15 Comments


  1. I’m wondering about the cost of using AmazonS3 as a CDN. S3 is great for storage (archive/backup) of files, because storage costs are dirt-cheap. However, the bandwidth costs for transferring to/from S3 aren’t necessarily so cheap.

    For a low-traffic site that doesn’t exceed its monthly bandwidth quota, using a CDN makes no sense at all, as it merely adds additional monthly bandwidth costs. For a high-traffic site, the bandwidth costs from the CDN are likely much lower than bandwidth quota increases from the web host.

    So, what is the traffic (bandwidth) break-even point, above which a site would start realizing cost savings using S3 as a CDN (or WPCDN, for that matter)? I would think the traffic would have to be in the tens of thousands per day (or, in my case, almost 2 GB of bandwidth use per day).

  2. Mike

    @Chip Bennett – Surely it makes sense to use a CDN on any size site in terms of speeding things up by parallelising http requests and serving images etc from ‘cookieless’ domains?


  3. @Chip Bennett – Those are interesting questions and I wonder if anyone has done that kind of research. But if you’re on a shared webhost, wouldn’t using a CDN whether the site is big or small be a benefit, especially since the site would be located on a server with other folks using up valuable resources?

    I guess that question wouldn’t be answered unless it was part of the research as to when to start looking at CDNs to alleviate bandwidth or loading issues.


  4. @Mike and @Jeffro:

    Certainly, using a CDN will almost always provide a benefit with respect to site speed.

    However, until bandwidth usage exceeds the break-even point I referenced in my original comment, using a CDN also will almost always incur additional cost for the CDN bandwidth usage.

    For example, on my shared hosting account, I have a 50GB/month bandwidth quota. Currently, I will never come anywhere close to using that much bandwidth. My site averages at best 150 uniques a day.

    So, for me, using a CDN, while providing a site speed increase (though to what extent, I don’t know), would also incur the cost of bandwidth. For Amazon S3, the tier-pricing is modest; for WPCDN, the cost is a minimum of $6/month.

    So, even if the cost is quite modest, it is still an additional cost.

    Now, what would be *really* intriguing to me would be the ability to use Amazon S3 (or another service) purely as an off-server *backup* of my website (files and DB), automated through a plugin.


  5. Yep, though one (WP S3 Backups) appears to be an older version of another (Automatic WordPress Backups), and I am waiting for the resolution of an issue with the latter, before giving it a try.


  6. Actually, you should be using CloudFront rather than S3 for a CDN. It pulls from S3, but its designed for use as a CDN than S3 is.


  7. @Chip Bennett – It’s not just a cost issue, it’s also a performance one, particularly if you using something like Cloudfront in combination with S3 (serves data locally, so lower ping times).


  8. Bear in mind that performance isn’t the only advantage of a CDN. It can greatly expand your site’s capacity if you get an unexpected spike in traffic that could choke a single server.


  9. Chip,

    You make a valid point. If you’re not exceeding your hosting bandwidth, CDN will indeed be an additional (but modest) expense. However, with CDN, you’re buying a different kind of bandwidth that can enhance performance and scalability. In other words, you’re paying for an extra that standard hosting doesn’t offer. So the question is how important that extra speed and scalability are. With Google now taking speed into account for page rankings, those few dollars could be buying you a lot.

    Just my .02 worth…not a plug for our service but observations on CDN in general.

    Mark

  10. Amy

    @Chip Bennett – Surely it makes sense to use a CDN on any size site in terms of speeding things up by parallelising http requests and serving images etc from ‘cookieless’ domains?

  11. Michelle

    Yep, though one (WP S3 Backups) appears to be an older version of another (Automatic WordPress Backups), and I am waiting for the resolution of an issue with the latter, before giving it a try.

  12. Michelle

    Chip,

    You make a valid point. If you’re not exceeding your hosting bandwidth, CDN will indeed be an additional (but modest) expense. However, with CDN, you’re buying a different kind of bandwidth that can enhance performance and scalability. In other words, you’re paying for an extra that standard hosting doesn’t offer. So the question is how important that extra speed and scalability are. With Google now taking speed into account for page rankings, those few dollars could be buying you a lot.

    Just my .02 worth…not a plug for our service but observations on CDN in general.

    Mark


  13. Yeah, using the W3 Total Cache plugin makes configuring the CDN super easy. We use it on several of our sites. It rewrites the url’s for you, so you’re up and running in only a few minutes. A good affordable option is WordPress CDN by MaxCDN.

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