Page.ly Launches New CDN Called PressCDN

PressCDN LogoPage.ly has announced a brand new CDN service called PressCDN. Page.ly has partnered with a number of companies in order to provide a global distribution network. The biggest selling point they are pushing is speed. For those that don’t know, CDN stands for Content Delivery Network.

A CDN is a content delivery network that stores copies of your images and site files in locations all around the world. This allows them to be downloaded to your visitor’s computer faster, speeding up the overall load time of your page.

At $9 dollars per month, it’s a cheap way to speed up a website but it’s not cheaper than free. Photon, which is one of the services built into the Jetpack plugin provides CDN capabilities. When enabled, images will be served dynamically from the servers that power the WordPress.com cloud. However, Photon does have its limitations. For example:

  • Photon filters content but doesn’t change the info in the database.
  • Photon currently only acts on images in posts and featured images (post thumbnails).
  • Photon will apply to old posts and new ones alike and can be turned on or off easily.
  • No cache invalidations – currently the images are cached “forever”. If you want to “refresh” an image you will need to change the name of the image. Adding random query arguments, commonly known as cachebusters, will not work.
  • We only fetch, resize, and serve gif, png, and jpg images from servers that listen on port 80. This is about 99.99% of the web servers in the world.
  • We will not “upscale” an image in most circumstances. If your original image is 1000px wide and you ask for us to make it 5000px, we will serve you the original 1000px image. Upscaled images are usually of poor quality and we want to avoid that.
  • If your server takes longer than 10 seconds to upload the image to Photon, the upload will time out and your image will appear to be broken. Try to upload a differently-named image with a smaller file size if this happens.
  • Animated gifs will probably break if resized or transformed via Photon.

On paper, using any type of CDN is supposed to be beneficial to both the site and its visitors. However, until we see some comparison benchmarks preferably from a third-party comparing speeds and services like PressCDN with Photon, we’ll never know.

10 Comments


  1. This appears to be just a front for Akamai, Amazon, MaxCDN etc. so it’s probably best just to buy directly from them instead.

    Personally I use Amazon Cloudfront and am really happy with it. The cost is ridiculously low and my files always load mega fast :)

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  2. @Ryan Hellyer – Right. In their announcement post they clearly stated they bought it bulk and are passing on savings to consumers. I wonder if it would be cheaper to go direct. I’ve been happy with Photon in Jetpack but then again, I haven’t run any benchmarks that shows me it has made any difference. The site also uses Cloudflare.

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  3. We use MaxCDN (NetDNA) at WPForce.com, and at $40/year for 1tb of bandwidth, it’s tough to go wrong. I find it’s super speedy and the interface is one of the best I’ve seen for a CDN. Plus, the management team are very friendly and easy to approach.

    I’ve tested out Photon, but I found having an actual CDN, even if it costs a little bit, is worth it.

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  4. 9$ a month sound expensive. I don’t think the savings they offer are worth the introduction of a middleman.

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  5. @Jeffro -If you have crazy high traffic or were serving massive images, videos etc. then you might be able to save money via the Page.ly deal. But for the rest of us, US$9 is more than we pay by buying directly.

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  6. CDNs are generally aimed for high-traffic sites not for mid-end or average sites. $9 is not expensive at all, if you’re getting a lot of traffic. Was not impressed with free Photon, I think WordPress should start a Premium version of Photon with a wide variety of features.

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  7. @Jonathan Dingman – Well, $40 per year is a heck of a lot cheaper than $108 bucks.

    @Mark k., @Ryan Hellyer – I have little experience in the realm of Content Distribution Networks and their pricing. I only remember how expensive they were about 2 years ago. I thought $9.00 a month was cheap but looking at other options and the comments here, it’s not.

    @Pranjal – I wonder if Automattic will at some point create their own premium CDN service or acquire one which would be another Platform Agnostic way of generating revenue. Makes sense to me.

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  8. @Jeffro -CDN’s are ridiculously cheap. You typically only pay for what you use, and since most people use almost nothing, they end up paying, well, almost nothing.

    I think my monthly bill is somewhere around US$3 – 4 from Amazon, but I serve quite a few large images, so a site with significantly less images should cost significantly less for the CDN hosting.

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  9. On the surface this looks like a whitelabel selling of MetaCDN.com or something similar.

    There’s a lot of mis-information and hype around CDNs, that unfortunately even we’ve accidentally helped spread.

    CDNs will not always speed up your site. We’re working on making it possible to re-educate people, and more importantly, how to measure page load time properly.

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  10. @Vid Luther – That’s a good point to make, that there may be other bottlenecks such as long queries, misconfigured server-side caching, or using scaled-down images.

    In most cases though, I would say that a CDN typically does help speed up a website from a global perspective.

    It’s always a good idea to check the basics first though.

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