Speeding Up A WordPress Site With Statically, A Free CDN

Published: 6 days ago

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.

Statically CDN - Features

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 πŸ’ΈπŸ’Έ.

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.

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).

Statically CDN - Install & Configure

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.

Some Real World Stats (from an Oxygen Builder site)

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.

We know the CDN is working as there are several points that data is being served from.

There was a decent average boost in performance metrics too:

No CDN
Free CDN

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.

Conclusion

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!

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Frans Allen
5 days ago

Hi James,

Thank you so much for an excellent review of Statically!

I'm so glad you liked it and "it works" for you. The project is growing fast, and that motivates me to improve the service for the better every day.

Oh, for Staticzap, you can add ".min" to your CSS, JS, SVG, HTML, and XML files to get the minified version too, fully automated. So we just need to host non-optimized files on Github and serve them with Statically for the optimized version. Improve dev flow, better experience.

For CSS CDN, there is no need for donation, it will be activated in the near future. 100% free.

I see what you've built here is great and I'm looking forward to connecting with you more ..

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  • James LePage is the founder of Isotropic Design, a digital agency that builds WordPress websites. I read, write and design constantly!

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