How Norway’s most popular news site uses Varnish VCS to monitor web traffic and resolve problems in real-time

When we launched Varnish Custom Statistics (VCS) last year it was referred to as “debugging heaven”. Now that VCS has been on the market for almost a year our customers have a lot more insights to share on how it helps them optimise the performance of their websites. 

One of these customers is vg.no Norway’s most popular online news site. They have been using VCS since 2012 and now regard it as an essential tool for discovering bugs and problematic behaviour on their web publications.

“Best thing to come out of Varnish Software since Varnish Cache”

Audun Ytterdal, vg.no’s Head of IT Operations, told us that VCS has proven to be an outstanding tool for monitoring the news site’s real-time data. “Using our old system we could, at best, view statistics with a 5-minute interval. With VCS we can set the interval to 10 seconds or 1 minute which allows us to react to problems very quickly. In our industry speed is imperative and VCS helps us give our readers a much better user experience. VCS is the best thing to come out of Varnish Software since Varnish Cache. It is a straightforward and easy to use tool that really helps us figure out what is happening in our user traffic” Ytterdal concludes.

How does VCS work?

VCS is a very flexible tool for aggregating statistics and displaying them, based on your own preferred set-up. You can define the grouping of the statistics by using the Varnish Configuration Language (VCL) to set up keys. This allows you, for example, to track statistics by virtual host and domain, by URL, or any other way you see fit, based on your VCL key definition. The data collected can be queried and presented in top lists, according to various parameters. You can, for example, track the URLs that take the longest time to load, the URLs that get most hits, or the articles and products that attract the most traffic.

The possibilities for using VCS are practically endless. At vg.no, VCS has been integrated with Graphite, a tool that visualises the data coming from VCS. Download the case study on how vg.no uses Varnish VCS here.

You can also download our webinar on the Varnish Tools to help you get started with VCS from here.

 ...Or get more information on the tool by reading some of our earlier blog posts on the topic:

Getting live statistics from Varnish with HLS/HDS

Varnish Custom Statistics: Our little xmas makeover

06/08/2013, 11:19 by Hildur Smaradottir

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