WordPress is a great content management system for photo bloggers. However, it isn’t always the fastest platform. There are a number of steps you can (and should) take to improve your website’s speed. Using a caching plugin (such as W3 Total Cache) and an image optimization plugin (such as EWWW Image Optimizer) is a great start to reducing page loading times.
Since photo blogs and photography websites often have a lot of large images, you might find that you need even more help in getting your site’s pages to load quickly. In those cases, a content delivery network (CDN) is your best option. With a CDN, the static content from your website (such as your photos and videos) is uploaded to servers around the world. So, when someone visits your website, your content can be accessed from a server in their area which leads to faster loading times.
For WordPress websites, I think MaxCDN is a great choice for a content delivery network provider. I’ve been using MaxCDN with my WordPress site and have experienced improved website speed—particularly with pages with large images. MaxCDN is easy to setup, provides excellent customer support, and has many levels of storage options for all sizes of websites.
Setting up MaxCDN
Setting up your content delivery network with WordPress is actually pretty easy. There are a few important steps to keep in mind. The first thing you need to do is set up your MaxCDN Zone, which determines how your static data is uploaded to the content delivery network.
There are three types of zones you can create. If your file sizes will be less than 10MB, you can use a Pull Zone. The advantage of using a Pull Zone is that your data is automatically uploaded to the CDN. If you have files (e.g. images) that are larger than 10MB, you’ll need to use a Push Zone. For video and audio files, you can create a VOD Zone. With a Push or VOD Zone, you’ll need to manually upload your files to the CDN.
Since I don’t have any large files over 10MB, I use a Pull Zone. To create your zone, go to your MaxCDN dashboard and click the Zones icon at the top. Then, all you need to do is click the Create button for the type of zone you need, enter a name for your zone, and the main URL of your website.
Connecting MaxCDN with your WordPress Site
In order to link your WordPress site to the content delivery network, you need to use a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache. If you’re not already using one, go ahead and install the plugin first. In my case, I was already using W3 Total Cache. You can then go to the settings area of your caching plugin to configure your CDN usage.
For example, if you use W3 Total Cache, go to your General Settings area and make sure database caching is disabled. Then, go to the CDN section and click to enable CDN, and then select MaxCDN if it isn’t already specified.
Next, go to the CDN Configuration section of W3 Total Cache and enter your MaxCDN authorization key and your CDN domain. Click the Authorize button to create or retrieve your authorization key. Your CDN domain is generated for you when you create your zone. You can retrieve and copy it from your MaxCDN Zones dashboard.
Be sure to whitelist your IP address in the API section of the MaxCDN dashboard before testing your MaxCDN connection.
Getting Help from MaxCDN Support
MaxCDN provides an excellent Getting Started guide and you can also schedule an appointment with one of their engineers if you need help getting set up. What I really like and find helpful is that you can get live chat support anytime by clicking on the Help prompt in the lower right corner of the MaxCDN webpage.
I’ve found the support staff at MaxCDN extremely helpful and courteous. Here’s an actual chat transcript from one of my inquiries.
Aldrin Nollase: hi
Aldrin Nollase: How may I help you?
→I’m new to CDN and just wanted to make sure I’m doing things right…
→I have a WordPress site using W3 Total Cache plugin….
Aldrin Nollase: I see, did you already integrated our cdn into your website?
→So to implement MaxCDN, I just need to configure the W3 Total Cache plugin and create a Pull Zone?
Aldrin Nollase: Yes, 1st thing you need to do is to create your pull zone on your maxcdn account and here’s how:
Aldrin Nollase: http://support.maxcdn.com/howto/create-a-pull-zone/
Aldrin Nollase: Once your done, you can now configure your w3totalcache
Aldrin Nollase: please base your settings here: http://support.maxcdn.com/setup-wordpress-with-w3-total-cache-2/
Aldrin Nollase: for our cdn to work properly on your website,.
→Got it. Thanks. So, then my files will be automatically uploaded to MaxCDN?
Aldrin Nollase: Yes it is, once you integrate our cdn our edge servers around the globe will automatically cache your website static files (images,css,js) from your origin.
→Awesome. Thanks for your help Aldrin!
Aldrin Nollase: 🙂 you’re welcome
Aldrin Nollase: If anything comes up feel free to contact us again 🙂
Aldrin Nollase: Bye for now 🙂
Improved Website Speed with MaxCDN
Since implementing the content delivery network from MaxCDN, I’ve noticed considerable improvement in my site page loading times. Below is an illustration of how my site page load times have been reduced.
Reviewed by Michael James on
Special Discount on MaxCDN
Based on my experience, MaxCDN is an excellent choice as a content delivery network for WordPress websites. If you have a WordPress photography site or photo blog with an extensive amount of images, I would definitely suggest you consider implementing a CDN with your site. You can actually try out MaxCDN for free and get a 20% discount with their special yearly pricing.