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How to Speed Up Your Website with a CDN

March 24th, 2010 posted by · 2 Comments

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?

CDN is a Content Delivery Network of highly-optimized servers all around the world working together to distribute your content (CSS and Javascript files, downloadable objects, applications, real-time media streams, and much more) through hundreds of servers instead of a single host. This “smart route” technology makes sure each visitor to your site gets their data from the city closest to them.

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’re prepared in WordPress, sign up for MaxCDN and take advantage of the $10 promo. Once your account is setup, create a Pull Zone in your CDN dashboard. A Pull Zone is where you want the server to look for small static files that don’t change, such as CSS, JavaScript and theme images.

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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2 Comments so far
  1. 5 Easy Ways to Speed Up Your Blog MyAvatars 0.2

    […] what RSS is? Find out. Thanks for visiting!Last week I wrote about how to speed up your website using a CDN (content delivery network), but if you don’t want to spend a little extra money, there are […]

  2. Andrew MyAvatars 0.2

    Interesting stuff. I think most marketers would be interested in the best value ways to handle video content.

    I see that MaxCDN provide this kind of plan but it wasn’t clear to me on the site how the pricing works out.

    I think the 1TB offer applies to static content?