Moving to a Content Delivery Network

Moving to a Content Delivery Network

I’ve been tracking my web stats over the last 6 months and have been working hard to optimise the site. Short of spending large sums of money on a virtual server network, I’ve just set up and am now using a Content Delivery Network (CDN). Initially I tried the free WordPress Photon CDN. This is limited to in post and page images only and was working fine until I realised that it was changing and delivering a different sized image to what I wanted. This was an issue as I have my images set to a specific size which works with everything else.

Rackspace

Following a conversation with a friend I’ve signed up for and am now using Rackspace Cloud CDN. Teamed with W3 Total Cache WordPress plugin existing and new images are automatically uploaded to the Delivery Network. So now if you are visiting from anywhere outside of UK then you will get images and other static content delivered from servers much nearer to you.

W3 Total Cache

Make no mistake, setting up W3 Total Cache is a little bit tricky. In fact you may have noticed that last night that all of the images disappeared for a while… I found that by following this guide that by creating a container and then pointing to it didn’t work for me. Instead I had to let the plugin create the container and pull the “Replace Site’s Hostname With” element itself. Then by syncing the content up to CDN and then enabling it once that process has completed I was able to switch over.

So what?

I’ve noticed that just by switching on the CDN, my pingdom tests have shown at least a one second improvement. I believe that these improvements will be most noticed by readers from the US and hope that they get a better experience as a result of this investment.

Let me know

Let me know if you have noticed an improvement in site responsiveness, or if things seem sluggish.

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