Speed Up Your Site With a CDN
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Adding a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to host your static files can really speed things up, and it’s super easy!
I’m using MaxCDN – they’re offering 1TB for FREE (usually $39.95, or save 25% and pay only $29.96 with this MaxCDN coupon).
First step: signup with MaxCDN. Even if you’re not going to use this right away, get your free 1TB (expires Aug-31).
Once you have your account, you need to create a Pull Zone. Pull Zones are brilliant:
This Zone is for your every-day support files. A Pull Zone will automatically pull the data from a location that you specify upon the first request for the file. The files are served to the end user from either a subdomain of netdna-cdn.com or a custom domain (sub domain) of your choice that points to the CDN. The data is automatically purged from the server after an customizable amount of time.
- Pull Zone Name – Enter a zone name of at least 3 characters in length using letters and numbers, no special characters or spaces.
- Origin Server URL – Enter the complete directory path to your data on your origin server (including http://…). The origin server must be running on port 80. Your bucket will be populated automatically from your origin server as files are requested.
- Custom CDN Domain – This is the domain name that will redirect to our CDN server. You will point all the content that you want pulled from the CDN to this location (Example: netdna.mydomain.com)
- Label – Enter something that describes this zone
- Compression – Enable GZip compression on text, html, js, css or xml files
Click the Create button. Go to Manage Zones, and look at your Pull Zones. Click on the one you just created.
You’ll see it has a Temporary URL of something like ericnagel.ericnagelandasso.netdna-cdn.com. If you want to, edit your domain’s zone file and add a CNAME (Alias). In GoDaddy, it looks like this:
When you ask for a file from the CDN, the system will look to see if it has that file and, if so, serve it to you from the closest location possible. If not, it’ll grab the file, then give it to you and store it for future requests. Request files via:
ericnagel.ericnagelandasso.netdna-cdn.com/ wp-content/ uploads/ 2012/ 08/ getmonkeyfinger.gif (nospaces)
or, if you set-up the CNAME,
You don’t have to upload anything – when a user requests a file, the CDN will pull the file from your server, and hold a copy of it for you.
I tried using W3 Total Cache but, yet again, it screwed up my site. For some reason I can never get that plugin working. Probably due to the security of my server / site being locked down so much
When you first load your site, things will be a bit slower as the CDN gathers the static content. But subsequent requests are handled by the CDN, and things will really speed up. Remember: site speed is an on-site SEO factor to consider.
You don’t have to be using WordPress to use a CDN! I’m using MaxCDN for the app side of Monkey Finger and it’s wonderful, and was easy to implement. I’m also using it for my online backups website, which is mostly static pages. If you have a non-WordPress site, just do a find/replace to get your images, css and js hosted with the CDN.