Supercharging your WordPress website with MaxCDN

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At CSSIgniter we use MaxCDN for about a year now at both our main website and each of our 66 WordPress theme demos (66 at the time of writing). We serve literally millions of static files and hundreds of gigabytes through MaxCDN’s servers each month. A CDN is probably the first thing a developer or website owner should implement on his website if he’s serious about his business, due to how cost effective it is (MaxCDN‘s plans start at just $9/month) compared to the benefits it gives.

What’s a CDN and why it’s so important?

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. In simple terms, imagine it as a group of servers all spread out in various places around the globe. When you upload files to your website, they instantly get mirrored in every single server of the CDN provider and when someone visits your website, he is guaranteed to be served your files from the closest server to him, minimizing his waiting time.

For example, let’s say that your site is hosted in California and a visitor from Europe enters your website. Without a CDN, all your files (javascript, css, images etc) will have to be transferred to him from your server in California, thousands of miles away, having a serious impact in performance. With a CDN provider all your files will be transferred from a server close to your visitor, in Europe, most probably inside his own country (for example, MaxCDN has servers in 19 European countries, and more than 30 European cities at the time of writing). This simple method of content distribution grants your website with a huge boost in performance, not to mention the amount of bandwidth and server stress you save from your original hosting provider.

Using MaxCDN on your WordPress website

When we first thought of implementing MaxCDN on all 60+ websites of our network (our main site plus all our demos which are hosted in a single multisite WordPress installation) I thought it would be a huge venture and an even bigger pain. Well, the truth is I was astonished that it only took about 5 minutes (and this includes the time to prepare coffee). Here’s how: after you’ve signed up for a MaxCDN account (obviously), you simply install the W3 Total Cache plugin, go to your CDN tab in the plugin’s settings, activate MaxCDN and insert your API key from your MaxCDN admin panel:

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Hit Save, and you’re done! If you found that difficult, MaxCDN’s documentation and support are superb and you can always count on them.

The question on how one can improve their website’s speed gets asked a lot on our support forums, so this post should cover everyone, the first thing that you should do besides caching your website is simply signing up with MaxCDN (their plans start at $9/month and you even get 20% off for a yearly plan!) and setting up your CDN.

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