Using a CDN will speed up your website and provide a better user experience. It provides an extra layer of redundancy and an extra layer of security. If you run a big site, a CDN might actually save you a few bucks.
What is a CDN?
A CDN is a lot of individual computers all linked together via the internet and private connections. Each computer is located in a different geographic area.
How does a CDN Work?
Your WordPress site is made up of many different files. Some of these files change, and some of them don’t. The ones that don’t change are called “static files.” A CDN gets a copy of each static file on your website, creates copies of the copy, and gives one copy to each computer on the CDN network. When a user requests a page from your site, the request goes to the CDN, which will send the user all of the static files from the computer that is physically closest to the user.
Are there Benefits Besides Speed?
Yes. Your website will be better at handling large swings in traffic (for when your Care Bear poems go viral), you’ll use less bandwidth with your web host, and you will add an extra layer of security.
Cool! Is there a Free CDN for WordPress?
A free CDN would be the bee’s knees, but, alas, no. CDNs are a paid service, and start around $10/month. A good option to CDN WordPress is Stackpath. Their Edge Delivery 20 plan is plenty unless your site is huge. Some of the top-notch managed WordPress hosts offer a CDN service as a part of their hosting plans. Kinsta – the awesome WordPress host that hosts BlogReactor – does this.
Do I Need A CDN Plugin to Make All of This Work?
No, but it will make your life easier. With a plugin, you just subscribe to a WordPress CDN service, install the plugin, and give the plugin your account information for the CDN provider. Everything else is taken care of transparently. Two popular WordPress CDN plugin options are CDNEnabler and WPRocket.
This article is part of our Smarter in 60 Seconds series. Articles from the Smarter in 60 Seconds series are designed to quickly give you an overview of a topic. They link to more in depth discussion and resources so you can explore further.