Free CDN Content Delivery Network to speed up your Website

When watching a video on how to move from HTTP to secure HTTPS the presenter mentioned that he used a CDN service. Yet another acronym. I am working on fixing my DataIKnoW site and they recommended “Optimole” for images (although when I tried to install this plugin I got a blank screen). So I thought I’d check out what a CDN was.

It’s always good to have your site powered by a Content Delivery Network. Not only does a CDN save bandwidth costs from your hosting provider, but your site becomes insanely fast and tends to rank higher in the search engines.

In this article 10+ Free CDN Services to Speed Up WordPress Sourav states

Further on Sourav then outlines some free services, the first being CloudFlare service which offers a free service for Personal Websites. So I decided I’d try it out.

I have been a bit unhappy with the site speed. It has been slow to load, plus rendering issues on other browsers than Firefox. So I thought this would be a good site to explore CDN on. If its good then I’ll look to try my site on which I have a large Photo portfolio. It will be interesting to see how that performs.

The setup seems relatively simple with just changing the nameservers for the site in the Domain area of your Host Webservice. In my case its freenom so I changed them around.

When stepping through the process just make sure you have the right plan checked or else you could be billed for something you didn’t think you’d chosen. The warning is in quite small writing.

Read this part carefully and check you have the right plan prior to proceeding
I had a glitch on my email on one of my sites as I clicked on the Gray cloud and made it orange. It stopped the email from working. You need to LEAVE THE MAIL CLOUD GRAY

The proof is in the testing

I tested the site above which has a mass of large images on Pingdom, a website speed tester  and this is the results currently, prior to having the CDN cloudflare

Key Takeaway,  Page load time:
Europe: 2.21s load time (where my VPS is located)
Australia: 24.55s load time
South America: 6.08s load time
USA, San Francisco: 5.42s load time
USA, Washington: 3.69s load time
Tokyo, Japan: 22.4s load time

Its interesting, in the first image above that the first recommendation is to use a CDN.

Cloudflare say
“It may take up to 24 hours for your registrar to process this change. Once processed, your site will become active on Cloudflare. You will receive an email to confirm when your status is updated.”  So I will test the site again using Pingdom to see how it responds.

Key Takeaway,  Page load time:
Europe: 2.21s load time (where my VPS is located) – now 4.01s
Australia: 24.55s load time- now 13.71s
South America: 6.08s load tim- now 12.03s
USA, San Francisco: 5.42s load time- now 9.78s
USA, Washington: 3.69s load time-7.71s
Tokyo, Japan: 22.4s load time-12.41s
These times were taken about 4 hours later at 6.30pm NZ time. Some seem better, some worse. The more remote are reacting better, the ones nearer the server slower

I will have to check this tomorrow to see if there is an improvement. Also the Pingdom may have heavier use . I could test with alternative web speed tools also. It seems to be averaging them out.

This is the cloudflare server location Network. I presume you have to allow time for the data to propagate through the network. Maybe that is why the Australia & Tokyo ones are faster whereas others are slower at the moment.

  • Key Takeaway,  Page load time, latest for next day 24 hours later.
    Europe: 2.21s load time (where my VPS is located) – now 4.01s-now 5.38s
    Australia: 24.55s load time- now 13.71s-now 11.21s
    South America: 6.08s load time- now 12.03s-Now 10.20s
    USA, San Francisco: 5.42s load time- now 9.78s-Now 8.76s
    USA, Washington: 3.69s load time-7.71s-Now 8.81s
    Tokyo, Japan: 22.4s load time-12.41s-Now 9.65s
  • So Europe getting slower, but Tokyo and Sydney faster.

End Comment

I found the following video a good guide:

and this video is a good demo for performance:

I did have an issue with going to HTTPS on one of my photographic portfolio sites. I’d previously moved the DNS Nameservers to cloudflare. I couldn’t connect to the server when I re-copied a backup of the site across to my VPS. The issue was that since the site was broken, it was also broken on Cloudflare, but the original DNS pointers that pointed my Freenom Domain to my VPS had disappeared too (since they were re-pointed to Cloudflare). So I had the could not connect to server issue for quite a while, until I realised that I needed to re-set up the Domain Name to my Freenom DNS location, get that working, then migrate it across to the cloudflare. I couldn’t find anything on my searching of the interwongle on this issue (I think I was asking the  wrong question about WordPress and no server, rather than cloudflare and …). So a wee trap.

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