The next step after building a WordPress website using Idea Maker’s guide to theme development is to publish it. At face value, this may seem as simple as using a self-hosted WordPress service. However, reliable deployments with tight security and global accessibility require more advanced technology.
This guide explains the ins and outs of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), their benefits over traditional hosting options, and how to integrate CDN servers with WordPress.
But first, you’ll have to ensure that you’ve correctly installed and configured WordPress. Check out our helpful guide for more information.
What Is Traditional Web Hosting?
Traditional web hosting enables you to publish your website on the Internet. A conventional web-hosting company typically provides space on its servers for your website as well as an email server and sometimes other services such as a secure socket layer (SSL) certificate. Once you’ve signed up with a hosting provider, you can point your domain name to your web hosting account and make your content visible to the world!
Why Do You Need a Domain Name?
When you publish your website, it’s given an IP address or “Internet Protocol address.” An IP address is a string of numbers used to identify your website. It allows users to connect to the server and access your site. Unfortunately, an IP address such as “184.108.40.2067” is difficult to remember and is unlikely to bring visitors to your site.
A domain name will help solve this problem. When you register a domain name, you’re masking your IP address with a memorable text-based title—for example, ”220.127.116.117” becomes “mywebsite.com.” When a user searches for your domain name, their browser requests the corresponding IP address from the server and displays your website.
A domain name is necessary because it allows users to find your site without remembering long strings of numbers. Discoverability is the key to online success, and having a memorable domain name is essential.
Without a domain name, your website will not be available through search engines, like Google. Though it’s technically possible to set up a website without a domain name, it’s essential if you want to drive visitors to your site.
What Is a DNS?
The process of masking IP addresses, as described above, is known as a Domain Name System (DNS). DNS converts human-readable website names into computer-readable IP addresses. For example, when you type in “www.example.com,” your computer will look up the corresponding IP address and connect to the site based on the internet protocol.
Most internet service providers (ISPs) will provide you with a DNS server. However, there are also many public DNS servers that you can choose from. Google Public DNS and OpenDNS are two of the most popular public DNS servers.
A public DNS server has some advantages over the DNS server provided by your ISP. For example, public DNS servers are usually faster and more reliable than ISP-provided servers. Some also offer extra features, such as content filtering and protection against malware and phishing sites.
What Is a CDN, and How Does It Differ from Traditional Hosting?
A content delivery network (CDN) is a distributed server system that delivers online content to users based on their geographic locations. A CDN’s primary purpose is to improve a website’s performance by reducing the distance between the server and the user.
CDNs are often used to deliver static content, such as images and videos. However, they can also be used to deliver dynamic content, such as pages generated on the fly by a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress.
Traditional hosting providers typically house their servers in a single data center, which can result in slow loading times and poor performance for users located far away from the data center. This is because the data has to travel a long distance in order to reach them.
CDNs solve this problem by placing servers in multiple locations worldwide and automatically routing requests to the nearest server. This reduces the distance the data has to travel, so the content loads faster.
CDNs are often used by large websites that receive a lot of traffic from different parts of the world. However, they can benefit anyone who wants to improve their website’s performance.
Types of CDN Servers
- Shared Hosting Providers – This type of CDN shares its resources between multiple websites. This can be a cost-effective way to use a CDN, but it can also lead to problems if one of the other websites on the server starts to receive a lot of traffic.
- Dedicated Hosting Providers – Dedicated hosting provides resources to a single website. This is more expensive than shared hosting, but it offers better performance and stability.
- Cloud-Based Providers – Cloud-based CDNs store data on multiple servers spread across different geographic locations. This provides good performance and reliability, but it can be more expensive than other types of CDNs.
Benefits of Using a CDN for Your WordPress Site
A CDN can help reduce bandwidth costs. By caching your site’s static content and serving it from a network of global servers, the CDN can off-load some bandwidth usage from your server. This can result in significant savings, especially for sites with large amounts of traffic.
2. Easy Integration
Most CDN services offer easy integration with WordPress sites. There are several WordPress plugins available that can connect your site to a CDN. Once configured, a CDN will begin caching and serving your content automatically.
3. Faster Content Delivery
One of the main goals of a CDN is to deliver content faster. By caching your content on servers around the world, a CDN can drastically improve its delivery speed. This is especially beneficial to users who are situated far from your server’s physical location.
4. Heightened Security
A CDN can also help improve security by protecting your site against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. By spreading traffic across multiple servers, a CDN can help absorb the impact of an attack and prevent it from taking down your entire site.
5. Improved SEO
Google has stated that site speed is a factor in its ranking algorithm. Faster-loading sites tend to rank higher than slower ones. CDNs can help deliver your content faster, so using one can indirectly lead to improved search engine optimization.
6. Reduced Downtime
Reduced downtime is another advantage of using a CDN. By caching your content on multiple servers, a CDN can help ensure that your content is always available, even if one of the servers is down. This can help mitigate lost traffic and revenue due to site outages.
How to Integrate a WordPress CDN
If you want to reap the benefits of using a CDN over traditional web hosting, you’ll have to configure your WordPress settings accordingly. The most convenient way is through the W3 Total Cache WordPress plugin.
How to Install the W3 Total Cache WordPress CDN Service
- Navigate to your WordPress admin panel and select Plugins > Add New.
- In the search bar at the top-right corner of the screen, search for “W3 Total Cache.”
- Select “install.”’
- Activate the plugin by hovering your cursor over the plugin’s thumbnail and selecting “activate.”
How to Configure Your WordPress Website for CDN Use
Once you’ve installed the W3 Total Cache plugin, it will be integrated with your WordPress installation. Follow these steps to configure it to work with your CDN server:
- From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Settings > General.
- Scroll down to the Content Delivery Network section.
- Select the “Enable” option next to the “CDN Type” setting.
- Enter your CDN URL into the “Base CDN URL” field.
- Click “Save All” at the bottom of the page.
Your WordPress installation should now be configured on your CDN server via the W3 Total Cache WordPress plugin.
Excellent WordPress CDN Providers
AWS CloudFront is a global CDN service that expedites content to users. It integrates with other Amazon web services, including Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, and Route 53. There are no upfront charges or commitments, you only pay for the resources you use.
Cloudflare CDN speeds up WordPress sites and improves security via its built-in firewall. The free plan offers basic caching and security features, while paid plans provide more advanced features.
CommonWP is a free WordPress CDN service that speeds up websites by caching static files on a global network of servers. It has a simple setup process and offers detailed usage statistics.
Google Cloud CDN
Google Cloud CDN speeds up the delivery of static and dynamic content. It integrates with other Google Cloud services, including Google App Engine, Compute Engine, and Cloud Storage. There are no upfront charges or commitments, you only pay for the resources you use.
CDN-Integrated WordPress Websites from Idea Maker
Need a WordPress website developed with integrated CDN access? Look no further than Idea Maker. We have a team of dedicated expert web developers ready to build WordPress sites to your exact specifications. Schedule a free consultation with us to learn more.