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Speeding up your site with MaxCDN

Since the middle of January, I've been using a Content Delivery Network called MaxCDN , to help speed up my sites

Since then, I've struck a deal with them, which gives you a 25% discount on their already low prices.

Here is the "page speed" from Google Webmasters for this site, which shows the difference of the speeds since the CDN system was setup:

NB: The "low" part at the end of December was from when I was testing with a very simple design - which I decided not to use, as it wasn't very user friendly ;))

As you can see - its gone down from just over 2.5 seconds, to only 2 seconds now!

Here is another example from a site that I've setup on MaxCDN: ( http://www.cancunandrivieramaya.com )

As you can see, it went down from just over 5 seconds, to just 2.5 seconds!!!! Thats an amazing 50% speed increase. The reason there was such a dramatic improvement on this site, is mainly due to the fact we use a LOT of Images, Javascript, and CSS on this site (you can see simply by going to the site)

Now, to the fun part. As I was so impressed with this service, I decided I would write a plugin to make it simple for people to setup their own CDN stuff on Gossamer Links and Gossamer Forum (a plugin for Gossamer Community will be coming soon)

You can find out more info on these 2 plugins here (they are free);

GLinks: http://www.ultranerds.co.uk/Products/Plugins/Gossamer_Links_Plugins/Free_Plugins/GLinks_3_0_x/CDN_L283/

GForum:  http://www.ultranerds.co.uk/Products/Plugins/GForum_Plugins/Free_Plugins/CDN_L284/

When you sign up for MaxCDN, be sure to enter the coupon code "ultranerds", as this will give you a nice 25% discount. This takes it from $39.95 to $29.96

If you wanna use this service on your own site (that isn't running Gossamer Links or Gossamer Forum), its still very simple to setup :)

  1. Signup to MaxCDN
  2. Goto http://login.maxcdn.com/
  3. Click on "Manage Zones" (on the top menu), then goto "Create Pull Zone"
  4. On this form - fill out the values as so:
    • Pull Zone Name: - Set this to your name, for example "mysite". This is where it will get the URL name from, i.e  that would convert to "mysite.ultranerds.netdna-cdn.com"
    • Origin Server URL: This is the URL of your site. For example, my one could be http://www.ultranerds.co.uk (its ONLY the domain name - don't include sub-folders etc!!!!)
    • If you have the skills (or your host is willing to do it ;)), you could setup a custom CDN URL, using the "Custom CDN Domain" value. For example, if you own the domain mycdn.com, you would enter this here (it would then give you the correct values to add a CNAME records in your DNS ... I normally just get my host to do this)
    • Label: this is just for your reference, and tells you what this CDN pull zone is for
    • Compression: you really want to turn this on, as it will use mod_gzip to compress the files (which in turn, makes the pages quicker - and also uses up less bandwidth)
  5. Submit the form, to add the new zone
  6. Once thats done, click back on "Manage Zones", then "View Pull Zones". From here, you should see your new zone. Take note of the "CDN URL" , which is what you will need to configure in the plugin settings
  7. Thats everything now, simply change your images/CSS/Javascript URLs to use the new CDN URL - for example  "mysite.ultranerds.netdna-cdn.com"


The cool thing about the "pull" zones, is that it will automatically grab any new files - so there is no need to keep manually uploading files

Example of what you could change:


...and then change it to:


Then, the first time this is requested, MaxCDN will "grab" the file /images/foo.gif from your site, and save it to their CDN servers. Its that simple :)