A content delivery network helps speed up your site’s page load times for visitors from around the world. And with one of the free CDN services on this list, you can get those benefits without spending a cent.
In this post, we’ll help you find the best free CDN for WordPress so that you can serve your images and other static files from a network of servers around the world.
In total, we’ll feature three 100% free CDN services, as well as a bonus selection of CDN services that aren’t free forever, but that you can use for free for about a year.
If you’re not sure what a CDN is, check out our introduction to content delivery networks (CDNs).
Three best free CDN services for WordPress sites
Optimole is an all-in-one solution for optimizing your WordPress site’s images and then speedily serving up those images via the global Amazon CloudFront CDN…for free!
Let’s start with the CDN part, because this is a post about free CDN services for WordPress.
Even on its free tier, Optimole automatically serves up all your WordPress site’s images, CSS & JS via Amazon CloudFront, the CDN service from Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Optimole is more than just a CDN, though. It can also help you automatically…
- Resize your images, including an adaptive images feature that serves the best image resolution based on each individual visitor’s device size.
- Compress your images with lossy or lossless compression.
- Add watermarks to your images to prevent image theft.
- Convert your images to the WebP format.
- Lazy load your images.
The only thing to remember is that, in order to use it for serving JS/CSS, you would need to manually activate that from the plugin settings.
Cloudflare is a popular free CDN and security service with a huge global network. As of 2020, Cloudflare has CDN edge servers in over 200 cities in 90+ countries, which makes it one of the biggest global CDN networks that you’ll find.
Cloudflare is also more than just a CDN – it’s also a reverse proxy and security service. Without getting into the technical details, this basically means that you’ll need to point your domain’s nameservers towards Cloudflare and then Cloudflare will handle directing traffic for your site.
As part of directing traffic, it’s able to filter out bad bots and malicious actors to protect your site. It can also provide an SSL certificate to get you that coveted green padlock in the browser URL bar.
If you’re on a budget and you want to speed up and secure your WordPress website, Cloudflare makes a great option.
Jetpack comes packed with a ton of different features, but the relevant one here is its Site Accelerator feature.
While it’s awesome to have a free CDN for WordPress for all your files, there are a few downsides to keep in mind:
- If you don’t want to use the other features in Jetpack, you might feel that it’s a little bit bloated.
- You can’t “purge” the CDN cache, which basically means that you can’t edit an image after it’s in the CDN’s cache. Instead, you have to upload a new file with a new filename.
- Its network of servers isn’t as large as Cloudflare or the CloudFront CDN that Optimole uses, though it still offers an improvement over not using a CDN.
Bonus: Cloud providers offer generous free CDN usage
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that many cloud service providers offer generous free trials/credits to try out their services, including their CDNs.
Two popular options here are:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS) – you get 12 months/50 GB of free usage for the Amazon CloudFront CDN. This is the same CDN used by the Optimole plugin above.
- Google Cloud Platform – you get a $300 credit to spend on products during your first 12 months. You can use this credit on Google’s Cloud CDN. If your site isn’t super high-traffic, you could make this credit stretch for the entire 12 months.
These services are a little more technical, though, so they really only make a good option for developers or other technical users.
What’s the best free CDN for WordPress users?
The best free CDN for WordPress users depends on what exactly you want to serve via your CDN.
If you have an image-heavy site and are primarily looking to serve image files via your CDN, you’ll want to check out Optimole. In addition to offering a powerful (and premium) CDN from Amazon CloudFront for free, Optimole can also optimize your images in a number of other ways like compression and adaptive image sizes.
If you find it too complicated to change your nameservers to point to Cloudflare, Jetpack Site Accelerator offers a simpler way to start using a comprehensive CDN. But I think taking the time to set up Cloudflare is still your best route as Cloudflare has a larger global network and is more flexible.
Finally, there’s a lot more to WordPress performance than just using a CDN service. So once you’ve set up your CDN, check out our other posts on how to speed up WordPress:
Do you have any questions about setting up a free CDN for WordPress? Ask away in the comments!