Webmaster's blog - featuring topics related to SEO, web development, graphic design, content creation and social media marketing.
Without a doubt there are so many articles related to website speed. Certainly it is very important to have fast website or blog – first because website speed plays important part for achieving higher SERP and 2nd (which probably is more important) to serve your content faster to website visitors. Nobody likes slow website!
Realistically, every website suffer from slow loading, unless it is hosted on cloud or have already utilize use of CDN. For instance WebmaisterPro is hosted in USA – loading time in Texas is 6sec, in Washington, DC – 8sec, but loading time in Europe is getting higher – London, UK – 10sec, Istanbul 12sec... and this is in term of static test – the reality is much different with 100 members on our website the speed goes up to 25sec! Don't get us wrong – we are also using CDN and gzip compression, just the answer to have faster website isn't very simple and depends on so many factors. Honestly, I am getting really mad when I read an article written by some copycat blogger that give “superb tips” rewritten from “A-list” blogger that also doesn't have a clue about server-side optimization, script optimization, number of requests, technology used, database connections and so on.... but at the end of the day everything is related! The most frustrated part is that every commenter says “thank you, excellent tips, I will follow your tips...”, well don't do that, there are official guides follow them, not some pseudo expert that have through 10 understatements or have been paid to review something that have never use!
If I try to get deeper and review every aspect of website speed, probably I will need at least 500 articles!
Until recently CDN was just an option for mid-size and corporate websites with several thousand page views. Using CDN was expensive, difficult to implement and in many cases CDN was even slowing down the website adding extra HTTP requests and because servers are too far from each other.
Today there are few free CDN options, yeah you read that right FREE CDN, means free lunch, free beer, you get it for free!
CloudFlare is probably the oldest and the most popular free CDN option, as well as significant security application that can reduce spam levels, block proxies, fake bots and so on. We've tested CloudFlare on few different platforms – WordPress, Joomla and Drupal and we experienced significant performance improvement from many different location we've tested connection with particular website.
Setup is quite easy, but there are some additional things that might require some knowledge of web development – in general you just need to change name server settings. Probably we will write a detailed guide related to CloudFlare set-up as there are two option for implementation – mod_cloudflare or CloudFlare plug-in for popular CMS. Mainly you just need to change NS settings. In addition, there are so many useful cloud based applications that you can integrate directly though CloudFlare and improve functionality of your web project.
Another free CDN that offer security benefits. Features of Incapsula surpass CloudFlare by many times, but (there is always but) they will charge you, if you hit bandwidth limit. However significant feature is free DDoS protection, web application firewall and website analytics.
Our experienced with Incapsula are mixed – we've tested their plug-in with Joomla and the website became slower, after few hours Incapsula made website unavailable. I have to express my regards to support team that were very fast in response and discovered a bug in application, I think currently there are no issues with Joomla. We haven't tested Incapsula WordPress related plug-in as it seems to be outdated and support WP up to version 3.2.1.
We just found about Cloudinary, which seems to be typical CDN – offering free 500MB space for image files and easy integration with WordPress. However they allow bandwidth of 1GB only which might not be enough for blogs with Alexa rank around 500k, but more than enough for websites with small images and low level of traffic.
This option depends on your skills – technically you just need to host static content on sub-domain or remote web host. The main advantage is that this will create cookie free domain, but major disadvantage is that this might even make website slower as it will add extra HTTP request. Usually the easiest way to set up self hosted CDN is through some of the caching plug-ins for popular CMS.
Give it a try! Those are free CDN options so it definitely worth checking the difference!
If you have any questions, personal experience or troubles with any of these CDN applications don't hesitate to drop a comment on our state of art do-follow commenting system.