Content Delivery Network Tutorial – Boost Site Speed With MaxCDN

One of the biggest things I find a lot of people overlook is their website speed which is easily fixed with a content delivery network.

We are so focused on creating content, building links & managing social media we often forget about the end user experience.

 Making sure your website loads quickly should be one of your top priorities no matter how much traffic your site gets.
Slow sites are ranked lower in Google, have higher bounce rates and much lower conversion rates making it that much harder to succeed.

One of the easiest ways to improve site speed is with a content delivery network.

Why Is Website Speed Important?

The longer your website takes to load, the more money you are leaving on the table every single day from a number of angles.
One of the biggest impacts website speed has is on conversion. User’s DO NOT like waiting.

Just a 1 second delay in load time can decrease conversions by 7%!

website speed conversion

In my previous website speed case study I calculated that reducing my sites load time from 5 seconds to 2 seconds would result in an extra $29,076 per year profit!

This is for a number of reasons, people like browsing fast sites. We are busy people and every second counts – you are much more likely to spend 10 minutes on a fast site than a slow site.

That means people click more affiliate links, sign up more to your list, tell more people about your site and even stretches to the earning of social signals and backlinks.

On top of that Google have used site speed as part of the ranking algorithm since 2010. As a company they are advocates for speed, they are obsessed with it!

If you have read ‘In The Plex’ you will understand why Google are so obsessed with speed.

However you look at it your websites speed impacts you directly on a number of fronts.

 The good news is, it is very easy to improve!

What Is A Content Delivery Network?

A content delivery network is one of the easiest and quickest ways to speed up your sites load time.

If your website is hosted in America and someone from the UK visits it, the data has to travel thousands of miles before the website can load.

So you need to get the data closer to speed up the load time.

So if that data was mirrored in the UK, then it wouldn’t have to travel anywhere near as far and the site would load much faster.

content delivery network

This is in essence how a content delivery network works. They mirror copies of your website’s files and images on servers all around the world.

So if someone from Australia accesses the site, it gets served from an Australian server. If someone from India accesses the site, it gets served from an Indian server.

If you hit this link you will get a message from your local CDN data centre that stores data from my free SEO tool website.

maxcdn content delivery network tutorial

The beauty of a content delivery network though is that once you have spent 10 minutes setting it up, you can forget about it.

Everything else is automatically taken care of!

And all of the fastest Wordpress hosting providers include CDN’s in their package automatically!

Learn how to start a blog that people notice in 7 days

Who Are MaxCDN?

MaxCDN are one of the largest content delivery network companies in the business.

They can mirror your content in over 90 countries and are the CDN provider I use on this blog and all of my other projects. They deliver my content FAST.
MaxCDN are also the provider of choice for a huge range of websites and services like StumbleUpon, Forbes and many major blogs.

They also make it very easy to integrate with Wordpress, Magento, Joomla, Drupal, Vbulletin & a bunch of other platforms. The MaxCDN wordpress plugin for example takes seconds to install & integrate.

But is MaxCDN worth it? The only way to truly see what they are made of – is it to put them to the test.

MaxCDN Review & Case Study

To see if MaxCDN is actually worth bothering with I setup a case study with a series of tests.

I took 4 URL’s from 2 websites I own on 2 different hosts and measured their site speed without MaxCDN and then with MaxCDN enabled.

These are the pages I tested & why-

  • How To Start A Successful Blog – This page is huge, over 7MB in size and very resource intensive to load.
  • Raven Tools – This page is much smaller but is made up of more text than images.
  • Premium Tutorials – This page very image intensive & key to conversion.
  • Affiliates – A very image intensive page, affiliates won’t promote if its slow.

This blog is hosted on the premium host WPEngine which allows you to enable the CDN with the tick of a box. WPEngine uses MaxCDN as their CDN provider.

RankCracker is hosted on a VPS with GeekStorage and MaxCDN support was enabled through the W3 Total Cache plugin.

The Testing Process

These are the steps I took to conduct the tests for each URL-

  1. Run the page through WebPageTest
  2. Run the page through Pingdom Tools
  3. Record the results
  4. Enable MaxCDN
  5. Run the page through WebPageTest
  6. Run the page through Pingdom Tools
  7. Record the results

This means we are testing 4 URLs, from 2 domains, using 2 different web hosts with 2 different website speed tests.

Content Delivery Network Case Study Results

I have compiled all of the results into an easy to read table!

WebPageTest Pingdom Tools
Page No CDN With CDN Time Saved No CDN With CDN Time Saved
Top 100 26.31s 24.59s -1.72s 6.77s 5.39s -1.38s
Raven 15.42s 11.57s -3.85s 3.39s 2.24s -1.15s
Premium 8.20s 6.13s -2.07s 3.51s 1.38s -2.13s
Affiliate 10.65s 7.18s -3.47s 3.84s 1.67s -2.17s

If numbers aren’t your thing let me make it a bit easier for you to digest.

WebPageTest Pingdom Tools
Page Seconds Quicker % Quicker Seconds Quicker % Quicker
Top 100 1.72s 6.5% 5.39s 20.3%
Raven 3.85s 24.9% 2.24s 33.9%
Premium 2.07s 25.2% 1.38s 60.0%
Affiliate 3.47s 32.5% 1.67s 56.5%

You can verify the results here.

Although both services report different load times MaxCDN provided an average website speed increase of 2.77 seconds with WebPageTest & 2.67 seconds with Pingdom.

Not bad for 10 minutes work which instantly increases conversion rates & bottom line profits.

Update: I have recently tested the new NitroPack CDN service which also optimises your code for perfect Google Pagespeed scores and improve core web vitals.

So, I suggest you take a look at my detailed NitroPack review and case study results to learn more about it.

How To Setup A Content Delivery Network

Setting up the MaxCDN content delivery network for your website is really easy. There are 3 simple steps.

All you need to do is-

  1. Create a MaxCDN account
  2. Create a pull zone
  3. Integrate with your site

Once it is setup your files will automatically be mirrored all over the world.

Creating A MaxCDN Account

Just head over to MaxCDN and sign up for an account.

Accounts get setup instantly and are ready to use within minutes of signing up!

Creating A Pull Zone

Next you need to create a pull zone. This is what is used to ‘pull’ files from your website to ‘push’ them to servers all over the world.

Just login to your MaxCDN account and follow these instructions.

Website Integration

The final step is to integrate MaxCDN and the pull zone with your website.

This is really easy just follow the instructions for your website below-

That is all there is to it!

Wrapping It Up

Setting up a content delivery network is a fantastic way to increase website speed.

It is quick and easy to do and delivers a wide range of benefits including increased user engagement, conversion rates & Google rankings.

Whether your site gets 20 visitors a day or 20,000 a day – setting up a content delivery network like MaxCDN should be a top priority!

And if you really want to speed things up, you might want to consider reading my WP Rocket review which is what I use to drive this site!

66 Responses

  1. Oliver Russell

    I totally believe the numbers you have mentioned. CDN is really that effective in improving the performance of a website. If you are using CloudwaysCDN, you can integrate it with your website in just one click.

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 15th, 2018 at 9:16 am

      Hey Oliver thanks for the tip

  2. FXaxe

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the overview. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the CDN offered by Amazon Web Services?

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 4th, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      I dont know sorry =/

  3. Vicar

    Just want to share my experience with MaxCDN. If your server is using Nginx with Google Pagespeed module, don’t use MaxCDN because its system doesn’t work with Google Pagespeed. I have wasted time with their technical support to ask for their assistance to make Google Pagespeed work with MaxCDN, I receive a scripted answers and turned out that they don’t know solving the issue. In the end, I switched to other CDN provider.

    • Matthew Woodward
      September 26th, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Which provider did you switch to?

  4. Edward

    I’m running my site on CloudFlare + W3 Cache+ MaxCDN! Pretty good speed… less than 3 seconds. It was about 5-7 seconds!

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 31st, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      Kapow! That’s what you want :)

  5. Chirag Nayyar

    Hi thank you for this case study and i just shifted my blog to max cdn.

    Keep it up Matt :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      May 18th, 2015 at 7:06 am

      Thanks Chirag :)

  6. Vinicius

    Nice post. I didn’t have any idea that the phisycal distance between the server and the user could affect speed.

    I don’t think my website will need that for now, but it’s a great option for the future if my business expand.

    • Matthew Woodward
      October 20th, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      Do some tests with webpagetest.org to find out!

  7. Jake


    Thanks for your article, it’s the first time I’ve been able to find speed comparisons before and after activating a CDN.

    One thing I am puzzled about though; I’ve got a website in which I provide a local service in the UK. Because of this, loading times in other countries don’t bother me, however my website is going to be hosted in Amsterdam, Holland and not the UK.

    I was considering using MaxCDN as they have a server within the UK and so it should speed up my website for local clients, however when clicking the link you gave above, it seems that MaxCDN is currently delivering your website to me from Amsterdam.

    Would you take this to mean that the London Server on MaxCDN is currently down?

    Or that it’s actually quicker to load your website from Amsterdam, than the UK?

    If that’s the case, it might then negate the point of me using MaxCDN.

    It would be great to hear your thoughts on this,

    Thanks Jake

    • Matthew Woodward
      August 9th, 2014 at 3:15 am


      For SEO reasons you should host the site in the UK anyway :) Then you can give it a speed test and try the CDN for 1 month to see if is needed/makes a difference for you.

      • Jake
        August 9th, 2014 at 11:25 am

        Hi Matthew,

        Thanks for the reply. I’ve just noticed you’re also from the UK and so was wondering, do you know any good hosting companies with servers in the UK?

        I’ve tried looking myself, but am not sure where to start as it seems some of them have better marketing than others, but I’m not sure if they’re actually better or not.

        The website I’m looking to host is going to be fairly small in size and isn’t expecting a massive amount of visitors per month, but I’m after the quickest possible speed I can get.

        I’m offering a local artistic service and so speed not only allows me to hopefully lower my bounce rate, but also gives me the alternative option of hosting more images per page if I want.

        I look forward to hearing back from you,

        Thanks Jake

        • Matthew Woodward
          August 12th, 2014 at 8:11 pm


          There are a few it really depends what kind of hosting you need – take a look at webhosting talk offers forums and see what is about at the moment.

  8. Cez

    Hi Matt,

    Great article, I will give this CDN a go… I’ve been using cloudflare until now and been impressed but always worth trying others.

    Could you tell me if there is potential behind CDN’s when developing a Private Blog Network, I mean as your content is getting distributed from the nearest location to the visitor, in theory will this happen also with Google Spiders, in effect masking your hosting i.p?

    I have noticed if you sign up a new account with cloudflare with each website you get a different nameserver to use, which in effect has a different i.p… so can you create a PBN like this that appears to have unique i.p’s in event saving on multiple hosting accounts?

    What you reckon?

    • Matthew Woodward
      June 27th, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Personally I would still use seperate hosting accounts and not rely on cloudflare to mask IPs. I wouldn’t use a CDN like MaxCDN in my blog network either =/

  9. IvanT

    Hi Matt,

    Any idea how CDN can influence on SEO?

    Thank you


  10. Krissanawat

    hi matt
    i check on maxcdn is hidden cost for asia zone
    but cloudflare free plan is not any hidden and give unlimiited traffic

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 31st, 2014 at 8:37 am

      Cloud Flare is not a CDN

  11. sean rithya

    That’s great!
    My sites just has about 30GB bandwidth per month and about 600 visitor per day. The load speed is about 1.5 seconds. So When should i use MaxCDN? I don’t want to spend money on s.th that not yet needed. Please recommend me. Thanks

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 7th, 2014 at 8:15 am

      It sounds like you haven’t done any actual testing around site speed and just guessing

      • rithya
        March 7th, 2014 at 3:01 pm

        Ok! The site is 1.6s. Bandwidth per month is around 30GB. traffic average is 600view/day.

        • Matthew Woodward
          March 10th, 2014 at 8:43 am

          In that case I would only get a CDN if a large portion of my traffic was coming from countrys the site isn’t hosted in. Eg if you have a site hosted in the states, but you get a lot of traffic from the UK.

  12. Ian

    Hi Matt,

    I went ahead and signed up MaxCDN last night and ended up with over an hours downtime on a client site.

    I signed up as normal and entered all my details including my business name (as you do). I followed the instructions to create a pull zone and then I proceeded to setup Magento.

    Then I realised that the CDN URL had my business name in it, which for a client website isn’t good so I thought I’d create a custom one.

    Thats when it all went wrong and my clients site layout was all screwed up as if someone had just deleted the CSS file. This was at 1:00am this morning and I thought jeez I’m in for a long night.

    I got onto their live support and he said you’ll have to wait for the DNS to propogate for your custom cdn URL which could take up to 48 hours!!

    What a client’s ecommerce shop down for 48 hours, oh dear.

    After an hour and a half talking to this guy and with a potential 48 hours downtime looming I thought I’ll see if my hosting magemojo can help because it seemed this guy didn’t have a clue how to fix it.

    He wanted me to use phpmyadmin and start altering magento tables and there was no way was I touching them on a live client’s ecommerce shop.

    Luckily Magemojo sorted it rather quickly as soon as I told them what had happened.

    So, if you’re an agency setting this up MaxCDN for a client DO NOT put your agency name in the account when you sign up because it will become part of the CDN URL.

    This can be masked with a custom domain name like cdn.whatever.com but this can take up to 48 hours to propogate and therefore leaving your website kind of screwed.

    I’m still going to give them a try but it looks like I have to cancel this account and re-open another without my business name in it.

    • Matthew Woodward
      March 2nd, 2014 at 3:58 pm


      Yes I would suggest you use a custom domain and then you don’t have those problems, but unfortunately DNS does take a long time to update. In the future set that up first before activating the CDN functionality client side.

      You should also be making the changes on a staging server first before deploying to live to avoid any downtime.

  13. Steve Miller

    Went ahead and bought the smaller plan, $9.00 a month. This seems 100% legit.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 24th, 2014 at 9:24 am

      Can’t knock it for the money!

  14. Pratik Unadkat

    Great case study Matt. I have been tempted on using a CDN for a while too.

    However, using W3 Total Cache plugin for it sort of scares me as that plugin has been reported to break WordPress versions after 3.8.1.

    What WP version are you on if you feel comfortable telling me and are you facing any problems?


    • Matthew Woodward
      February 15th, 2014 at 7:58 pm


      Well on this blog the latest wordpress and wpengines custom caching solution with maxcdn. But not had any problems on other blogs with w3 total cache and latest updates to my knowledge.

  15. vumien

    Nice review Matthew Woodward. I tell you, I’m loving your blog more each day. I definitely will be featuring you in a blog post very soon.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 10th, 2014 at 11:27 am

      Thanks :)

  16. Amod

    Hey Matthew…

    How does Maxcdn compare to amazon cloudfront? I currently use cloudfront for all my sites and I am very much happy with the performance and cost…

    Plus, I also use amazon route53 for premium dns, its VERY fast… do make a note of it in your post too…

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 10th, 2014 at 11:30 am


      I have never used it so I can’t comment =\

  17. Rahat

    I’ve been procrastinating on buying a cdn for one of my niche site, which is seriously slow.

    I’ll be using your link so hopefully you’ll get a few dollars :)

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 10th, 2014 at 11:31 am

      Thats very kind of you thanks – you’ll also get a discount through the link ;)

  18. Phanindra

    Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for the case study. Can you please clarify the following situation.

    My Hosting Company allows only 10 GB Band Width. If I get more traffic than 10 GB ( say traffic that can consume 30GB) then obviously the hosting company suspends website for some time.

    How is shifting to VPS/Dedicated Server is different from taking maxCDN in this situation ?

    if I put my site on maxCDN, then where exactly is the band width gets consumed when my site gets traffic ? [ Hosting Company Band Width or max CDN Band Width]


    • Matthew Woodward
      February 8th, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Yes a CDN will help offload a lot of that usage. BUT I would move away from that host anyway, that don’t sound like the type of host I would trust my business with if they just turn it off like that.

  19. Dave

    Sweet infographic – now I just need to get a website that earns $100k…a day lol?

    Thanks for the helpful post though!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 8th, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Haha you can work it out for your own site :)

  20. Sunday

    Its often cool to learn of tools that would make user experience of a website easier. When such tool helps reduce load speed it becomes an added bonus to the website owner.

    With the review about MaxCDN it becomes necessary to checkout how to maximize the benefits.

    Logically, signing up becomes very necessary! Thanks Matthew for sharing details about this reliable content delivery network!

    I have also shared this comment in the content syndication and social bookmarking and networking website for Internet marketers – kingged.com, where this article was found.

    Sunday – contributor for kingged.com


    • Matthew Woodward
      February 8th, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Thank you for the share Sunday!

  21. Rienzi

    Hey Matt!

    Great stuff as always! I’ll be creating my own blog (actually in the middle of it) and I’ll be diving into all of your tutorials and link to probably most of them.

    Having read your blog post last month (https://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/blogging/how-to-start-blog-and-make-money/) was a great experience altogether and you’re one of those that inspired me to just put it out there and it happen.

    Many thanks!

    P.S. About to read this post I just got this from my mailbox.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 7th, 2014 at 11:01 am


      Thanks very much :)

      • Rienzi
        February 7th, 2014 at 11:33 am

        I assume that it’s cool to embed your videos too? :)

        • Matthew Woodward
          February 8th, 2014 at 9:50 am

          Yeah no worrys I have embedding enabled on YouTube for them all!

  22. Divine Rizardo

    Aside from increasing website speed, another thing that I like about CDN is the fact that it actually allows us to save on hosting costs. It’s a win-win situation for both the website owner and end user. Another thing with CDN is their providing of usage analytics which we can use to supplement what we already have.

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 7th, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Well a lot of hosts come with ‘unlimited’ bandwidth so isn’t a major issue, but you can’t argue with how cheap the CDN is!

  23. David Henzel

    Thank you for the great post Matthew!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 7th, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Well that’s only possible with a great service so back at ya :)

  24. Sgt. Kraut

    Nice! I’m also planning to use MaxCDN on my website. I have to figure out how to combine this with W3 Total Cache. By the way, under “Who Are MaxCDN?” you wrote “Drual” :-P

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 7th, 2014 at 11:03 am

      Yeah I was just testing people ^^

      Thanks, fixed :P

  25. Malc

    Once you have a reasonably busy website it’s essential to get a CDN in place.

    I tested a few of my sites today, using the excellent, free Monitis Page Load http://pageload.monitis.com/ and pages, taking three seconds to load in the states took 12 seconds in Europe: and vice versa – one site took two seconds to load in the UK and 14 seconds to load in the USA.

    So if you’re making money from your sites then, as Matt says, it will pay you to take out a subscription to Cloudflare or MaxCDN, the two leading players.

    Wow – it’s hard this IM innit? LOL


    • Matthew Woodward
      February 7th, 2014 at 11:06 am


      How busy the site is doesn’t matter, 5 visitors or 20,000 is irrelevant. It’s down to where the user is and where the server is.

      Having a fast site helps you on so many fronts, whether its making money or not now doesn’t matter. It is a very small investment to increases your chances of success.

  26. Michael Bely

    A CDN is a definitely worth using once you get tons of traffic. But before that, in my opinion, it is better to concentrate on a decent hosting provider.

    Don’t want to boast, but my webhost is pretty cheap and according to pingdom my website is faster than 96% of all tested websites (which is unexpectedly good, perhaps pingdom caches its requests – some hours ago it showed 85% figure).

    Anyway, Matt, BIG BIG thanks for webpagetest.org link!

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 7th, 2014 at 11:08 am


      Yes webhosting is cheap but so is a CDN. If you have 10 visits a day or 50,000 the CDN still offers a better user experience, higher conversion rates and more love from Google.

      It’s a very easy and cheap cog to turn in your favour!

  27. Giuroiu&Homesthetics

    I have a rather slow website my self, being loaded with images and big files. I`m looking for a content delivery network for a month now but I find it difficult to calculate the costs of such a service. My website earns way too little at the moment, I want and need a CDN but I have to break even in the worst case scenario. Would you able to help me .

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 6th, 2014 at 5:08 pm

      Your current host will tell you how much bandwidth you use. I would use the CDN for the site/images but keep the big files at the current host.

      If your on Wordpress that is what will happen by default anyway

  28. JR John

    Hi Matthew,

    I’ve researched a lot into CDNs, and MaxCDN appears to be the most popular. That’s the one I’ll go with if I ever do take on a CDN. ;)

    Do you have any other page load speed decrease tips — more hands-on types of things?

    JR John

  29. Jamie Knop

    Big differences between WebPageTest and Pingdom Tools there in terms of load times. +20 seconds on WebPageTest for Top 100 page :S

    Have you done any tests on CloudFlare vs MaxCDN?

    • Matthew Woodward
      February 6th, 2014 at 5:03 pm


      I think they define ‘complete page load’ differently.

      No I haven’t tested CloudFlare to this extent but I imagine using them together is beastly!

      • Asim
        February 6th, 2014 at 8:10 pm

        web page test gives you different numbers for first render, document complete and fully loaded. I think your numbers are for fully loaded while those of pingdom might be for first render.


        • Matthew Woodward
          February 7th, 2014 at 11:06 am


          Good to know :)

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