CDNs made simple, fast & cheap

Time slot: 
15 January 14:30 - 15:15
Powerful CMS Room
Building Sites and Systems
Experience level: 
Murray Woodman

Do you want the snappiest page load times for all users, wherever they are in the world? Do you have a lot of multi media content which needs to be served? Is your web server suffering from too many connections or not enough RAM? Can you afford $10 per month and a little of your time up front? You should think about setting up a CDN for your sites.

Out of the box it is possible to configure Drupal to perform quite well when it comes to client side performance. There are a variety approaches including page caching, CSS and JS aggregation, file compression, expires headers, etags and image sprites. Once these have been configured, conducting a test using a tool such as YSlow gives Drupal a reasonable score. One area where things can be improved is with the addition of a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

A CDN brings your static content closer to users by storing copies of files in servers around the globe. When a user makes a request content con be served from a location near them, resulting in much faster download times. Adding a CDN is the last step in the process of getting content to your users.

This talk will walk you through:
- the basic mechanisms of CDNs
- how to set up Drupal to use a CDN
- the best performing networks for use in Australia
- the cheapest networks in Australia
- configuration of your DNS.

This talk is for anyone responsible for configuring servers for Drupal.

Post conference updates

A number of CDN providers got back to me after the conference with a few more details.

1. Speedyrails (Edgecast) has now reduced prices to 15c per GB.

2. Cotendo will tailor plans for customers depending on requirements. The prices they quoted me were somewhat higher than other providers quoted in the talk (but less than Akamai).

3. AAPT is partnering with Edgecast in Australia. Expect an announcement about the future plans between the two. If you are looking for an Australian provider for CDN then you should give AAPT a call. "No commit" prices quoted to me were still higher than those presented in the talk but these will come down if you can commit to monthly levels.

See video