Concrete Ideas

What the client needed: 

Concrete Ideas, a subsidiary of Ideas Media Inc., has a website where one can find articles on concrete construction and usage along with the suppliers and contractors that deal with concrete. The website was extremely slow to load and we were asked to make it faster.

Solution we provided: 

We looked at the website and gave them an offer they could not resist. We were so confident in our abilities to optimize their website that we quoted them a fixed price which we would get only if the website page load time decreased below a fixed number of seconds.

Project Outcome: 

Red Crackle decreased the average page load time of Concrete Ideas website from over 5 seconds to less than 2 seconds. Our clients were thrilled to find that they no longer will lose site visitors because of slow site.

Concrete Ideas wanted to reduce the page load time of their website. Their initial page load time ranged from 3 seconds to 12 seconds with average of more than 5 seconds. After looking at the site, we assured them that we can decrease the worst page load time to within 4 seconds. At the end of the project, the average page load time was less than 2 seconds.

The website had some low-hanging fruits which we could solve pretty easily. It ran on VPS which would freeze the site every time memory usage exceeded their RAM. We moved the site to Rackspace cloud server so that even if memory usage increased beyond available RAM, the system still uses swap memory. We also noticed that the website used Apache web server which uses lots of memory. We replaced it by Nginx which uses less memory and is much faster.

Most of the visitors to the website are anonymous visitors. So we installed Varnish reverse proxy in front of nginx web server so that anonymous visitors would get cached content from Varnish. But there was one problem. The website uses visitor's IP address to tell the visitor the number of concrete companies in his area. Since this number depends on individual user, Varnish can't cache that page. So we converted that block to AJAX. Now the Varnish could cache the full page. Whenever the page would load, javascript would query the server which will identify the user's location and respond with the number of companies in his area.

The client was so happy with our work that we are working with them on optimizing their other websites.

Red Crackle reduced page load time for anonymous users from 5 seconds to less than 2 seconds. They set a fixed price and completed the work even though the system was more complicated than they had initially estimated. Customer service was extremely prompt and they were readily available on phone to talk about issues. Red Crackle is one of the best development agencies I have encountered so far.
                 - Mark Donaldson
President, IDEAS media, LLC