Introduction to the Global Delivery Network

Planning a Global Delivery Network Strategy

This article is for Account Owners and Project Managers using the Global Delivery Network.

There are many things to keep in mind when planning to integrate and launch your translated website using the Global Delivery Network. Whether you are an existing GDN users looking to add a new language or a new website to the GDN, or you are a first time user, we recommend you contact your Customer Success Manager to help make your integration successful.

Here is a quick check of some of the things to keep in mind if your organization is considering using the GDN:

  • Teams: Most GDN deployments will require some involvement from your IT and development teams, in addition to the content and SEO teams.
  • Scope: You’ll need to identify exactly which content is to be translated into which languages. This might take the form of a list of domains and URLs. 
  • Translated URL naming: What will users see in their browser URL bar when visiting your translated site?, or, or, etc.
  • SEO: Ensure that SEO is properly handled for translated sites.
  • Content integration: A suitable approach will need to be chosen for any content requiring special handling. This will likely require the involvement of your web development team.
  • Translation: More general translation considerations will apply to the translation part of the GDN implementation. In addition, the ongoing process of translating new and changed content will need to be established.
  • Staging: Access to staging servers may be needed to ensure content is translated before it goes into production.
  • Cutover: Exact steps and timing for going live will need to be determined. A key consideration here is how end users will find the translated sites.


The IT team will help determine how web traffic will be routed to the GDN, since it may require changes to DNS, CDN, and/or web server settings. It might also require changes to firewall rules to whitelist connections from the GDN servers. The transmission of certificates to GDN servers might be required to support SSL. While the IT work is relatively small and generally can be done quickly, it will likely require some lead time for planning and change control. Therefore, it's recommended to involve the IT team early in the process.

You'll likely need the involvement of your development team to make any required changes to the source web content, for example, to tag certain content as personal data to be hidden from Translators. Since development teams often have tightly scheduled resources, it makes sense to begin the assessment, sizing, and scheduling of this work early.

Marketing and product teams who are responsible for the content to be translated will need to be involved to determine what's within scope, and to potentially resolve questions that arise throughout the implementation. In addition, the SEO team will need to be involved to ensure that the newly translated sites are handled correctly from an SEO perspective.


An essential first step in a GDN deployment is to establish which websites (URLs) will be translated into which languages via the GDN, and whether any portions of these websites should be excluded from translation. For example, you might decide to translate your public-facing website, but to exclude pages visible only to logged-in users of the site. Make sure to consider content served from third-party domains too. Ultimately, you will need to define a list of URLs or URL patterns and functionality to be included. This could be as simple as 'everything under', or might require a more specific list of included and excluded URLs. It should also specify whether URLs themselves should be translated. Any content requiring special handling should be identified. 

Translated URL Naming

There are three options for the form your translated URLs will take: sub-domain, top-level domain, and subfolder. Using French as an example, these three options could be,, and, respectively. Choosing between these might depend on IT and SEO considerations, and the choice made will have implications for how the GDN is configured. Details on configuring these options are found in Localized Domain and Routing Options.

Search Engine Optimization

Consideration will need to be given to SEO for the translated websites. This will likely require some changes to be made to the source site (such as addition of hreflang tags), as well as translation of key content elements such as META description content. For additional information, see Translating Content for Search Engine Optimzation (SEO).

Content Integration Approach

Certain content on your website may require special handling, and an approach for doing this will need to be devised. For example, if you display customer personal data on your website, you will want to ensure that this information is not shown to Translators. Or there might be parts of your website, such as end-user submitted content, that you wish to exclude from translation. Much of this type of special handling can be achieved by making small changes in the source web content, sometimes in combination with rules you can configure for yourself within Smartling. For additional information see Methods to Control Global Delivery Network Behavior.


The GDN automatically captures content from your website as it is browsed, and submits it to a translation workflow in Smartling. Once this happens, the translation work in Smartling is the same as for non-GDN translation projects, and has similar requirements. For example, if you have previous translations that you wish to leverage in the GDN project, these will need to be loaded into Smartling. One important thing to take into account is that the GDN will automatically find new and changed content as it appears on your website. You'll need to make sure that this content proceeds through the translation workflow without delay, and there are a number of automation options to support this.


In order to ensure that translations are ready as soon as new content goes live on your production site, it's recommended to ingest that content into the GDN from a staging site before it goes live. This will allow the translation process to start sooner. It might require modifying firewall rules to allow the GDN servers to open connections to the staging server. If a staging server is not available, another approach is to use the static caching capability of the GDN. See Using a Staging Site and Setup Translation Cache for more information.

Cutover Strategy

After the new translated site is tested, the final steps to go live are typically to remove password protection, and to install a language selector element onto the pages of your source website, allowing end users to choose the new translated site when they are on your website (see Implementing a Language Selector). If you already have a translated site and are switching to the GDN site, some carefully timed DNS changes may be required. The detailed sequence and timing of steps to go live should be agreed upon and communicated among all relevant teams. 

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