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My Host Uses CDN

     
11:47 am on Jul 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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A few of month ago I signed up with a host using a web site builder. It was one of the highly rated hosts. The intent was to find something easier to use than wordpress. The promise was drag-n-drop, easy to use, SEO, etc. It is very easy to build pages. It does make it easy to take care of basic SEO. No maintenance. What a relief after wordpress. But I just discovered a nasty side. Or so I think.

First it turned out that they don't host videos. Have to use another host like youtube, vimeo, etc. I had to swallow that. But now I discovered that they don't host any kind of files - photos, PDF, etc. Everything is kept on CDN. As a result, all my files instead of having URLs like mydomain/filename have URLs like static.hostdomain/filename. Basically, in Google's eyes I am no longer the creator of the big part of the site's content. If anybody on the Internet posts a link to my content, again my site doesn't get credit for that.

My question is how does it affect my Google rating? Would it be wise to move to another platform?

Your advise is greatly appreciated in advance
12:35 pm on July 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It is not uncommon to use CDN services, but their cached content should not have an external URL. CloudFlare and other CDN services integrate with your domain and your content uses URLs with your domain normally. It is not a good practice to have external links to your own images and other content from Google's perspective. Especially now when they are moving to Mobile First indexing. For mobile visitors, each external request adds slightly to both speed reduction and bandwidth usage - two factors that Google emphasizes for Mobile First.

Without knowing anything about the skills you have to work with, it is difficult to offer ideal suggestions. Going from WordPress to a wysiwyg drag-and-drop platform seems to indicate that you are not able to create your own html pages. If you are not able to create your own pages, WordPress really is the simplest platform to manage your content.

No platform manages your content without any management tasks. It takes time and effort no matter what platform you choose. You might be better off learning more about using the platform you choose. For ease of use, WP really can't be beat but you do need to learn how to set up, configure and maintain any platform you work with and wordpress.org offers so much help on how to do it that it has become the first choice around the world.

12:40 pm on July 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I have researched hosts that do not allow video, but a host that does not allow photos and pdfs? That is ridiculous. If you cannot host these external files under your domain I am certain your Google SERP will suffer. These restrictions should have been easily found in the host's terms of service.

I have been with Wordpress since 2009 and have great success with it. I have put friends on WP, without much trouble, and they are still there. Drag and drop, easy to use, SEO, Wordpress is so easily indexed by Google and others. The issue with WP is the back end, where WP is the target of hackers. A lot of work is needed to ensure your sites do not get mercilessly scraped and hacked. Updates need to be done promptly. Plugins can and do go bad. The front end UI, however, is the easiest I have found. I have tried other CMS, static site generators such as Grav, but they all have hidden technical issues that are not so easy for end users. Whatever you use there will be sticking points you will need to learn.

Personally I would find your host intolerable. I have images, pdfs, a few videos (not many), but could not live with these restrictions. You need to move hosts.
12:41 pm on July 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Lots of sites use the CDN domain, e.g. d111111abcdef8.cloudfront.net, instead of their own, so I don't think it should be a problem. The suggestion that you would "no longer [be] the creator [...] of the site's content" in Google's eyes in a common fear that, as far as I'm aware, is not actually based on anything. It's not ideal, but it shouldn't hurt either.

One other downside, though, is that if you ever decide to switch to another host (or CDN), all URLs of your static resources (and possibly also web pages) will have to change. And you're probably locked into their platform in other ways, too, that you wouldn't be if you were to stick to a CMS like WordPress that you can install just about anywhere.
9:45 pm on July 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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not2easy,
Thank you for the reply.
Unfortunately, out of dozens reviews that I read about hosts, not a single mentioned the fact that you are on your own with your videos, and that the host would use it's own domain name for my files.
Re my skills level. I run a small trades company. I am very busy as I am and don't have time to fiddle with HTML or CSS for that matter. Twice tried to hire someone to manage my WordPress. The first person disappeared after taking $800. The second time I was paying $500 a month. Contract was for a year. I proved him wrong many times, but kept paying until the end of the contract. Back to wordpress is not an option for me. Wordpress is not exactly drag-n-drop on front end. On the back end its even worse. It might be good for a full time webmaster, but not for a person busy elsewhere making living.
9:53 pm on July 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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TorontoBoy,
Thank you for the reply.
My host does allow files, but it gives them URL with its own domain.
10:02 pm on July 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Change hosts..now..
10:22 pm on July 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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robzilla,
Thank you for the reply.

It's not that Google would de-index me one day. I am in local business category. Google has a plenty of ways to tell a real site from phony one in this category. My concern is 2-fold:
1. Mobility. As you posted, moving the site would be painful.
2. My domain doesn't get all credit it deserves. For example, someone spends an hour reading my pdf. I don't credit for interesting content because content "is not mine"

I need to catch my breath after this move. If I ever decide to go to WP again, it might be wp.com, rather than wp.org. At .com they do take care of the backend. At least you are not completely on your own. And response on forums is pretty fast. At least that was my experience a few years back.
6:43 am on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like you desire some hand holding for the grunt work ... but your best bet would be to secure your own DNS, host, and use a WYSIWYG html editor of some kind to do static pages (for now) if you are not comfortable with setting up a personal WP install. Where you are right now you can't really grow your business without growing your host's at the same time--and they aren't paying you for that work.
9:02 am on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My domain doesn't get all credit it deserves. For example, someone spends an hour reading my pdf. I don't credit for interesting content because content "is not mine"

What makes you think that's how it works? That you'd get "credit" if someone reads a PDF of yours, and that it only counts in your favor if it's downloaded from your domain?
11:33 am on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@gm10 ... as you said, take a breath!

How frequently do you need to update your site? (You can't tell us your business or niche, but you can talk about what you DO)... You mentioned videos ... are you hosting (or hope to host) your own rather than using youtube/other service? Does your content change frequently (as in every hour, or 24 hours, or week, etc?)

Depending on how you answer these questions (and a bunch more I might ask) will suggest any of several paths you might take, and few of them require WP -- or even a deeply rooted knowledge of the web in general or other Coding Possibilities.

Heck, I have a brother who does his web design in MS WORD, for goodness sake!, and it hasn't hurt either his business or his time and effort. (Boggles the mind, I know!)

Hosting can be CHEAP or EXPENSIVE ... determine your needs as in storage/bandwidth and go from there. DNS is so reasonable these days "everyone" should have their own. :)

IF you have SOME experience with WP you might want to give it another try, with more reasonable PERSONAL expectations of "Well, I'll have to learn THAT, but I can do THIS now..." because for the most part (after the install) WP is pretty much plug and play (or cut and paste) and managing your images, vids, audio, etc.
11:25 pm on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Frequency of posting is not really high. Will try to modify something at least biweekly to maintain Google's interest.
Videos would come from job sites - kind of B&A type. I already had to get an account with vimeo, but I hate doing it. If my host uses CDN anyway, they can use it for videos as well, even for extra pay. I don't go to my car mechanic with my own oil or break pads after all.

I'd rather stay away from any coding. A fairly basic trades site shouldn't need any coding. As time goes on, the original theme changes, and so is wp for that matter. There is always a chance of conflicts. Life is full of drama without it. :) I am not trying to talk down wp, but this software is more for developers, not for occasional do-it youselfers like myself.

My hat goes off to your brother. It reminded me my 1st website that I built in 1998. I started with Microsoft Frontpage. The more I read the manual, the more stupid it was making me feel. Instead, I got my hands on HTML101, and in a week I had a working site. Nothing spectacular, working nevertheless. I abandoned that first site pretty soon, but started another site with a WYSIWYG editor in 2005. With updates it remained static until 2013 when responsive design became a must. BTW, a couple of pages even had PR4 rating.

I don't need a huge amounts of storage/bandwidth. I am getting hardly a hundred visitors on a good day.I don't mind to pay reasonable extra, but I expect from the host to take care of basics.

Have a great weekend everybody!