How to Install and Setup MaxCDN – the WordPress CDN Solution
A Content Delivery Network or CDN can greatly speed up a blog’s load time. Unfortunately, if you are using the WordPress blogging platform, it can be complicated to figure out how to integrate a new CDN server. WordPress dashboard does not have an option exactly labelled for CDN configuration. It is helpful here to have an existing CDN setup as well as a working knowledge of how to edit CSS style sheets. We use and recommend MaxCDN, and you can read our article on MaxCDN to know exactly why we use it. If you are unfamiliar with CDNs or what you may wish to use one, then you should check Why CDN is required for WordPress Blog.
After creating your account with MaxCDN, you need to install the WordPress plugin W3 Total Cache.
Setting up MaxCDN with W3 Total Cache for WordPress
You will need to have an Origin Pull CDN account. Origin Pull is simple to use and highly transparent; it is also known as a mirror CDN.
1. Login to your MaxCDN account.
2. Go to the MaxCDN dashboard menu, click on Manage Zones option and then click Create Pull Zone button.
3. Fill in the necessary information to create a Pull Zone in the next page, as follows:
Pull Zone Name: This can be anything you like, without spaces; minimum 3 characters long (as is your username).
Origin Server URL: Enter the URL of your WordPress blog with http://and the trailing slash (/) at the end.
Custom CDN Domain: This is optional, but you’ll want to use it for branding. Use any subdomain; for example: “cdn.wp-solution.com”.
Label: This is like a description field to help with your recollection and is of course optional.
Compression: Activating this will save the usage of bandwidth on your account, so Enable it.
After clicking on Create, you will get a screen with a URL for your CDN, like “wpb.wp-solution.netdna-cdn.com”. Copy the URL and save it in a quick notepad file for use in later steps. It will come up again! Now, you should have the Zone that you have created in your dashboard. Click the Manage icon.
From here, click on the Settings tab and look at the Custom Domains. Here we will add multiple subdomains (CNAMEs), to improve pipelining performance in the browser. To achieve this, click on the Edit button on Custom Domains, and add multiple custom domains.
Now click on Update. In the Compression settings, Enable GZip compression. Your Pull Zone is now configured!
Now go ahead and take the long CDN url that you saved in your notepad, which probably looked something like “wpb.wp-solution.netdna-cdn.com”, to set CNAME records using cPanel. We’ll explain how to create the CNAME Record with cPanel Webhosting providers such as HostGator, and Bluehost. Login to your cPanel and scroll down to the Domains Section and click Simple DNS Zone Editor.
Now fill out the fields such as Name and CNAME to add a CNAME Record.
Name: As you used in the MaxCDN Pull Zone for the Custom CDN Domain. We have used our custom CDN domain as cdn.wp-solution.com, with keeping cdn in our name field.
CNAME: This is the URL that is provided to you by MaxCDN when you create the Pull zone. For example: “wpb.wp-solution.netdna-cdn.com”.
Do this process repeatedly for all the custom domains you will add. The CNAME value will be the same as this. You will change a portion of the name to something else such as “cdn”, “cdn2″ etc. For non-cPanel hosts, the method for adding the CNAME may be different.
Integrate MaxCDN with WordPress
For this we are using the W3 Total Cache plugin. Install and activate the plugin. In the General screen, you will find the CDN box. Enable the CDN, then select the option NetDNA/MaxCDN, and save the settings.
Now you should see an option for Configuration on the CDN Settings page. W3 Total Cache requires you to enter the API ID, and the API Key.
This will be found in your MaxCDN Dashboard after going to Manage Account > API. Click on the add key, and create your key. Copy those characters and paste in these fields.
Now you can click Test NetDNA button. If all goes well, you should get a “Test Passed”!