This weekend I decided to make a switch from serving files from my server, to using Amazonís Simple Storage Service (S3). It was surprisingly painless, and, as Iíll show below, can be quickly setup to integrate very well with Wordpress.
Whatís the point?
Good question. Serving data from a CDN is an industry standard for speeding up your website. Essentially, your CDN (in this case Amazon S3) distributes your content in a more localized manner, as opposed to wherever your server is hosted.
In practical use this means that the nine visitors I had from South Korea yesterday would see significantly less latency having my files severed in a more localized manner, instead of traveling the necessary 9,500 kilometers from Utah, USA. Sounds cool right? Well thatís because it is cool. And itís cake to setup.
Cake you say?
Yes, Cake. The first step is to register with Amazon Web Services (AWS), takes a few minutes; youíll just have to verify your identity over the phone with a PIN number.
Conveniently, youíll be taken to the Amazon S3 tab. Click on the Create Bucket button, input your Bucket Name, and select your Region. Hit Create. Thatís about 25% of the work. Now youíll need to grab an amazing wordpress plugin, W3 Total Cache. This little puppy will make your sites fly when configured correctly. Right now, weíre just going to focus on the CDN part.
After installing this plugin, click on the General Settings of your newly created Performance sidebar. Scroll down to enable your CDN, and Select Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) from the CDN Type dropdown menu. Whew, 50% of the way there.
Now click on the CDN section, and youíll be given a form asking for your Access key ID, Secret Key, and Bucket. Grab your top secret information, and put it in. 75% done.
Last, scroll up to the General section, and upload your include files, theme files, minify files (assuming you configured these), and custom files (if any). Thatís all there is to it! Youíre now ready to serve data all over the world at blazing fast speeds. Rock on.
How much does it cost?
Hosting with S3 is very affordable, and of course depends on your capacity and traffic. You can use this handy little calculator to get an exact estimate, otherwise just check out the basic pricing scheme.
In my mind, if your site isnít worth the value of serving data fast, reliably, and storing it in a durable manner, then itís probably not worth your time in the first place.