CDN on top of your website to increase your core web vitals

CDN on top of your website to increase your core web vitals

Sonny Alves Dias

Published on Nov 22, 2021

3 min read

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This is a long title, but it is on the point.

I am going to show you how to set up AWS Cloudfront, the CDN solution of Amazon, in front of your AWS website.

The solution works if your website is hosted on a single server or if you have multiple instances behind a load balancer. In the case you host your website in a Kubernetes cluster, I don't have a solution at the moment, but feel free to leave your solution in the comments.

Why would you do that first?

Because you will take profit of the very distributed CDN network of AWS! That means your website will be faster and available to a bigger audience. That relies on the good connectivity that AWS maintains inside its internal network.

It means for example instead of serving your website from a central location: a server or a load balancer located in Singapore to a Canadian visitor. You will serve your website from the closest point in the CDN of AWS in Canada.

And why that works? Because of the internal AWS network which is a lot more optimized than the regular internet. Using the regular internet routing to reach out to a website on the other side of the planet would never be as optimized. Internet neutrality won't favor your communication, and your Canadian ISP does not control routing up to Singapore.

On top of that, increasing performances means increasing your core web vitals and your SEO!

Ok sounds great! So how do I do that?

First, let's set up the CDN.

  1. Go to Cloudfront in AWS
  2. Click on Create distribution Create a distribution
  3. Enter your origin

    1. If you have a unique server, use the Public IPv4 DNS

      EC2

    2. If you use a load balancer, use the DNS name

      LB

  4. In the section Default cache behavior,

    1. I suggest you set Redirect HTTP to HTTPS,

      Redirect to HTTPS

    2. (Optional) Set Allowed HTTP methods to GET, HEAD, OPTIONS, PUT, POST, PATCH, DELETE if your website have interactions and forms,

      Get

    3. Check Cache policy and origin request policy, select CachingDisabled as Cache policy (because your website is dynamic so you don't want to cache), and select AllViewer as Origin request policy (this will allow cookies and query parameters to be transferred to your website origin).

      Cache policy

  5. In the section Settings

    1. Check Use all edge locations (best performance)

      Edges

    2. Click on Add item in Alternate domain name (CNAME) to add your domain name

      1. If you want to have your root domain and www subdomain behind the CDN do it twice

        Example with two domains

    3. Select or request a certificate for the domain you entered previously

      1. Select the recommended Security policy

      Security policy

  6. Click on Create distribution

Second, update your DNS record. Once your distribution is ready copy the Distribution domain name of it, it should start by d. Then update the domain you entered at step 5b.

And voilΓ .

If you encounter any issues implementing it, leave comments. If you are using Kubernetes and you found a solution to do that, let me know I am curious about it.

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