In this article I expose my review of the Shift8 CDN solution, based on my own experience.

What is Shift8?

Shift8 is a provider of a free CDN solution that is compatible with WordPress. The company is based in Toronto. Their CDN solution is relies currently on a handful of servers which are located around the world, as illustrated below:

Setting my Shift8 CDN account in WordPress

In order to review Shift8 CDN, I installed it on my blog. To do that:

Go to the Shift8 CDN webpage, create an account, fill out your wordpress site details.

Then go back to your wordpress site -> Plugins and add Shift8 CDN. Copy the Shift8 CDN API key in there.

You should see this picture as a proof of a successful integration:

shift8-cdn-successful-integration-test

It is important to test the integration with the Test URL before enabling link, before activating the CDN.

shift8-cdn-400-error

If you see the following image, it means there is an integration problem and you need to address your issue to the support through their forum or per email. I personally had a very positive experience with their technical support which is covered by Stardot Hosting

Here is an excerpt from my interaction with the technical support:

Speed Test With And Without Shift8 CDN

First, let us see the performance score without Shift8 CDN:

Speed Test without Shift8 CDN

The result was a Pagespeed score of 93% and a YSlow score of 76%.

Now I activated CDN under Core Settings

and set the CDN for Javascript to true:

Here is the result:

Speed test with Shift8, CDN enabled only for Javascript

The PageSpeed score dropped by about 13% and the YSlow score by almost 20%!!

So maybe if we enable CDN for CSS we should see an improvement, but still not as good as without the plugin:

Speed test with Shift8, CDN enabled for Javascript and CSS

Conclusion

Although the free offer from Shift8 CDN seems interesting, the measured speed is clearly impacted which is really bad. Maybe the company will improve the functionality of the CDN with WordPress. But until then I will keep it deactivated.

Categories: Product Reviews

Keyboard Banger

Keyboard Banger is a network engineer from Africa. He has been working in network support and administration since 2008. He started writing study notes about certification exams and technology topics a couple of years ago. When he's not writing articles, he can be found wandering on technical forums.

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