I caved and signed up for a cloudfile hosting site, Rackspace. As I run very small websites (currently), my goal was to host everything in house on my in-home server. I ran into problems when I started hosting my photography blog in terms of bandwidth, however. That blog has large, 900px wide images and loads upwards of 50 images per page. I tried the old “host the images on another domain” trick and while I did notice significant gains in speed, it still was not enough… So, as Micro$oft would say, “To the cloud!”. I looked at a couple of cloud hosting solutions but Rackspace caught my eye. They seemed to be a good balance between cost and performance. Plus they have a service called “Cloud Servers” as well which I’d like to tryout in the future. You can basically get an IP address and an unconfigured Linux server with 256MB RAM and root access for just over ten bucks a month. As long as the Canadian dollar stays strong in respect to the American dollar, I’d say this is a good deal for me.
I signed up for Rackspace CloudFiles and pointed all of my media files to my “container” on my Rackspace account. Reaction: Wow, fast! Very, very fast. I was impressed. My blog loads way faster now. Waaaayyy faster over a CDN.
Then I got curious, just how fast was Rackspace compaired to other CDN’s? I found this site that does a pretty great comparison and I was impressed to find that Rackspace sits as one of the fastest (locally for me and globally):
So there you have it folks: Cloudfiles, the way of the future!
Errrrrch!!! Hold the phone!! This just in! There’s another free way to do this! Dropbox is a free file sync service that also allows for a public facing folder with a static domain name. This mean one could move all of their media/static content to this folder and point their blog to host image and media files from Dropbox’s CDN! There’s even a WordPress plugin to help you do this! (I wonder if Drupal has this… ;).
Now, I don’t think Dropbox CND is as fast as Rackspace, but it’s free.. The choice is ours!