How To Use A Content Delivery Network (CDN) To Make Your Blog Load Much Faster

Last week, I put my blog on the MaxCDN Content Delivery Network in the continuing quest to improve blog performance. The results so far have been extremely positive, especially for my overseas readers. My friends in Asia and Hong Kong are reporting much faster load time and speed when reading my blog.

What Is CDN?

Unlike normal web hosting, where your content is housed on a single server, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) takes the blog’s static content (CSS and Javascript files, downloadable objects, applications, real-time media streams, etc.) and replicates it through hundreds of servers around the world instead of a single host at one locatioon. This technology makes sure each visitor to your site gets their data from the city closest to them.

Generally, the closer you are to the web host, the faster your blog will load. My web host is located in the US East Coast, which gives great performance for readers living in that aera. However, readers further away and overseas won’t experience the same speediness.

By bringing your content closer to your readers’ connection point, your blog will have much quicker load times, superior scalability, and guaranteed uptime. A faster loading site not only makes your visitors happy, it can also earn you a few extra points toward a higher ranking on the major search engines (Google loves fast loading sites).

MaxCDN

MaxCDN is a division of NetNDA and one of the biggest CDN providers on the Internet. MaxCDN is the content delivery provider for Mashable, Template Monster, BuySellAds, Copy Blogger and many other big sites and blogs.

How To Add MaxCDN To A WordPress Blog

Installation of MaxCDN to WordPress was a lot easier than I thought thanks to the W3 Total Cache plugin. W3 Total Cache offers transparent MaxCDN content delivery network integration. Even if you don’t plan to use a CDN service, I recommend you install W3 Total Cache on your blog anyway. It’s the best caching software for WordPress that I’ve ever used.

W3 Total Cache

Once the W3 Total Cache has been installed and configured, it’s just as matter of logging into your MaxCDN control panel to create a Mirror/Pull zone and entering the URL for that zone into the W3 Total Cache control panel. Your blog is now on CDN!

MaxCDN

You can manage all your CDN from the MaxCDN control panel, which feature some really cool real time stats on where your content is being delivered to. I wasn’t surprised to see LA as the number one city for my blog. However, I would have never dreamed that Amsterdam would be number two!

Do I Need CDN?

You might think that a CDN service would be good for big blogs only and normally, I would agree with you. However, MaxCDN pricing is so affordable that even small and medium sized blogs can take advantage of the service. MaxCDN charges on a pay as you go plan with no long term contract. They’re running a special right now on the first 1,000GB of data transfer for only $39.95 (normal price is $99). After that, you pay 9.9 cents per gig. The price goes down to 3.9 cents per gig if you’re using Mashable size bandwidth.

With prices this low, any blog can afford to have their content delivered by hundreds of servers around the world instead of just one. So far, I am very impressed with with MaxCDN and I can see why blogs like Mashable and Copy Blogger use them. If you’re looking to take your blog to the next performance level, give MaxCDN a shout.

MaxCDN – Accelerate Your Site To The Max for Only $39.95


51 thoughts on “How To Use A Content Delivery Network (CDN) To Make Your Blog Load Much Faster”

  1. ctrtard says:

    Interesting post. Used as a standalone plugin, why do you like this better than wp super cache?

    1. John Chow says:

      It does way more than WP Super Cache. In addition to CDN support, W3 can cache your blog’s database.

      1. Wynne says:

        This looks sick. I’m gonna give it go. I have thesis with a child theme over the top, and the database / javascript calls are killing my load times even on a fairly robust VPS.

        Thanks for the tip.

        1. Could not load your blog! Must be slower then you think!?

          1. It loaded OK for me….way down here in South Africa. You in New Zealand, Wynne?

      2. Tinh says:

        That is right, even that we can use minify feature for to zin js, css files and move them into one place for faster loading

  2. ProBlogger says:

    Thats a nice way to deliver content from your blog. Fast and easy, just bad it costs money.

    1. John Chow says:

      You name yourself ProBlogger and then you bitch that something cost money. Better change your name.

      1. ProBlogger says:

        Yes, I didnt think it through, my name is more a manifest now than a reality, only $200 per month in blogging, and that can’t be called pro just yet 🙂

        But its in norwegian, and we are only 4mill people.

        1. Diabetis says:

          Then don’t use that name. You are giving Darren Rowse a bad reputation.

        2. lol…..problogger 😀

      2. Werd. Rock on for telling it like it is John 🙂

  3. Mathew Day says:

    I love blogs that load quickly so I will definitely look into getting MaxCDN, even though most of my blogs are relatively small in size.

  4. ngan says:

    am sort of confused.

    once i am done setting up CDN, where does my newly uploaded ‘jpeg’ goes to? the primary server or to the CDN’s server?

    1. John Chow says:

      It goes to all of them. This way the reader will always get the version that is closest to him.

  5. After the 1,000GB is used up, do they just automatically start billing your credit card monthly?

    And if you decide to cancel after the first 1,000GB, can you just disable it in W3 Total Cache and go back to normal without losing any files?

    1. John Chow says:

      After the 1TB is used, they bill you once per month on the amount of transfer over the 1TB at 9.9 cents per GB until you’ve hit 50,000GB. Then the price goes down 7.5 cents per GB until you hit 150,000GB at which time the price goes to 3.9 cents per GB.

      If you cancel, you just disable CDN in the W3 Total Cache. You won’t lose anything.

      1. Their price is quite comfortable.

  6. vurdlak says:

    I don’t know what you did, but as of few days back, %70 times I load your site, it ends up without CSS (broken raw html). I need to refresh 3 – 7 times before the site loads correctly. be sure it doesn’t have problems with cdn. btw i’m in europe. also, i was thinking about CDN as well, but am not sure which provider is the best??

  7. Jimmy Cantor says:

    This sounds great – so if I have a site using the plugin, and it eventually grows to where I’ll need it – I can just sign up and flip the switch? I mean, is it really that easy?

    1. John Chow says:

      Ya, it’s that easy. Many blogs that are not on CDN use the W3 Total Cache to speed up their load times.

      1. So with this post advertisment of W3 total cache is also going on.

  8. That’s smart.People comment on my site saying my web page loads slow.Thanks 🙂

  9. Sounds great. Makes sense, especially for overseas visitors. Thanks.

  10. sounds great ..program …..
    i think mashable also using cdn 🙂

  11. Now we can visit johnchow by this URL also http://cdn.johnchow.com 🙂

  12. Hmm… very interesting! I haven’t heard of CDN’s before, but that is definitely something neat to explore for more popular websites.

    How does W3 Total Cache compare to WP Super Cache? I’m using that right now and I think it is decent, thoughts?

    1. John Chow says:

      W3 Total Cache is WAY BETTER than WP Super Cache. It’s like comparing a Ferrari to a Fiat.

      1. Thanks, I’ll look into switching 🙂

  13. Teoh k H says:

    I don’t see any speed different in your site.

  14. jtGraphic says:

    I’m using a cloud server – how do you think that compares to the CDN? I know my cloud is international, but it isn’t specifically targeting content distribution and caching.

    1. John Chow says:

      CDN and cloud work well together. While a cloud host spreads your data across multiple servers, those servers are still located in one data center. The CDN will take that data and spread across the world.

  15. But content delivery network is not always fast. I use Amazon content distribution only for images and it is acceptable. The biggest benefits of using a content delivery network is more than one distribution points. For example, that helps people who are accessing your site from Asia where your server is located in North America or Europe.

  16. That seems like a great idea John, I know load speeds can be a real pain sometimes and can affect your visitors experience.

    Quite impressed to see an affordable price also.

  17. fas says:

    Something to give the normal hosting a challenge?

  18. John, under the Content Delivery Network options in W3, is your CDN type “Mirror,” or “Self-hosted”? I’m on mirror, but my theme files aren’t being pulled in.

    I set up a sub-domain and a CNAME to mask the netdna domain, but so far only /wp-includes/ is getting pulled.

  19. Forgot to also ask: what’s your origin URL in your Max CDN Pull Zone? I simply put /wp-includes/, but I want the /wp-content/ directory to be pulled too? Should I simply put in my root domain?

  20. Tinh says:

    Excellent service John! I have introduced this service on my blog a week ago and also got one account. It is affordable for all bloggers of any size for just $10. My blog loading time is much faster and it is about 2.9-3.7s according to Pingdom while previously it is more than 10s. I recommend you guys to get it before the promotion ends!

  21. Tinh says:

    Just tested your blog loading and see archive test, your blog loading is super fast now, congrats John!

  22. sharninder says:

    All the people wanting to get on the CDN bandwagon should probably first understand what a CDN is and if they even need it.

    Most blogs aren’t big enough to really warrant a CDN. Even the bigger blogs really should first optimize their site first and then think about CDNs. The biggest blogs, I understand, all use a CDN anyway to deliver content.

    1. I don’t think a lot of people here understand what a CDN is either and really understand if they need it or not. I

      Exactly right, spend more time optimizing your images, javascript, and css before even considering setting up a CDN.

      Reduce your HTTP Requests as well, and your site will always load faster. There’s very few reasons a website should have five or six javascript or five or six css http requests.

      http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html

  23. So CDN isn’t meant to replace your host, it’s meant to supplement it? I’m just slightly confused because you said it is replicated on many servers.

    1. John Chow says:

      No, it doesn’t replace your web host. It supplements it. You actually might end up saving money. If your host charges you on a per GB basis like most Cloud host do, you’ll save on bandwidth charges because lot of the content is being served by CDN.

  24. Is W3 cache still better than WP cache even if I don’t use CDN?

    Ana

    1. John Chow says:

      Yes it is. W3 has way more features than WP Cache even if you don’t use the CDN feature.

  25. Paul says:

    John, got to admit I was dubious about CDN’s before but i can honestly say that i wonder now why they are not more widely spoken about as the results are truely remarkable.
    A great blog post and very helpful. Thanks

  26. Google pointed out that loading of your website will be a crucial point for SEO and I think because of that many people will go to these people.

  27. I signed up and paid for MaxCDN last Saturday but have not received any information since then. Live chat does not work and emails are going unanswered. That strikes me as a very poor way of doing business and what you’d expect from a fly by night operation, not a legitimate business as they claim to be. If I don’t hear from them by the end of the week I will have to file a PayPal dispute to see if I can get my money back.

  28. Our traffic is split about 50/25/25 between Asia, N.America and Europe, will using this sort of service help, or are they still pretty N.American focused??

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