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How can I speed up my website? Introduction to using a CDN (Content delivery network) to speed up your website
We all want to have a website that is absolutely “flying” and display our content as fast as possible to our viewers.
Problem is that the server hosting the website is not necessarily in a location that promotes fast downloading for the physical location of the client. Your host could be somewhere in the USA and your site visitor somewhere on the other side of the planet.
It doesn’t matter how fast your server is or how optimized your website is. One fact remains… how long does it take the request to travel from the clients browser to the server and back?
Out sister company at Exelwebs.com constantly monitors the server response times from 4 different locations around the globe and the response times can varies between 72 milliseconds and 438 milliseconds on average. Now that might not sound like much but it all adds up.
You have basically two options
- host a copy of your website in each country. That is not practical at all unless you have $$$ laying around
- Make use of a CDN (content delivery network) to deliver your content from a location in the world that are closest to your visitor
Clourflare is a is a U.S. company that provides a content delivery network and distributed domain name server services, sitting between the visitor and the CloudFlare user's hosting provider, acting as a reverse proxy for websites. Its network protects, speeds up, and improves availability for a website or mobile application with a change in DNS and basically stores a cached version of your static website content on multiple locations around the world.
Getting started with CloudFlare
- Register with CloudFlare
- Activate your account and login
- On the menu click “Add Site” and click “Begin Scan”
CloudFlare will now attempt to find all your website DNS settings, so give it some time to complete the scan
- When the “Continue Setup” button appears, click the button to continue
- On the next page you don’t have to do anything so scroll down and click “Continue” at the bottom
- Select “Free website” and click “Contiune” at the bottom
- On the next screen you need to take note of the information in the “Change Nameservers to” fields
It shows your current “Nameservers” and what you need to change it to. You will need to update the nameservers for your domain by logging into your account with Exelwebs
- Click “Continue” at the bottom to finalize the initial settings.
Updating your Nameservers for your domain
- Log in to Exelwebs
- In your client area Home Page click “Domains”
- Find the domain you need to update and click “Manage Nameservers”
- Replace the value in the Nameserver 1 and Nameserver 2 fields with the information given in CloudFlare. Make sure to enter it exactly as show in CloudFlare. It is critical to double check your spelling as any mistakes will leave your website inaccessible
- Scroll down and click “Change Nameservers”
- Updates will take up to 24 hours to propagate and you can check the progress using DNS Checker
When the new DNS has propagated across the world you can go back to CloudFlare and check out the different options that are available
If you make use of a SSL certificate on your website follow the following procedure
- Log back into your cloudflare account
- under overview > Status, click “Advanced” and click the blue “Pause” button
- click “Crypto” on the top menu
- Check the SSL setting should be “Full”
- Once your see a green “Active Certificate” you can “resume” cloudflare from your “Overview” page
Note of Caution
Because CloudFlare will immediately start to cache your website you will have problems seeing updated information while you busy developing your website.
If you made changes and can’t see them follow the following procedure
- Login into your CloudFlare account
- Select your website from the list, if you have more than one
- Click “Caching” on the menu
- Click the down arrow next to “Purge Individual Files”
- Click “Purge Everything