If you want to make your WordPress website faster, as well as more secure and robust, then using a content delivery network (CDN) is one option available to you.
In this article, we’ll start with a brief introduction to this type of service, including some of the available benefits, before looking at the 11 best CDN services for WordPress users in 2016.
If you’re seeking a way to reduce loading times and reap all of the benefits associated with having a faster website, then you’ve come to the right place.
What is a Content Delivery Network?
CDN services consist of a network of servers that have been optimized for distributing static files. These static files include the images, videos, scripts, and much of the content that makes up your website.
Unlike your regular web host, the best CDN services will have servers located all over the globe, instead of just in one or two data centers. As your static files are duplicated to all of these servers, no matter where your website visitors are located, there is likely to be a server relatively close by.
If you choose to use a CDN, you’ll still need a web host to store your WordPress database and other non-static files. However, these two different services will work together in tandem.
In fact, as complicated as the idea of distributing your website files to a network of multiple servers sounds, a good CDN service will work in the background, with little input required on your part.
What are the Benefits of Using a CDN?
The main benefit of using a CDN is that the speed of your website will increase. Faster loading times not only help improve the overall user experience, but they can also increase conversion rates and reduce bounce rates.
As Google uses site speed to determine where to rank a website in their search engine results, there are SEO benefits to be had from improving the loading times of your site with a CDN.
As the static files that are hosted by a CDN will be duplicated and stored in multiple datacenters around the world, an extra level of security is provided too. If one server or even an entire data center becomes unavailable, there are plenty of others in the network to ensure uninterrupted service.
In short, if you want more traffic, happier users, and better conversion rates, you should seriously consider speeding up your WordPress website with a CDN.
The 11 Best CDN services for WordPress Users in 2016
Here are 11 CDN services to explore if you want to improve the performance of your WordPress website. Most of these options feature easy integration with WordPress, flexible pricing plans, large networks of servers, and free trials.
MaxCDN market themselves as the experts in content delivery networks and they’re certainly one of the most well-known names in the field. If your website has a global audience, you’ll appreciate the large number of server locations that are distributed across the US, South America Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Through the well-designed customer dashboard, you get a good amount of control over how your website content is hosted by the MaxCDN service. This includes content provision and purge controls, usage reports, and content caching settings.
With free test accounts and a 30-day money back guarantee, MaxCDN makes it easy to try out their service with little risk.
- Multiple locations across four regions
- Intuitive and feature rich user control panel
- Real-time reporting and analytics
- High levels of account security
- WordPress integration support
- 24/7 help desk support
- Free test account option
- 30-day money back guarantee
Price: from $9/mo | More Information
KeyCDN is available on a pay-as-you-go pricing structure. This means there’s no set monthly fee, and you only pay for the data you transfer. However, other fees can be applied to your account, so do check the details in full.
Like MaxCDN, their network of servers spans the four main regions of the globe, helping to ensure the least amount of hops between your content and your end users. Thanks to the real-time reporting, you can instantly see how the service is performing and how much data you are using.
- Multiple locations across four regions
- Detailed user dashboard
- Real-time usage reporting
- Instant content purge
- Security features
- WordPress integration support
- Image optimization service
- 24/7 help desk support
- Flat rate usage pricing
- 30-day 25GB Free trial
Price: $0.04/first 10TB | More Information
3) Amazon CloudFront
The Amazon CloudFront CDN service is part of the Amazon Web Services portfolio of products, and it’s considered a safe pair of hands for some of the biggest and most well-known websites out there. CloudFront integrates with the S3 cloud hosting service, also from Amazon.
Although the pricing is very competitive, with a free 1-year starter tier, getting started with Amazon CloudFront is a little more detailed than some of the other options listed here. Thankfully, you can follow our guide to installing a CDN on your WordPress website using Amazon CloudFront to simplify the process.
- Large number of locations spread across five main regions
- Detailed usage reporting and optional access logs
- Third party WordPress integration plugins
- Online support and premium help desk options
- Developer tools and SDKs
- Pay-as-you-go pricing with no minimum fee
- Free starter account
Price: free 1 year 50GB starter plan | More Information
CloudFlare has servers in 76 data centers that are dotted around the world. Like the best CDN services for WordPress websites, your media files and other static content is automatically pushed to the CloudFlare network, while your visitors are served the dynamic content by your web host in a seamless combination of the two.
With a free entry-level plan and an easy-to-use WordPress plugin, if you want to start using a CDN by following the path of least resistance, CloudFlare is hard to beat.
- Global network of data centers
- Flat fee pricing – not charged by bandwidth usage
- Threat blocking and bot limiting features
- Quick setup with custom WordPress plugin
- Integrates with popular WordPress caching plugins
- Forever-free entry-level plan
Price: free entry level plan | More Information
5) Microsoft Azure CDN
Microsoft Azure CDN is a global delivery network for your high-bandwidth content. They offer multiple pricing plans to ensure you only pay for what you need. The free trial will help you get started.
This CDN integrates deeply with other services from Azure, including their Storage, Web Apps, and Media Services products. Therefore, if you’re looking for a highly scalable and extendable solution for your website or another online presence, this could be it.
- Real time analytics
- Integration with other Azure services
- WordPress integration
- Support for popular caching plugins
- Free trial with $200 of credit
- Vast array of pricing plans
- Pay-as-you-use rates
Price: from $0.087/GB plus free trial with $200 of credit | More Information
With their pay-as-you-go and high volume pricing plans, CND77 aims to cater to both small to medium-sized website owners and larger, high traffic online properties.
To help you monitor performance and keep on top of costs, CND77 offers a good set of reporting and analytics tools. CDN77 also integrates nicely with some of the leading WordPress caching plugins, including W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. Therefore, if you are using one of these popular tools, CDN77 will fit right into your configuration.
- 32 data centers in 26 countries across 5 continents
- Real time bandwidth, traffic, and cost graphs
- Good support for WordPress caching plugins
- Hotlink protection
- 24/7 support help desk
- Paid CDN configuration service
- Pay-as-you-go and custom high-volume plans
- 14-day free trial
Price: from $35/TB | More Information
7) Jetpack Photon
If you don’t need a full CDN service but would like a way to speed up your website by offloading the delivery of your image files, then the free Photon service is a good option.
Photon is used on the WordPress.com websites that are managed by Automattic. However, self-hosted WordPress website owners also have the option of using of this service through the Jetpack plugin.
Once you’ve activated Photon on your website, any images used in your posts and pages will automatically be sent to the global WordPress.com cloud. This takes a load off your web host and should improve the loading times experienced by your visitors.
One limitation of Photon is that your images are cached “forever.” Therefore, if you refresh an image, you’ll need to change the filename to ensure the new version is displayed to your visitors.
- Easy to setup
- Basic alternative to a full CDN service
- Free to use for Jetpack-connected WordPress sites
Price: free | More Information
Thanks to their custom WordPress plugin, enabling the CDNify service on your website is very straightforward.
Once you’ve signed up, you can start enjoying the benefits of having your static website content served to your visitors from locations across three global regions. More servers are reportedly in the pipeline for Africa, Russia, and South America.
- Servers in the US, Europe, and Asia
- Optional custom CDN service
- Custom WordPress plugin
- Integrates with the W3 Total Cache plugin
- Real-time stats and responsive dashboard
- 24/7 support
- Fixed-rate pricing plans
Price: from $10/mo | More Information
Fastly aims to help your website perform better and become more secure. This is one of the few CDN services that provides a demo of their reporting dashboard. Through the demo, you can see how requests and latency are monitored.
- Instant activation
- Real-time performance analytics
- CDN optimized for mobile traffic
- Bandwidth-based pricing
- Custom WordPress CDN integration plugin
- Free trial account
Price: from $0.08/GB | More Information
CDN is just one of the security and performance services offered by Incapsula, and with a free entry-level pricing plan for personal blogs, it could be an option that matches your budget.
Access to support is limited with the free plan. However, by upgrading to the next level, priced at $59, you’ll be able to email the help desk with any questions you have.
- Reported average website speed boost of 50%
- Global network of 28 datacenters
- Optional caching services
- Free entry-level plan
- 14-day free trial for premium plans
Price: free entry-level plan | More Information
CDN.net describes itself as the Uber of CDN, but don’t let that put you off! Reportedly, CDN.net is the world’s largest CDN. If you prefer to put your eggs in a global basket with locations that span 88 cities, 112 countries, and 179 global locations, CDN.net could be for you.
CDN.net has an interesting approach to pricing, with a single price across all tiers. Choosing a plan involves trading between server locations and data transfer allowances to find the best option for your website.
With an outdated blog, inactive social media accounts, and broken links on their website, it might be wise to proceed with caution when it comes to CDN.net.
- Large number of server locations
- Interesting pricing model
- Low latency guarantees
- WordPress integration via popular caching plugins
Price: $100/mo | More Information
Final Thoughts on the Best CDN for WordPress
The best content delivery network services store your files on optimized servers, while shortening the distance those files have to travel to reach your visitors. This can result in faster loading times, improved search engine rankings, and a better user experience.
There are a number of key factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right CDN for your website. One is its server locations. All of the best CDN services cover the main regions, such as the US and Europe. However, if your audience is a bit more diverse, then you should definitely spend some time investigating your visitor locations and then seek out a CDN that offers the right coverage.
Simplified WordPress integration, either through an in-house plugin or one of the leading caching tools will make your life easier, so be sure to find out how WordPress users are served.
Pricing plans can be confusing. Some services offer pay-as-you-go pricing, while others offer fixed rate plans. Depending on your server location requirements, you might find yourself paying more than the standard rate. Then there are overage charges to consider.
A CDN isn’t a magic bullet. You’ll still want to consider the other options for speeding up your website, such as using a WordPress caching plugin, choosing a fast web host, and optimizing your images.
Still, making use of a CDN has never been more straightforward and affordable. Now is a great time to speed up your WordPress website by distributing your static files throughout a global network of optimized servers.
What’s stopping you from speeding up your WordPress website with a CDN? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Article thumbnail image by NotionPic / shutterstock.com