CDN services for WordPress are one of the best ways to upgrade website performance for your users. How important website performance is really can’t be overstated. In the fast paced and often hectic daily routines of the average consumer, extra seconds for a page to load will make the difference between a visitor engaging with your content and an abandoned page the would-be visitor never sees. Literally every second counts! Just check out this graph from the analytics group Kissmetrics:
CDN services for WordPress can increase the number of eyes on your content by serving that content faster than ever before. What are they? How do they work? What are some good options? Let’s take a look!
What is a CDN?
It’s short for content delivery network. A CDN is a service that takes on the responsibility of ensuring that your content is delivered to each and every person requesting it as fast as technology possibly allows. How do they work? It’s actually really cool! Check it out:
Latency is the technical term for that really annoying delay between clicking a link on your device and the content actually appearing for you to read. Latency is affected by different things, but the physical distance between you and the server where the content is coming from is a primary factor. The farther you are from the source of the content, the higher the latency/the longer the delay.
A CDN lowers latency by maintaining servers around the world with a cached copy of your website’s content stored on them. Ideally, no matter where in the world you are, the content is served from a server that is relatively local on a global scale. The map above highlights the global network of servers used by CloudFlare CDN.
The difference in page load times is huge! Content can be delivered 3x faster (or more) with a CDN. If a 4 second page load drives away 25% of potential visitors, a good CDN can reduce the load time to just over 1 second and lost visitors to under 10% based on the Kissmetrics data cited above. That’s huge in terms of traffic and revenue.
So… what are your CDN options?
CDN Services for WordPress with Plugin Support
With a total of 4 official plugins to integrate and support their services with WordPress, KeyCDN definitely takes home the prize for immersing themselves in the WordPress ecosystem.
- WordPress plugins for super easy integration, caching, and image optimization
- Pay as you go pricing
- Customized TCP stack with IP Anycast and geolocation routing
- HTTPS and HTTP/2 with full Let’s Encrypt integration for free SSL cert
- RESTful API
- Real time stats
- Highly optimized for speed, security, scalability, and reliability
Cloudflare does have official WordPress plugin integration that’s widely used (100k+ active installs) and regularly updated.
- WordPress CloudFlare plugin for integration and optimization
- Proprietary “Rocket Loader” for performance optimization
- Configurable features
- Advanced security protocols and DDoS protection
- Global Anycast powered network
- Robust API
Incapsula does have an official WordPress plugin, but the fact that it hasn’t been updated in 3 years raises questions about its integrity.
- WordPress plugin for integration exists but is likely deprecated
- Advanced networking including global server load balancing
- Dynamic caching based on machine learning
- Extensive cache control options
- Extensive security features
- PCI-certified web app firewall
- Bot detection
Has some unofficial WordPress plugin support compliments of Delicious Brains.
- WP Offload S3 Lite by Delicious Brains supports Amazon Cloudfront integration
- One of the largest networks in the world
- Dynamic content delivery
- reports and analytics
- Extensive developer resources
- Lots of tutorials and getting started guides
- Generous pricing tiers
CDN Services for WordPress without Plugin Support
Despite not having a WordPress plugin to integrate their services, MaxCDN is one of the world’s leading CDN providers.
- HTTP/2 support
- Open source project support of Bootstrap, jQuery, and more
- 24/7 support and <5 minute average ticket response
- Custom and shared SSL options
- Real time analytics
- Great security
- Highly configurable
- Robust API
Fastly is a leading global CDN provider despite the lack of WordPress plugin integration. A Fastly plugin exists in the repo, but it is deprecated.
- Modern CDN architecture built around minimizing page load times
- Built with a focus on mobile devices
- Real time everything, no maintenance window restrictions whatsoever
- Private CDN services for individual customizations
- Cloud security and DDoS mitigation
- Support and professional services for companies of all sizes
- Usage based pricing
Akamai is another giant in the CDN business, handling up to 30% of the world’s web traffic. 
- Pervasive CDN and cloud services platform that adapts to internet conditions around the world
- Optimized media delivery scaled to meet demands of newest 4k video
- Scalable, multi-layered web security
- DDoS protection
- Security intelligence reports
- Optimized for E-commerce
- Optimizable APIs
Honorable Mention: CDN77
With all the great products and services surrounding WordPress, it’s easy to overlook some options in articles like this on the first pass. CDN77 is one that didn’t publish with this list but that definitely deserves a mention. Thanks to the team behind the product for reaching out and putting this on my radar! CDN77 features the use of Brotli, Google’s compression algorithm for supercharging website performance.
- Brotli compression algorothim
- HTTP/2 and Let’s Encrypt support
- 32 global server locations including South America and Asia
- Range of plans for businesses of all sizes and pay as you go pricing.
- Full control over data center activation
- Fully documented, powerful API
- 24/7 support
So now you know! A great content delivery network is important for any website that anticipates any degree of traffic beyond what a casual blog might receive. If you’re doing business through your website, it’s practically a must have at any level. You’re losing business if you don’t. Understanding how CDN services for WordPress work and what your options are is a necessary starting point for integrating a CDN for your site, and hopefully this article has given you a boost in that direction. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments below. Thanks for reading!