Amazon CDN for WordPress - How to Enable with plugins 1

Amazon CDN for WordPress – How to Enable with plugins

Many website owners have started using a CDN as part of their website. And Amazon CDN for WordPress websites is one of the options you can consider.

It’s a good decision too because even though most people do not realize it, a lot of the websites actually rely on Amazon for storage and distribution of media files. In this article, we will delve into the nitty-gritty of how amazon CDN for WordPress works and how to set it up.

If you’re looking for a free CDN, the following article on CollectiveRay makes a number of great suggestions: https://www.collectiveray.com/wp/tips/free-cdn-wordpress

What is a CDN?

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is an interconnection of global servers that collaborate to provide users with faster content delivery.

When users request for content from a website, the request is redirected to a server that is closest to them. For this to happen, the resource being requested will have to have been replicated on the different servers across the globe.

Almost every major website uses CDN to give their users a better user experience. When properly configured, the CDN will not only increase the speed of a website but also help prevent some malicious attacks.

A CDN should not be mistaken for a webhost because it cannot replace a good hosting solution. However, it works with the hosting solution to make your website resources more available across the world.

What is CloudFront – Amazon CDN

Amazon is an industry leader in cloud services and has hordes of solutions under its AWS portfolio. Cloudfront and S3 are the most important of these services for a WordPress website owner.

S3 allows you to upload your files to a server that is managed by Amazon. You can then redirect requests from your users to the server link. Since Amazon has one of the widest CDN networks, this will make the distribution and downloading of files just a breeze. It is especially useful when dealing with large media files.

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Cloudfront is an extension of S3 and it is actually a fully-fledged CDN. Cloudfront is very affordable because the pricing is based on use. For instance, a small blog would spend anything from $2-$5 per month. The exact amount will depend on a number of factors including the number of assets, the traffic you get, etc.

The AWS calculator can help you estimate the cost for your website before signing up.

Is Amazon CDN for WordPress useful?

Do you really need Amazon CDN for your WordPress website if you already have a good webhost? It is a valid question and the best way to answer it would be to consider the benefits of Amazon CDN. Here they are.

o Fewer server requests – since your server will not have to deliver media files, there will be fewer server requests and that will greatly improve your load times

o Detached media – storing your media files away for your server makes migration of your WordPress site a lot easier.

o Scalability – you do not have to pay exorbitant fees to accommodate for the growth of your website. Just use the scalable Amazon CDN to handle the media files and you will only pay for what you use.

o Free storage – Amazon S3 offers free storage (up to 5GB) for the first year. This gives you enough time to test and see if it is really worth the investment.

So in a nutshell, Amazon CDN is a great-to-have solution on your WordPress website.

How to set it up with W3 Total Cache

The first step to take is setting up your AWS account. Once you create an account, you will be automatically registered for all AWS services. Do not worry though because you will only pay for what you use.

The second step is setting up your S3 bucket, which is the name given to the place where you will store your files. To do this, navigate to the S3 button and click on then create a bucket.

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Select a unique name for your bucket (e.g. your domain name).

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After setting up the bucket, go back to the AWS dashboard and click on the Cloudfront service menu.

On the resultant screen, click on “Create Distribution” and then select “Get Started.” You will be prompted to provide the source domain (this is where files will be served from). Go ahead and select the S3 bucket you set up earlier.

Leave everything us as the default values and click on the “Create Distribution” button.

The final step is getting access to the API keys. The keys will allow the WordPress installation to connect with the AWS cloud without having to authenticate each time.

To get the API keys, create a user that has access to the AWS account. You can do this on the IAM console under the groups tab. Create a new group and a new user and grant administrative rights to the user. When creating a new user, make sure the “Generate an access key for each user” checkbox is marked. Store these keys or use the download link to download them.

You can then use these keys in the W3 Total Cache to connect your site automatically to S3 and Cloudfront. Alternatively, you can use Amazon S3 and Cloudfront plugin which only handles sending of static resources to AWS.