to understand and use. 

Plus, jQuery is a standard part of web developer training today. So, if you’re getting into web dev, you’re going to learn jQuery sooner or later. There’s no “right” or wrong time to start using it on your site. 

You should use jQuery if you want: 

  • A comprehensive, modern understanding of web development
  • To improve your site’s performance
  • To add animations and other dynamic content
  • To minimize your site’s load times
  • To ensure a good UX across a variety of browsers and regions

Will jQuery Be Obsolete Soon?

Interestingly, jQuery has somewhat plateaued in popularity. Developers once worked frantically to add to it. Now, with advances in browsers, much of the work of jQuery is taken care of already. With the latest release, users also find items that were once cached and loaded at lightning speed no longer do.

Whether you should use jQuery 3.4 or not depends on your personal needs. There is now a wider variety of tools that handle AJAX and work better with SVG. 

Some developers now use React instead because of the ability to do virtual direct object management (DOM). Modern Javascript is capable of doing anything jQuery can do. Some see it as old school and expect it to eventually be obsolete, while others argue there is still a need.

There are numerous articles and blogs stating jQuery is on its way out, and just as many others claiming it is here to stay for the long haul. 

The truth likely lies in the middle. Those who find it useful will continue to call on jQuery CDN libraries, and those who find other tools more helpful will go with those instead. The core of the issue is choices, and developers have more options today than they’ve ever had before.

Learning jQuery

If you’ve not yet used jQuery and it sounds interesting to you, spend some time studying how other developers use the language to call up commands. Experiment with some of the features from the library and see if it’s right for your website and your users. You will likely find that jQuery CDN is quite helpful for the simple commands you use over and over again. You may just fall in love with the language.

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at www.eleanorhecks.com.

Leave a Comment

Related Posts