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A little about my website:

The front page needs to load fast, and it has a background image The website is an online store with lots of product images

How much would it help alleviate the server of traffic? Also, AFAIK, cloud files does not offer the possibility of sending far expires headers, so doesn't that mean that every time they load a page all of the images have to download again? I understand that they would download considerably faster, but being in the browser's cache is even faster than that.

How beneficial would it be for images? (I know you can serve css and js too, but AFAIK, I can't send those gzipped)

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2 Answers 2

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If the main goal is for the frontpage to load fast, most gains are to be made in the structure of the page (front-end engineering, see Steve Souders and yahoo performance team). Using a CDN builds on top of this and is not a magic bullet for speed.

Having the frontpage html ready instantly with as few dependencies as possible, with the appropriate cachability headers and keepalive will go a very long way.

If you would be interested I can take a quick look at your site (contact form on my site).

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Well as far as your server is concerned, obviously sending the traffic to a CDN of some sort is going to take all that traffic off your server, off your connection, etc. I'm not sure if that's of benefit to you or not (I guess it depends on volume).

As far as the images go, the browser can send a request to the server to ask if the image has changed since it was downloaded and then decide not to download the image again if it hasn't changed. This is different than the cache control headers, which the browser may use decide not to even ask if the image has been changed. The behavior of this is going to vary quite a bit between platforms and browsers.

One of the big advantages of a CDN provider is when you're going to share files between different sites. For example, loading jquery from google's CDN is much faster because there's a good chance the same file (http://ajax.googleapis.com/.../jquery.js) is going to be already cached as opposed to your http://www.mysite.com/jquery.js (not real url's, I know). If these images aren't shared between different sites, then unless you need to unload the traffic, I'm not sure you're going to get any big advantage.

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