It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of WordPress as a blog and CMS platform. While it does have its problems, it’s relatively simple to set up, it’s extensible, and - when properly configured - it has great performance. The WP Super Cache plugin has been a staple on my WordPress blogs for quite some time and it has solved almost all of my performance problems.
To get started, visit MaxCDN’s site and set up an account. Their current promotion gives you 1TB of CDN bandwidth for one year for $10 (regularly $99). Once you sign up, do the following:
- Click Manage Zones
- Click Create pull zone
At this point, you’ll see a list of form fields to complete:
- Enter an alias for the pull zone name
- The origin server URL is the URL that’s normally used to access your site (i.e. rackerhacker.com)
- The custom CDN domain is the URL you want to use for your CDN (i.e. cdn.rackerhacker.com)
- The label can be anything you’d like to use to remember which zone is which
- Enabling compression is generally a good idea
Once you save the zone, MaxCDN will give you a new domain name. You’ll want to create a CNAME record that points from your CDN URL (for me, that’s cdn.rackerhacker.com) to the really long URL that MaxCDN provides.
STOP HERE: Ensure that all of your DNS servers are replying with the CNAME record before you continue with the W3 Total Cache installation and CDN setup. If you proceed without waiting for that, some of your blog’s visitors will get errors when they try to load content via your CDN domain.
You’re ready for W3 Total Cache now. Install the plugin within your WordPress installation and activate it. Hop into the settings for the plugin and make these adjustments:
- Enable Page Caching and set it to Disk (enhanced)
- Enable Minify and set it to Disk
- Enable Database Caching and set it to Disk
- Leave the CDN disabled for now, but flip the CDN Type to Origin Pull (Mirror)
- Press Save changes
Click CDN Settings at the top of the page and configure the CDN:
- Enter your CDN domain (for me, it’s cdn.rackerhacker.com) in the top form field
- Leave the other options as they are by default and click Save changes