If you are just an average consumer of Internet, you might not be aware about CDN (Content Delivery Network). They are special services which loads your Facebook profile blazing fast, lets you watch the trending videos on YouTube in 1080 HD resolution without any buffer and let you play Battlefield and other Multiplayer games online with very low latency and ping. Yes that amazing feature that almost all the popular websites deploy is CDN !
What is a CDN
Content Delivery Network is a large and distributed server system which distributes website data with multiple data centers around the world. Think of it as the network of computers which make up the Internet but at a very small scale. They serve one purpose – cache the static content of a website and then serve it to a requester (Internet user) from the closest location at a very high speed.
If you are a website owner/administrator or use any CMS to maintain a website or blog you would know the purpose of a CDN and how crucial they are to the traffic and popularity of your website. Everyone loves a website that loads faster. We @ TechyLab also keep working on several small fixes, features and steps to make our website running stable and fast. Thanks to MaxCDN and our server admin we do not have to work too hard for this always 🙂
MaxCDN is the most reliable and popular CDN provider which is used by majority of popular websites. It is especially suited for websites running WordPress because of it’s simplicity, easy integration via W3 Total Cache plugin (details below) and very low cost. MaxCDN provides different packages suited to your needs. Whether you have started a new website or blog as a hobby or you are running a big tech blog which receives millions of pageviews and visitors everyday, MaxCDN should be the best choice for you. MaxCDN has a heroic support whenever you need it and the best part is that they are always ready to design a custom CDN package based on your needs so that you do not have to spend a fortune for using their CDN service.
1. High Bandwidth – Your website will never go down with MaxCDN even if you receive a sudden burst of traffic for an awesome content that you created. It has a “pay-as-you-use” model which is pretty awesome if you ask me.
2. Blazing Speed – I will be honest here and ask you to try MaxCDN service first. Get an account, integrate with your website and do a full website load comparison review at pingdom, webpagetest or gtmetrix. It can decrease the load time for your website/blog and make it load faster by 20-200% for sure. I have multiple accounts with MaxCDN and running several websites using their CDNs. Needless to say, I have never been disappointed with their service, support or the speed.
3. Customer Support – My big shout goes to their heroic customer support which is always prompt and ready to help to resolve any issues that you may have. They are equally good in helping you with technical issues regarding CDN as well as non-technical like your account and billing.
4. Easy to use Control Panel – I was a new user to CDN an year back. I had no clue on how to use CDN with WordPress, how to integrate it and how to monitor the usage/invoice and security. Of course you learn as you go with your experience (and with Google), but MaxCDN has a very easy to use control panel which gives you all the information and settings in an amazing looking UI. All the important controls are no more than 2 clicks away from the control panel dashboard.
5. Widespread zones – A CDN zone is a server which is located at any part of the globe. MaxCDN has several zones which are spread equally all over the globe and they keep increasing that number very frequently. This makes your website load faster from any continent/country/city on the globe.
You should always give MaxCDN a try, even if just to get an experience and feel of how awesome CDN can be for your website. If you’re not satisfied at any point of time, MaxCDN promises you 30 day money back guarantee !
How to Setup and Use MaxCDN with WordPress and W3 Total Cache
If you have already registered an account with MaxCDN, it is very easy to set it up with WordPress. While there are other wordpress plugins to setup a CDN, W3 Total cache is the most popular one and is very easy to setup with MaxCDN.
Steps to instal W3 Total Cache with WordPress and setup MaxCDN :
1. Install and activate W3 Total Cache plugin
2. To read a detailed configuration of W3 Total cache we recommend reading the post on wpbeginner. We will limit our steps to setting up W3 Total Cache with MaxCDN.
Goto your account on MaxCDN, click on Manage Zones and click on Create Pull zone. Give your Pull Zone a name (anything you wish) and then enter the URL of your website in Origin Server. Type any fancy name for Custom CDN domain for example – cloud.techylab.com or cdn.techylab.com. Also remember to enable Compression to save the bandwidth. Finally click on Create button to create your Pull Zone. On the next screen you will be shown a custom URL like “techylab.techylabcom.netdna-cdn.com“. Do copy this URL as you will need this to setup MaxCDN with W3 Total Cache.
3. The next step is to create CNAME entries for your custom CDN domain (cdn.techylab.com). This may vary depending on your hosting control panel and provider. Please contact your hosting provider or server admin for this.
Note that the name for the new CNAME entry will be e.g: cdn.techylab.com and the CNAME URL will be e.g: techylab.techylabcom.netdna-cdn.com.
4. Now back to your WordPress blog, click on Performance-> General settings on the left menu and scroll down to CDN. Click on Enable and select MaxCDN from the drop-down and click to save the settings.
5. Now goto CDN page of W3 Total Cache plugin (click on Peformance-> CDN). For the starters, leave all other settings to default and scroll down to Configuration. Here you need to specify Authorization Key which Consists of CDN alias+key+secret.
The trick here is to leave Authorization key blank (for now). Read the next step on how will this make your life easier 🙂
6. In “Replace site’s host name with” enter the subdomain you created earlier (cdn.techylab.com). Now save all the settings. After saving the settings, W3 Total cache will give you an alert on the top that Authorization Key is missing.
Again go back to CDN page of W3 Total Cache plugin (click on Peformance-> CDN). Now you will see an Authorize button. Click it and it will take you to your MaxCDN control panel to authorize W3 Total Cache via MaxCDN API. There you will see your new Authorization Key. Copy the key and paste that into CDN page of W3 Total Cache.
Now your website should be setup to serve all the static files using MaxCDN. You can also click on ‘Test MaxCDN’ to test your setup (this does not work all the times).
How to Check if W3 Total Cache is setup properly with MaxCDN
You can test your MaxCDN setup with WordPress by clicking on “Test MaxCDN” button as above in W3 W3 Total Cache plugin. If everything is setup correctly, it will confirm you that “test passed” and setup is “OK” (not a full proof test).
Now if you load your wordpress website all the image URLs should now be served from the CDN sub-domain rather than your site’s actual domain. For example :
would be replaced by
If you face any problems, let us know in the comment. Give MaxCDN a try, they Rock !