Steps to Follow in Implementing a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
If you want to boost usability, increase conversions, improve bounce rates, and rank higher on search engines, you must consider site speed. However, before we go any further, you must realize that speed is also dependent on the location and quality of your web host.
A content delivery network (CDN) is a solution that can enhance the loading speed of your website tremendously. However, you may be wary about using it because you think the process is intricate. You can experience speed improvements if you understand what a CDN is and learn how to add it to your website.
What is a Content Delivery Network?
A CDN is a network of hosting servers found around the world. It duplicates your data and files and ensures that each of its servers has a copy. If a user wants to request data from your website, the system will search for the nearest physical server to him for quicker loading times of content.
Advantages of a CDN
- Tremendous improvement of loading times from a cache nearest the content requestor
- More resiliency to traffic spikes of the website because the content is accessible in multiple servers
You prevent loss of potential sales because of crashed websites or slow loading times.
- Content Service Protocols
A content service protocol is a managed and hosted network providing website content. Many of the providers you’ll find belong to this category.
- Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Networks
This type of network isn’t for web hosting. It is a setup of personal computers, such as BitTorrent.
- Private Networks
A private network can create a CDN for your needs, but you can expect to spend a lot of money. You need to manage various servers around the world.
In general, when you read or hear people talking about CDNs, they refer to content service protocols.
Three Easy Ways to Incorporate a CDN for your WordPress Website
You can install a CDN on your website easily. In general, you can keep the uncomplicated settings and tweak some of them to meet your requirements. However, if you have specialized requirements or an unusual website installation, you need the assistance from your CDN provider.
Before you can add a CDN to your WordPress site, you must have administrative rights to its dashboard. Moreover, you need to purchase and set up a content delivery network. Are you ready? Here it goes!
Select and Register with a Provider
The initial step is for you to choose a CDN provider that suits your needs. You’ll find numerous solutions on the market today. Some of these providers charge a fee while many others provide free services. You must exercise due diligence when you find a supplier. Do your research first.
In choosing a provider, two ways come to mind:
- Choose a web hosting company that also provides a CDN
- Select a third-party supplier and configure the connection manually
The first alternative is straightforward because you only need to update your settings to enable the CDN service. On the other hand, if you opt for the second option, you must follow the rest of the steps outlined here.
After setting up an account with a CDN provider, you’re now ready for the WordPress website setup.
Preparing Your Website
You won’t have any significant issues in this step because WordPress allows for the smooth integration of a CDN service. However, you need either of the two powerhouse plugins:
- WP Super Cache
Super Cache is a plugin that provides speed for your website because it serves cached static HTML files, as needed. It frees up your server from rendering full pages for every user request; thus, reducing the stress on it. Moreover, it can easily integrate with any CDN because it requests files from your website directly and not from the domain.
- W3 Total Cache Plugin
This plugin is an advanced alternative if you need more control over CDN settings and caching. Although it has the same benefits as WP Super Cache, it also provides more choices in tweaking, so it meets your exact requirements.
After selecting the plugin, you’re now ready to install and activate it.
Connect the CDN to Your Website
Before connecting the two entities, you need to prepare the tools. First, you need to ask your CDN provider if you need to undertake activation steps. For instance, Cloudfare has specific instructions and an optional custom plugin to ensure that you’re able to sync the files correctly. You can contact your CDN’s technical support team if you’re unsure how to connect.
After synchronizing the files, you must tweak your website to call the CDN instead. Fortunately, your chosen WordPress plugin can do it efficiently. If you selected the WP Super Cache, you must click on the “Enable CDN Support” under the CDN tab in the WP Super Cache menu. Then, you must paste the URL given by your CDN provider to the “Off-site URL” prompt before saving the changes.
If you selected the W3 Total Cache plugin, you need to breathe a little because the process is more intricate. This option may require you to install a supporting plugin. You can discuss with your CDN provider first so that you can optimize the settings. If you’re the DIYer type, you can read the detailed instructions provided on your CDN’s FAQ.
A content delivery network is a robust alternative in speeding up your website. If you have thousands of website visitors daily, you can provide them with excellent user experience when they can access your content quickly. Your CDN provider can help you set it up on your WordPress site.
You can enhance your website performance and achieve your conversion objectives if you employ a content delivery network. We shared with you the steps on adding it to your website. Let us reiterate them here.
- Search for a CDN provider.
- Install the WordPress plugin to allow a connection between your website and CDN.
- Setup your plugin to synchronize with your CDN.
In just as little as three steps, a CDN can be up and running on your website.