Supercharge your Website with Amazon CloudFront

Clear Skies

Performance Boosters

To improve your site responsiveness, you can use Amazon CloudFront along with the powerful WordPress plugin W3 Total Cache. A quick overview of the features and functionality of each is in order.

CloudFront is an impressive content delivery web service from the cloud giant Amazon. It offers low-latency, high-speed data transfer by serving user requests with a global network of edge locations. As a CDN, it is a powerful, cost-effective way to boost the performance of your WordPress site. CloudFront offerings and W3 Total Cache make for even more WordPress bliss.

W3 Total Cache (W3TC) is a web performance optimization plugin for WordPress. It employs a variety of features that boost the performance of a WordPress installation. All of these compelling features together mean that a webmaster with few resources can dramatically improve the performance of a site, regardless of whether it is hosted on inexpensive shared hosting, a VPS, or a cloud instance. This plugin packs a great performance punch that I will explore later. For now, I'll demonstrate the first step of setting up Amazon CloudFront.

Setting Up Amazon CloudFront

For the sake of focus, I'm going to assume you have an Amazon account set up and ready to go. If not, you need to create an Amazon account [6] and then log in to your it [7]. Next, click on Create Distribution (Figure 2), and select Web | Continue . Under Origin Settings, enter the full address for your website (rather than my example site ) and a descriptive Origin ID (Figure 3). Leave all the other options at the defaults and scroll down to Distribution Setting, where you add your CNAME settings.

Figure 2: Creating a CloudFront distribution.
Figure 3: Origin settings.

Adding a CNAME

Stop at Alternate Domain Names (CNAMEs) settings (Figure 4). This option allows you to use a CNAME you set up in your DNS servers rather than the autogenerated CloudFront names (e.g., ). Finally, click Create Distribution . This can take some time, so grab a coffee or, if it's after 5pm, a nice cold one.

Figure 4: Distribution settings.

Once this process has completed, you will see CloudFront Distributions with the distribution you have just created and a status listed as InProgress . Be patient; it could take a few minutes until the status switches to Deployed . Next, simply select the checkbox next to your new distribution and click on Distribution Settings (Figure 5).

Figure 5: A new CloudFront distribution.

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