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CDNs can be a powerful tool to speed up your WordPress site and support SEO. Here’s how to choose, set up, and configure a CDN on WordPress.
Whether you’re new to WordPress SEO or have been doing it for years, you’ve probably heard of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).
CDNs can be a powerful tool for WordPress sites; in fact, some SEO professionals consider them a must-have.
In this column, you’ll find everything you need to know about choosing, setting up, and configuring a CDN for your WordPress website.
A CDN is a series of edge servers typically located in multiple places throughout the world. They cache files from your website to improve load speeds for users and most offer security benefits, as well.
You can learn more about the basics of content delivery networks in these guides:
Before you explore integrating a content delivery network with your WordPress site, I highly recommend reading the two articles above so that you have a full understanding of how CDNs work.
While WordPress is the world’s most widely used content management system and a favorite amongst most SEO professionals, it’s not without its faults.
Many WordPress themes are overly bloated and come with both load speed and security issues.
To be clear, CDNs are neither a permanent fix nor a bandaid for load speed and security issues.
You should still do the work to fix as many technical SEO issues as possible.
Instead, CDNs can be used to enhance your website’s technology stack.
If you’ve put the work into improving your WordPress site’s performance and looking to take it to the next level, here are three reasons why CDNs are a great choice for you.
By its nature, WordPress is prone to security flaws. But with the right modifications, it can be made secure.
Many CDN providers offer superb security features specifically for WordPress sites, such as:
Many CDNs offer security, but it’s important to find one that offers the right balance of WordPress automation without sacrificing customization.
Improved site speed is one of the main reasons WordPress users choose a CDN.
Being able to cache and deliver your content closer to your website visitors is critical for anyone looking to improve their Core Web Vitals scores.
Additionally, almost all CDNs are now taking advantage of Brotli, a file compression technology developed by Google.
Many content delivery networks offer website uptime support in case your main server goes down.
This works by serving the latest cached version of your WordPress site to visitors until your main web server comes back online.
Here are the top features and functions to look for in a CDN for your WordPress site:
Before you begin looking for a CDN, check with your current WordPress host. Many modern WordPress hosts offer a built-in CDN through various partners.
Find out who they use and compare capabilities and features. Make sure you have those security features in addition to the edge caching.
Check your website’s analytics and find out where the majority of your traffic is coming from.
Compare your traffic’s locations with the CDN’s edge server locations to see if they’re close.
Since WordPress is the most used CMS in the world, many content delivery networks have pre-set configurations specifically for WordPress. However, not all of them do.
Find out what they optimize for and compare them to other CDNs.
While I typically try to reduce plugins on a WordPress site, having a plugin for a CDN can be really beneficial.
CDN plugins can help sync your WordPress settings to help with automatic platform optimizations and even allow you to clear your CDN cache directly from your WordPress dashboard.
You wouldn’t buy a car without researching its recall history (I hope).
Why would you go relaxed with your CDN? Make sure you research your CDN of choice to ensure they don’t have a history of vulnerabilities.
Before we get into the fun optimization steps, we need to ensure that you have your CDN properly set up for WordPress.
We can do this in a few quick steps:
That’s it! Your CDN is all set up and you’re ready to start optimizing it for your WordPress site.
Here’s the fun part…
We’re now going to take some advanced steps to put your CDN to work for your WordPress site, making sure it’s fast and secure:
Content delivery networks are a powerful tool for WordPress sites and should definitely be considered in your web tech stack.
When setting up a CDN for your WordPress site, make sure you:
More Resources:
Image Credits
All screenshots taken by author, June 2021
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John McAlpin leads the SEO strategy for Cardinal Digital Marketing, an Atlanta SEO agency that focuses on serving enterprise healthcare … [Read full bio]
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