4 Responses

  1. Tim Nash
    Tim Nash June 4, 2014 at 09:36 | | Reply

    There are quite a few issues with this article but let’s deal with the truly scary one first…

    “Better Security: As mentioned earlier, the CDN makes copies of your website’s static data in all its servers. Any malicious attempts (except MySQL database injections) would be fruitless!”

    This is utter rubbish, your server and any vulnerabilities does not change because you use a CDN, if you have badly configured folder settings before using a CDN you still have it afterwards. If you have week logins, you still have week logins, open ports still open. In most cases files are stored both on your server which is acting as the origin server and the CDN so we even have the same file on the server as we did before.
    At most you could argue that a CDN adds a layer of obscurity but that is a very small factor.

    The scary part is readers or your own clients might actually take that line for granted and stop worrying about there sites security, after all you have claimed ALL malicious attempts (apart from SQL injections) would be fruitless. This is simply wrong and dangerous, it also cast the rest of the article into serious doubt.

    So now to come to the figures, which are unfortunately based on the data you produced appear to be less related to using a CDN but that of Total Cache which performs many other optimisations in addition to helping manage CDN content. Specifically including combining and minifying file content in effect when you were testing your CDN it had an unfair advantage as it was making significantly less requests which you can see in the Pingdom results. While CDNs do make heavy use of compression, so do most hosts these days even shared hosts should have gzip enabled so the reduction of 50% in page size makes little sense.

    The sad thing is that a CDN is a good solution for a lot of people, it’s not always the case and in some cases a CDN can actually slow a site down http://www.webperformancetoday.com/2014/04/22/new-findings-retail-sites-use-cdn-slower-sites/

    If you wanted to test this properly, I suggest rather then using total cache, you use a plugin, that simply changes static files urls to point to your CDN such as Mark Jaquiths’ WP-Stack CDN https://github.com/markjaquith/WP-Stack

    This ultra light weight plugin, does nothing else so would be a far fairer test, it may well be you actually see even more of an improvement then using Total Cache.

    When used as part of a wider performance strategy CDN can provide in some cases a significant speed boost, they are not a substitute for not optimising your server stack or using cheap shared hosting. They are not however a substitute for security practices, a good clean design, nor will they particularly save you any money indeed for most people they will increase your hosting costs.

    I feel this comment may have come across very negatively and imply I’m not in favour of using CDNs and it’s quite the opposite, however the best way to encourage people to improve their site performance is through reliable data, this article in it’s current form does little to promote CDN usage and a lot to harm it.

    However to give the author a bit of a get out of jail free card, there is a way to use a CDN and improve your security by basically not having a server at all and only serving static content for example https://timnash.co.uk/using-wordpress-static-site-generator/ Of course if your site is online it’s still security by obscurity, but if sitting on a laptop, with assets on Amazon s3 or some other location at least it’s someone else’s issue and not your own.

  2. Marc Connor
    Marc Connor August 20, 2014 at 16:16 | | Reply

    Interesting article, and great comment by Tim.

    I build WordPress websites and I almost never use the media upload w/i WordPress, I tend to FTP my files manually into specific folders in the root directory.

    How does that work with a CDN? Is that even a suggested method or would you recommend sticking with the media upload w/i WordPress?

  3. Vick
    Vick September 15, 2014 at 23:49 | | Reply

    Another CDN network to mention is Edgecast, i’d say. More and more businesses use this network to get their websites as fast as it’s possible. Because it’s no secret that nowadays it’s crucial to be able to deliver content to the end user without glitches and interruptions and almost instantly. The user doesn’t like to wait and he leaves a website very quickly if it doesn’t have a good speed.
    And that’s when you need to use some CDN network. Edgecast has developed an outstanding CDN service that automatically pulls and caches new media on your site in as little as one hour. SuperPOPs (points of presence) of Edgecast are located on five continents. That means that it doesn’t matter what kind of content the user wants to get. Anyway he will get it as fast as possible, because he will get it from the SuperPOP that is the closest to his location.
    At the same time adding a CDN to a website decreases the amount of processing power required to deliver your content – whether its an image, a flash video or a live streming event – to your visitors and cuts down bandwidth usage to your webserver. There is no need to say that this way you get less expenses while your visitors are satisfied and loyal and that means more revenue for any internet business.
    For those, who’d like to read more about this CDN – http://jodihost.com/2014_edgecast.php

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