- Servers Location
Update: 9th of March 2013. After an excellent start to using MaxCDN, albeit excellent service, they to me are now a money grubbing company. Previously I could add unlimited pull zones but for reason unknown now it seems I can’t add any more and needed to purchase one if I wanted to. When contacted them, here’s their reply, “I checked your account and you are currently under our MaxCDN Starter, which means that you have a limit of only one zone, if you wish to add additional zone, you will need to pay $12/year for every zone which will be added”. What the shit man. That’s not cool.
After upgrading my web server to a dedicated web hosting, my sites performance in terms of loading times and the resources available to me has greatly improved.
This blog itself loads below 5 seconds tested using Pingdom Tool and that’s pretty good to me.
But the thing is, I’m still not satisfied and wish to tweak and optimize my websites to be blazing fast.
I wanted a souped-up site that will load instantly while at the same time it will not be a constraint to the server.
And comes in CDN or Content Delivery Network.
Using this technology promises to speed up my blog by delivering dynamic or static web content that is available in many copies throughout strategically located servers based all over the world.
So let’s say you’re in New York, the content stored at the New York node, the data stream will be sent to your current location. That’s how loading times are cut tremendously using this service. Cool eh.
Graphical view of how CDN works.
- Choosing a CDN provider
- Purchasing the right package at MaxCDN
- Installing MaxCDN with WP Super Cache
- Issues with MaxCDN
- Loading time test results of website after using MaxCDN
It took me hours of research and finding the best CDN provider out there.
I finally took the plunge and chose MaxCDN.
MaxCDN parent company is NetDNA and the service has great reviews especially for those running WordPress blogs such as mine.
I find that the service is made for serving small files, and not huge sized things like videos and audios however. That one I would recommend Amazon S3.
While there’s other CDN provider like Cloudflare and even Dropbox, after looking at the setup, MaxCDN offers a more easier, simplified and hassle-free installation.
Price wise, the range is more of the same amongst the CDN provider, although Cloudflare looks like you can really delve into tweaking into a more advance CDN options environment to cater to your blog even more in detail with W3 Total Cache plugin, but the thing is I don’t like it how they require you to host all DNS records with them.
A note too if you want to use Dropbox as a CDN service. It is not a dedicated CDN, so if you happen to outmax the resource allocated to you, your account will stop and even get suspended for breaching it’s Terms and Conditions usage.
Before signing up to MaxCDN, look for a discount coupon.
There’s always one out there, and with it you could get cheaper rates.
I used the default “MaxCDNcoupon” and got a 25 per cent off their annual plan of $39.95.
I’ll be getting a 1 terabyte amount of bandwidth. There’s however no storage given, this is not a web hosting company. Unless of course you’re adding a push/VOD zones service into your shopping cart.
This Zone is built for larger files that rarely change. The data is uploaded to an account on our Storage Array which is then automagically pushed to all of our Edge Servers. The data is served to the end user from a domain (or sub domain) of your choice that points to the CDN. The files remain until modified or the zone is deleted.
Examples: Installers, E-Books, PDF’s
This Zone is built for video and audio streaming. The data is uploaded to an account on our Storage Array which is then automagically pushed to all of our Edge Servers. The data is served from our specially modified WOWZA server using the RTMP (Real Time Media Protocol). The files remain until modified or the zone is deleted.
Examples: Flash, Windows Media, RealPlayer, Quicktime Files
This Zone is for your every-day support files. A Pull Zone will automatically pull the data from a location that you specify upon the first request for the file. The files are served to the end user from either a subdomain of netdna-cdn.com or a custom domain (sub domain) of your choice that points to the CDN. The data is automatically purged from the server after an customizable amount of time.
I’ll be using MaxCDN pull zone service only, so I’m good and spared by the exorbitant prices if you want to use Push/VOD zones.
Current storage pricing at MaxCDN is as follows: 10 Gigabytes for $9.95 per month, 25 Gigabytes for $24.95 per month and 100 Gigabytes for $99.95 per month.
Installation is a synch with MaxCDN and my WordPress caching plugin of choice, WP Super Cache. You’ll have your new CDN feature up and running in minutes.
Step #1 – Create a pull zone.
Go to the Dashboard. Then choose ‘Zones’. Click the ‘Create Pull Zone’ button. When the page loads, key in the necessary details in the field per your domain. I usually put in cdn.yourdomain.com for all my sites to standardize the procedure.
Using the values given by MaxCDN here, key into Step #2.
Step #2 – Create CNAME at where your DNS is hosted.
Login to your website cpanel. Go under ‘Domains’ section and choose ‘Simple DNS Editor’. Then once you’re brought to the page, again key-in the provided value found in Step #1.
Step #3 – Enable CDN feature under WP Super Cache.
Login to your WordPress. Go to WP Super Cache section. Then choose the ‘CDN’ tab. Highlight the tick to enable the feature and key-in the URL that you used in Step #1. And you’re done!
Although using MaxCDN was a breeze, there was a couple of small issues that I faced.
Problem #1 – Pull Zones
- For one, somehow or rather my pull-zones that I created was missing the next day I logged in. It seems MaxCDN is in the transition of changing to a new GUI and it seems the backend is not properly displaying the frontend.
I used MaxCDN ticket support for my issue and they responded swiftly in a matter of hours. They replied that my pull-zones are still existent in the database but since I’ve recreated them, they let it be and didn’t used a backup to recreate my pull-zones.
Problem #2 – Bandwidth
Another problem was with my bandwidth. When I registered with MaxCDN, my account was allocated 1TB of bandwidth.
But my control panel is showing 0TB bandwidth remaining. Again I used the ticket support and below is their response:
“Thanks for emailing us. I checked your account and from our system, your account has 1TB of bandwidth. Can you send us a screenshot of your dashboard with bandwidth balance on it please? I understand that this should update after some time.”
Second response – Around 30 minutes later
I would like to assure you that your bandwidth allotment is still present in our records. There is a bug with the account control panel, which causes the bandwidth-remaining on 1-year starter packages to not display in dashboard.Our development team is currently working on the problem, and they should have it fixed within the next week.
Problem #3 – Domain & DNS Editor
- The instruction was unclear when it comes to the part where I had to create the CNAME. If you’re hosting your domain at the name registrar like GoDaddy like me, the DNS is not hosted there but at your server instead.
Also if you’ve a root access to a dedicated server like me, you could add the CNAME via the ‘DNS Zone’, however I recommend you use that specific domain method of ‘Cpanel > Domains > Simple DNS Editor’.
The tool used for the below benchmark is Pingdom Tool.
Before CDN was used
After CDN implementation
My blog loading time is somewhat fast and now it’s even faster now after CDN!
So far I’m pretty satisfied with MaxCDN. All the issues have been ironed out the week after signing up with them and I foresee a long-term affair with CDN.
As Content Delivery Network gets more popular I’m hoping the prices of such service will drop and I’ll probably jump ship if needed if there’s a cheaper and better alternative out there.
But for now MaxCDN is the top dog among WordPress blog users out there looking for Content Delivery Network.