This article will introduce Statically, a 100% free CDN that offers a serious performance boost to your Oxygen Builder website. We really like it because unlike other free services, it actually works, and has a very elegant and easy to use backend.
Statically CDN is a free content delivery network that comes with a lot of features, and easy integration to any WordPress site via a well designed plugin. First, let's take a look at what it offers and how it works. Then, we'll talk about integrating it with a WordPress site created with Oxygen, and offer real world speed stats to show you the performance benefits that integrating any CDN (Statically included) offers.
Primarily, Statically is not a "WordPress service". Instead, its a fully featured CDN service that happens to have a great integration with the CMS. With it, you get unlimited traffic, meaning that there are no o traffic limits or throttling. Files are served via super fast global CDNs.
The CDN works with images, as well as CSS, JS, SVG, HTML, and XML files. It's created for developers, but the WP plugin makes it easy to use (giving you a fancy GUI to easily and quickly add a solid CDN service). If you're a dev dev, there's integration with your favorite tools: GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket.
The benefit of integrating an CDN leads to enhanced global performance of your site, as the files are served from geographically closer "nodes". Content is cached, and also optimized. Images can be served as WebP (we'll talk more about this as we look at how to install this in a WordPress website). As Statically is a free CDN, your pocketbook also is benefited 💸💸.
Statically is also a "multi CDN", which is the main reason why it's free, but a solid offering. They consistently add additional CDN providers, and the service gets better with time.
🎉 Yay! We started implementing @googlecloud CDN and @awscloud CloudFront on the Statically CDN. Still on a small scale at this time, but can't wait to spread it to more strategic areas. If you are in #Singapore or #Indonesia, you should get one of these providers. pic.twitter.com/xdYgaixWCA— Statically CDN ⚡️ (@staticallyio) October 27, 2020
Static files like CSS and JS that are served from the platform are optimized via magnification.
The other notable feature is Staticzap. We mess around with a lot of small JS libraries sourced from Github, and deliver them to our site with this tool. Enter the URL of the file/bucket, and it'll make a url that's great for delivery to your dev (or even production) environment.
We're a bit off topic here, so let's talk about how to integrate this free cdn with your WordPress website (getting the benefit of assets like CSS, JS and Images from a global CDN).
Installing Statically on a WordPress website is incredibly easy. First, create a CDN Zone and API key on the main website. This is free, but requires an email address. Note the CDN API key.
Now, install the Statically plugin on your site. The first screen you'll need to enter info on will pop up.
Enter your API key, as well as the Statically Zone (is the same as your website URL, which should have been entered when registering for you key). The main settings are also here. You can optimize images (which means they'd be compressed, served as WebP, and delivered via CDN), which is the main use case. You can also serve and minify JS. Currently the CSS feature requires a donation (I think, haven't donated yet so not 100% sure), so that's disabled for free users.
At this point, you could simple stop, and enjoy your new free CDN on WordPress, or you could dive a bit deeper into additional tools and settings.
Under the speed tab, you can set the image quality, and also serve core WordPress assets with the Statically WP CDN. As it says in the description, if you're trying to reduce the load on your servers processor/ram, this could be helpful.
Under extras, you can fine tune specifics like your Favicon, Emoji CDN, OG images, and more.
Labs allows you to use experimental features. We've been testing out the Page Booster and Turbo features. Pretty cool!
But, as installation goes, the only mandatory steps are entering your website URL as well as the API key. That's it.
It works. Here are some stats. We used FastOrSlow to give us a speed profile that included 18 international testing locations. The site tested was already very quick, so we weren't expecting much (if any) increase in performance.
The site is very simple, but has several high res images throughout. It's hosted on Cloudways, our go to for hosting client projects (free trial + 20% with code Isotropic). Without the Statically CDN, we were just using the Cloudways Varnish Cache and the free caching plugin, Breeze. Server is DO, based in New York.
There was a decent average boost in performance metrics too:
And, we could see that all images, including background images were served through the Statically CDN.
We could have boosted this speed even more by setting the compression to be more than zero, but this was just a basic test on an extremely simple Oxygen Builder site.
If you're interested in speeding up your WordPress website and leveraging all the benefits that come with a CDN, but also like when your money remains in your pocket, the free CDN Statically is a great option for you. Quick integration, simple backend, and solid speed benefits. Definitely check it out!