Google App Engine as your own Content Delivery Network

24 Ways has an excellent article on using Google App Engine as your own Content Delivery Network, showing you how easy it is to set one up.

A CDN is a network of servers around the world to serve content from your site from the nearest physical location. All the large sites (Yahoo, Google, Amazon, etc) use them.

After reading the above post, I was also curious to find out how if Google App Engine helps in the following:

  • Compression
  • Expires headers and versioning

A comment in the original post implies compression is on by default, which is what I’d expect.

Using far future expires headers can be a great performance boost for your site, and is easy to apply to assets such as images, CSS, and JavaScript files.

At the same time, if you change such a file you want to be sure your repeat visitors will not see the old one because it was cached far into the future.

So, with a simple URL Rewrite Rule we can make things like /css/version-1/site.css point to /css/site.css.

If you update site.css, you can change the version number. Browsers will not have a file from this new path in their cache so will download it and cache it into the future again.

Is it possible to do this with Google App Engine? It looks promising

If I can find a spare moment, I may try this out on this site (which, admittedly doesn’t get that much traffic to make it worth bothering about!) — and then I’ll try it on a site that takes up most of my spare time, which gets a LOT of traffic, where it would actually be worth doing!

13 thoughts on “Google App Engine as your own Content Delivery Network

  1. @Brad: Other than the Google documentation on configuration and the original post that I referred to (see link in the post) not seen anything else about this. Also not managed to get the time to try it out yet!

  2. Hi Patrick. Yeah, it has been a while since this post was created, and embarrassingly, I’ve not had the time to look into this in any depth. In addition, on another site I’ve recently started trying out a dedicated CDN provider called MaxCDN that supports origin pull from my own servers and preserves the various http headers from the origin server.

    I think Amazon only recently started offering this, too.

    Dunno if that helps!

  3. Thanks for the quick response, Anup. I’ll check out the other options you mentioned. I’m relatively new to the whole Google App Engine thing, so I can’t really give any insightful input on the issue yet. ha! Again, thanks for the response.


  4. @ Kyle,

    Just do a search for Google app engine; looks to be between 10 to 45 cents per Gig of usage for various resources. Looks like Amazons app is pretty comparable in price to Google’s offering.

  5. Looks like it’s turning into another battle: Google and an arch-rival Amazon are vying for the most exposure. But neither one of these are free app offerings, which tells me both companies are now attempting to, at least to a degree, begin monetizing their once free offerings.

  6. @ A.C Grace:

    So that means that for me to get the Google app engine I need to pay per gig?? I just thought that it’s free.

  7. Just do a search for Google app engine; Looks like Amazons app is pretty comparable in price to Google’s offering.
    Regards, Lee

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