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Why You Need a CDN for your WordPress Blog? [Infographic]

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Why You Need a CDN for your WordPress Blog? [Infographic]

We are getting tons of requests for a detailed tutorial on how to speed up your WordPress blog. In the past presentations, we have stressed a whole lot about CDN, but it still seems that we don’t clarify ourselves enough. Many beginners still don’t understand what CDN is because we are constantly asked with the question, “Would I still need hosting if I get a CDN?”. This is partially our fault for not making things clear. It was brought to our attention that every time we have written about CDN, we always ignore the basics. So in this article, we will make an attempt to explain what is a CDN, and why you need a CDN for your WordPress blog.

Infographic

What is a CDN and Why you need a CDN

What is a CDN?

CDN is short for Content Delivery Network which is a network of servers that deliver cached static content from websites to users based on the geographic location of the user. Pretty confusing eh? Let’s break it down in simpler words.

Normally when a user comes to your WordPress blog, they are redirected to your web host’s server (i.e HostGator). Your web host’s server is located at a central location i.e Houston, TX. So every user on your website is accessing this one server to view your website. Now if you have high volume of traffic, then you can overload your server which leads to a slow loading site or even server crash. This is where a CDN comes in handy because it is a network of servers, but most importantly these servers are spread through out the world. When you use a CDN, your static content is cached and stored on all of these servers. Static content includes images, stylesheets (css files), javascripts, Flash, etc. Now when a user visits your site (original server), the CDN technology redirects them to the closest server to their location.

For example: If your main server is hosted in Houston, TX, and someone from Durham, England tries to access it, then they will be redirected to the closest server which may be in London. This limits the number of internet hops needed to transmit the static files to your end user.

User’s proximity to your web server has an impact on load time. By deploying your content across multiple geographically dispersed servers, you can make your pages load faster from the user’s perspective. This is when CDN comes in handy. In simple words, the closer the CDN server is to where your user is, the faster the user gets the content.

Why you need a CDN for your WordPress Blog?

If you read the above section, then you can clearly see that having a CDN can make a huge impact on your website. Below are some of the advantages that we have seen on our site by using a CDN:

  • Speed – Once we started using a CDN on our site, the site got faster.
  • Crash Resistance – Thanks to you guys for sharing our articles, we have received huge spells of traffic from social media on some of our articles. If it wasn’t for the proper CDN and caching setup, then our site would crash so many times. CDN allows us to distribute the load to multiple servers instead of having 100% traffic to our main server thus making it less likely to crash.
  • Improved User Experience – Since we started using a CDN, we have noticed a decline in bounce rate on our site. Furthermore, we have also seen increased in pageviews and numbers of pages viewed by each user. So clearly a fast site means improved user experience.
  • Improvement in SEO – Google has clearly stated that faster sites tend to rank higher in Search Engines. We have noticed our site ranking higher once we did the optimization on our site.

We are using MaxCDN on our site, and they are amazing. We have met the folks from MaxCDN in person, and they are really great at support as well. You can also get 25% OFF your MaxCDN purchase if you use the coupon code: “wpbeginner“. For more coupons, check out WPBeginner WordPress Coupons.


Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress lovers led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  • Naval

    What do you think about this cdn speed test tool at spooster.com? Should I follow their recommendation if I choose to go for a free solution?

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com/ WPBeginner Support

      We have not tried it so we can’t say.

  • Mark

    I would recommend going with high quality hosting with your own static IP address and reliable hosting/page refresh rates before using CDN.

    It’s my understanding that Google ranks sites based on their geographic targeting. Google seems to be focused on providing the best rankings for the smaller businesses in their local markets. This also improves Google’s advertising revenue by having many more sites competing for the same category advertising keywords.

    Larger companies are able to have multiple websites in multiple geographical locations and can more easily globally dominate ranking categories.

    It’s not clear to me that CDN provides a valuable multiple geographical location presence?

    Please comment on how CDN would improve say… your UK search engine ranking (UK visitor traffic) for example if your geographic target was the US?

    Thanks.

  • William V.

    Great overview on what a CDN is and how it works.

    I just wanted to add one note… CDNs don’t only accelerate the delivery of static content, but also dynamic content (any content generated in real time by the origin server— e.g. applications) as well. Dynamic content is not cachable, but CDNs can speed up the request and returns from the server through a series of proxy servers/nodes strategically placed around the world… basically creating a more direct route for the data packets to travel through. Traditional internet protocols require that data packets travel through more connecting points, which delays the arrival of data packets… making it slower to load on the client.

    Cheers,

    • Tanveer

      interesting. could you share some link that talks more about this?

    • Ryan Williams

      Not sure this is right. I’ve conducted tests with every major CDN out there, and in all cases it’s significantly slower accessing uncacheable dynamic pages rather than just going to the origin server directly.

      However, it is true that dynamic pages can too benefit from a CDN. The key is to use a CDN that allows almost instant purging, so you have it cache everything and then your application can send a ‘purge’ request to the CDN when it knows an update has occurred (e.g. new post or comment). Of course, this requires specific integration.

  • Pritush

    Now wordpress offers free CDN with Jetpack plugin.. how efficient is that compared to paid CDN like maxcdn ?

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com/ WPBeginner Support

      We will probably do a comparison in some article. However, we would still recommend MaxCDN. Installing jetpack in self-hosted WordPress requires you to connect your WordPress site to WordPress.com and many users don’t want to do that. Also Photon just serves images it calls itself image acceleration and editing service, not a CDN.

  • Hemant Aggarwal

    Your website was down because of HostGator’s server issue. Does any CDN provides caching of web pages too?

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      Cloudflare seems to offer something along that line, but we haven’t tried it.

  • Alan

    Hi, can you tell me if the servers all over the globe have static pages and you update a static page, how long does it take for the servers to update that page? Can you force and update of static pages, and how do you do that? Thanks

  • Forever Long

    Hello,

    I can see this blog entry is a few months old now, however I have just completed building a site on Wix and its sole purpose is e-commerce hopefully on a global scale. Problem is however we have noticed for a while that the website was sluggish during building and still is after going premium and adding more bandwidth. Can MaxCDN solve our problems? Wix only ever gives out canned responses such as “you must compress images” and “please disable the auto rotate function from your slideshow” this is aggravating to say the least. this is the website in question

    would be really grateful for your thoughts and assistance i’ve spoke to MaxCDN and they said they can help, however you never know whether its a sales pitch?

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      Yes they can help.

  • David

    Just wondering, can your use two CDNs at once, like MAXCDN and Cloudflare?, what are the consequences? is it feasible?

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      It is possible. However cloudflare requires you to change your DNS to them which is something you may or may not want.

  • http://www.allcancook.com/ Raulnayak

    I am with MaxCDN too and I am loving it..Thanks for this wonderful post!!

  • TechZoomOrg

    Hi. I am using CloudFlare & WP Total Cache. Now, can we still get maxCDN working for the same site? Will it make a significant difference?

    What would you differentiate & suggest for people using CloudFlare for their WP sites.

    Eager to explore more. Thanks :)

    • wpbeginner

      @TechZoomOrg If you are using CloudFlare then you don’t really need MaxCDN. From our understanding it is an either / or solution.

      • http://www.allcancook.com/ Raulnayak

         @wpbeginner  Actually,Cloudflare doesnt affect the website as much as MaxCDN, I would recommend that you use both MaxCDN as well as cloudflare and it will be very fast!!

  • PR_Luv

    So in relation to this, how is a VPS used and applicable?

    Great post!

    @PR_Luv

  • wpbeginner

    @kath.gamboa First of all the idea is that CDN service will not go down because they have so many datacenters across the globe. But lets imagine the worst and say that if it does go down, then all you have to do is go into your W3 Total Cache plugin, and turn off CDN for that time. All of your content will then be served directly from your server.

    Remember, you never upload any content directly to the CDN servers. You always upload it to your web hosting server, and CDN simply mirrors it.

  • kath.gamboa

    What happens when the CDN service goes down? Does that mean that the website’s static content will be inaccessible as well? If yes, are there ways to revive the website when the CDN service goes down?

  • PeterApalais

    Okay how does it work. I am with hostgaor. I want faster page loads etc. I personally live in Australia. So there is is delay because of that huge big distance the information has to travel. Okay for someone who lives next to the server in the USA, but not ideal for here in OZ.

    1. Does MaxCDN have a server here in Australia?

    2. What about Amazon S3, do they have a server in Australia?

    3. Does anyone?

    4. Does the CDN have copies off everything that is on my website. So like the HTML files as well? If so, maybe a work around for me would be to get a web host based here in Australia. This will allow fast loading here, then use the CDN for the rest of the world.

    5. So I guess, if I am browsing from the England, will it pull everything from the England server, and nothing from the hostgator server back in the US??

    Peter

    • http://www.allcancook.com/ Raulnayak

       @PeterApalais I think yes,its der In sydney or its being planned.. See here, http://www.maxcdn.com/features/network/  .. I would recommend MaxCDN because they charge on pay-as-you go basis i.e as $ 40 per 1TB of data… Amazon is costly. It mirrors the whole website and creates cache or the websites so in the event that the server is down,the website doesnt go offline.. I personally use it for my http://www.allcancook.com

  • http://blogsnewsreviews.com/ AstroGremlin

    Thanks for the reply! CDN may well be in my future. @wpbeginner

  • wpbeginner

    @AstroGremlin Doesn’t matter how big the site is, CDNs will help regardless. But if the small site is your personal site, then it is probably not worth you having the CDN.

    • http://www.allcancook.com/ Raulnayak

       @wpbeginner Actually,the best part of MaxCDN is that it doent matter how big or small your website is, It has a wonderful pay-as-you go plan where you have to renew only when you are done using the 1 TB you bought.. So if the 1 Tb doesnt get used up even after 2 years, its fine,the plan will go on… 

  • http://blogsnewsreviews.com/ AstroGremlin

    I notice that the rate one pays depends on volume (which seems very fair). But how can I tell how many gigs my blog is serving up? Also, does CDN makes sense for a really low traffic site?

    On caching: I tried W3 but it was causing conflicts. I switched to Supercache and haven’t looked back.

  • archon810

    WP-SuperCache works great with MaxCDN, that’s what I use.

  • http://guistyles.com/ Peter

    Hi,

    I have a question, is there any alternative plugin to use with WordPress and MaxCDN other than w3totalcache ?

    w3totalcache is causing some memory problems on my VPS server ?

    • Jason H

      WP-Super Cache is a bit simpler to use that W3 Total Cache and has a tab to configure Origin-Pull CDNs. Otherwise, you can use another plugin in conjunction for Push CDNs but I would recommend Origin-Pull be a requirement of the CDN you go with.

  • Bob

    I on a bluehost shared server and was thinking about paying extra for a static ip address – would a static ip address increase my website speed?

    But now reading this I wonder if I should bypass the static ip address and just go for a CDN solution instead?

    I have done all the minifying, caching, etc, so did assume the next step was a static ip address. But perhaps it is really a cdn solution that I need?

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      Go with the CDN solution.

    • http://www.allcancook.com/ Raulnayak

      A VPS or a cloud server is always safer and faster than a shared server..

  • http://html5andmore.info Andrea Barghigiani

    Hi there!
    I am using CloudFlare (https://www.cloudflare.com/) a CDN service that says will help me up speeding my website only by changing my DNS.

    Do you have any advice on how to set up W3 Total Cache to work with the CloudFlare? What do you think about it?

    Thanks for the answers!

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      No advice. Cloudflare should have a tutorial for integration.

    • http://www.allcancook.com/ Raulnayak

      Cloudflare automatically integrates itself as a cdn..You dont need to setup W3 Total Cache to work with cloudflare.. 

  • Peter

    @Editorial Staff | Well i setup this using: http://www.wpbeginner.com/plugins/how-to-install-and-setup-w3-total-cache-for-beginners/

    I don’t want to change w3totalcache becasue the implementation of CDN was very simple and it has many goodies inside. One plugin to rule them all. Before that i use WP Super Cache.

    I am still confused what happaned to my VPS but like i wrote my ideas are over.

    • http://www.allcancook.com/ Raulnayak

       @Editorial Actually WP super cache is better and setting it up is almost the same as W3 total cache..

  • http://www.namase.com Rajesh

    I am using sub-domain as cdn. like cdn.namase.com and I am using W3 total cache.

  • Peter

    Hi,

    Could please provide some more info about those two cases:

    Improved User Experience – Since we started using a CDN, we have noticed a decline in bounce rate on our site. Furthermore, we have also seen increased in pageviews and numbers of pages viewed by each user. So clearly a fast site means improved user experience.

    Improvement in SEO – Google has clearly stated that faster sites tend to rank higher in Search Engines. We have noticed our site ranking higher once we did the optimization on our site.

    Something more, like how your counce rate and pageviews changed ?

    SEO in Google, how fast can you see something changes, by traffic monitoring or how come ?

    Tnx , I am happy CDN user from yesterday with your coupon as well.

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      When we optimized our site for speed, the site went about 240% faster. We saw a huge decline in bounce rate as people were not just exiting on the first page. They were going to other pages as well which means increase in pageviews. Clearly the user experience must have been improved by the faster site. Because we did not change the placement of related links or anything. Those were there before and after.

      In terms of google, it has been stated that the faster your site is, the more pages will get indexed per day.

      • Peter

        Tnx for fast response to my comment.

        After implemnting CDN to my sites the onlu problem that i have is i cannot test how much faster it goes now.

        Pingdom is not working now, YSlow in Firefox also stops to work.

        How you test your site if i may know.

        Tnx

        • Peter

          Hi,

          Ok, listen to my horror story.

          After implemnting some CDN to my couple of WordPress websites, what i mean implement, delete old cache systems on those sites and installed W3 Total Cache plugins.

          I setup evrything as it should be and go to sleep.

          Now from this morning i have big problems with my VPS server.

          Don’t know what is going on but my CPU is from time to time (short period of time) goes like 100% , memory is bigger & bigger, swap is starting to work… tasks are going from normal about 60 to 100 or even more.

          Anyway i am fighting with this one almost 10 hours without sucess. I reboot server, soft&hard and make many stuff but nothing seems to work.

          In past server was not doing nothing almost , now it is extreme busy.

          I think this is too much for me and i need to find WordPress+Linux pro who will help me with that problem.

          Cheers

        • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

          Are you setting the right settings with W3 Total Cache??

        • http://www.giochiflashfree.info Gigi

          Delete w3totalcache and try w-supercache, i have deleted w3 and with wpsupercache my site is loading more fast.

  • http://richkent.com/ Rich Kent

    Hmm. Still haven’t received an activation email. I did receive an email asking how I like the service – replied to that saying I’m still not setup, and haven’t heard anything back. I’m starting to think I made a mistake signing up with MaxCDN. I’ve sent 2 more emails, and tried to text chat, but that timed out and I got a ‘send an email’ message. :(

    • http://richkent.com/ Rich

      Just FYI – Got in touch on Monday and worked it out. I’m very happy with my sites performance now that I have it working. MaxCDN = good!

      I should note that I’m not using this on my site (under my signature) – at least not yet – so don’t let that be the judge of speed. I’m using the CDN on other sites that actually get high volume. :)

      They could use a bit of work on CS, but maybe just caught them at a bad time. The network itself appears to be good enough that it’s worth it either way.

  • http://www.creationscripts.com Tim

    This is not something are new blogger would need to worry about for a while though right. Even if someone does load it in England, if there is not much content does it matter?

    Thanks,

    TJ

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      No matter how big your site is, CDN will almost always speed up the site. However, keeping server load down is not something that new sites have to worry about, so in that aspect (You don’t need it). But in other aspects, CDN will help you. We never launch any site without utilizing CDN from Day 1.

  • http://www.giochiflashfree.info Gigi ✔

    Hi,
    thanks for suggestion and for coupon, i have signed yesterday and i’m trying maxcdn+w3totalcache on my site. I have only a problem with w3totalcache, it doesn’t rewrite all url added in custom files list,so i get 87 for pagespeed and only 64(D) for Yslow.

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      Gigi, are you adding the urls in the custom-files the right way? We are doing a lot of images and files via that, and it works out great. Let us know exactly what the issue is, perhaps paste a screenshot, and we would be able to help.

  • http://richkent.com/ Rich Kent

    Thanks for the coupon – just signed up. Any idea how long it takes them to setup your account? Thanks – Rich

  • http://www.whatsinwapping.co.uk Vickie Flores

    Thanks for this, it really helps to explain.
    Please does anyone have views on whether moving to virtual hosting is the first stage in improving performance or if it should be CDN?
    Thx

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      You can use Shared Hosting and CDN and be fine with it. If it pushes too much upgrade to VPS. CDN will improve the load time no matter which hosting level you are at… Improving to a higher hosting level will not always do that.

      • http://www.whatsinwapping.co.uk Vickie Flores

        Thank you. So would you recommend CDN before upgrading hosting?
        I only want to do one or other at the moment because of the cost but I’m not sure which would have the biggest performance improvement.

  • http://www.lightfoottravel.com Kian Ann

    Interesting. How does the CDN thing work? Do you have to enable it on top of a current web host, or does it replace your web host?

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      It works on top of a current web host. CDN works like a Mirror. You would never be able to see the back of your head, but combining two mirrors, you can do it a lot faster.

  • http://thisismyurl.com Christopher Ross

    I have to agree, adding a CDN to a website is one of the fastest, easiest ways to give yourself a great SEO boost!

  • http://www.geekforhim.com Matthew Snider

    I also am a customer of MaxCDN and love them.

    Without a CDN I would shut down my site from running too slow in my mind.

  • http://starblogger.net Daniel

    I am using MAXCDN and quite happy with it. Hopefully they will add some server in Asian as planed.

    As some of my friends recommend, Cloudfront is better than Maxcdn, but I like the kind of prepaid service like Maxcdn. After some consideration, I choose it. :-).

  • http://kaidez.com/ kaidez

    Am definitely considering using a CDN for my blog, Thing is, it’s just starting out and isn’t generating that much traffic as of yet. Any opinion on how much traffic quantifies the need for a CDN?

    • http://www.wpbeginner.com Editorial Staff

      If you are getting over 1000 visitors a day, then you should consider using it *just to keep the current users happy*.