At some point, and I am not sure when, the bandwidth from my hosting provider has gone down the tubes. Downloads are now seeing speeds of 150KBps, which is entirely unacceptable. I’ve tried contacting them, but they didn’t seem to understand my problem.
So that gave me an opportunity to explore content delivery networks (CDNs). My first thought was Amazon S3, since A) I’ve heard people talking about it and B) I love Amazon, and I buy so much from them (especially Amazon Prime). I took a look at their offerings, and found they also offer CloudFront.
I was confused at the difference between S3 and CloudFront, and after a little investigation, it became clear. S3 is great for hosting files, but there is a speed hit depending where in the US, and where in the world a user id downloading files. That’s where CloudFront comes it. Amazon has servers in specific areas that can speed up access times, especially for customers in other countries. Since 30% of my customers are foreign, that was a great solution for me. And since CloudFront requires and uses S3, I could switch back and forth at any time.
I did investigate some other alternatives, such as CacheFly and Limelight- but they didn’t meet the price and ease of use of Amazon’s services, especially for a small company like mine.
So I’ve switched all downloads over to S3 on both the website, and the updater in SMART Utility. I’m now seeing speeds of 1MBps and more, which is great. In the next day or so, I’ll switch over to CloudFront. There may be some hiccups as the DNS propagates, but in the end it will be worth it. The icing on the cake was just how easy it was to switch.
If you want more information, just go to Amazon’s AWS page here.