In this article we outline the best WordPress CDNs and suggest the overall best CDN for WordPress. A CDN, short for Content Delivery Networks, as you might have already guessed, make light work the business of delivering webpage content at speed. They are the expedited shipping option of the internet world. Before before we delve into which CDN trumps the rest, here’s a CDN crash course to bring you up to speed with what these networks do and how they do it.
In its most basic form, a CDN is a pooled server network, spread out across the globe in multiple geographical locations. They are there to fulfill one goal; host and when the need arises, deliver both the static and dynamic content of your WordPress website to internet users. But isn’t that what my WordPress hosting does? Yes and No.
While your WordPress hosting service does host and deliver website content to requesting internet users, it is domiciled in one location. When a user from a place that’s far off from your hosting provider attempts to access your website, it’s bound to load slowly because of the distance between the server and client (user). This phenomenon is known as latency.
WordPress CDNs host copies of your website on several servers in many locations. As a result, whenever a user attempts to access your site, he/she is delivered the needed content from a nearby server at a much faster rate.
Now that you have an understanding of how CDNs work, let’s look at the options
- $20 per month subscription – regular, $200 per month – business
- No bandwidth charge
- 77 data centers (including coverage for Africa)
If you’ve been a regular internet user for a long enough, you’ve probably come across Cloudflare in one of your browsing sessions. That’s because it offers what is arguably the best free WordPress CDN services available on the web today. Hack/intrusion protection, as well as content delivery optimization over its global CDNs, are standard offerings. If you run a small website, this might be all you need.
That said, for the full Cloudflare experience, the kind that is more suitable for larger websites (e-commerce stores, company sites, etc.) the company is charging a $20 premium and we dare say it’s worth it. This complete package unlocks DDOS protection, mobile optimization, unbridled support, multiple user access and an integrated website application firewall amongst other things.
DDOS protection ensures your site never experiences downtime consequent of a Direct Denial of Service attack. Mobile optimization guarantees stellar site performance for mobile devices, and a website-wide firewall shields your site from the prying eyes of hackers. Add all this to its ingenious ‘Rocket Loader feature’ which optimizes 3rd party resource delivery/usage, and you get a clearer picture of why so many people chose Cloudflare’s CDN solution for WordPress.
- Simple and easy to use
- All standard features at the click of a button
- Custom pricing model
- 32 data centers
Compared to CloudFlare, CDN77 is a relatively new kid on the content delivery block. But that doesn’t take anything away from the efficiency and effectiveness of its service. With over thirty-two data centers (this number is steadily growing) domiciled in twenty-three countries, this CDN provider possesses all the requisite infrastructure to deliver lighting fast webpage loading times.
CDN77 is also incredibly easy to use. Its major value proposition is its fluid and intuitive interface making it the ideal CDN service provider for anyone unfamiliar with or simply not interested in complexities of integrating CDN systems onto their WordPress site. With a simple plugin (like the W3 Total Cache plugin) you could easily install CDN77 and get right into the business of optimizing your WordPress webpage load time. And while there’s no free service, CDN77 offers a 14-day free trial to test the waters. They’re confident you’ll sign up after this period. So it’s a worthwhile WordPress CDN to test out as there is nothing to loose.
- 30-day trial
- $40 for every terabyte of traffic
- Comprehensive dashboard with live reporting and analytics
- Twenty-five data centers
- Free SSL
Another feature that makes KeyCDN particularly appealing is the fact that unlike other services, it doesn’t try to force all its product offerings down your throat. Instead, you’re afforded the freedom to pick what you want, how you want it via their pay-as-you-go service delivery model. So if you’re a small business trying to scale, you could subscribe to all the essential CDN services you need and keep the budget down by excluding ‘luxury’ features.
KeyCDN is a robust and upwardly scalable CDN solution developed to serve as a single hub for all your CDN related needs, especially as a WordPress CDN. Developers and webmasters alike love it for its compact, lightweight yet fully capable architecture. As you would expect give its all-encompassing nature, DDOS protection, SSL security, state of the art SSD servers, restful API are all standard features.
There’s also a commitment-free 30 day free trail window, although it’s important to note that this will only plug you into five CDN zones, with each additional zone costing an extra $1. Integration to your WordPress website is also relatively easy, you can get the job done with plugins like Zencache, Super Cache or our personal favorite W3 Total Cache.
- 100GB per month at 9$ every month
- Instant purging, real-time analytics, custom SSL are standard
- 19 native data centers and an additional 57 partner centers in over 90 countries
Stackpath blends affordability, heightened compatibility and an impressive list of cutting edge features into a stellar CDN solution. Again everything you’d expect from a typical CDN is bundled into the package. StackPath, however, takes the CDN business up a notch to provide a slew of proprietary features including Edgecashing, Edgerules, and Edgesecurity.
Edgecashing uses an ingenious system to cache all https files related to your website automatically. With this system in place, your site is optimally primed to handle whatever volume of traffic is thrown at it from the internet. Edgerules allow micro level specification of virtually every metric in the content delivery setup. This allows you to seamlessly determine just how you want your content to be served to your site visitors. Edgesecurity, on the other hand, is Stackpath’s native security layer. It offers the usual security protocols and then some. For example, with it you can actively implement geographical access filters to moderate who visits your site.
All this and more at a price point of $10 every month. Absolute value for money
- Easy to use
- One-click integration
- Real-time monitoring and analytics
To most WordPress webmasters Jetpack certainly needs no introduction. What might not be common knowledge, however, is the fact that their more recent upgrade added a free CDN solution. They call it Photon, and it essentially hosts and delivers images on your site via their worldwide WordPress.com network.
The effect of this seemingly simple optimization is a remarkable improvement in page load times and mobile optimization. And the best part is unlike virtually every other option on this list, setting up Photon for your website is as simple ABC. All you have to do is install the Jetpack plugin and activate the free photon service, viola! Your site is automatically configured and optimized to serve your visitors better.
So which CDN is best?
Overall which CDN service provides the best value? Well, that’s entirely dependent on your needs. If you manage a small website, Jetpack or CDN77 are an excellent place to start. For both, ease of usage and bang-for-buck are a strong point.
If you operate a large scale website with massive data traffic, KeyCDN or Cloudflare would be the better option. Both offer enterprise-scale solutions purposely engineered to handle even the most demanding content delivery needs.
Stackpath CDN is distinctly unique in that it is more developer friendly. This comes in handy if you have custom needs that need to be implemented on an API level.
So, as a summary, before settling for a WordPress CDN service the first thing you should do is work out your needs. When you know what you want you can then easily select a CDN that perfectly fits.