How To Use Amazon CloudFront As A Free CDN For Your WordPress Blog

If you are considering optimizing the speed of your WordPress blog, then it is time to sign up and use a CDN. It stands for Content Delivery Network, a network of multiple servers that are located around the world. These servers are used to cache all static files of your website. Those files are images, video, CSS, and JavaScript.

In simpler terms, all your static files will be copied to all servers of the CDN provider. So, when a visitor loads your website, the CDN provider will use the file that is stored in the closest server. As a result, it will load faster and will contribute to improving the speed of your website. I always recommend that you use CDN to accelerate your WordPress blog or website, especially since the site’s speed is now a critical factor to help you rank better in the search engines.

Selecting a CDN service to use on your website can be difficult since there are many providers out there. It also depends on your demands and the popularity of your website.

However, I’m not going to tell you which CDN service you should use. Instead, I will guide you on how to sign up for a free Amazon AWS account and use CloudFront as CDN for free in 12 months.

How To Use Amazon CloudFront As A CDN For Your WordPress Blog For Free

What is Amazon AWS?

It is a secure cloud platform that offers many services such as compute power, file storage, database storage, or content delivery to help you create, manage and scale your businesses. In those services, Amazon CloudFront is a global CDN service, which will assist in accelerating delivery of the static content of your websites through CDN caching.

Amazon Web Services

To welcome new clients, Amazon has released a free tier program that allows us to use their services, including CloudFront for free with limitations. For example, if you want to use Amazon EC2, you will have 750 hours free per month for specific plans. Or if you use Amazon S3, the first 5GB will be no charge. Similarly, Amazon offers 50GB of bandwidth for us to use CloudFront in this free tier program.

Amazon AWS Free Tier

I’m currently using Amazon CloudFront as my default CDN for some websites. Based on my experience, with 50GB of the free tier program, you can use it for a blog or website that has around 50,000 visitors per month. That said, you are still within the limitation of the free tier program, so you don’t need to pay a cent. But if your blog traffic increases and uses over 50GB, you’ll have to pay for the exceeded traffic.

Visit here to learn more about this free tier program from Amazon.

With most new WordPress blogs, 50GB seems enough, right?

But how do you sign up for this free account from Amazon AWS?

Well! It’s quite simple!

First, visit here and then click on the Create A Free Account button.

Create a free Amazon AWS account

Next, fill in your email, select I am a new user option.

Then click on the Sign in using our secure server button, in the Sign In or Create an AWS Account window.

Create a free AWS account

In the Login Credentials window, enter your name, email, and password. Then click on the Create account button.

Next step, choose Personal Account option. Then fill in your billing address, tick the AWS Customer Agreement checkbox and proceed.

Amazon AWS Billing Address

Provide your credit card or debit card number and go to the next step. You should have at least two or three dollars there because Amazon will charge a small amount to verify whether your card is valid or not.

Credit card or Debit card for Amazon AWS

Enter your phone number, wait for the call and enter the PIN that Amazon provided to you on the screen into your phone. You can also speak those PIN numbers one by one instead of touching the virtual phone keypad.

Amazon Verify Phone Number

Once you have verified your identity, select the Basic plan and click on the Continue button.

That’s it! You should receive an email that tells you that your account is ready.

How To Set Up Amazon CloudFront As A CDN For Your WordPress Blog

Once you complete the registration process and your Amazon AWS account is ready, log in to your account.

Then in the Home section, search for CloudFront and open it. You can find and select it from the list as well.

Next, create a new distribution to use with your WordPress blog.

In the Select a delivery method for your content screen, click on the Get Started button from the Web section.

In the next step, fill in your domain name and the selected ID. Also, select the HTTP Only or HTTPS Only when your WordPress blog uses HTTP or HTTPS, respectively.

Create Amazon CloudFront Distribution

As for all other options, leave them as default. Then scroll down at the end of the page and click on the Create Distribution button.

There is also one notable thing – it’s the Alternate Domain Names option. By default, all static files of your website will be distributed through the default URL of Amazon CloudFront.

It looks like:

http://random-distribution-id.cloudfront.net/your-file-here.jpg

or

https://random-distribution-id.cloudfront.net/your-file-here.jpg

However, you can adjust this setting and use your customized URL, such as:

http://cdn.your-domain-name.com/your-file-here.jpg

or

https://cdn.your-domain-name.com/your-file-here.jpg

If you want to do so, don’t hit the Create Distribution button yet. Instead, scroll down and find the Distribution Settings section.

In this section, fill in your customized domain name that you would like to replace the default CloudFront address into the Alternate Domain Names box.

Amazon CloudFront Distribution Settings

It should be cdn.your-domain-name.com or anything you would like to use.

However, after creating this distribution, you need to create a CNAME record to forward your customized domain name you have selected above to the default Amazon CloudFront address.

cdn.your-domain-name.com -> CNAME -> random-distribution-id.cloudfront.net

One more thing you should note is that if you are using HTTPS as the default URL of your WordPress blog, then you have to request or import a new SSL certificate for your custom domain name in AWS Certificate Manager.

Otherwise, you won’t be able to use HTTPS with your custom URL in your distribution, only HTTP, which is:

http://cdn.your-domain-name.com

If you don’t request or import an SSL certificate for your domain name, your WordPress blog may show an error message, which says: Your connection is not private, when visitors load it.

To deal with this problem, you can choose to use the default CloudFront URL, which is:

random-distribution-id.cloudfront.net

By that, you can use it with HTTPS without needing to set up a new SSL certificate for your domain name. Otherwise, go to AWS Certificate Manager and get one.

After making your decision and clicking on the Create Distribution button, wait for a few minutes. Your Amazon CloudFront distribution will be ready shortly.

Once your distribution is deployed and enabled, go to your WordPress admin dashboard and enable CDN through W3 Total Cache. You can also use other WordPress plugins to enable CDN on your WordPress blog.

That’s all!

If you have any questions regarding creating a Amazon AWS account, setting up CloudFront distribution or enable CDN on your WordPress blog, feel free to leave your comment below. I will try to respond and help you as quickly as possible!

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