Do you have a WordPress blog, but are experiencing problems with your website loading times? Then perhaps you would benefit by using a content delivery network (CDN). Also known as a content distribution networks, this allows for the hosting of your website data across many different network nodes. This means that in order to load your website several nodes could be down, but if at least one is operational then your website load speed will not be affected.
This type of hosting does not replace the traditional website hosting, it is only an additional layer of hosting that you invest in so that you get the benefit of increased reliability and faster website load speeds. However, with so many different CDN out there it can be difficult to make a choice. Read on for a few CDNs you should check out when choosing the right one for your needs.
The great thing about CDN is that there are many good quality ones which are free. Take CloudFlare for example, it has 23 data centers all around the world, and is already servicing thousands of websites. It has proved to be one of the more reliable CDN out there, and this is especially true if you only consider the free ones. Having such a large number of data centers around the world is beneficial for the users because it allows for quick load times. To an extent the load speed of a website is determined by the distance between the website browser and the node from which the requested data is sent. More data centers equals to this distance being shorter on average. Furthermore, CloudFlare is incredibly easy to set up, as a contributor to WPEXPLORER notes:
To top it all of, its up-to-date WordPress plugin makes integrating its services in your site, a breeze.
The range of plugins that are available for WordPress is one of the most attractive features, and why so many people use it as their content management system of choice.
This CDN is reasonably priced at $9/month, which comes with a bandwidth limit of 100Gb. This should be enough space for most websites out there. It does have options which come with additional features, but at a greater price point. However, this CDN isn’t without its flaws. A writer for Design Razzi explains that in Asia there isn’t much coverage:
There were some complaints that the CDN network has no edge location in Asia, so it can’t optimize site performance for visitors from this area. It is true but it will be solved soon as MaxCDN has already planned on building more 4 edge servers in Asia/Pacific including Hong kong, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.
For those of you not living in those areas, you do not need to worry about the ability of MaxCDN to get you the service that you are paying for. Whereas, if you do live in the locations mentioned then you will need to seek out a CDN that has network nodes in your local area.
This is another free CDN, and it has one trait in particular that a lot of webmasters find appealing, the fast connection speeds. If you have a website that has a lot of images, videos or downloadable content then Highwinds is the CDN for you. It can be very frustrating in this day and age when you have to wait more than 10 seconds for a video to load. Any increase in speed of connection that you can get for your users is going to prove to be vital to keeping them happy, and Highwinds can help you do that.
Almost all the third party testing tools indicate Highwinds to be the fastest CDN out there. This means that anyone out there who values speed above anything else should try out this CDN first. Furthermore, Highwinds has a feature called SiteTracker, and as the name suggests it allows for the monitoring of traffic data related to your website. What’s great is that this data is available to you in real time. Dan Rayburn from Streaming Media Blog explains why in the data reporting department Highwinds is ahead of the competition:
All customer data is updated typically in 30 seconds or less so it provides actionable information during a promotion or campaign, not just after it has ended. While other CDNs offer near real-time reporting, typically it is at intervals of ten minutes or more.
Highwinds is a CDN that prides itself on innovation, which means that it is the one to choose if you like little additional features which you won’t find elsewhere.
One of the more popular players in the CDN industry is EdgeCast. It has a free trial option which is great for those of you who have never used a CDN before, and would like to find out what it’s all about before committing themselves financially.
There is a lot of credibility with EdgeCast because it has the following well known tech names on board: Tumblr, Yahoo, SoundCloud, Technorati, Pinterest, Myspace and jetBlue. Even though EdgeCast has very large clients, it is known as one of the go to CDN for small online businesses. That’s because it provides a service which gives attention to all of this users, no matter how small they are. An agent is assigned to each member in order to get the website optimized for speed and reliability. An expert for Top 10 Reviews explains some of the features which makes Edgecast so great:
EdgeCast promises 3-second real-time reporting, which is the quickest response we encountered. In addition, integrated into EdgeCast’s system is PageSpeed, Google’s front-end optimization technology.
The content delivery networks mentioned in this article are just some of the options you should explore. You might need to evaluate several candidates very closely before you can place your trust in a network to host your important website data. The effort it takes to find a suitable content delivery network is well worth it when you consider the many advantages they bring to the table.
Steven Johnson, a WP Hosting Reviews senior editor, works from Atlanta and covers all things related to WordPress and Hosting. He graduated from Georgia Tech in Chemical Engineering, has managed hosting companies and now builds WordPress and Joomla Websites for small to medium companies full time.