How to Set up MaxCDN and W3 Total Cache for WordPress


If you want to learn how to set up and install MaxCDN with W3 Total Cache to increase your website speed, then, read on.

Most of my readers requested to create this guide after knowing that most of my marketing case studies involve site speed optimization.

According to statistics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less; 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load; and if an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay could potentially cost it $2.5 million of lost sales every year.

So what does this information mean? It tells you that web performance is important.

How and why does a content delivery network (CDN) work?

When a visitor is far from your hosting servers, the website becomes slow because of the distance the information has to travel.

A CDN takes all the website’s assets, such as images, JavaScript, CSS, and other heavy objects, and distributes them across high-speed servers around the world. So when a visitor loads a page, they load it from a server close to their location, thereby experiencing a faster website.

Why do I prefer MaxCDN?

  • It provides the fastest network and servers, so users get the fastest website speeds.
  • It is easy to set up, and there are a lot of existing plug-ins for the majority of software programs for websites, such as WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Vbulletin, and more.
  • It is trusted by thousands of companies, including StumbleUpon, Disqus, and StackOverflow.
  • It’s super inexpensive, and they offer a free trial.

This guide will walk you through in installing and setting up MaxCDN with W3 Total Cache plug-in to increase your WordPress website speed. Let’s get started.

How to Setup MaxCDN with W3 Total Cache Plugin

Before you even begin, I recommend that you test your website speed grade with the following:

Doing so will give you an idea of what your “before” website speed scores are.

1. Purchase and create a pull zone on MaxCDN

The first thing that you need to do is to purchase or start a free trial on MaxCDN. Then, log in your MaxCDN account, click “Zones” located in the menu section, and click “Create Pull Zone” button.


Once you clicked the button, you will be asked to enter your pull zone details.

  • Pull Zone Name – Enter a zone name comprising at least three characters in length using letters and numbers, without any special character or space.
  • Origin Server URL – Enter the complete directory path to your data on your origin server (including http://…).
  • Label (optional) – Enter something that describes this zone.

Here’s what my pull zone settings look like:


Once you’ve entered your zone details and hit “Create,” a new zone is created instantly by MaxCDN. This may take up to 3 minutes. You will then be redirected to your Zone dashboard, and you will find your CDN URL.

Copy the CDN URL and paste it on a notepad for later use.

2. Download and install W3 Total Cache plugin

W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by increasing server performance, reducing download times, and providing transparent CDN integration.

Before you install W3 Total Cache plug-in, make sure to uninstall other caching plugins, such as WP Super Cache to avoid issues.

Downloading W3 Total Cache plug-in is easy.

  • Go to your WordPress admin panel.
  • Click on “Plugins” then “Add New.”
  • Search for “W3 Total Cache, ” and the plugin should readily appear.
  • Click “Install Now” and activate the plug-in.

Alternatively, you can also download W3 Total Cache from WordPress repo.

3. Set up and configure W3 Total Cache to connect MaxCDN

Congratulations on getting the main tools for this guide. Now that you’ve installed W3 Total Cache, we need to configure it and connect MaxCDN.

You will find the plug-in settings of W3 Total Cache by going to your WordPress admin panel and by clicking “Performance.”

On this step, we will be configuring five main blocks and settings.

Performance > General Settings

Below are the settings of my W3 Total Cache General Settings. You’ll find more settings than the image below, but just leave them as they are. For shared hosting like my website, “Disk: Enhanced” for Page Cache is recommended.


Performance > Page Cache


Performance > Minify

This section setting may break your theme and website, so I recommend disabling JS and CSS files unless you know what you do. For the configuration of this one, I just recommend what’s on the image below.


Performance > Browser Cache

For this section, we will configure the general settings. Most of these options will be checked. However, the following should be kept unchecked:

  • Set W3 Total Cache header.
  • Prevent caching of objects after settings change.
  • Do not process 404 errors for static objects with WordPress.


Lastly, Performance > CDN

This is the section where we will connect MaxCDN to your WordPress website. The first step is to configure the general settings block. Just check all the boxes.


Once you are finished, it’s time to move on to CDN settings area. The following are what you need to do:

  • Click the “Authorize” button to create a key on your MaxCDN You will be redirected to the MaxCDN website and your profile. Copy the authorization key, which consists of alias+key+secret, and paste it into the “Authorization Key” field.
  • Next, paste the “CDN URL” you have copied from the step 1 of this guide, and paste it in the “Replace site’s hostname with:” field.

From here, you can click “Test MaxCDN,” click “save changes,” and empty all your caches.

You’re done! Awesome.

Now, recheck your “after” website speed scores with the following:

Did it improve? I’m sure it did.

I also recommend that you install the following WordPress plugins for better website performance:

Curious on my website speed? Here it is tested on Pingdom Tools.


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