Over the weekend, John Chow wrote a post about using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to speed up his website for his readers. I took advantage of this and purchased by own plan on a CDN and have since set one up myself.
What is a CDN, you ask?
One of the main advantages to using a CDN is minimizing your site’s load time. All the big websites use a CDN, like Mashable, CNN, The New York Times, TechCrunch, etc. You may think you don’t need one because you either have a small website, or it doesn’t receive much traffic, but this is where you’re wrong. Speed matters no matter what, especially with today’s web standards and having Google rank websites higher in the search results based on speed.
It also saves you bandwidth on your web hosting plan. MaxCDN is running a promotion right now and giving you 1,000 GB (1 TB) of bandwidth for only $10. That’s not $10 a month, but covers you until you use up your 1 TB. After that, they only charge you 9.9 cents per 1 GB until you’ve reached 50,000 GB. From there, the price goes down even lower to 7.5 cents per 1 GB until you have 50,000 GB. There’s also no commitment and you can cancel your plan at any time. They also offer a money back guarantee if you don’t like the service, or find that it’s not for you.
Setting up a CDN isn’t complicated. It’s actually fairly easy if you’re already using WordPress and have the W3 Total Cache plugin installed. If not, simply install the plugin and activate it.
Once you’ve done that, go back into W3 Total Cache and click on “CDN Settings.” Fill in the unique domain MaxCDN gave you after creating a Pull Zone and put it in the Hostname field. Click on “Enable” and you’re all set. You are now running part of your site on a CDN.
Various speed tests have shown me I’ve cut down my blog’s load time by 28% since using a CDN.
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