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You know a content delivery network (CDN) will speed up your site, but installing one is complicated, isn’t it?

Wrong.

Some CDN’s may have complex implementation sequences, but others are as simple as boiling an egg; there’s an obvious sequence of actions you need to complete, but each one is easy and quick.

The sequence below relates to implementing an Incapsula CDN on any domain.

Signing Up

A top CDN uses expensive hardware such as solid state disks (SSDs), the latest super-fast CPUs and the fastest Internet connections. Each of these costs money.

A free CDN won’t compare to a paid one, and the monthly charges start at around $59 per month, which is a small price to pay for the increased conversions your faster site will give you.

Incapsula offers a free trial, but you do need to give your credit card details. If things don’t work out, just cancel the pending payment.

The entire Article that explains what is a CDN is laid out in the screenshots below from Incapsula.

Start by clicking on the green ‘Pricing & Sign Up’ button and choose the level of CDN cover you need.

CDN

If you click on the PRO plan, the next screen asks for your name, email address, and company details.

get started with Incapsula

When you click on the ‘Create Account’ button you are taken to the screen below to fill in your credit card details.

Payment Details

Enter your card details and press the big green button. Provided you have enough unused credit on your card; you will be directed to the screen below, where you will enter your domain name.

Adding Your Site

Adding your site to any CDN has a few more steps than most company sites reveals in their marketing.

add your website

Type in a domain name you own and press the green button to add the site to your Incapsula account. Just add one domain at this stage, or things get too complicated.

Incapsula tells you what is happening.

scanning your records

You will see a message on the next screen about verifying your identity using the email address you gave when you signed up.

imperva incapsula

Click on the link in the email that Incapsula sent you.

email

Clicking the link clears the ID verification message.

incapsula

Click the orange triangle under ‘status,’ and you start a sequence that will set up your site on Incapsula.

Set up HTTP

Click on the green ‘Set up HTTP’ link.

active SSL Support

Click on the friendly-looking green ‘Let’s start’ button. And you get the rather UNfriendly-looking screen below. Never fear, Click the green ‘Check DNS’ button anyway.

pending DNS Changes

You then see the scary screen below, where you have to DO something.

active SSL Support

Validate by e-mail sounds easier, so click that box.

You now have a drop-down choice of email addresses to choose from.

cPanel dashboard

You probably don’t have any of those addresses set up, so you need to set one up in your cPanel dashboard. (If you do have one of these email addresses set up you can skip the next few steps.)

Email Accounts

Scroll down through your cPanel screen until you reach the EMAIL section. Click the ‘Email Accounts’ link. Scroll down the available email domains until you come to the one you need, add ‘admin’ or your chosen email user and generate a password.

add email account

Click on the ‘eye’ to see your password and copy it (Ctrl C). (Vital step)

Press ‘Create Account.

You will need to set up your new email account in whichever email client you use (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.).

The screenshots below show how to set up your new account in Thunderbird. Download Thunderbird free from here.

Existing Mail Account

Click on File, New, Existing Mail Account and a pop-up will appear as below.

Confirm

Put your name on the top line, your new email address in the second line, and paste your password (Ctrl V) into the third line. Click ‘Confirm,’ and you are done.

Go back to your Incapsula browser tab.

Send email

Choose the email address you have just set up and click the ‘Send email’ link.

The screen below then opens up.

email client

Open your email client, scroll down to the address you have given and open your inbox.

the email from Incapsula

Open the email from Incapsula and click the link.

SSL cert

You must wait a few hours until the SSL cert is issued before you can go on to the next step.

Go to management console

When you click on the ‘Go to management console’ button, you see the screen below.

management console

That’s it for now. Go and do something else for a few hours, because you need an email from Incapsula before you can go to the next step.

Eventually, you get an email as shown below.

email

Open the email.

email

This all sounds pretty complicated. Don’t give up though, because it’s easier than it seems.

Open your cPanel screen and scroll down until you find the ‘Domains’ section. Click on the ‘DNS Zone editor’ link.

cPanel screen

The DNS editor will open

DNS editor

Find the domain you are setting up on Incapsula and click the ‘Manage’ link.

zone editor

You are now ready to change the ‘A record.’ Copy the new IP address from the recent Incapsula email and click ‘edit’ as shown below.

zone editor

Click ‘Save record.’

You will get an acknowledgment screen saying you have updated the ‘A record’ successfully.

Now you get to add another ‘A record.’

Click on the ‘Add Record’ button.

Add Record

When you click, you will get the screen below.

A record

Paste in your naked domain name and the new ‘A record’ IP address as shown below, then click the ‘Add Record’ button.

A record ID address

Well done, you have now completed two of the three DNS changes.

Your next step is to change the CNAME record.

Click the CNAME link, as below.

CNAME link

Follow the email instructions and click ‘Edit’ for the domain.

Edit

You will see the screen below. You are going to replace the highlighted domain in the ‘Record’ column with whatever your Incapsula email said to use.

Record

Paste in the new CNAME record from your email and click ‘Save Record.’

Save Record

You’ve finished, but the changes you have just made will take up to 48 hours to propagate, so Incapsula still marks your domain as ‘not configured.’

Next day or the day after, you will receive an email as shown below.

email

When you open the email, you find everything is in order.

log in to Incapsula

When you log in to Incapsula again, you should see a screen similar to the one below.

green check mark

That happy green check mark tells you your DNS changes have propagated and that all your traffic will now go through your Incapsula CDN.

Long Story Short

You need a content delivery network to stay one step ahead of your competitors. Your website needs to lead the pack in every way; design, interactivity, and speed. A CDN is part of that.

Choose your CDN carefully. You don’t need a perfect Eggs Benedict, all you want is a poached egg on toast, so choose one that is simplicity itself to implement. Incapsula’s CDN is one of the simplest to set up, as you can see from the series of screenshots above.

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