I’ve written quite a bit in the past about the benefits of using a CDN to deliver your WordPress website content. The page-speed benefits (which result in SEO benefits) are quite well known but the cost benefits of using a CDN aren’t as widely understood. Here is a very quick recap of CDN speed benefits (I also touch on the financial benefits of using a CDN).
How a CDN benefits WordPress loading speed
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is usually a number of geographically dispersed webservers. Your static website content is housed on these numerous servers. When a visitor to your website requests loads a page a quick calculation is made by the CDN and content is delivered from the server that is able to deliver the page to the visitor in the fastest time. It so happens that the server closest to the visitor is usually the server to deliver the content to the visitor.
A CDN is separate from your Webhost; you still need a webhost to serve your website but your webhost, when using a CDN, will usually deliver most of your content to the CDN which, in turn, delivers content to your website visitors. The benefits for your webserver is that, because content is stored for a short time, and delivered from the CDN, not as many resources are needed from your webhost (which means that you don’t need as powerful a webhost as you may need without a CDN … which means least cost for you).
Of course, because most content is being delivered to your website visitors from the CDN, the location of your Webserver is far less important therefore a cheaper location of a webserver may be selected (hosting in Australia is notoriously expensive)
Which is the best CDN for WordPress?
There are numerous good CDNs out there that work very well with WordPress. Most of my clients use Amazon Web Services (AWS) CloudFront or CloudFlare. I’ve also used the Google PageSpeed Service quite a bit. All three of the aforementioned providers have servers in Australia so Australian visitors will get content delivered from an Australian server (no matter where your webhost is located).
For most clients, the free CloudFlare account is very good; their CDN is very fast and there are various security enhancements that CloudFlare provide. As for the Google PageSpeed Service, this is very good where dedicated servers/a VPS are used to host the website but there can be problems when using the Google PageSpeed Service with some shared hosting providers. Last, but definitely not least, AWS CloudFront is very reliable and fast but does cost a very small amount (the cost is surprisingly small).
My recommendation is to go with CloudFlare or AWS CloudFront.
Should you use AWS CloudFronts or AWS S3?
Besides a CDN, there is a very inexpensive means of delivering your website content fast and at extremely low cost; AWS S3. AWS S3 is storage provided by Amazon Web Services and it’s relatively simple to have static content from your WordPress website delivered from your S3 ‘bucket’. How AWS S3 works is that you decided where you want your ‘bucket’ to reside e.g. Singapore, California, Sydney etc. WordPress is setup so that static files are served from your S3 ‘bucket’ and when people visit your website, all static files are served from your ‘bucket’ and the rest of your content from your webhost.
A use-case of this scenario is the model we use for our WordPress Tips website; we host the WordPress website with Site5 shared hosting in the U.S.A. and static content is stored on, and delivered from, an AWS S3 ‘bucket’ in Singapore. The reason we chose to use S3 rather than a CloudFront or CloudFlare (or MaxCDN or any other CDN) is that 90% of visitors to that website are from Oceania and Asia therefore serving content from Singapore realised the lowest cost whilst giving significant speed benefits to the geographic region of most of our website visitors (Using S3 in Singapore is cheaper than S3 in Australia and using S3 rather than CloudFront is about 75% cheaper).
If you’d like to have the benefits of using a CDN or AWS S3 with your WordPress website then contact us.