Ready for growth with hosting at Savvii
BigSpark operates three Dutch technology websites from Nijmegen: AndroidPlanet.nl, iPhoned.nl and Smartphone.nl. The company was founded in May 2013 by Peter Geurts. Partly due to the strong growth of the sites, BigSpark has become one of the largest online publishers in the field of mobile/tech in the Netherlands.
With a team of experienced editors, BigSpark’s titles are updated daily with the latest news and insights in the field of tech, apps, games and devices. In addition, there is a continuous effort to explore and clarify broad themes and backgrounds.
The focus of the reporting is on developments in the field of (mobile) technology at home and abroad. A helicopter view is regularly taken in order to pull the visitor out of the delusion of the day. AndroidPlanet, iPhoned and Smartphone have a monthly reach of over 700,000 visitors.
The editorial staff of BigSpark is working full-time on keeping the sites up-to-date. Speed and availability of the site and backend are essential.
A good user experience is essential in serving a growing community, who increasingly visit the sites via mobile or tablet. They expect a fast site. Slow loading times or an unreachable website immediately results in stagnation of growth and a drop in conversion and turnover of the websites.
Over the past few months, BigSpark’s sites have grown significantly and – in the case of AndroidPlanet – doubled in number of visitors. This growth also had a less pleasant effect: due to the traffic on the sites, visitors and editors regularly had to deal with a slower site and sudden downtime at the most inconvenient moments.
Their former hosting provider could not offer any substantial support in tracing the technical bottlenecks and improving the performance of the sites. Constantly increasing the amount of RAM memory of the server only offered a short-lived solution. A structural solution to the hosting problems remained to be found, which took a lot of time and caused frustration.
BigSpark started looking for a hosting party with intrinsic knowledge of how WordPress works, combined with experience in high-traffic web hosting, to come up with a structural solution.
First, Savvii screened and analysed BigSpark’s websites for slow code and database queries. Next, a load test was carried out which provided many insights into the performance of the used plug-ins and theme functionalities. Based on this, concrete action points could be defined for improving and speeding up the entire portfolio of websites. In addition, the analysis provided insight into the optimal hosting set-up.
In collaboration with Savvii, BigSpark implemented the recommendations and various additional load time optimisation points. These include minimising the number of calls, using sprites and bundling the JS & CSS files. Together with Savvii the optimal settings were configured in the (popular) W3 Total Cache plug-in.
BigSpark’s sites are currently running on two VPS’s (VPS Twenty). These are equipped with Nginx, Varnish caching, Memcached and XCache. The sites also use the Savvii Content Delivery Network to serve the static content. The performance of the sites is monitored 24×7 with tooling from New Relic and others.
“At BigSpark, we have long been looking for a party that can properly support us in improving performance & scaling up our high-traffic sites.”
The final migration of the sites was handled entirely by Savvii, without any downtime or loss of content. Even after the migration, there were hardly any problems. This is despite the fact that the websites contain a lot of content and that popular pages are visited by over 3,000 visitors simultaneously.
At those moments, approximately 800 requests per second generate more than 8 MBit/s of network traffic. Varnish caching offers a smart solution by accommodating approximately 95 percent of all requests by displaying static content from the cache. The result: relief for the WordPress database and fast loading times.
The sites scored well in load time measurements after the move to Savvii.
Note: AndroidPlanet.nl scores well (88 of 100 points) in the performance analysis of Webpagetest.org
AndroidPlanet.nl has a good score (88 of 100 points) in the performance analysis of Webpagetest.org. Also the time for downloading a page by Google has decreased significantly. This is a positive development and makes it easier for Google to crawl the site.
Explanation: Time taken by the Google crawler to download a page has decreased significantly since the switch to Savvii (mid April 2014).
Also, the time it takes for Google crawler to download a page has decreased significantly since switching to Savvii (mid April 2014). Savvii has been extremely helpful in pinpointing the bottlenecks in the WordPress installations and server (settings). In Savvii, BigSpark has therefore found a smart and solid partner. This has laid a good foundation for further growth and improvement of our platform.
- “At BigSpark we have been looking for a long time for a party that can support us in improving the performance & scaling up our high-traffic sites. We have found this party in Savvii. Their skills, expertise and personal support are excellent. This makes Savvii highly recommended for any demanding WordPress user.”Peter Geurts – Founder BigSpark