I’ve said it before, I get approached by A LOT of companies asking me to review their WordPress plugins, software and products on my site. Most of the time I say no for one of two reasons.
- I don’t think the product is useful to my audience
- The pitch is awful
But when Brian Jackson from Woorkup.com emailed me asking to do a KeyCDN review, I was more than happy to do it.
Before I dive into the review, let me give you some background on Brian. I’ve been following him for a while because he delivers awesome actionable content that I’ve personally put into use. In addition to running his site (Woorkup), Brian is also an inbound marketer for KeyCDN which is why he reached out to me. You can learn more about him here if you’d like.
On to the review!
What is a CDN?
In basic terms, a content delivery network (CDN) is a way to deliver content from your website from separate servers, which allows your site to load faster. Here’s an explanation from Brian’s site:
When you deploy a CDN it automatically copies parts of your website, like your images and scripts, and stores them across a bunch of different servers in different data centers around the globe. When people visit your website, it is now loading from different countries, like France, Australia, the USA, etc. It automatically loads from the server that is physically closest to them.
Why You Need a CDN
Don’t worry about the technical end (unless you’re just really interested in it). Just know that it will:
- Help speed up your site
- Create a better experience for your audience.
- Improve your SEO
You should always strive to get your site to load as fast as possible. Google hasn’t historically been the most forthcoming when it comes to their search algorithm, but they’ve flat out stated page speed is a ranking factor. So you know it’s important. They even have an entire section on the site dedicated to helping webmasters speed up their sites.
A CDN is particularly important for image heavy sites, because there’s a good chance pages with a lot of pictures are loading slowly because they’re using a lot of extra resources to load all the images.
I’ll be honest. I’ve been blogging for years without using a CDN. Not because I didn’t think they were useful. I didn’t use them because I didn’t know how to get started and all the info I found online seemed too technical. At the time, there really wasn’t a simple resource I could find that walked beginners through everything from start to finish.
On top of that, I just assumed CDN’s were only necessary for huge sites with millions of visits, so I just went without it.
Now that I’ve become more experienced and learned A LOT, I’m all about finding out ways to improve my sites. I was contemplating getting a CDN before Brian reached out to me, so it was perfect timing. I’m currently using KeyCDN on this site, and recently added the Cosmo Project site as well.
My Site Speed Before & After KeyCDN
This review is going to be a little different than my other ones. I’m not really diving into the interface of KeyCDN and the features. Honestly, the main concern of a CDN is the results you get with it. I ran my site through Google PageSpeed Insights before and after using KeyCDN. I probably should’ve also tested it with another tool like GTMetrix, but it’s ok.
Here are the results.
Mobile page speed before KeyCDN
Desktop page speed before KeyCDN
My page speed wasn’t too bad before using KeyCDN, but there was definitely room for improvement. Here’s what it looked like afterwards.
Mobile page speed after KeyCDN
Desktop page speed after KeyCDN
You’re probably looking at this and thinking “Big deal, it only went up a few points.” Keep in mind that:
- A CDN won’t fix all of the problems related to your site’s loading time
- My numbers weren’t awful to begin with, so a CDN wasn’t going to increase my speeds to 90+
Overall, I’m happy with the results I’ve gotten. I’ve seen a noticeable difference in how quickly my pages load, especially the ones with a lot of screenshots. On top of that, this has inspired me to take more steps to improve my site’s page speed.
One of the biggest benefits of KeyCDN is the pricing structure. You only pay for what you use. There isn’t a set monthly fee like some other CDN’s. This will save you money because you’re not paying for resources you’re not even going to use.
For most blogs, it’ll only end up costing you less than $3 a month. You really can’t beat that. It’s an extremely low price to pay to speed up your site.
Is KeyCDN Easy to Set Up?
Like I said earlier, one of the reasons I didn’t use a CDN sooner is because setting it up seemed too complicated. I can’t speak for other CDN’s, but KeyCDN was super simple to setup. You can do it in less than five minutes.
You don’t have to go into your hosting account or do anything super technical. Everything is done through the KeyCDN dashboard and a WordPress plugin.
After you create your account (use my link to get $10 in free credits!) go into Zones > New Zone
Fill out the info. Make sure it’s set to pull and active.
You’ll get a zone URL. Copy this, you’ll need it later.
In your site’s WordPress dashboard, download and install the CDN Enabler plugin. Go to Settings > CDN Enabler. Enter the zone URL you copied in the previous step.
Hit “Save Changes” and you’re set!
I did have one hiccup along the way (caused by a plugin I was using) that left my site looking crazy. But I emailed Brian and he told me exactly how to fix it and I had everything back up and working perfectly. Just remember to check your site after you finish setting up KeyCDN to make sure everything is still functioning properly.
If you can install a WordPress plugin, you can setup KeyCDN.
My One Complaint About KeyCDN
If I had to say one bad thing about KeyCDN in this review, it’s that the dashboard could use some simplifying. If you’re not knowledgeable about resource usage, the Analytics dashboard will probably won’t make much sense to you.
My suggestion would be to put a clickable “more information” icon next to the different metrics that gives a brief description of what you’re lookin gat. It’s not a huge deal, but I can see how people new to blogging could get lost looking at the dashboard.
Should You Use KeyCDN?
I definitely recommend it. The price is so good that it doesn’t make sense not to use it, especially if your site speed sucks right now. It’s a small investment and can make a big impact.