How to Choose the Best CDN for Your WordPress Site

If you have a website with global visitors, high traffic spikes, or a lot of images or videos, your page load time may be less than ideal. Even after optimizing images, implementing server-side caching, and minimizing content, you may still want to make improvements to your site’s performance. One of the best ways to achieve this is by setting up a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A CDN is a series of networked, geographically-distributed servers that store and deliver a site’s content using the server that is closest to each individual visitor. Normally, your host delivers content from a single server in a set place regardless of each visitor’s location. This can weigh down that server and reduce performance. 

A CDN distributes that weight more efficiently, improving page speed and reducing load on your server. 

Once you’ve determined that your site needs a CDN, you’ll want to find the provider that best fits your needs. There are a variety of things to consider including ease of use, performance and reliability, useful features, and cost. 

What makes a good CDN?

1. It loads content faster than your host’s server

This may seem obvious, but you’ll want to run a speed test from locations closest to where most of your traffic comes from. Do this before and after you set up your CDN so that you can measure the impact. There are several site speed testing tools out there, but Pingdom Website Speed Test will allow you to test from several different locations around the world for free, without having to create an account.

2. It has a large network of well-distributed data centers

A large network of servers is an important part of increasing performance, reliability, and scalability. Make sure the CDN you choose has a good number of data centers distributed globally and, specifically, data centers near where most of your traffic originates. 

3. It offers unlimited data without pricey upgrades

Many CDNs offer a free or low-cost plan that includes limited features and low data transfer limits. For smaller sites, this might not be an issue, but if you serve a lot of video and image assets or have very high traffic, you might need to pay for upgrades. Depending on your budget, you may want to consider a CDN with unlimited data transfers.

4. It increases the number of visitors your site can support

If your site’s going viral for all the right reasons, you don’t want to limit access because your server can’t handle the volume. A good CDN reduces the burden on your site by offloading some visits to their own servers. 

5. It has regular updates

Most major CDN providers regularly update their equipment and code, but if you’re looking at smaller providers, make sure that they’re investing in their technology and infrastructure. If they have related WordPress plugins, check that they’re updated regularly and are compatible with the latest version of WordPress. 

6. It automatically resizes images for mobile devices

One of the nice things about WordPress is that it automatically resizes images to be used in different contexts. However, if you’ve manually set an image to display at full size in a post or page, it will do so regardless of the device your visitors are using. A quality CDN will automatically resize images for mobile devices. This saves you time and provides a better experience for your audience. 

7. It hosts your videos

If you have a lot of video content on your website, it could have a large impact on site speed. To solve this, you might consider embedding content from a third-party provider like YouTube to save server space and reduce buffering. This method has some benefits — like visibility from YouTube’s built-in audience. However, YouTube doesn’t allow you to fully control how your video displays and might recommend other videos that you don’t want to promote to your audience.

Some CDNs allow you to present videos without third-party formatting, advertising, or other things that might distract viewers. 

8. It has excellent customer support

Whether you’re a new or experienced CDN user, quality customer support is a must. Research each CDN’s customer support options to ensure you get quick response times from knowledgeable staff. 

9. It has good reviews

Check reviews of the CDN providers you’re considering. Most review sites have some kind of affiliate revenue tied to them, so look for reviews from respected WordPress developers, read those in the repository, and seek the opinions of web professionals in your network to see what they like and dislike about their CDN.

Jetpack CDN checks all the boxes

Looking for a solution with all the must-haves but none of the complicated setup? Jetpack CDN is your best choice. 

And while some CDNs meet many or all of your needs, there’s a big advantage to using one that’s built specifically for WordPress. Jetpack CDN was developed by Automattic, the people behind, so you know it works well. There’s no need to jump through hoops or fiddle with complex settings and you can be assured of its stability, reliability, and compatibility with your site. Plus, we found that Jetpack CDN can at least double the number of concurrent visitors your site can handle and supports WebP image optimization.

settings to turn on Jetpack CDN

But Jetpack is known as the ultimate WordPress toolkit because it gives your site a boost in almost every critical area: security, speed, design, and more. 

Whether you’re a WordPress professional or are just getting started, you can speed up your site quickly. Learn more about Jetpack CDN.

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Rob Pugh profile
Rob Pugh

Rob is the Marketing Lead for Jetpack. He has worked in marketing and product development for more than 15 years, primarily at Automattic, Mailchimp, and UPS. Since studying marketing at Penn State and Johns Hopkins University, he’s focused on delivering products that delight people and solve real problems.

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