NextGEN Gallery CDN w/ JetPack’s Photon

Some NextGEN Gallery users were wondering how to use a CDN (content delivery/distribution network) with the plugin.

Well, the good news is there is a free plugin out there that can get the job done for you.

If you’re a user of JetPack then all you have to do is enable the Photon feature.   If you’re not already using the plugin, do a search for JetPack and activate it on your site.

Here is a video with more details:

As mentioned in the video, be sure to deactivate any of the JetPack features you do not need. Also, it is uncertain how long the Photon CDN feature will remain free. That, of course, is up to the Automattic team.

Notes From Our Developers

  • Photon is only allowed to be used by sites hosted on WordPress.com, or on Jetpack-connected WordPress sites.
  • All images are losslessly compressed using either OptiPNG or jpegoptim
  • It’s not just a delivery service, but also an image manipulation service – you can use Photon for resizing images, cropping (while optionally considering aspect ratio), filtering, adjusting brightness & contrast, and zoom levels.
  • No cache invalidations. Currently images are cached forever.

There’s an important but subtle difference between block storage like Amazon S3 and a CDN – a CDN is designed for caching and distribution, whereas a block storage service is meant to simulate something like a USB flash drive – an external drive that you can write to as if it were a local filesystem.

For instance, when a user uploads an image, the original full-sized image would be stored as filename.jpg. Now let’s say a user applies watermarking to that image, which modifies the filename.jpg file. There’s no way to tell Photon to “refresh” – once the image is cached, it’s cached indefinitely. Most other CDNs are better than that; they at least cache the image for a specified amount of time (called the time-to-live value, or TTL), so that any changes made to an image will eventually be propagated to all servers of the CDN.

Thanks for reading,

Scott

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Comments

  1. says

    Sounds like it’s too good to be true… Exactly what I’m looking for but I can’t get it too work! Surely there is more configuration required somewhere? I already have NextGen running and I activated Photon. There is no change to any of my URL’s… Do I need to tell nextgen to use CDN?

      • says

        It doesn’t work. I’ve tried and it failed with NextGen. I’ve also contected the developers at Jetpack who categorically told me that NextGen is not compatible with Photon. I’m very interested to know what you did differently to get it to work?

        • Scott says

          Hi Shannon,

          Since we do not official support Photon we can’t really say if it will or will not work. However, in our tests we simply installed Jetpack and it worked. In some servers it’s possible it won’t work. You’re welcome to cast your vote for a feature to official support Photon.

          Scott

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