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When you set up a WordPress website, you’ll find that it operates many different features and plugins that help to improve the performance and functionality of the site. Since the site performance of a website is critical to the modern customer, it’s essential that your WordPress website operates smoothly and functions properly no matter how many visitors are on the site at a given time.
One method of improving the performance and functionality of your WordPress website is by setting up Amazon CloudFront, a web service that allows your website to distribute content with high transfer speeds and very low latency. If you want the content on your website to be delivered quickly and without issue, Amazon CloudFront has proven to be a very reliable service.
By using Amazon CloudFront, massive media files such as videos can be delivered to site visitors with minimal latency, which allows you to keep your site visitors satisfied. Once you have a better understanding of what Amazon CloudFront is and how it can benefit your website, you should have the information necessary to determine if this service is right for your WordPress site.
Benefits of Setting Up Amazon CloudFront
Amazon CloudFront is a CDN that allows you to distribute website content to site visitors with high transfer rates and low latency, which are two notable benefits that are brought about by the presence of data centers located all over the world. If a user accesses content on your website from Australia or Japan, the content will still be delivered quickly because of the proximity of these remote data centers. The global network of data centers work by making cached copies of your website content that can be accessed by people from all around the world. By keeping this data stored locally, the data should never need to travel long distances between multiple server connections when being accessed by a site visitor.
There are an array of benefits that your website will immediately be provided once you implement CloudFront. For instance, Amazon CloudFront will provide your website with an ample amount of security via the inclusion of AWS Web Application Firewall and AWS Shield. These features provide a layered yet flexible security perimeter that protects against all kinds of different attacks, which include DDoS attacks and network attacks.
Without these protections, your WordPress site will be open to vulnerabilities that can easily be exploited as your site becomes more visible on the internet. The security perimeter that you’re provided with is scalable, which allows you to obtain enhanced security as your website grows. Additional security features include SSL encryption, HTTPS, and complete access control.
A great benefit of using Amazon CloudFront is that you can be confident that all users will experience high transfer rates and low latency when using your website. Currently, the content delivery network of CloudFront is comprised of 55 international data centers across 18 geographic regions. In the coming years, Amazon expects to provide an additional 12 data centers across four regions, which include Sweden and Hong Kong. Due to how expansive this content delivery network is, your website should always run well when being accessed by site visitors. One of the best aspect of using Amazon CloudFront is that you only pay for what you use. You are not obligated to make any lengthy commitments and aren’t required to pay extra for dynamic content on your WordPress website.
It is typically more advantgeous to maintain a WordPress site with Amazon CloudFront than it is to go without. While a WordPress site will perform reasonably well when you first place it online (depending on your website construction and web host), it’s important to understand just how relevant speed is to the modern customer.
Studies show that nearly 80 percent of all online shoppers who have issues with the performance and speed of a website won’t choose to return to the website in the future, which means conversion rates will be low. Amazon CloudFront and other similar services are considered to be among the most effective tools to help WordPress websites run more efficiently and with better speeds.
While some tools and plugins that you can select for your WordPress site are designed to address a single component of the website, CloudFront can accelerate the entirety of the site, which ensures that your visitors will have a fantastic user experience no matter which area of the site they navigate to. Another fantastic benefit of using CloudFront for the performance needs of your website is that the money you spend to run the WordPress infrastructure should lessen since the load on web servers will reduce. To display how popular Amazon CloudFront is for businesses with an online presence, this service is used by such companies and websites as Netflix, Zynga, ESPN, Samsung, and BBC.
Getting Started with Amazon CloudFront Using WordPress
When you’re looking to implement Amazon CloudFront into your WordPress website, the setup process is surprisingly straightforward. First, you need to sign up directly to Amazon CloudFront by going to this page. From here, you can get started with the service for free. The free tier of this service provides you with 50GB of data transfer out and two million HTTPS or HTTP requests on a monthly basis. Both of these features will last for one year before you’ll be required to start paying in an on-demand basis, which means that you’ll only pay after you use the services.
The on-demand CloudFront charges are based on four service areas, which include data transfer out, HTTPS or HTTP requests, field-level encryption requests, and invalidation requests. Discounted pricing is only available to websites and businesses that are able to make minimum traffic commitments, which usually amount to at least 10 terabytes per month. Once you’ve signed up to Amazon CloudFront, enter your CloudFront account and navigate to the CloudFront management console, which can also be found at this link. After reaching this area, you need to select “Create Distribution”, which allows you to determine how content will be distributed on your site.
The window that pops up will allow you to select either Amazon S3 origin or custom origin. You should choose custom origin, which will automatically take the content that’s necessary from your WordPress website. All you need to enter is the URL for your website in the space directly in front of “Origin DNS Name”. Once you’ve entered this information, press the “continue” button. On this page, you should leave everything blank except for the area where it asks you to fill in the space with something meaningful. Press the continue button again before finally choosing to “Create Distribution”. This distribution will then appear in the CloudFront management console. Once you’ve copied the domain name, it’s time to take the details from CloudFront over to your WordPress website.
Once you’ve entered the WordPress admin area, you’ll need to make sure that the static content files on your website go to the CloudFront server, which can be done from either the W3 Total Cache plugin or the Super Cache plugin, both of which are free. If you have the W3 Total Cache plugin installed, navigate to the content delivery network area. You should then choose to replace site’s hostname with the domain name that you copied on CloudFront. The other spaces on this page can be filled with anything you want. Since you are using a custom origin as opposed to an Amazon S3 origin, these space don’t need to be filled in with anything in particular.
If you’re using the WP Super Cache plugin, go over to the CDN tab. From here, you’ll need to enter the domain name from CloudFront into the space after “Off-Site URL”. After you’ve done so, press the “Enable CDN Support” button before saving the changes. Once you’ve taken these steps, all of the static files and images on your WordPress site will automatically come from Amazon CloudFront.
How Amazon CloudFront Works
Amazon CloudFront is what’s known as a content delivery system, which is a system of servers that delivers web pages and similar content to a user of the website. The server that the content is delivered from depends on the geographic location of the user as well as the actual origin of the webpage. As with all other content delivery networks, Amazon CloudFront is used to increase the speed of content delivery for websites that have a high amount of traffic and a global reach.
When a user requests something from your website, the Amazon servers that are closest to the user will respond to this request by copying the website pages and caching the information. If the webpage is a part of the Amazon content delivery network, this CDN will direct the initial request from the main site server to a server that’s located nearby the site visitor. During this time, the cached content will be sent to the user. This entire process occurs almost instantaneously, which means that the user won’t know when it happens. If you want to reduce latency, lessen bandwidth consumption, and improve load times on your website, the Amazon CloudFront is a great service to use.
If you’re attempting to compare all of your options, some of the other top CDNs available to you include MaxCDN, Cloudfare, and KeyCDN, all of which have fantastic feature-sets that are certain to be beneficial for your WordPress website. For instance, Cloudfare is known to have the best free plan around, which ensures that you’re provided with an ample amount of features. You’ll even have unlimited bandwidth to use with Cloudfare, which means that you’ll spend less time managing this aspect of the CDN.
As for Amazon CloudFront, it’s considered to be a very powerful CDN that comes with some spectacular advanced features, which includes everything from in-depth analytics of your site visitors to the ability to create alerts that tell you when data transfer usage is getting too high. Likely the best aspect of using Amazon CloudFront is that it’s highly configurable, which means that you can customize nearly every feature of the CDN to match your needs. For instance, you can obtain better speeds for your website by enabling GZip compression, which is a type of compression that can reduce the size of the files on your website by up to 70 percent before they’re sent to site users.
Setting Your Website Up for Future Success
If you’re looking to create the first website for your business or want to improve your current website, likely one of the best methods for boosting performance and speed of your website is through the utilization of Amazon CloudFront with your WordPress account.
If you’re interested in setting up a cloud hosting solution for your business website, contact me using the contact form. I will be more than happy to help you get up and running with Amazon CloudFront and improve the performance of your website!