Speed Improvements from Migrating to Azure CDN

This web site runs on WordPress on Microsoft Azure Web Sites.  As traffic has been increasing, I have been looking for ways to improve performance.  One of the key challenges with a global web site such as this blog is serving requests from around the world. 

As an experiment, I have migrated the entire web site to Microsoft’s Content Delivery Network.  Microsoft CDN provides direct integration with Azure Web Sites and migrating to it was as simple as turning it on and then re-pointing the domain to the CDN URL instead of the Azure Web Site URL. 

To turn on CDN – you create a CDN service and point it at your existing Azure Web Site or Storage Account.  In this case, I pointed it to the existing www.microsofttrends.com web site.  This creates a globally cached network of servers that are much closer to your end users than your single data center. 

The next step is you need to re-point your DNS entry in your URL provider (I use www.godaddy.com) to the CDN end point instead of your existing web site (It took about 90 minutes for the DNS to re-propagate – until then I saw a 404 page).

Using a speed testing site called DotCom Monitor, I tested the CDN version of the site and the non-CDN version.  The results are below.

If you look at locations like Japan, India, United States, France, Poland, etc. they are all now significantly faster.  In drilling down into the waterfall chart provided, it shows that just loading the bare home page in India goes from 5.84 seconds to load down to 1.22 seconds.  Similarly, from Amsterdam the time it takes to load the bare home page shrinks from 1.15 seconds down to 346 ms. 

Site without CDN

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Site Running Through CDN

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