High traffic gossip portal on WordPress – case study

High traffic gossip portal on WordPress – case study

About our client

The client is the editorial magazine called “Kozaczek” (Knee-Length Women’s Boot) . It is one of the most recognizable gossip portals in Poland featuring celebrities. It has up to 4 million requests per day and contains more than 100 thousand posts. As a typical lifestyle content, “Kozaczek” is loaded with lots of pictures, graphic designs and videos. It is also full of different types of external links or other content.

Facing the problem

“Kozaczek” was built around  an old, dedicated CMS making it difficult to update and develop. Due to the dynamic expansion of such websites in Poland, this editorial magazine needed a new, fast and efficient working system to publish a lot of content. The client’s database size was 25 GB.

The challenge was the speed of the site under heavy load. We had to keep in mind that “Kozaczek” is not only full of various data created by its journalists. It contains also a lot of various advertisement networks.

Creating solutions

At first, the challenge was to convince the client to choose a WordPress CMS solution. We had to prove that it was not only the platform to build a simple websites or a blog, but also the best solution for such a complex on-line lifestyle service with lots of posts and thousands of visitors.

The main part of this project was to build the required portal on WordPress platform and migrate the content from the previous version of the site to the new one. We had to make sure that we had done it in the most advantageous way.

That is why we created a migrator. Thanks to it, migration scripts read the data from the old database and adds posts along with pictures to WordPress via the API. The migration was multi-threaded took about two weeks to complete.

After this time, the second phase of implementation followed. Migration for a transitional period was launched continuously and was always copying new posts appearing on the old page to the new one.

We found out that none of the ready-made solutions (including the paid ones) correctly handled the generation of a sitemap for so many pages. We had to create a custom solution to sort them out.

Improvement

Currently, the application works in the ElasticBeanstalk environment. It supports 6 to 18 servers simultaneously, being the start of them depending on the traffic. As a database, RDS Aurora Serverless was used, which is fully automated and managed by AWS. The images are kept on S3 servers, whilst Cloudflare protects the site. Besides, the site has obtained a new design and layout.

How it works now

The responsive web design used in this case automatically adapts the page to the size of the browser window. The website is universal: it is effectively displayed on large screens, smartphones and tablets. The content management panel is easier to use. Both the graphic design and the layout on the site is friendly to the users. This feature is of crucial importance for lifestyle portals. On such pages, the message is based mainly on attractive graphic elements and a transparent layout.

Author-Thumbnail Paweł Zmysłowski
Paweł Zmysłowski CEO & TEAM LEADER