The Huffington Post

Client

The Huffington Post logo

Founded in May, 2005, The Huffington Post — "The Internet Newspaper" — offers extensive coverage of politics, media, business, entertainment, lifestyle and luxurious living. HuffingtonPost.com news portal has rapidly become popular and is not slacking up its growth. To improve its positions on fast grown market, meet the severe competition and succeed they turned to QArea for an enhancement of the portal and appropriate technical solution.

"QArea has played a critical role in the development of HuffingtonPost.com. They have been able to become a part of the core team very quickly and develop amazing features that perform under the highest performance and demand requirements possible. They possess the highest level of business cooperation, an outstanding sense of responsibility and delivery of quality work..."

Requirements

HuffingtonPost.com was to be implemented as a news portal capable of sustaining heavy load, including peak load, and convenience for both visitors and authors of the entries. The portal had to satisfy the following requirements:

  • provide quick generation of pages with both static and dynamic data;
  • the ability to serve millions views per day;
  • scalability;
  • stable work under peak loads;
  • convenient for both visitors and authors of the entries.

Challenge

HuffingtonPost.com was required to be able to save correct work and high performance under heavy loads and simultaneous maintaining a large number of users. It had to be featured on the main pages of search engines, to make definite entries, to appear among the results of running search engines queries, i.e. be perfectly SEO optimized.

QArea Solution

QArea has been able to find a technology that suits best the particular need of the site, to adapt the technology and to provide a solution that completely meets all the requirements. The system is based on the MovableType platform, which has been modified to minimize the number of database queries and to improve performance.

To ensure stable and efficient work under heavy and peak loads QArea team has used the memcache technology. This technology is a general-purpose distributed memory caching system that allows speeding up dynamic database-driven websites by caching data and objects in the memory to reduce the number of times the database must be read. To further improve performance by eliminating the need to reload, when a page is refreshed, the static content, such as images, css, and javascript, QArea has integrated the system with Amazon S3 online storage web service and Akamai platform.

Also, it is worth while to mention some special features of the site:

Online Statistics allows authors of the articles to have access to the statistic data about the most popular search phrases that brought visitors to other articles on the site.

Data Map Tool allows visualization of data on the map of a country. e.g. It is possible to show donations made for the presidential candidates in different states/cities (the data are drawn from open sources) on the map. There are various search options that enable you to see who has donated, how much, to whom and where. You can even find your own donation on the map! The tool was created with the integration of Google Maps.

Integrated Control Tools give to a site administrator the ability to track all visits to the site and particular articles, to see how, when and why visitors come and go; this provides invaluable information for further improvement of the site.

Environment

Languages Perl / PHP / JavaScript
Database MySQL, Redis, Sphinx
Tools Ajax / caching techniques (memcache, etc)
Category News web site & webblog service

Result

The perfect result was achieved due to effective solution of stable functioning under heavy load and well-planned SEO campaign.

The HuffingtonPost.com appeared in the Yahoo news top list several times and as the practice has shown, this web-site is stably functioning under the conditions of constant content updates and load of more then 200 000 visitors per hour, leaving out repeated visits.

Statistics in 2012:

  • visitors per month: 344 Millions;
  • page views per month: 1.4 Billions;
  • comments posted a day: 350 Thousands.