When we search for WordPress blog performance, we can find there are tons of requests for that, and many users have ever asked for the ultimate guide for how to drive their WordPress sites faster more than ever before. For the purpose, we have offered much advice about CDN to speed up their WordPress websites. However, there are still many request remain outside and coming to us.
Therefore, to clarify us clearer and completely help many newbies get the clue about using a CDN for your websites speed in WordPress, we decide to try again to give you an ultimate guide on how to install as well as setup a CDN on your site in WordPress. Don’t worry. We will give our best shot from explaining the basics about CDN to the detailed steps of installation of a CDN.
Basics of CDN
In the basics of CDN, we will tell you the definition of it and how does it work for your site, so that beginners can have a clear understanding about CDN.
What is CDN?
CDN is actually the Content Delivery Network, a network of servers, which deliver your cached static files, images, and some others from your site to users according to their geographic locations. Are you confused to the definition? For beginners, it could be a little complicate, so we’d like to break it down in simpler words.
In general, as a user visits your WordPress blog, he or she will be redirected to your web hosting provider’s servers (such as Bisend). Well, the servers of your web hosting provider are all hosted in a data center in Hong Kong. It means the users on your WordPress website are accessing one server in the data center to view your site.
At that time, your site is dealing with traffic peak, and you will need to overload your web server, which can cause a slow page loading website or even lead to the server crash. In the situation, you will need a CDN to fix the potential issues, because CDN is actually a server network, and those servers can be located around the world. If your site has to deal with some traffic peaks, then a CDN can help a lot.
How Does CDN Work?
Once a CDN is added to your website, it can leverage the technology standards such as anycast, BGP and ligttpd, to transmit those static content files from your server to network of servers which are dispersed at different locations throughout the world. When a user is viewing your site pages, they will be redirected to the nearest server to their geographic location and reduce the latency time at most.
For instance, if the server caching and storing your site files is located in Hong Kong, and there are some users in England try to access the server, then the users will be redirected to the closest location such as in London. So it will limit the number of the internet hops required to transmit your static files to your user.
As we all know, the proximity of your users to your servers will impact on the page loading time. Longer distance is, longer loading time is. But a CDN can solve it, and make your users have faster page loading time and better online experience. In short, when the CDN servers are closer to your users, then they can receive faster response time and get the content more quickly.
Why Does Your WordPress Blog Need a CDN?
If you totally understand the basics of CDN above, you will know to have a CDN on site can have a good effect on your site performance. In below, we will introduce some advantages to have a CDN on your site.
- Faster Speed – Faster speed is the top advantage that users look forward to when using a CDN on their site. Also, if you go through the talks above carefully, you can easily find CDN can improve your site load time.
- Crash Resistance – For those WordPress website with hot blogs, when encountering huge volume of traffic, these sites always have the potential to crash for many times. However, if they are using a proper CDN and proper caching setup, the things are gonna changes, because a CDN will allow your site to distribute the load to several servers other than having the all traffic to your main server, which makes it less likely to crash.
- Improvement in SEO – According to Google’s statement, the site having faster speed is more possible to rank here in its search engine. So, using CDN to run website faster and more reliably can absolutely improve your site SEO effect.
- Better User Experience – Having a CDN on site, you can deliver faster page load time, beter reliability and improve SEO. Your visitors can get these as well, when they are viewing your site pages and having better user experience on your site.
Then, if you decide to install a CDN for your WordPress blog, you need to choose a proper CDN provider. In terms of how to name best CDN providers and how to choose a right CDN for your site, we have discussed in our review on the Top 10 CDN providers.
Just to be clear, because CDN is the service to help things speed up, so it is used on top of having a web hosting account and it cannot replace your web hosting account, meaning you need to sign up for a web hosting account at first, and Bluehost, iPage, Host4ASP.NET are all good choices.
In our list of TOP 10 CDN, CDN77, Imperva Incapsula, Akamai CDN, MaxCDN, and more are recommended. Once you decide the CDN provider, then the question comes that how to install as well as install WordPress CDN solution on you site.
How to Install and Setup WordPress CDN Solution – MaxCDN on your Site
Users always ask about what to do to improve site performance or speed up their website. We have completely learnt their requests and one of our tips for those busy websites is to use CDN. We hope you can follow us and completely solve your site problems with a proper CDN. In below, we will use MaxCDN as our instance to show you how to install and setup a CDN on your WordPress website.
Before we display the installing and setup process, we are to briefly introduce a little bit about MaxCDN so as to help users who never use a CDN to know MaxCDN better and understand what makes us to choose MaxCDN for a site.
MaxCDN now joins StackPath and has been helping more than 16,000 users to accelerate content delivery. It is offering three different plans named as Entrepreneur, Professionals, and Custom. The Enterpreneur plan starts at $9/moth with monthly and annual packages up to 1TB and 24/7 customer support. If you are not happy with MaxCDN’s service, the company offers 30 Day money back guarantee.
In all MaxCDN plans, the company provides you with unparalleled support with 24/7 technical & billing support and DIY tutorials, intelligent network with Nginx caching, best-path routing, 100% SSD servers and 19 global PoPs, instant control with real-time analytics, modern control panel, instant purging, and fully documented API, as well as next-gen security with IP Whitelisting, instant SSL/TLS, 2-step authentication and security notifications.
Those features in MaxCDN and budget pricing both make MaxCDN one of the optimal options for accelerating content delivery.
Installing & Setting up MaxCDN for Your WordPress Website
To install MaxCDN, you have to sign up for a MaxCDN account. The entry-level plan we have introduced that it is as low as $9/month and coming with great feature and 1TB packages. For your, the plan is quite affordable and rich features make it well worth the money.
After you created your MaxCDN account, there is a WordPress plugin you have to install for MaxCDN installation. It is W3 Total Cache, a free WordPress plugin. Then, you move on to work on your MaxCDN account.
The first thing on your MaxCDN account is to make a “Pull Zone”. For the purpose, you need to click on its Manage Zones mate box and then click on the icon of “Create Pull Zone” beneath the “Pull Zones (1)”statement.
After that, you will be switched to the next page, where you will be requested to type into the details that your new Pull Zone needs. The details generally contain:
- Pull Zone Name: It does not have any special requirements except spaces that cannot be included. Besides, the length requires minimum 3 characters. Usually, users always use their account’s username, and you can also.
- Origin Server URL: It needs you to enter your WordPress blog’s URL. Don’t forget to add http:// in the beginning and the “/” trailing slash in the end.
- Custom CDN Domain: you can use your subdomain name, such as “cdn.yourwpblog.com”.
- Label: It is just like the description field, and you can choose to add a description or not to.
- Compression: we think you’d better check the box behind “Compression”, because it can help you save the bandwidth usage on your MaxCDN account.
Once you click create, you will see a success screen. In that green box, you will have a URL for your CDN. It will look something like “wpb.yourwpblog.netdna-cdn.com”. Let’s copy this URL and save it in your notepad. We will need to use it in later steps. If you go to your dashboard, you will now see the zone that you have created. Click on the “manage” icon.
Then, click on “Settings” tab and you will see the “Customer Domains” part.
In the section, you need to add several subdomains (CNAMEs), so as to improve your pipelining performance in browser. In order to make it, you will have to click on “edit” button on this part and just enter your custom domains as following:
After you have done the custom subdomains, remember to click on the “Update” tab. Besides, do not forget to enable the GZip compression in Compression Settings.
At present, you will have done the configurations for your pull zone and take your long CDN URL you get in the steps made above and that should look like “wpb.yourwpblog.netdna-cdn.com”. This CDN URL will be needed to set the CNAME records.
As for the CNAME record, many WordPress hosting companies use cPanel to complete it. In below, we are going to show you how to create your CNAME record with cPanel. Login to your cPanel, find “Domains Section”, and click on “Simple DNS Zone Editor” under it.
Then, you will be switched to a page requesting you to file out the blank fields for adding a CNAME Record, and the fields are:
- Name: It is your “Custom CDN Domain”. In previous steps, you have decided that your custom CDN domain is yourwordpressblog.com, so the “cdn” should be put in the Name field.
- CNAME: It is the URL that MaxCDN offers as you created your pull zone. And here it should be “yourwpblog.netdna-cdn.com”.
This is the screenshot of the CNAME Record fields:
You will need to repeat the process of CNMAE Record creation for the custom domains you plans to add and all the CNAME values will be the same, and there is only one thing you will have to change in the process. It is the “Name” filed, to add such as “cdn”, “cdn2” and so on. Note that if you are not using cPanel, there may be differences to add the CNMAE records.
Now, once you have done the MaxCDN configurations, you will need to go ahead and start integrating MaxCDN with WordPress. Here you will need the W3 Total Cache plugin you installed before. Find and click on the plugin, and you will see the “General” page and the CDN box will be shown up as you scroll down. Check the box of “Enable” behind “CDN” and choose you “CDN Type” as NetDNA/MaxCDN. Click on the “Save all settings” on the bottom.
Next, you will go to the CDN menu in W3 Total Cache plugin to configure MaxCDN with WordPress. On the page, your API ID & Key and custom domain names will be asked to enter.
For the API ID & Key, you can find them in you MaxCDN Dashboard, on which, you will need to click on “Manage Account”>> “API”. Then, you can create your API Key by adding it.
After you completed the configurations within W3 Total Cache, you can go to test. Click on “Test NetDNA” button and if you get it passed, congratulation, you will have set up MaxCDN on your WordPress site well and your busy blog can make your users enjoy faster and more secure user experience.