It’s no surprise that CDN services thrive in today’s world, when the average Internet speed in technologically advanced nations surpasses 10 Mbps. And, to make things even faster, owing to services like Google Fiber, Cox Gigablast, and Centurylink Gigabit, some lucky readers can get speeds of up to 1 Gbps – that’s one gigabit per second. As a result of this competition for quicker bits, our attention span is dwindling, and patience is becoming erratic.
It’s usually a good idea to use a Content Delivery Network to power your website. Not only can a CDN save you money on bandwidth from your hosting provider, but it also makes your site blazing fast and helps you rank higher in the search engines. You may have heard the following phrase:
Some say there is nothing free in this world; I say you simply have to know where to search!
Let’s start with the basics before diving into free CDNs for your WordPress site. Simply put, a Content Delivery Network, or CDN, is a collection of servers situated across the world that are meant to send your website’s data to visitors in the quickest possible time. Three points to consider:
- A slew of servers.
- Located all over the world.
What is the purpose of a CDN?
Typically, a new website has only one source of origin. And that’s fine if you’re just getting started and don’t expect a lot of visits. As your website expands (i.e., as your traffic grows), the time it takes to load your site will grow as well.
People dislike waiting for a web page to load. The effect is especially dramatic in online shopping websites, where a one-second reduction in loading time resulted in a revenue increase of $6,000,000 USD (that’s $6 million). This is something I learned from CachePoint’s excellent article, The Very Real Performance Impact on Revenue.
It’s for this reason that we have a CDN. It accelerates the delivery of material by providing it from the server closest to the visitor. You win since your loading time decreases. Incapsula’s CDN tutorial is an excellent place to start if you want to learn more about CDNs.
This article will be divided into four sections:
- The first group consists of CDN services that are completely free and will remain so indefinitely.
- Group two CDNs are those that offer long trial periods (think twelve months) – enough to scale up your blog.
- Group three includes CDNs that are, once again, completely free to use for hosting common scripts like jQuery and Bootstrap.
- Group four includes honorable mentions who are no longer active but were active at the time this article was published (back in 2016).
Let’s get started with the content since you’ve arrived here looking for “free CDN for WordPress.”
Cloudflare is widely regarded as the greatest free content delivery network (CDN) for WordPress users. It is one of the few industry-leading companies that provides a free plan. Cloudflare provides speed, dependability, and protection from basic DDoS attacks thanks to its 115 datacenters. It also has a WordPress plugin that is active on over 100,000 websites.
Incapsula offers cloud-based application delivery services such as global content delivery networks, website security, DDoS protection, load balancing, and failover. It only takes 5 minutes to sign up for the service, and they offer a terrific free plan as well as a WordPress plugin for getting accurate IP address information for comments left on your site.
Cloudflare and Incapsula both have the following features:
This is what Incapsula and Cloudflare do in a nutshell:
- Your website’s traffic is routed through their internationally spread network of high-performance servers (This is achieved by a small DNS change)
- Real-time threat detection and blocking of the latest web threats, including multi-gigabit DDoS attacks
- Their worldwide powered content delivery network speeds up outgoing traffic.
3. Photon by Jetpack
Jetpack is a plugin that all WordPress users should be familiar with. They’ve introduced a free CDN service (named Photon) that feeds your site’s images across their globally powered WordPress.com grid as part of their latest upgrade of awesomeness. All you have to do to activate this service is download and install Jetpack and turn on the Photon module.
Jetpack is well-known among WordPress users. Jetpack’s free CDN service, Photon, is one of the most interesting features. What’s the best part? Nothing has to be configured! Install the plugin, sign in with your WordPress.com account, and turn on the photon module. That is all there is to it. All of your photographs will be sent to the WordPress grid, which is used to power hundreds of thousands of websites across the world.
Swarmify (formerly known as SwarmCDN) is a peer-to-peer (P2P) based content delivery network with a free plan that includes 10GB of bandwidth (only for photos). Download the WordPress plugin and give it a shot to see how it works. It’s worth noting that Swarmify operates in a slightly different way:
Let’s pretend a group of folks is looking at your website. Consider them the initial ‘peer’ in peer-to-peer (P2P). When a new visitor (peer) arrives, photos from an existing group of users are served (the previous peer). Because the peers are frequently closer to one another, this saves bandwidth on your server and improves loading speeds. Swarmify also provides a video CDN as part of their subscription plan.
Trial CDN Services that are as Good as Free:
In this part, we’ll look at some of the more expensive cloud CDN services that provide a free trial period. I believe that the trial period would be sufficient to evaluate the service before upgrading to a paying plan.
To put things in perspective, the cloud is the web’s future. The cloud is omnipresent, whether it’s for your WordPress site’s content distribution or NASA’s high-performance computing. We’ve already covered how to install WordPress in the cloud in a handful of posts. Today, we’ll take a look at several of the same services that additionally provide CDN. Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud will be examined.
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Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a pioneer in making high-performance cloud computing accessible to the general public at a low cost. Amazon CloudFront, an industry-leading content delivery network utilized by companies like Slack and Spotify, is one of their services.
To top it off, they provide a one-year free usage tier. The trial period’s quota is 50GB of outbound transfer. This is an absolute must-try for every WordPress fanatic.
To begin, you may utilize the WP Offload S3 Lite plugin, which allows you to connect your Amazon S3 (storage) and Amazon CloudFront (content delivery network) services to your WordPress site. You can also read about how to install WordPress on AWS in our article.
Google Cloud, like AWS, gives $300 USD credits over the course of a year in exchange for access to their Cloud CDN technology. We’ve already discussed how to install WordPress on Google Cloud. There are now one-click methods for deploying WordPress (and other popular CMS) across a variety of cloud providers.
Microsoft Azure presently offers a 30-day trial of its services with $200 USD in credits (as of July 2017). The Azure CDN is available in a number of locations throughout the world.
Offloading your photographs to another server is an excellent idea if you have a website that is largely reliant on images (think photography/design portfolios). You’d wind up saving a significant amount of bandwidth. Cloudinary is a powerful image management tool that can host your photos, resize them on-the-fly, and do a lot more. They offer 2GB of storage and 5GB of bandwidth in their forever-free plan.
Imgur is a popular image hosting platform that is fast, dependable, and ideal for novices. If you’re just getting started and need a quick way to conserve server bandwidth, imgur, as well as other popular picture storage services like PhotoBucket and Flickr, should suffice.
10. Free Cloud Storage Companies
Using free cloud storage services is another wonderful approach to conserve server bandwidth. Let’s say you have a few PDFs or videos available for immediate download. Hosting them on your server would eat up a lot of bandwidth. Using the many free cloud storage options is a wise approach. To share a file publicly, simply generate the file’s public URL and paste it into your website. Here are a few options for free cloud storage:
- Dropbox – 2 GB free, can generate up to 18 GB via referrals
- Google Drive – 15 GB free
- SkyDrive – 7 GB free
- Copy – 15 GB free, 5 GB per referral
- Box – 5 GB free
We’ll now take a look at some of the premium content delivery networks’ open-source libraries.
11. Google Hosted Libraries
In their super-fast infrastructure, Google offers free hosting for some of the most popular libraries. This is a fantastic feature for WordPress theme and plugin authors to have.
Over 320,000 websites use Cdnjs, a community-powered CDN. cdnjs hosts over 1,000 libraries and is sponsored by CloudFlare, UserApp, and Algolia.
jsDelivr is a free CDN that allows web developers to upload and host their own files. It’s great for hosting libraries that aren’t on Google’s servers. You can incorporate their services into your site using their WordPress plugin (which hasn’t been updated in a few years).
14. Bootstrap CDN
Bootstrap is one of the most popular frameworks powering millions of websites around the world. StackPath proudly hosts the Bootstrap CDN libraries.
The following CDN services offer a free trial period, however, you must contact them using a contact form for security reasons. Once you’ve gotten a free trial, fine-tuning it takes some knowledge, which you can get from this fantastic post.
- MetaCDN – MetaCDN is a wonderful pick for a trial CDN because it offers a 7-day trial period with unfettered access to all services and no credit card enrollment required.
- CDN77 – They provide a 14-day free trial that includes all of the premium plan’s features and does not require a credit card. If you continue to use their service, you will only be charged for the amount of data you consume per byte (prorated).
- KeyCDN – You can sign up for a free trial period without providing a credit card, and it looks that you get 250GB of free transfer during that time.
To keep it brief, I’d want to remind you that everything good has to come to an end. There have been cases where free CDNs have stopped supplying their services (Exabytes) or have totally shut down (SpeedyMirror, CoBlitz) – which leads us to an essential conclusion:
Cloudflare is best free CDN in the market for WordPress users. Cloudflare is fast, reliable and secure for WordPress websites, with good support.
A free CDN service can only be used for a limited time. When your traffic starts to grow, you’ll either run out of trial bandwidth or your users will complain about a slow website. Now is the time to migrate to a proper CDN solution like CDN77 or Amazon CloudFront.