Note: This blog post was previously published on our prior digital company’s website – earsdigitalmedia.com and is presented here unedited. The published date references the original date.
Are you utilizing shared hosting and seeing impacts to your website load times? Amazon S3 might be just the tool you need to speed up your page loads. It’s quick and responsive in addition to being infinitely scaleable. Furthermore, it’s faster than your shared hosting plan.
To start, if you’ve never checked your load speed, head over to tools.pingdom.com and utilize their free assessment to gauge your load and server response time. Chances are that if you aren’t using a Content Delivery Network, or CDN, you’ll receive a lower grade for your slow load time. Your page load speed is an important customer service metric. It’s also used by search engines to rank your website in results. So, how do you fix it?
Well, you hand over the bulky content that slows your load time (pictures, larger files) over to a CDN to deliver to the browser. These CDNs are MUCH faster than your shared hosting platform and are usually duplicated across various servers in different regions to increase that load speed.
To speed up your page loads, you’ll need to make a few small changes. First off, you’ll need an account with Amazon S3 from Amazon Web Service, or AWS. The S3 stands for Simple Storage System. This service is free for the first year and has a minuscule cost after that – no joke, like ¢5 per month.
Second, you’ll need a WordPress plugin that connects to your dedicated AWS S3 “bucket”. I’ve utilized “WP Offload S3”, both the lite (free) version and the paid version. If you’re building a new site from scratch, go free. If you’re looking to move your existing content, you’ll need the paid version for about $99 or you’ll have to re-upload and relink everything – that’s a pain on any size site.
Once you have your WordPress installation linked to your S3 account, it’s as easy as uploading! Your server will accept the file and then hand it over to AWS and put it in the proper “bucket”. When you view the files in your WordPress media library everything will look the same but upon further inspection you’ll notice the direct links are actually pointing to Amazon.
In conclusion, Amazon Web Service is the leader in cloud computing and they have a worldwide network that handles content deliver flawlessly. It’s built to handle the serving of images and their uptime is, well, all the time. For a negligible cost per month you can speed up your website and increase your ranking in search results. If you aren’t using a CDN, you should be!