Improving page loading speed is one of the important factors in search engine optimization. Caching and and optimizing the content delivery can drastically improve the speed of your website. WordPress has free plugins like W3 Total Cache and premium caching plugins like WP Rocket for optimization. However, choosing the content delivery network is outside the scope of your WordPress installation. Hence, you have to look carefully before choosing the best CDN for your WordPress site.
What is CDN?
Before we go further with list of CDN provider, you have to first understand what is a Content Distribution Network (CDN)? Most WordPress site uses static files like images, videos, CSS and JS files. Every time when a user opens your website, all these static files need to be served from your hosting server. This may be an easy task when the user and server are in the same geographical location. However, this is not the case in general.
Most web hosting companies are based out of USA or offer servers from one of the US states. When a user from Australia opens the site hosted on USA server, it will take few seconds in the network for the static files to reach the user. It may even delay more depending on the internet connection speed of the user. In addition to delay in page loading speed, your web server will face lot of load for serving the files for every request all over the world.
CDN caches the static files of your site and serve from the nearest location of your user. This will help you in the following ways:
- Reduce the page loading speed by serving static files from the nearest server.
- Save bandwidth of your hosting server as the CDN servers will serve the cached content instead of communicating with your hosting server.
- Some CDN also offers firewall and filter bad bots to protect your site from hackers.
Integrating CDN with WordPress
Unlike caching plugins that you can install on your site, there are different ways to integrate CDN in WordPress.
- Change your nameservers to CDN servers in DNS zone editor of your domain. This will route all your traffic through the CDN server.
- Create zones for static files and assign CNAME for that zones in your DNS settings.
- Integrate CDN using caching or a dedicated plugin.
Top CDN for WordPress
Here are the best CDN providers available for WordPress. Check out the documentation of the CDN provider and understand the method of integrating in your site. For example, some users do not like changing nameservers. In this case, you should choose the service provider carefully to fulfill your need.
Cloudflare is one of the most popular CDN providers for WordPress users. The reasons is that many popular hosting companies like SiteGround offer Cloudflare basic CDN for free. Therefore, it is an ideal choice for new bloggers and small website owners. The free plan comes with global CDN and protection against DDoS attacks. You can purchase the Pro plan for $20 per month to get additional features like firewall, image compression, mobile optimization and cache analytics.
This a popular premium CDN for WordPress. If you heard of MaxCDN and Highwinds, StackPath acquired them to become the powerful CDN service. You have no free plan with StackPath and the starting plan need $20 per month. With this plan, you can get 1 TB CDN bandwidth and 5 million requests per month for WAF (Web Application Firewall). Below is the network servers of StackPath indicates less distribution compared to Cloudflare.
If you are confused with technical terms like edge server, WAF, DDoS, etc. used with CDN services then this is the option for you. Jetpack is the free and popular plugin from Automattic team. They are the people behind WordPress.com and WooCommerce plugin. You can simply install the plugin and enable Site Accelerator under “Jetpack > Settings > Performance” section. You can enable the option for images and static files to host them on Automattic server and speed up the delivery.
Remember, Site Accelerator was earlier known as Photon. After enabling you will see the files are loaded from one of the servers i0.wp.com, i1.wp.com, i2.wp.com or 13.wp.com. Unfortunately, you can’t purge individual files and need to contact the support team for this.
KeyCDN is another option if you have very low budget. It offers $0.04 per GB up to 1TB bandwidth for North America and Europe.
You can use the CDN Enabler plugin and integrate the hostname by mentioning the file extensions to be included / excluded in the CDN.
RocketCDN is from the popular WP Rocket plugin developers. It will cost you $7.99 per month and you can easily integrate the CDN with WP Rocket plugin. You have to simply go to the CDN section and add the subscription to activate the CDN.
Though you have simple settings with RocketCDN, it uses the same StackPath network. So, it is like buying StackPath service or buying WP Rocket + RocketCDN.
CloudFront is a limited free CDN service from Amazon. You can get 12 months free content delivery service with up to 50GB of data transfer out. The premium plan starts with $0.085 per GB for the first 10TB. CloudFront offers more than 200 edge servers using Amazon’s strong infrastructure. You can plugins like WP Offload Media Lite to integrate Amazon CloudFront with WordPress.
CDN.net is another global service provider for safe and secure CDN for WordPress. However, the pricing plan is different compared to others in this list. You can get 3TB bandwidth for $100 per month for unlimited websites. They also offer optimized services for ecommerce and gaming websites. You can plugins like W3 Total Cache to integrate CDN.net with WordPress (though W3 Total Cache recommends StackPath).
As you can see, there are many options available for you to integrate CDN with your WordPress site. The best and easy option is to start free with Cloudflare which most hosting companies offer. Alternatively, you can start with the premium services like StackPath MaxCDN starting from the beginning. If you hate the setup, then go for WP Rocket or Jetpack plugins that offer super simple integration.