SiteGround is one of the popular and recommended hosting companies by official WordPress.org site. Though many people complain the TTFB is slow on SiteGround servers, recently they have ramped up many measures to optimize the speed. You can use the features like Ultrafast PHP and multi-level SG Optimizer caching to take your site to next level. SiteGround CDN is the latest addition to the list and we will explain the features and how to setup it on your site.
SiteGround CDN Service
Unlike SG Optimizer and SG Security plugins, SiteGround CDN is the service available only for their customers. So, you should use one of the SiteGround hosting plans to get this CDN. As of now, users can configure Cloudflare through Site Tools section to enable CDN and the SiteGround CDN is available as a beta feature from Mar 2022. Though using Cloudflare is fairly easy when you have an account, it is a pain task to configure Cloudflare though SiteGround. For example, you should use www subdomain to enable the service and SiteGround will automatically add a redirect in your .htaccess file for this purpose. However, you can add a site without www subdomain directly in Cloudflare account.
So, the best alternative for Cloudflare is to go with the new SiteGround CDN service to speed up your site. Before we explain how to setup the service, here are the stuff you should know about the new CDN:
- SiteGround CDN is on cloud and uses their centralized DNS.
- You can configure the settings within Site Tools section and do not need any additional plugin of login.
- No need to change nameservers like Cloudflare setup.
- Both www and non-www versions will work with the new CDN.
- You need to enable CDN for each site separately.
Access CDN Setup Page in SiteGround
Follow the below steps to access SiteGround CDN page:
- After logging into your SiteGround hosting account, click on “Websites” menu.
- Click “Site Tools” button showing against the site that you want to enable CDN.
- Once you are in the Site Tools section, navigate to “Speed > CDN” section.
- You will see the information regarding beta version and pricing details (we will explain this in later section). Select the check box for accepting their terms and click on “Proceed to CDN Tool” button. Note that this page will disappear after you enable CDN and you will directly land on CDN section when you go to “Speed > CDN” menu.
When you are in CDN section, click on the “Select Domain” dropdown and choose your primary domain. The beta CDN version does not support subdomains and at this point you have the only option to go with the primary domain. This is because Site Tools setup considers all your subdomain as separate sites and keep them outside the /public_html folder of your primary domain. However, the CDN will cover all subdirectories part of your primary domain as they are available under /public_html folder and do not have separate DNS records.
Features of SiteGround CDN
You have the following basic and premium settings for SiteGround CDN:
- CDN – toggle this switch on to enable or disable the CDN service for your service.
- Cache purge – click on the “Purge Cache” icon to completely delete all cached files from the CDN server.
- Development mode – enable this to temporarily bypass the CDN setup and access the origin server directly. You can use this for testing purposes and disable it when everything is working fine.
- Dynamic caching – enable this to cache dynamic content which will improve the speed by avoiding database queries and reduce contacts to origin server.
- TTL – Time to Live is the duration of keeping cached content. You can this to 24 hours if your site content does not change frequently.
- Always online – enable this feature to serve cached pages from CDN server even though your hosting server is down.
That’s it!!! You are done. If you have any feedback, click on the “Leave Feedback” button to send your details to SiteGround guys.
DNS and CDN
Note that after settings up CDN, your primary domain’s traffic will be automatically redirected through CDN server which means your DNS records will change. You can go to “Domain > DNS” section and confirm that it shows “Active CDN” with no option to edit. Clicking on the “Manage CDN” button will take you back to CDN setup page where you can disable the CDN option to make the DNS records editable.
Currently SiteGround CDN is introduced as a beta feature which you can expect to be available as stable version in few months of time. Beta CDN is free for all SiteGround hosting plan users and you do not need to purchase additional add-on service for this. When the beta period is over, SiteGround will automatically convert the service to a premium version.
- Once beta period is over, subscribed users will get 3 months free premium service.
- After 3 free months of subscription, you will be charged $12.49 per month for using premium SiteGround CDN.
However, it is not clear whether the charge is for enabling CDN or the basic features will be available for free after beta period is over.
Recently, SiteGround changed to centralized DNS servers using ns1.siteground.net and ns2.siteground.net as their nameservers for all plans. This will help to reduce the latency by routing HTTP requests to CDN through centralized DNS. In addition, you do not any third-party setup with the new CDN can also help to improve the speed. Since this is a new service, you need to wait and see what speed improvements it can bring to your site. however, instead of using Cloudflare you can go for the native SiteGround CDN to set it up easily and get optimized performance.