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5 Ways Ars Technica Combats the Threat of Website Latency

Since its start in 1998, Ars Technica has grown to become one of the largest tech news sites, serving an average of 60 billion pages per month. According to Ars’ Director of Technology, Jason Marlin, “We are one of the largest, busiest websites in tech news—not just because of the writing, but because Ars loads very fast.”

The sentiment is true. Readers expect pages to load fast. In fact, 40% of people will abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

How does Ars Technica do it?

Here are 5 ways Ars gives their readers nothing but the FASTEST delivery, using CacheFly CDN.

1. Highest Global Throughput Delivery

“We have a lot of tech sites ask us, ‘how do you get your site to load so fast?’,” said Marlin.In the U.S., our average response is 400 ms (page loads) for users who have cached most of the pages.”  Just as most sites use CDNs, Ars uses CacheFly to replicate its website files (JavaScript, CSS, images, and videos, etc.) onto the CDN’s globally distributed network of servers, for closer (and faster) delivery to readers. However, using CacheFly’s proven highest global throughput delivery, Ars is able to give readers comparably FASTER delivery than with any other CDN.

2. Infinite Scalability for Surges in Traffic

With CacheFly’s infinitely scalable bandwidth, Ars Technica delivers its website fast—no matter what kind of surges in traffic. Marlin notes, “Now we’re seeing around 60 million page views, and sometimes we have spike events, e.g. announcing the latest Apple iPhone. Those types of spike events will sometimes generate 15-16M page views. Without a CDN, a big announcement like that would completely shut us down. With CacheFly, you don’t even see an issue. The CDN just absorbs it, while all other websites in the same scenario are struggling to stay up. Customers commend us on that.”

3. Fetch Content Using Reverse Proxy

Instead of taking endless amounts of time to manually upload lots of small files, Ars uses Reverse Proxy as an upload method, allowing CacheFly to automatically fetch non-cached objects—simply by leaving the content on Ars’ origin and rewriting the URL to point to CacheFly. When asked about their use of Reverse Proxy, Marlin responded, “We were amazed by how well it worked when deployed. Reverse Proxy has made our deployment process so fast and has reduced the complexity of our deployment. The bonus is that this method requires no work from us in terms of syncing assets—we simply make sure files are available on our servers and reference them from the CacheFly CDN URL—the rest is magic!”

4. Replicate Updates Super-Fast

Some CDNs can take up to 24 hours to apply updates, which can be problematic—especially for news sites, which often make frequent updates, and base their reputation and credibility on relevancy and accuracy. However, when Ars makes an update to its website, those updates are applied to all replicated versions on CacheFly’s servers—within SECONDS—ensuring readers always receive the latest version of Ars Technica—SUPER FAST.

5. Automatic Compression of Files

Ars further speeds up delivery to readers, using CacheFly’s Gzip Compression—which compresses files to optimize transfer via the Internet. In addition, Gzip compression helps to decrease bandwidth costs by using less data to transfer over the wire.

Jason Marlin Ars Technica Website Performance

“CacheFly has exceeded our expectations on every level—from the technical operation of the actual service, to the top-notch support staff and their responsiveness…Overall, we’re very happy.”

-Jason Marlin, Director of Technology, Ars Technica

 

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Is Your Site Ready for the Busiest Ever Cyber Monday?

This year, Cyber Monday U.S. sales are expected to hit a record $3 billion. The National Retail Federation states that 183.8 million people (80% of holiday shoppers) are projected to shop.

If the forecast is accurate, Cyber Monday 2015 will mark the BIGGEST day in history for online sales.

Overall, holiday shopping online is seeing a good uptick. According to Adobe Digital Index, online Black Friday sales will increase 15% to 2.7 billion. Collectively, online holiday sales will total $83 billion from November and December.

Will your site scale—on the most critical day of the year?

If not, you could stand to lose out on significant revenue. Since it’s debut in 2005, Cyber Monday has been notorious for having some of the worst service failures for shoppers, as dozens of major retailers experienced downtime—due to overwhelming global traffic.

Some of the major retail sites that crashed—with more than 10 minutes of downtime, include: PC Mall, 128 minutes (2011); Best Buy, 90 minutes (2014); Toys R’ Us, 32 minutes (2011); Newegg, 60 minutes (2011); and Nordstrom, 12 minutes (2011).

Best Buy's 404 Page (Cyber Monday 2014)

Best Buy’s 404 Page (Cyber Monday 2014)

Although many of these sites had more than 90% availability, such an outage on the most high-traffic shopping day of the year can result in hundreds of thousands, to even millions of dollars in revenue loss. According to Kissmetrics: “If an eCommerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page load delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.”

What are the impacts of Cyber Monday outages?

Direct sales loss.
An outage is synonymous to your doors being closed. Your customers can’t ‘check-out’ and purchase.
The loss can be determined by:

Direct Sales Loss = Avg. Hourly Sales Volume x (outage duration + avg. purchase session length)

Lost sales to competitors.
When your doors are closed—and since most items you sell can often be found on your competitor’s site anyway, they wind up going to your competition. Every second a customer spends waiting for your page to load is an opportunity to lose them to faster competition. And, on Cyber Monday, you can expect a market chock-full of competition. In fact, 72% of frustrated customers will abandon your site for a competitor’s.

The loss can be quantified by:
Avg. Hourly Visitors x Conversion Rate x Average Sale x (outage duration in + avg. visit length)

Loss of customer loyalty.
An ecommerce Cyber Monday report conducted by Ponemon, found that disgruntled shoppers who were unable to make a purchase—and decided not to return—caused an estimated brand damage of $3.4 million (for average retailers). Kissmetrics states that “79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with website performance are less likely to buy from that same site again.”

Negative brand equity.
If a major retailer experiences downtime during Cyber Monday, chances are, you’ll hear about it via social media. According to research, 44% of online shoppers are likely to tell others about a bad online experience.

Operational costs.
Outages cause your customer support, marketing and sales teams to respond to complaints, while IT must work to restore systems.  The overall operational cost of customers support alone, can be estimated by: Increase in ticket volume x avg. ticket response cost

What can you do about it?

Online holiday shoppers expect fast performance. With all the planning that takes place to prepare for the holidays, it’s critical to ensure you have the right infrastructure to handle spikes in traffic. Before this holiday season passes, take the following steps to analyze your performance:

  • Monitor and audit your bandwidth capacity throughout the season, and understand your infrastructure weaknesses.
  • Conduct tests using Real-User Monitoring (RUM), which enables you to collect data about your site performance as experienced by actual users.
  • Develop a formal plan: Partner with CacheFly Content Delivery Network (CDN) in 2016.

In our Cyber-Monday post-mortem post, we’ll provide you with guided steps to ensure the fastest delivery in 2016.

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4 Ways Binary Fortress Conquers App Delivery Latency with CacheFly CDN

Binary Fortress Software provides free and Pro-version desktop productivity “apps to make life easier,” ranging from managing multi-monitor desktops to performing real-time log monitoring. Their popular apps, including DisplayFusion, FileSeek, LogFusion, iTunesFusion—among many others—are distributed to customers all over the world.

Like other software providers, Binary Fortress knows that slow downloads can lead to customer attrition.

Check out these 4 ways Binary Fortress conquered latency and now ensures the fastest app delivery for their global customers—with the help of CacheFly.

#1 Offload Bandwidth from Local Servers

Every time an app loads, it makes a request back to Binary Fortress’s servers to retrieve data. Having a multitude of apps and a global customer base, it’s inevitable that servers would become overloaded, causing slow load times. According to Systems Analyst, Keith Lammers of Binary Fortress, “Our challenges involved setting up a new site to serve up a lot of images fast for customers. We were hosting locally, so we needed to offload bandwidth from our servers, which could be quite expensive. We needed a faster, more stable method of delivery.”

Binary Fortress sought CacheFly Content Delivery Network to efficiently offload bandwidth and provide a stable, worldwide network for faster and more reliable app distribution for their global customers. Lammers said, “We chose CacheFly after reading some reviews online where CacheFly was ranked to have the best performance. We also liked CacheFly because of the protected URL, origin pull, and pricing per MB features—we liked the good pricing for the amount of bandwidth we needed, and responsive and unlimited customer support.”

#2 Scale On-Demand for High Traffic Launches

When a new version or new app is available—and even when an app gets featured on App Store or Google Play, millions of global downloads could result, causing performance degradation and cancelled downloads. When Binary Fortress launches a new app or new version, CacheFly infinitely scales on-demand, to handle huge traffic surges, seamlessly.

#3 Super-Fast Replication

Instead of waiting up to 24 hours to push updates, as it can take with some CDNs—Binary Fortress uses CacheFly’s super-fast replication to push app updates to users within seconds. Files are replicated as soon as they are updated, providing their customers with app updates—faster—and more reliably.

#4 High Throughput Delivery of Large File Apps to Global Users

Binary Fortress needed a CDN equipped to withstand the delivery of its large file apps to global customers. No matter the file size, CacheFly’s proven throughput performance enables the company to keep their global customers happy by providing them with the fastest app delivery. Now, Binary Fortress’s apps to make life easier, are much easier to download.


Evaluating CDNs? Look for Throughput.

Most CDNs will try to convince you that Time To First Byte (TTFB) is the only measure of a CDN’s performance. However, TTFB only measures how fast the web server is able to respond to a request, not Time To Last Byte (TTLB)—or throughput—which is the total delivery time from initial request—to fully downloaded files. You need a CDN that performs from the first byte to the last byte, and nobody does that better than CacheFly.

 

keith lammers binary fortress
“CacheFly’s service has been really stable. All the technical stuff met our needs, and I don’t think we’ve had any downtime issues, which is really impressive. We would definitely recommend CacheFly. We’ve had great customer service. CacheFly is awesome; we don’t see the need to try any other CDN.”
– Keith Lammers, Binary Fortress


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Does Your SaaS Application’s Delivery Performance Meet User Expectations?

Are you losing SaaS or Web App users to slow delivery?

If your SaaS or Web App is running slow, so are your users.

Users expect your SaaS or web app to perform the same as on-premise software, and be accessible anywhere there’s an Internet connection—from any device.

To meet your users’ delivery performance standards, you must have an operationally efficient infrastructure, built and optimized for consistent high-speed performance and availability, worldwide.

But, there’s a dilemma causing a lack of control over the performance of SaaS and Web Apps. It’s called…the Internet.

For an end-user to run your SaaS or Web App, an Internet connection is required at all times—especially for end users on the move. However, the Internet’s hundreds of thousands of interconnected networks were never built to handle the demands of SaaS and Web App delivery. Issues caused by rerouting in the interconnected network exacerbates delays. Tables need time to reroute, while a complex app stack of chatty protocols and applications require hundreds of thousands of round-trips just to complete a transaction. What’s more, after a BGP failure, it could take several minutes for routing tables to be updated.

All of these issues are compounded when your global user-base grows.

When you’re unable to deliver your SaaS or web apps fast, you lose users. Poor network performance and availability can kill your business.

What if there was an acceleration platform out there that could make your SaaS or web app load 3x faster? What is that worth to you?

SaaS Acceleration is uniquely built to improve operational efficiency and deliver faster, LAN-like performance by providing:

  • 100% Availability SLA: Give your users 100% continuous network uptime.
  • Operationally Efficient TCP Anycast Routing: The only network built and optimized for the fastest throughput file delivery of small and large files.
  • Real-Time Network Intelligence: Your users will always reach your infrastructure with edge connectivity from 40+ global POPs.
  • Rerouting/Instant Failover: Our network dynamically routes around outages to find the best path to deliver 100% uptime.
  • Global Networks: We use the best peering partners to reduce the number of hops between ISPs which also provides a more direct route to mobile users.
  • On-Net Origin Support: SaaS Acceleration eliminates transit connectivity problems by allowing you to cross connect directly into 100+ global colo locations.
  • Transparent Caching: Allows you to automatically cache static objects at the edge without changes to origin infrastructure.

If keeping your users happy and growing your business is a priority, it’s your obligation to provide your users with the best experience possible.

Make a commitment to your end-users. Give them the highest delivery performance, reliability and 100% availability.

Sign up now for early access to SaaS Acceleration.

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8 Reasons to Use CacheFly CDN for Podcasts

If you’re running a successful podcast, your listener base may be massively growing…but the problem is, so is your bandwidth consumption. Web servers were never built to handle global delivery and traffic bursts for large web files—especially when a typical episode could range anywhere from 20-100MB.  Each download adds strain to your servers and causes delivery performance to be considerably slower.

Listeners won’t wait for your podcast to download. They want it (and expect it) delivered fast. Relying on web hosting alone, is simply not enough. To sustain and grow your listener base, you must be able to accommodate surges in traffic while ensuring a fast and seamless listener experience.  That’s why you need a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to offload traffic from your servers, and deliver your podcast files faster—by delivering them as close to your audience as possible.

However, not all CDNs are built the same. CacheFly is different. Here are 8 reasons why podcasters trust CacheFly.

1. Highest Global Throughput Performance

Throughput (or Time to Last Byte) is the time it takes to deliver a file—from the initial response—to full download. CacheFly’s network is the only network built for throughput. Web monitoring companies such as CloudHarmony and Cedexis prove that CacheFly’s global throughput performance trumps all other CDNs in large file delivery. With CacheFly, your listeners will be able to download your podcast files faster—no matter where they reside.

CacheFly eclipses all major CDNs in overall throughput performance of a 100KB file in the U.S.

CacheFly eclipses all major CDNs in overall throughput performance of a 100KB file in the U.S.

2.) Infinite Scalability

A popular podcast can expect bursts for a couple of days—or even weeks. CacheFly’s infinitely scalable bandwidth delivers seamlessly when spikes in traffic occur.

3.) 100% Availability SLA.

CacheFly ensures the highest availability and guarantees continuous network uptime, 100%.  No scheduled or emergency maintenance.

4.) Fully Interoperable.

CacheFly supports all major mediate types and video players, such as: H.264, Adobe Flash (SWF and FLV), Windows media and all other formats, and also integrates with feed management and reporting solutions. In addition, CacheFly has full certification with use on iTunes.

5.) Gzip Compression.

The larger your podcast files, the longer it will take to deliver. CacheFly provides gzip compression to automatically compress files to further reduce transfer time. Gzip compression not only optimizes files for faster delivery, but also lowers your bandwidth costs by using less data to deliver your files to an end user.

6.) Security Platform.

Rest assured, your information is secure. CacheFly offers Referrer Blocking rules to prevent simple hotlinking. This allows you to deny HTTP requests, if the listener (requestor) did not come from another web page in the same domain, or domain of their choosing. CacheFly offers secure delivery via a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate. This type of encryption allows secure web transmissions of your content.

7.) Real-Time Reporting.

CacheFly’s robust, real-time reporting platform provides you aggregate and drill-down insights into where—and how fast—podcasts and videos are being delivered.

8.) Easy Implementation and Instant Activation.

With CacheFly, you can get up and running fast. Simply setup your account online by selecting your username and upload method (origin pull or reverse proxy).

Take it from Leo Laporte and Dan Benjamin:

leo laporte TWiT.TV CacheFly

“CacheFly just works. Our users don’t have to think about how they get our programs; they just do, fast. The show must roll and CacheFly keep them flowing without a hitch.” – Leo Laporte, TWiT.TV

 Dan Benjamin 5by5 Download Faster

“We wanted to better serve our audience, who are distributed across the globe. Providing everybody with fast downloads is critical for us, and CacheFly has a network designed for this purpose.” – Dan Benjamin, 5by5

Don’t risk losing your audience due to slow downloads.

Sign up for CacheFly now and get Pay-As-You-Go billing—for life. No contract—no commitment! Hurry, this incredible, limited-time offer ends soon.

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