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KeyCDN is a relatively new kid on the block when it comes to content delivery networks (CDN). In short, KeyCDN will speed up your site and reduce your server load.

About KeyCDN

KeyCDN is a privately-held company headquartered in Winterthur, Switzerland that offers and operates a high-performance content delivery network (CDN). The company’s goal is to develop, engineer, and ship and content delivery solution that is accessible to as many users as possible at a price that does not break the bank.

Website Performance

However, there are other metrics that you might keep in mind as you look at your website’s performance:

  • Time to the title: the amount of time that elapses before the visitor sees your site’s title
  • Time to start render: the amount of time that elapses before the visitor sees the beginning of your site’s rendering
  • Time to interact: the amount of time that elapses before the visitor can interact with the website (e.g., click on links, fill out forms, etc.)
  • Time to the first byte: the amount of time that elapses before the first byte of website-related information after the user successfully connects to your server(s)
  • Time to last byte: the amount of time that elapses before the user receives the last and final website-related byte

Improvements to one or more of the above metrics will result in better page load times. One of the ways you can do this is with a content delivery network (CDN), though real-world situations might mean that using CDN results in more significant improvements in some areas than other areas.

We will cover more on how a CDN improves website performance in later sections.

Content Delivery Networks (CDN) 101

As you can probably imagine, speed is of the essence when it comes to attracting and keeping visitors. In addition to being a key component in how your website ranks in search engine results, people just plain like having their pages load and not having to wait.

There are many ways to improve the performance of your website and to speed up your page load speeds. One of these methods is to utilize a content delivery network (CDN).

What is a Content Delivery Network

A content delivery network (CDN) is a network of servers located in different locations (or data servers) around the world. Each server caches your site, and when a visitor navigates to your site, the server handling the request for your website’s files will be the one physically closest to the user. Just as physical objects can get from Point A to Point B faster if the distance between the two is smaller, files can transmit faster if the server is closer to your user and their web browser.

When choosing a web hosting provider, some companies will let you select the data center in which your website is hosted. Your data center will be near some of your customers, but certainly not all. A CDN extends this network so that your website loads from servers that are closer to each and every one of your users.

Furthermore, caching is a helpful technique for minimizing the number of calls made to your server. This is helpful for several reasons.

First, calls to the server take time. In addition to the distance factor that we covered above, there’s the fact that requesting resources requires calls — depending on your server set-up, it might be equipped to handle multiple requests simultaneously, or it might only be able to handle things individually. Caching your site distributes the workload on your server.

Second, such calls put a load on your server, and as the load increases, your server’s performance decreases. By minimizing server calls, you can ensure optimal performance from the back-end of your website.

Points-of-Presence (PoPs)

Points-of-presence (PoPs) are individual data centers that, together, comprise the content delivery network as a whole. Generally, the more PoPs a CDN has, the better, but do not discount smaller networks, especially if their PoPs are located in places where a sizable portion of your visitors is physically located.

How a Content Delivery Network Can Help You

As we mentioned, CDNs can improve your website’s performance and speed up its page load times.

First, this means that users searching for keywords relevant to your business are likely to see your website listed higher in search engine results.

Second, your customers will appreciate being able to get the information they want as soon as possible. For example, if someone wants to check your operating hours, you do not want to make them wait through such a simple transaction.

Other Features You Might Get From Your Content Delivery Network Provider

In addition to the CDN itself, your CDN provider might provide you with extra features and functionality, such as:

  • Multi-factor authentication (sometimes referred to as two-factor authentication) and other security features, like encrypted data transmission
  • Free SSL certificates
  • Real-time reporting, analytics, and data collection

How Do I Know If My Speeds Are Slow?

As one of the leading players in the internet space, Google is a driving factor in prioritizing page speeds (and general performance) of websites. Google also provides many tools that you can use to measure your website’s performance and identify what, if any, changes you could make to improve its performance.

Google’s PageSpeed tools include:

  • PageSpeed Insights: gets your PageSpeed score and suggestions to make your website faster
  • PageSpeed Modules: open source modules that you can use on your web server to automatically rewrite and optimize your website’s resources
  • Google DNS: leverage Google’s infrastructure to speed up your users’ browsing experiences (while also improving your site’s security)

Furthermore, Google Analytics should give you insight into your customer’s behavior. If you see common landing pages with high bounce rates, these are areas on which you can focus as you look to speed up page load times.

KeyCDN Features

KeyCDN boasts that it is a “simple, fast, and reliable CDN…built for the future.” In addition to supporting the HTTP/2 protocol (for your purposes, just know that this protocol allows for handling of multiple user requests simultaneously, leading to faster page speeds), KeyCDN uses a fully-optimized stack featuring SSD drives used to hold its cached sites.

If you are tech savvy and comfortable with managing your CDN, KeyCDN is developer-friendly and offers things like a RESTful API, choice of PUSH (you upload your assets to KeyCDN) or PULL (KeyCDN pulls from your servers) zones and other customized domain-related functionality.

KeyCDN and WordPress

If you are using WordPress as your content management system (CDN), you can take advantage of the WordPress CDN Enabler to integrate KeyCDN into your website.

The WordPress CDN Enabler is a lightweight plugin that comes with features like:

  • Being able to set the directories that you want cached and included by the CDN (while also excluding select files, directories, or extensions)
  • The ability to enable or disable relative paths and secure connections (those served using the HTTPS protocol)

Setting up the KeyCDN and WordPress integration is not too complicated. KeyCDN provides clear, well-written instructions to help you through this process.

WordPress Users with WP Rocket

As we mentioned above briefly, caching is an excellent way to improve the performance of your website due to the minimization of calls to the server. One way to implement caching of your WordPress site with ease is to install one of the caching plugins available. The WP Rocket WordPress plugin is one of the more popular options available.

However, over-caching is just as problematic as little to no caching, and with both WP Rocket and KeyCDN doing some caching, this would be a problem if you implement both. However, in the end, these two products are different in the way they ultimately behave (WP Rocket is a general optimization tool, while KeyCDN is strictly a CDN), so it is worthwhile to use both. To that end, KeyCDN provides detailed, easy-to-use instructions for its product when you also use WP Rocket.

Alternatives to KeyCDN

KeyCDN is not the only CDN option available. You have probably come across some of its competitors, including the popularly-used CloudFlare and Amazon Web Services’ CloudFront. Here is how these two options compare to KeyCDN.

CloudFlare

CloudFlare’s network is almost three times larger than KeyCDN’s (71 points-of-presence, or PoPs, for CloudFlare, as compared to 24 for KeyCDN).

CloudFlare offers a free option, which is helpful for small businesses who are just getting started with their website. If you outgrow the free CDN option, there are two paid options, as well as the opportunity to create a custom, enterprise-grade option. CloudFlare charges per domain name, so you only need to worry about purchasing the plan with the features you need, not how much traffic you will see. This makes it easier for you to budget and pay for your website-related expenses.

KeyCDN, however, does not offer a free CDN option. Additionally, their pricing is based on usage — your bill will vary depending on how much traffic you route through your CDN, as well as which points-of-presence (PoPs) your traffic uses. With that said, you will get all the features available as long as you are paying for service.

If you think you might need support, CloudFlare offers email support to all users and phone support to paid users. KeyCDN provides both options to its paying customers. KeyCDN also includes extras not offered by CloudFlare at all, such as storage space, support for wildcard SSL certificates, and custom CNAMEs.

Amazon Web Services’ CloudFront

Amazon Web Services’ CloudFront offering is a relatively new player on the block, but it already has a network that is almost twice as large as KeyCDN’s. CloudFront works well with AWS’ suite of services.

Both options are no-commitment, pay-as-you-go options. CloudFront and KeyCDN operate using similar pricing schemes (that is, charges are based on usage: where your traffic goes and how much of it there is).

Feature-wise, CloudFront is not as rich as KeyCDN, though this is less likely to affect you when you are just getting started. This is merely something to keep in mind as your usage grows and you find that you might need more specialized functionality.

KeyCDN Pricing and Coupon

KeyCDN not only offers some of the lowest prices globally at $0.04/GB, they have over 25 POPs, free origin shield, free secure token, free SSL certificates via their Let’s Encrypt integration, RESTful API integration, real-time analytics, and loads more.

They are also one of the first content delivery networks to launch HTTP/2 support. We use KeyCDN to speed up the delivery of our content.

KeyCDN’s cheapest plan is just 4.00 per month.

CDN PlanBandwidth/TrafficPoints of PresenceMonthly Price
Plan #1 100 GB 25 4.00
Plan #2 500 GB 25 20.00
Plan #3 1 TB 25 40.00
Plan #4 5 TB 25 200.00
Plan #5 10 TB 25 400.00

See all features and get the latest pricing by visiting KeyCDN’s official website. Read our KeyCDN review here.