Photon: WordPress.com's Content Delivery Network

Dealing with side loads for heavy-traffic website sometime can be painful. But, of course there are some common practice to deal with this kind of situation. For example, you can take advantage of cache system, offload to other service to reduce server load/bandwidth, or using CDN (Content Delivery Network).
For WordPress-powered sites, you can take advantage from its Jetpack. This free plugin offered lots of handy features to help you work with your WordPress installation. One of them is a featured called Photon.

Give your site a boost by loading images in posts from the WordPress.com content delivery network. We cache your images and serve them from our super-fast network, reducing the burden on your Web host with the click of a button.

That’s right. You should see some big hints there: content delivery network, cache, super-fast network. To activate this feature, just hit the “Activate” button, and you’re set. All your uploaded media files will be served using WordPress.com infrastructure. After having this feature activated, all image URLs in your posts will be modified. For example:

  • Original URL: http://domain.com/dotsios300.png
  • New URL: http://i2.wp.com/domain.com/dotsios300.png

If you are interested, here is an example of the image header served from WordPress.com network.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Cache-Control: public, max-age=63115200
Content-Type: image/png
Date: Sun, 06 Oct 2013 17:06:28 GMT
Expires: Wed, 07 Oct 2015 05:06:26 GMT
Last-Modified: Sun, 06 Oct 2013 17:05:27 GMT
Server: ECS (sin/47C6)
X-Bytes-Saved: 8597
X-Cache: HIT
X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
X-nc: HIT iad 90
Content-Length: 46456

Using CloudBerry Explorer to Manage Amazon S3 Account

In my previous post, I mentioned an Amazon S3 tool called CloudBerry S3 Explorer. I also have S3Fox organizer addon installed. I use them both, and I feel that I’m more comfortable with CloudBerry Explorer.

CloudBerry Explorer makes managing files in Amazon S3 storage EASY. By providing a user interface to Amazon S3 accounts, files, and buckets, CloudBerry lets you manage your files on cloud just as you would on your own local computer. (source)

Now, I want to share how I use CloudBerry S3 Explorer to manage my Amazon S3 Account.
CloudBerry Explorer is availble as a freeware software. We can download it for free. It offers many features we need to manage Amazon S3 account, from a simple to complicated tasks. After I downloaded and installed it, I can start using it. First, I need to add my Amazon S3 account into the application. Go to File > Amazon S3 Accounts.

Getting Started with Amazon S3

Amazon Web Service Logo
After I signed up for Amazon S3 and CloudFront last week, I started to use it right away. Before that, I tried to get as many information as possible. It seemed easy. I had to deal with some new words like “bucket“, “Access Key ID“, and also “Secret Access Key“.
Amazon S3 — just like its name — is a storage service. What makes it different from “storage” in webhosting is that there is no FTP access. But, the mechanism of “moving your data to a storage server” is similar to FTP. In FTP, we will connect to your server using some basic information like hostname, username and password. In some cases, we will need an FTP port. And we can do it easily using FTP clients like Filezilla, CrossFTP,  WinSCP, etc.
amazons3_keyid
Amazon S3 uses a little bit different process. Just imagine “Access Key ID” as “username”, and “Server Access Key” as the FTP password. Both information are generated by the system and they’re not easy to remember.

WordPress, Amazon S3 and CloudFront

Amazon Web Service Logo
In the last two days, I was working on an experiment to use Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and Amazon CloudFront together with WordPress. It’s not primary for my blog, but for my friend. There are many tutorials and good recommendation on this. Since my friend using WordPress as the publishing platform, and it is easy to integrate with S3 and CloudFront, I gave it a try. But, what is Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)?

Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives any developer access to the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, inexpensive data storage infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. The service aims to maximize benefits of scale and to pass those benefits on to developers. (from Amazon S3 website)

Actually, using Amazon S3 might be just fine. Since I want to make experiment, I decided to subscribe to Amazon CloudFront, too.

Amazon CloudFront delivers your content using a global network of edge locations. Requests for your objects are automatically routed to the nearest edge location, so content is delivered with the best possible performance. Amazon CloudFront works seamlessly with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) which durably stores the original, definitive versions of your files. Like other Amazon Web Services, there are no contracts or monthly commitments for using Amazon CloudFront — you pay only for as much or as little content as you actually deliver through the service. (from Amazon CloudFront website)

This is my first attempt using those two service. The subscription is easy. Create an account at Amazon, fill in the billing information, and start subscribing. That’s all. After few attempts, I finally have it working. I hope it’s working without any issues. Anyway, for WordPress integration, I use Amazon S3 for WordPress plugin. Let’s wait until the end of the month to get the billing statement.