Combine CloudFlare with CDN.net for ridiculous speeds.

There’s a lot of reasons to use CloudFlare. There’s many more reasons to use CDN.net. But did you know you can use them together?

First, why would you use both CDN.net and CloudFlare?

Using a CDN.net & CloudFlare combination offers many performance and security enhancements to a website. CDN.net offers high performance CDN, that typically outperforms CloudFlare’s free offering. As we’re a paid product, while CloudFlare is freemium, we can focus our efforts on ensuring our clients get a high cache hit rate (see more on that here), and ensure we have proper capacity at each of our 86 CDN PoPs.

Using CloudFlare’s free plan in conjunction adds a few additional benefits, like real time analytics, basic DDoS, and WAF protection, email address obfuscation, and always online caching, so if your hosting provider goes down, CloudFlare can show a cached backup. It’s the best of both worlds – high performance CDN from CDN.net & added security through CloudFlare.

To get started, you’ll need to have an account with both CDN.net & CloudFlare. If you’re using another CDN provider, you can still follow along and see the benefits, but you’ll have the best experience if you’re using CDN.net. You can signup to both using the links below.

[Signup for CDN.net low latency CDN]

[Signup for Cloudflare]

Getting started using CloudFlare & CDN.net.

1.) First you’ll want to create a new resource in the CDN.net portal.

2.) Upon signup at CloudFlare, it will automatically recognize your existing DNS zones. You will want to make sure all appears correct before proceeding. If everything looks good, you’ll need

to create a new cname entry to your CloudFlare DNS zone. This cname entry will be the CDN hostname that you created in the CDN.net portal.

[Note: You will want to make sure the orange CloudFlare next to the DNS entry is not activated. When the cloud is orange, it is activated. In this case, we want it gray, otherwise you will not see all the performance benefits from CDN.net.]

3.) You’ll need to do some ‘advanced’ configuration of your CDN. service. Don’t worry, it’s super simple. First click on the advanced button under your CDN resource.

Next, just check the box set to ‘ignore set-cookie’ attribute. This will ensure that your static content is still delivered through CDN.net.

4.) There’s one final step! If you were not already using CloudFlare, you will need to change your DNS to point to CloudFlare’s DNS servers. CloudFlare will have given you the DNS servers at signup, however if not, you can retrieve them from the DNS section of the CloudFlare control panel.

Now you’re all set. You will need to setup your site to use CDN.net, however we’ve made that easy too. See our CDN integration guides for WordPress, Drupal and many other popular platforms in our knowledgebase.

What a CDN Can Do for Your WordPress Site

It’s no secret that speed is a factor for a successful site. It’s important for keeping readers engaged and it’s even a factor for search engine quality signals. Once your WordPress site earns a little traffic, you might start to see some performance issues. A single-node server and hosting account can only offer so much bandwidth and resource capacity. If you really want to offer the best, fastest possible WordPress hosting for your users, you need a CDN.

A Little Technical Background on CDNs

Most people wonder what makes a CDN different from traditional hosting. Without getting too technical, CDNs deliver content in a different way than a server hosted in one location. A CDN doesn’t replace traditional hosting. You still need a standard hosting account, but a CDN can be purchased as an additional way to deliver content to your users much more quickly.

When you open a site in your browser, the browser does a DNS lookup to find the location of your server. It then sends a request to your host server to get content from the WordPress site. When one or two people do this at the same time, there isn’t much performance different. Imagine a thousand or even a million people requesting content from your server. This takes a large amount of bandwidth and server resources.

With a CDN, your content is cached across several servers in several different countries. When someone on the west coast of the US requests your content, a CDN determines the geographically closest location and delivers the cached content from that particular data center.

You may wonder how much of a difference it makes to have a CDN deliver content. Even though data moves at the speed of light, it still takes much longer to travel across the planet versus close to the user’s location. Just open a website you know is hosted at the other end of the world. You’ll notice a considerable difference from a site that is hosted more locally. This doesn’t mean a data center must be located in the same state or even the same country. It must just be located close to your users’ location.

So What Can a CDN Do for You?

Speed is the obvious advantage to most people. Even a second can have an impact on your user engagement. User engagement is measurement based on several factors, but the main factor is if users continue to read your content or browse your site more in depth after initially loading your content.

Another advantage is site uptime. Imagine again having one server that holds your WordPress site. When that server crashes, your entire site is out of order. If you make money with your site, this problem can be devastating to your bottom line. With a CDN, your site is cached at multiple data centers. If a server goes down at one location, your content can be served from the other data centers. You might lose a bit of performance, but at least your site isn’t out of commission totally.

Overall, with better performance you will see better user engagement. Ultimately, load times affect your bottom line. After four seconds of load time, you lose 25% of your readership. This means that 25% of people abandon your site or choose a competitor for product. That’s a high percentage for site owners that rely on user engagement to attract sales or ad revenue.

More and more users are browsing the Internet on mobile. Mobile devices are inherently slower than desktops, so your page performance is imperative to attract these users. Major search engines such as Google even incorporate page speed and mobile friendliness into their algorithms.

Some more facts about user engagement and performance:

  • After 3 seconds, your customer satisfaction decreases by 16%
  • 47% of consumers expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less
  • 40% of consumers completely abandon a site after 3 seconds
  • If your site is making $100,000 per day, a one-second load delay will cost you $2.5 million every year

Finally, Google announced in 2010 that site speed would be a search ranking. If you are out of ideas for SEO, site speed can give you just that little boost to compete against higher ranking competitors. Google has hundreds of ranking factors, but you can ensure that your performance factor is a good quality signal with a CDN.

CDN setup isn’t difficult. Even if you’re not technical, it’s a simple process using CDN’s intuitive control panel. Even a small site can benefit from a CDN as traffic grows and your content becomes more popular.

Push vs pull – which CDN is best? Why can’t I have it both ways?

Often you see posts describing the difference between push and pull CDN but which is best for you? And why can’t you have it both ways? CDN stands for Content Delivery Network, a network of multiple locations that deliver your content to the nearest user, as opposed to one server location, which can take time to deliver the content.

CDN allows users speedy access to your web content, less time loading and buffering, but there are difference types of CDN. So which one is best if they both do the same thing in the end? I’m going to try and show you the difference between push and pull CDN and convince you that sometimes the simplest way is the best way when it comes to content delivery.

What are Push and Pull CDNs? – Well it’s all in the name 

Push CDNPush CDN

Content is distributed proactively to edge servers in your chosen CDN locations and the web content is automatically populated in the CDN PoP closest to your end-user’s location. So when the end-user sends a request for a file (html, video, css etc) the CDN has it all ready it a neat package and it’s delivered seamlessly into their browser.

The catch: Push CDN means the user (that’s YOU) has to form these links to files, and format it all to “push” it out to the CDN, and this will need to be maintained. So whenever there’s an update or change in the content you need to PUSH it back out to the CDN.

Pull CDNPull CDN

When the end-user sends the request for the web content it “pulls” it down from the nearest edge server (cdn location). All the content is cached in one place and the CDN does the work to pull it down into the end-users browser.

The catch: It needs to be said, that the first person to send a request to a new CDN location will find it hasn’t yet pulled that information and cached it ready for viewing. Making their experience seem no different to a site without CDN enabled. But once that first request has been made, the content is cached, and there it will stay until you tell it otherwise.

But which CDN is best? Push vs Pull

Here at CDN.net we provide a PULL CDN. We believe it’s the best option because you, the user, have fewer configurations and less to maintain. Once you’re up and running that’s it… All done! CDN is enabled and you can use lots of free ping checkers online to prove that.

Pull CDN is often used for smaller files, such as website images, javascript, css and html files. Making it the ideal CDN for web designers, especially for those working on website template platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or Magento. When all you need to get started is your CNAME record and an out-of-the-box CDN plugin.

If you’re a web designer and use a web platform such as WordPress it can all be done with a CDN plugin such as W3 Total Cache. You tell the CDN plugin your CNAME record, which is given to you on your CDN package purchase and the plugin does the rest for you. You can read how to integrate cdn.net with WordPress here, using W3 Total Cache Plugin.

In fact we’ve created a few pages to show you how to set up CDN for the platforms Drupal, Joomla and Magento. Magento has it’s own native support for CDN, so there’s no need to download an external plugin at all.

How much does CDN cost?

CDN.net provides a range of packages to match your particular requirements. You choose what you need, where you need it and pay for it when you use it. It’s all here in the pricing page.

If you still need convincing that CDN.net is the simplest CDN option for you, then why not try it for free for 30 days and see what happens. CDN.net provides a FREE CDN trial for those that can find it. (Clue: click the link!)

What about CDN for live streaming and video on demand

CDN.net’s low latency CDN can serve multi-format video without stutters and buffering. Once the content is cached on the closest edge server to your end-user there it will stay until it expires.

Live streaming – CDN.net is based on OnApp CDN and the live streaming capabilities are enabled by Wowza Media Server 3, the leading high-performance media server.

  • Adobe – RTMP / RTMPE / RTMPT
  • Android – RTSP/RTP
  • Flash – HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS)
  • Apple – HTTP Streaming (HLS) for iPhone, iPod, iTouch
  • Microsoft – Smooth Streaming for SilverLight

Video on Demand – deliver video with YouTube-style features like fast forward and rewind:

  • HTTP Pseudo Streaming support includes FLV (Flash Video – .flv) and MP4 (QuickTime container – .mp4, .f4v, .mov, .m4v, .mp4a, .3gp, and .3g2)
  • 264/AAC content in MP4 container files can be delivered to any supported player
  • Playback is up to 1080p
  • Uses Nginx to serve videos through normal http

Video on Demand is available for:

  • Adobe® Flash®
  • Apple® iOS: iPhone®, iPad®, and iPod® touch
  • Microsoft® Silverlight®
  • Apple QuickTimeTM
  • AndroidTM, Blackberry® & other 3GPP platforms