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Thoughts on Content Delivery Networks (CDN), Google PageSpeed

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My understanding is that CDNs offload the serving of static files to other hosts, reducing server load and hopefully increasing loading speed because of parallelisation as well as hopefully serving files geographically closer to users.

I would love to hear from people using CDNs and/or Google's PageSpeed on their experiences. I think this would be a good move for my site, but I am finding it hard to compare options. Cloudflare and MaxCDN both look good, and PageSpeed I'm still trying to figure out -- their test claims it would decrease our load time by about 0.3s, although the video playback looks better than that.

If you are using or have used this kind of service, what service did you use, and did you find it useful?

How much did it end up costing you vs. the size of your site (vs. pageviews/day I guess?)

If you tried it and decided against it, or used it and then ditched it after a while, why?


(Note: the IPS version of our site is still locked offline in development, so I am limited in what I can test with it directly. I am trying to make some good decisions ahead of 'go time'.)

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Also -- edgecast.com (another CDN I've seen recommended) supposedly integrates Google's PageSpeed into their offering -- PageSpeed seems to be some kind of mixed bag of optimisation and CDN, then

Also -- there is a CDN 'built into' IP Suite, but the discussion thread on the blog post about it makes it sound like it's not currently working. Curiously, the MaxCDN site has instructions for integrating their service with IP Suite -- it wasn't clear to me whether it uses the built in CDN code (which sounding like it had cool 'push' technology for new content) or not

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I have played with Amazon's CloudFront and PageSpeed. Both are "okay", but in my opinion not necessary.

My site, at least, utilizes the browser cache very well. If you're using the browser cache, then the CDN is irrelevant except for the first, uncached hit. In my opinion, it added more complexity that wasn't really gaining me anything.

PageSpeed is similar: more complexity that wasn't really gaining me much. It's a neat concept and there are probably sites where it would genuinely be useful, but my IPB forum isn't one of them. You should try it and determine that for yourself, of course.


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