Sometimes you need to figure out a way to speed up your website so users don’t get frustrated and end up leaving your site. Search engines are also affected when your site isn’t performing well, and that’s why a CDN (content delivery network) is typically the logical next step after building up a nice following on your website.
One of the more popular options to choose from is called KeyCDN, so I wanted to dive into a full KeyCDN review to show you the benefits and downsides of the service, along with steps on how to setup the CDN.
Pricing for KeyCDN
You get to start the process with a free trial, so you can test out all the KeyCDN services to see exactly how well it works on your website. After the free trial, the KeyCDN pricing options are quite reasonable, with slightly different pricing between North America, Europe, and Asia.
The chart they include is a little confusing, because the company talks about terabytes and then displays the pricing options to the right. These are ranges though, and the rates are based on how many gigabytes you use. So, for every gigabyte your website uses you are charged $0.04 in North America. Once you exceed 10TB it jumps you up to the next range.
Using 10TB means that you have a pretty huge website, so it looks like KeyCDN is catering to large corporations and extremely high-traffic sites. Let’s say you run a site that takes up about 900GB. Since you’re still in the First 10TB range that’s only $0.36 per month for a high-quality CDN.
Even if you run a site that uses 900,000GB, this places you in the Next 500TB level, so the pricing would come out to around $18,000, which is pricey for the average site, but once you start reaching those numbers, you need that sort of performance, and the cost is pretty much expected for a larger company.
How to Setup KeyCDN
You can setup your 30-day free KeyCDN trial here to test out what the service is all about. KeyCDN sends you an email confirmation to get started, which also leads you to a nice little CDN setup area, with links to tutorials and directions on the initial steps.
Choose between a Push Zone or Pull Zone to get started. A Push Zone means that you upload your files to KeyCDN. A Pull Zone is if you want KeyCDN to pull all the website files from a different web server.
The KeyCDN dashboard looks rather similar to a standard WordPress dashboard, making it easier for you to navigate around the interface.
Let’s start with creating a Push Zone. When you are logged into your account, click on the Zones button on the left hand side of the dashboard.
Name the zone whatever you want, make sure it is Active and select that you want to make it a Push Zone. Click on the Save button to proceed.
The Pull Zone setup is slightly different, but you still need to go to the same Zones tab that we started with in the Push Zone options. Specify a name, that it’s Active, and choose that you want to create a Pull Zone.
The main difference is that you need to type in the URL from which you want to pull your content from. After that you can hit the Save button. It’s rather simple to setup these zones, but keep in mind these are just the first few steps, and you can customize like crazy with additional steps.
Additional Setup Procedures
After you perform the initial steps for your CDN, you can integrate the Zone URL into your website, connecting the two, and improving the overall performance on your site.
Now, let’s say you chose a Push Zone, and you want to upload your data to the KeyCDN FTP server. This takes an additional step that you can walk through here.
Send KeyCDN into Hyperdrive
Everything we talked about above entails the minimal amount of work you can do on your CDN to make your site better in terms of performance. However, KeyCDN includes a wide selection of Advanced features that I want to explore now. We won’t walk through every detail on how to setup each feature and service, but this will give you some guidance on the benefits and downsides of KeyCDN, and if it might work for your site.
Support for KeyCDN
The support for KeyCDN is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Sometimes when you download a plugin or integration for WordPress it’s a pain to find the support documents or you have to keep switching from your WordPress dashboard to another support tab. With KeyCDN, they give you links to support tabs inside the dashboard, making it easier to locate exactly what you need. You can also go to their huge knowledge base with extremely simple how-to guides and more.
A Video on Demand zone is another option provided as an alternative to the Push and Pull Zones. This is ideal for websites that upload tons of videos that need a way to directly upload the videos to the CDN server via FTP. You can learn how to create a VOD Zone within a few seconds, and the service even include guidelines for streaming content and uploading videos.
The Reports section is a nice way to see how much traffic is going through your site. It enables you to manage your payment plan since you can see if you are on the edge of the next payment plan range. Not to mention, the real time traffic graphs and stats work well for checking in on how well the CDN is working, along with how well readers are responding to the new speeds.
From a business standpoint, I understand creating a credit system, but as a user, it stinks. No one wants to charge their credit card only to receive credits that are only usable on a CDN. This is one of the primary downsides to KeyCDN, because once you put your money in, it isn’t coming back. You can, however, set a recharge amount which is perfect for companies who plan on using the CDN well into the future.
Managing Your Zones
When you click on the Zones tab on the left, KeyCDN includes an extremely clean list of your recently setup zones so you can go in and manage them.
Create a brand new zone, enable a secure token and even activate an SSL certificate. If you click on the Manage button for a Zone you can Edit each Zone and click on the Show Advanced Feature box to reveal an entire list of additional options to modify.
This is where KeyCDN truly excels, with Common Zone settings such as the ability to force the download of files instead of opening them. You can even enable GZip compression, modify cache expiration controls and enable cross-origin resource sharing which is another way to improve your site’s performance by spreading out your resources.
Each zone has its own customization options, but each option is a chance to amp up your site performance and potentially save a few seconds on page load and file viewing time for users and search engines. For example, if you take a look at the Pull Zone Advanced options you can strip cookies from files to force caching, ignore query strings, add a canonical header to improve your SEO and block crawlers from indexing certain portions of your site.
The Last Word on KeyCDN
Along with zone aliases for using your own custom CDN URL, and separate sub users for each zone, the KeyCDN system is one of the more powerful options I have ever seen in terms of content delivery networks. I really enjoy the VOD feature, and the pricing is unmatched. If you’re interested, you might like to know that KeyCDN is providing 10% additional credits or 250GB of traffic on the first payment for WPKube readers.
If you have any questions about this KeyCDN review or how to setup your account, let me know in the comments section below.