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Setting up a Content Delivery Network With Your Hosting Provider

Content Delivery Network advantages

CDNs distribute content across various data centers worldwide, ensuring that users access it from a location closer to them, reducing latency and load times. They use optimized routes to deliver content more efficiently.

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They have servers in various locations, which ensures content availability even if one or more servers go down. They provide automatic failover, redirecting traffic to functioning servers in case of a failure.

CDNs can handle sudden increases in traffic, ensuring that websites remain available during peak times. They dynamically allocate resources to handle varying loads effectively.

Statistics on CDN use and market size

The CDN market size is expected to increase to $36.5 billion by 2028, corresponding to an annual increase of 10.9%. In 2024, around 41 million live websites were using CDNs. The number of sites in the top one million worldwide that use CDNs increased from 75,000 in 2013 to just below 400,000 in 2024. In the top 10,000 sites, the increase was from 2,000 in 2013 to 6,000 in 2024, with the majority now using CDNs.

Getting started: Check if you already have one

Use CDN Finder or another tool to check if you already have a CDN on your server. If not, you can proceed to set it up. The setup is similar regardless of the content management system used. There could be slight differences if you have a WordPress hosting provider.

Set up a CDN for free

The good news is that your hosting provider can enable a free CDN. This should be more than sufficient if you have a small website with low or medium traffic.

You can choose Cloudflare or another free CDN service. Cloudflare’s free plan comes with distributed denial-of-service protection, among numerous other useful features.

If the Cloudflare CDN is included in your web hosting plan or is an additional service, it will take just a few minutes to configure.

You might have to set it up manually if your web host doesn’t support this service by default. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds. Simply create a Cloudflare or another account, add your domain name, and rename the domain nameservers accordingly.

Wait for several hours for the changes to take effect after configuring your domain to use CloudFlare. You’ll receive confirmation by email once the process is complete.

WordPress-specific CDN setup

Popular WordPress plugins for CDN integration include W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, and WP Rocket. Once you choose one, install it from the WordPress plugin repository and activate it. To configure the plugin, enter the CDN details, including its URL, into the plugin settings and choose what content the network will serve. Possible types of content are images, CSS, JS, etc.

Using a paid solution

A paid CDN service is the better option if your site encounters high resource use or experiences traffic spikes occasionally. While it’s a paid CDN provider, Google Cloud CDN comes with free SSL certificates. It also allows people to use custom certificates for free.

Can a CDN replace a host?

Unfortunately, a CDN cannot replace a web hosting provider because CDN servers usually store and serve static cached data only. Many hosting providers offer free CDN services or make them available as an extra.

A CDN can help websites on shared hosting use fewer resources, which tend to be limited on such plans. If your site experiences a traffic spike, your CDN will make sure it doesn’t cause you to exceed your resource limit.

 

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