A Content Delivery Network (CDN) can dramatically improve your site’s loading speed, especially from locations far away from your web server. In this post we’ll be showing you that a CDN need not cost a lot of money, in fact there are quite a number of free options.
Why a CDN?
For starters, CDNs provide you with the luxury of delivering content through the closest location possible, while offloading your server making your site faster and cheaper to run.
Here we have compiled a list of FREE CDN services.
These guys own nothing less than 23 data centers spread around the world. In addition to that, they also provide free DNS and well-maintained WordPress integration.
The free plan has a reasonable amount of features, as well as support from a community of people using the service. It is worth-mentioning that users of the free plan still get protection from bots and analytics for their site.
This service provides a staggering 1TB of bandwidth for a 30-day free trial, and is responsible for partially sponsoring jsDelivr. The main benefits of this service are that it supports both static content and data sources such as JSON and XML, allows for control through both desktop and mobile devices, as well as provides a degree of protection against DDoS attacks.
It is available to WordPress.com users via Jetpack or else by installing the Jetpack plugin for WordPress.org users. This makes it fairly straight forward to use and a good option for your maybe not-so-tech-savvy editors. Another plus to this network is that despite catering only for images, it provides loss-less compression which further speeds up page loads.
P2P-based CDN introduced by the MIT. It comes with a DNS service, requiring only appending the content’s hostname. In order to make the CDN as reliable as possible, a data structure called a distributed sloppy hash table is used so as to keep track of the servers and their location and latency, and there is also a network of anything between 300 and 400 servers. Hence, CoralCDN is capable of handling millions of requests per day and offers some opportunity for scalability.
Yet another P2P CDN. This time we have a pay-as-you-go service, allowing for 100GB of free bandwidth.
Google App Engine
As the name implies, it allows you to run web applications on the cloud. Moreover, App Engine supports multiple languages allowing you to extend your WordPress site with applications written in Java, Scala and Python amongst others. This makes App Engine note only a viable option to increase speed, but also to adapt more freedom in development and modularity.
- Google Drive – 15GB
- OneDrive – 7GB (expandable to 15GB with referrals and photo backup)
- Copy – 15GB (where every referral earns you 5GB!). Although Copy does not have the best of web UIs.
- Flickr – 1TB (that as in the advert on their homepage, translates to about half a million 7MP photos)
- Photobucket – virtually unlimited
- Facebook – virtually unlimited
- Imgur – virtually unlimited
Note: Virtually unlimited options often put restrictions on resolution, but results are often good enough for it to not be noticed through the human eye.
There are plenty of free options when it comes to delivering content from distributed locations. However, as one scales up, one may find that the free CDN is not serving his/her requests as they want and that is reasonable since running servers isn’t free. There are also a number of CDNs which have closed down due to abuse and lack of funds.
My advice would be to get on a paid plan as soon as you are experiencing very high traffic, either from your current provider if you like it or the big names like MaxCDN or CloudFront (which offers an attractive pay-as-you-go scheme).
Any other CDNs of your liking? Let us know through the comments.