Ghacks.net has a great, in depth article on how to set up a content distribution network in WordPress using Amazon S3. The guide gives you the ingredients needed and walks you through the entire process of installing and configuring the W3 Total Cache plugin, setting it up to use the CDN, getting an S3 account, etc.
It takes between one and six hours to configure and activate a CDN on the WordPress blog. Most of the time is spent waiting for the DNS to propagate, the account to become active and the data to be transferred. Webmasters should check the speed of their website in Google Webmaster Tools (or other tool) to see if the changes have decreased the load time for the users of the site. They should also monitor the costs over at Amazon.
On the flip side, I’m currently using WPCDN on WPTavern.com and it was easy to setup. Even though they have a plugin to use, W3 Total Cache made it even easier to setup thanks to its built in way of handling different types of CDNs. I’ll be using this CDN for a month and then asking you if the site has loaded any faster.
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).