While this post is not necessarily relevant to most of our clients, we are always looking for ways to improve the quality of our service by researching methods to improve the way WordPress works.

A common hosting option to help improve the load times of a WordPress website, and in theory to reduce hosting costs, is to deploy a Content Delivery Network or CDN.

CDN services consist of a network of servers that have been optimized for distributing static files. These static files include the images, videos, scripts, and much of the content that makes up your website.

Unlike your regular web host, the best CDN services will have servers located all over the globe, instead of just in one or two data centres. As your static files are duplicated to all of these servers, no matter where your website visitors are located, there is likely to be a server relatively close by.

The benefits of this are that a CDN should speed up your website, which in turn can help with rankings, conversion rates and bounce rates. It is also possible to reduce hosting costs as static files likes images can be data hungry and CDNs often cost less for storage and transfer than some hosts. Though this varies on the host, and for our clients it does not matter.

If you are interested in deploying a CDN then the following 6 examples are the ones we have picked out for 2016.

  1. Jetpack Photon


The WordPress owned Plugin, Jetpack, actually has some basic CDN functionality built into it, and this is what we use on most of our client websites. It doesn’t handle all of your static files but instead offloads the delivery of your images to WordPress.

Key Points:

+ Easiest CDN to set up

+ Free to use for Jetpack-connected WordPress sites

– Caches images forever and can be frustrating when changing images on the website.

  1. CloudFlare


Cloudflare is another service we use for all our clients and it is great. They work as the main name server for our clients which allows us to set up subdomains, or email records in seconds. But this is not all they do, you can have them work as a CDN for your site, minify files such as JavaScript and provide various security options.

Their basic plan is totally free, and their Pro plan is $20 per month for the first site then $5 after. The main difference between the 2 is that the Pro plan offers mobile optimisations and a Web application firewall (WAF).

Key Points:

+ Very easy to set up

+ Much more than just a CDN, they offer all sorts of features

– During our testing there has been limited benefit with the CDN features

  1. MaxCDN


MaxCDN is probably one of the best known proper CDNs on the market, W3 Cache are affiliates for them and have built the CDN implementation directly into their own plugin.

With free test accounts and a 30-day money back guarantee, MaxCDN makes it easy to try out their service with little risk.

+ Full CDN offering multiple locations across 4 regions

+ Intuitive and feature rich user control panel

+ Real-time reporting and analytic

+ Relatively easily to implement

– More expensive than others as it incurs a monthly fee

– Harder than photon and Cloudflare to implement

  1. KeyCDN


KeyCDN is available on a pay-as-you-go pricing structure. This means there’s no set monthly fee, and you only pay for the data you transfer. However, other fees can be applied to your account, so do check the details in full.

+ PAYG Pricing

+ Multiple locations across four regions

+ Detailed user dashboard

+ Relatively easily to implement

– Harder than photon and Cloudflare to implement

– Additional fees can add up

  1. Amazon CloudFront


The Amazon CloudFront CDN service is part of the Amazon Web Services portfolio of products, and it’s considered a safe pair of hands for some of the biggest and most well-known websites out there. CloudFront integrates with the S3 cloud hosting service, also from Amazon.

One of the attractive points of Cloudfrontis a free 1-year starter tier but it is quite a bit harder than other providers to get up and running.

+ Free for a year’s use

+ One of the largest service providers available used by companies such as Netflix.

– Possibly the hardest to implement

  1. Microsoft Azure CDN


Microsoft Azure CDN is a global delivery network for your high-bandwidth content. They offer multiple pricing plans to ensure you only pay for what you need.

It is a PAYG subscription model and there is a £120 free trail with prices started at £0.0531 per GB for the first 10TB/Month which is the equivalent of £53 per terabyte

+ Free trial is generous

+ As with Amazon, Microsoft are vastly bigger and more experienced than some of the other options

– Quite difficult to implement.