Community Blog How to Use Alibaba Cloud CDN to Cache Static Websites Deployed on Function Compute

How to Use Alibaba Cloud CDN to Cache Static Websites Deployed on Function Compute

This article discusses how to use CDN to accelerate the speed of websites and debug FC and CDN.

By Deng Chao, Serverless Devs Contributor


We will use Alibaba Cloud Content Delivery Network (CDN) to accelerate the speed of websites. However, we recently found an additional point that requires attention when debugging the collaboration between Alibaba Cloud Function Compute (FC) and Alibaba Cloud CDN.

How to Use CDN to Cache Static Websites Deployed on Function Compute

I will gradually introduce how to use CDN to cache the static websites hosted by Function Compute (using my blog site [1] deployed on Function Compute as an example).

Add the CDN Feature to a Function

1) Assign a Domain Name to the Function and Add a CNAME Record

Since I expect end users can access the website through blog.dengchao.fun, I need to assign a different domain name blog.xxx.dengchao.fun to the function:


2) Add a Custom Domain Name and Set a Route

Set the assigned domain name to the custom domain name feature of Function Compute:


HTTPS can also be set on the CDN console, and the SSL protocol version cannot be set before the Function Compute, so the HTTPS feature is not enabled here.

3) Add a CDN with the Origin Server As "Function Compute Domain Name"

Next, create a new accelerated domain name on the CDN console:


Users will eventually access my blog site via the accelerated domain name blog.dengchao.fun. The options of business type do not affect the final acceleration effect, so users can select an option at will.

Then, add an origin server:


Since HTTPS is not enabled for the custom domain name of Function Compute, the port of the origin server needs to be set to port 80. It can reduce the response time of returning to the origin server, but the actual effect is negligible.

4) Add a CNAME-Based CDN Accelerated Domain Name Record

After you set up and save the origin server information, Alibaba Cloud will review the content of the origin server. If the content is approved, Alibaba Cloud will provide the domain name of the CDN service provider:


Next, you need to resolve your accelerated domain name to the domain name provided by the CDN service provider:


After CNAME record is added, the CDN console will be displayed as Configured after a while. Then, you can use the configured domain name to accelerate access.

Set CDN Cache

It is not enough to configure the domain name to accelerate because users need to pull data from the origin server every time they access the accelerated domain name. Therefore, we need to set up a cache on CDN to reduce Back-to-origin times.

1) Add a Cache Expiration Time Rule

If we need CDN nodes to cache all content under the website root directory for one day, it is required to add the corresponding configuration on the cache management page of the accelerated domain name for CDN:


I thought the cache was set up when I got here, but after the website was running for a period, the cache hit rate was very low according to the monitoring of CDN. I found an exception by observing the network request logs in the browser console and analyzing the request headers one by one. The origin server sets the Cache-Control response header to public,max-age=0.

2) Fix the Cache-Control Response Header

After carefully reviewing the document for the Cache-Control response header on MDN [2] and the introduction to the cache expiration time configuration by Alibaba Cloud CDN [ 3], I found the previous CDN cache configuration is flawed. (Typically, you will suffer a big loss without reading the documentation.)

After locating the problem, the solution is also very clear: find a way to delete the Cache-Control response header of the origin server.

Solution 1: Modify the Cache-Control Response Header Returned by the HTTP Server of the Origin Server

Since the HTTP server of the origin server has set the Cache-Control response header to max-age=0, we modify the HTTP server of the origin server.

However, considering that the static website we deploy on the Function Compute is hosted by the Express server generated by the website-fc plug-in, if it is modified, it is required to adjust the source code of the local website-fc plug-in. However, the website-fc plug-in may be updated from time to time, so we need to check it and patch it again as necessary, which is very laborious to execute. Therefore, we cannot choose this option.

Solution 2: Configure CDN and Delete the Cache-Control Response Header Returned by the HTTP Server of the Origin Server

I reviewed the documentation again and found that Alibaba Cloud CDN provides the feature of configuring the back-to-origin HTTP response header [4], which includes the feature of deleting the back-to-origin response header. Therefore, we can use this feature to allow CDN to delete the Cache-Control response headers returned by the origin server.


After the configuration is completed, I observe the response header of the network request under the accelerated domain name again and find that there is no Cache-Control:public,max-age=0 response header.

3) Compare Effects

Since the page view of my blog is not high, the effect is not obvious. Therefore, I took a screenshot of the monitoring of another website with a relatively large page view:

The first is the page view comparison. There is no significant page view difference from the monitoring data in the past two days:


Then, the back-to-origin traffic comparison shows that the back-to-origin traffic decreases significantly after the Cache-Control response header is deleted:


At the same time, the byte hit rate and the request hit rate are improved:


It seems that the cache we configure does take effect.


After configuring the accelerated domain name for CDN and cache expiration time rules, remember to check the response headers of the origin server. If there are cache control-related response headers in the response of the origin server, adjust them on the HTTP server of the origin server or CDN as appropriate.

Please refer to the documentation for more information.


[1] Blog

[2] Document for Cache-Control response headers on MDN

[3] Introduction to the cache expiration time configuration by Alibaba Cloud CDN

[4] Rewrite HTTP response headers

[5] Function Compute of Alibaba Cloud

[6] Alibaba Cloud CDN

[7] Acceleration principle

[8] Configure the back-to-origin HTTP response header

[9] What is caching

[10] Create an expiration rule

[11] Caching rules and priorities

[12] Cache-Control HTTP header field

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