August 7, 2013
2 min read time

How Newsday and News12 bumped up both traffic and speed with Varnish


When Dennis Elder, Newday’s vice president for Digital Development, contacted us last year the news sites he manages, including Newsday and News12, were experiencing challenges with capacity and speed. Dennis also had hopes that Varnish would be able to help accelerate the paid-content infrastructure on his sites.

We called Dennis the other day to chat about his success with Varnish so far. He told us that all of Newsday and News 12’s news sites are now running on Varnish.  “In the past we had recurring problems with our content management system (CMS), and we hoped that Varnish would help solve those issues,” Dennis said. “And I can honestly say that now that Varnish is up and running our sites are working really well.”

Accelerated paid content

Before deploying Varnish, Newsday and News 12 had already implemented gateways to their primary content from within their CMS (Atex’s Polopoly Web CMS), but the content delivery was too slow. “Our objective was to use the Varnish Paywall to accelerate the delivery of our paid content,” Dennis said. The Varnish Paywall was consequently set up on the relaunch of the nine News 12 sites in December.. After successfully implementing the Varnish Paywall solution on News12, they replicated the same setup on Newsday. “We are very satisfied with the way our gateways are working now. With Varnish we rely less on cookies, and we’ve resolved the bottleneck issues we had with our old content-gateways,” Dennis told us.

A page load time drop of 2 seconds

When Newsday saw the positive effect Varnish had on their paid-content they subsequently rolled out Varnish as a caching platform on all their online publications. “We started using Varnish as a caching platform for Newsday in July 2013 after an implementation process of only two months,” Dennis told us. And Dennis shares that after implementing Varnish and making other improvements, they are seeing significant performance improvements on their publications. “The average page load has dropped by more than two seconds,” he said.

Traffic to mobile site up by 30%

Newsday set up a Varnish Device Detection module to enhance the experience of users reading news of their mobile site. Their objective was to in a scalable and speedy manner redirect customers visiting their site from their mobiles to their mobile site. “The result of implementing the device detection module has had a very positive effect, and the traffic to our mobile site has increased 30%!  We are so happy with this result that we are now working on implementing the same functionality for people visiting our site from tablets.”