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How The Drupal CDN Module Can Speed Up Your Site

How The Drupal CDN Module Can Speed Up Your Site

by Adrian Ababei on Jun 29 2017

It's speed that excites them all, with no exception! While some of the users prefer a minimalist web design, others might go for a maximalist design instead. Some have a weakness for content infused with storytelling, while others prefer just simple, “raw” data... And still: online users ALL have a thing for high page loading speed. And the Drupal CDN module makes such a powerful tool for you to supercharge your site within the name of top speed!

 

“Why should I even integrate a CDN when I can as well continue to use web hosting? What difference would it make?”

 

2 more than legitimate questions that we'll try to answer as we'll do our best to point out to you how precisely a CDN can boost your Drupal site's performance and why you should add it to your whole “arsenal” of speed-boosting tactics (moving CSS and JavaScript in the footer, perfecting the caching on your site, compressing your heavy load of images, etc.).

So, let's dig in, shall we?

 

How Precisely Can a CDN Guarantee You a Lightning Fast Website?

A short version of the answer to your valid dilemma would be: “compared to a shared web hosting, a CDN is built with speed in mind; it's equipped with the capacity to withstand huge fluxes of visitors”.

In other words: while shared hosting is simply geared towards delivering you a stable environment for your website, a CDN's infrastructure setup is developed precisely to ensure high page loading speed, irrespective of the influxes of traffic on your site.

And this is no news that we're sharing with you here: just consider with how many other websites your own Drupal site is sharing its hosting sever with and... you do the math!

Try to imagine how many times its performance would get boosted if it had a server all by itself. Dedicated exclusively to its own needs for speed and to answering its particular traffic challenges.

 

1. It Will Lighten That Heavy Load of Plugins On Your Site

Plugins! Who can resist them? 

Once installed on your Drupal site, they just unleash their “encapsulated” functionalities. And each one of them comes with its own too-cool-to-resist-to functionality!

Piling them up, adding more and more, eager to impress your visitors, does have the “taste” of a “guilty pleasure” doesn't it?

“Guilty” because with each new plugin, with each new load of JavaScript and CSS files that you add on, your Drupal site gets even more bogged down.

And how can a CDN, via a dedicated tool such as the Drupal CDN module, help you out here? For it certainly cannot point out to you which plugins to keep and which ones to disable!

Well, what it CAN do, instead, is compress and minify their scrips! Therefore your site's heavy load of content will get considerably lighter and its performance dramatically improved!

 

2. It Will Speed Up Content Delivery Anywhere on The Globe

Basically a CDN infrastructure's built to serve content worldwide, irrespective of the website's own location on the globe.

In short: users located far away from your site's location, shouldn't be disadvantaged, in any way, in terms of content delivery speed.

And how does a CDN manage to deliver content, at high speed, to an international audience?

It relies on its entire “ecosystem” of proxy servers, located in various locations worldwide. It's them that catch and then replicates content (images, CSS, JavaScript files) precisely from those locations which are geographically closest to your users.

Wrapping up: if your Drupal site's located in Asia and a visitor from Europe makes a content request, that particular user will get its content delivered as quickly as a visitor from Asia would. Thanks to that network of servers, placed all over the globe, that your CDN will leverage.

 

The Drupal CDN Module: A Handy Tool for Integrating CDN on Your Website

Now, where do you add that you even have a dedicated module for it? 

Once you've convinced yourself of the CDN's key advantages and once it's more than clear to you how its integration can benefit your own website, just go ahead and... enable it!

Practically what this module will do is change your files' URLs so that they should no longer load from your current shared web server, but from your CDN instead!

 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Installing and Configuring Your Drupal CDN Module

Now let's point out to you all the steps you need to take, along with some useful tips and tricks, so that you can use your CDN at its full potential on your website:

 

  1. You install and enable your Drupal CDN module on your website

     
  2. You navigate to its configuration page 

     
  3. See the “General Settings” tab? It's there that you can set the module's status (enabled, disabled or on testing mode)

     
  4. Next, click on the “Details” tab and wisely scan through the whole set of options that you have there: pick “Origin Pull”, select the “CDN mapping” setting, and so on. It's the latter that enables you to specify which files on your website should get loaded via your CDN from now on

     
  5. Select the “Far Future Expiration” setting and this way you will ensure that files delivered via CDN will “expire” in the future to come (enhanced cacheability on your client's side). Also, since these two settings go hand in hand: keep in mind to enable your “Aggregate and Compress CSS files” option in your Performance settings

     
  6. Select “CDN supports HTTPS” (you'll find this setting in your “Other” tab) if it's the case, meaning if your Drupal website does use HTTPS

     

And that's it! Your site's all set for reaching... high page loading speed now!

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