Lighthouse Insights 

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Lighthouse Insights used our services to resolve major server errors, boost site performance, rebuild their site theme and deploy to a high performance server and content delivery network.

About Lighthouse Insights

Lighthouse InsightsLighthouse Insights is a prominent Indian online magazine that provides in-depth coverage of the digital marketing space in India.

Articles published on Lighthouse Insights are backed by deep research and serve to help digital marketers drive strategic decisions in the face of tough competition.

Lighthouse Insights was founded in 2009 by Prasant Naidu and Vinaya Naidu, both prolific social media commentators.

“We are so delighted to bring to you an easier, faster and smoother LI, right on time as we stand to complete five years of existence tomorrow.”

– Vinaya Naidu, co-founder of Lighthouse Insights

The Project

The website of Lighthouse Insights was experiencing frequent downtime due to erroneous sections of code that lurked within the website’s code base.

Even when the site was up, the load time was undesirably high, with optimizations urgently needed to retain readers’ attention.

The founders decided it was time for a thorough redesign and rebuild to remove the clutter and bring in sleekness.

Identifying Problem Areas

Lighthouse Insights contacted Naweed Chougle for help with a complete overhaul of their website. This was during July 2015, when Naweed was working independently.

Naweed took up the challenge, and these were the problems he had to confront, in order of highest priority:
  1. Visitors to the website frequently encountered errors indicating the server was too slow to respond during peak traffic hours.
  1. The website was heavy with images, which is understandable for an online publisher. But these images were unoptimized, resulting in long waits for pages to load.
  1. The website was hit by a malware attack that exploited a vulnerability in an outdated plugin. Despite a cleanup exercise, the vulnerability was not patched and the site still depended on Sucuri’s firewall for defense.

 The Solution

Getting Rid of the Errors

Taking on the first challenge, Naweed decided to first stop using the Apache web server software,  since its performance during traffic spikes may be unpredictable. The natural choice was nginx, a lightweight web server software that is the most popular among the world’s top websites.

After switching to using nginx to conserve resources, the next step was to identify the sections of code that cost too much CPU and RAM. 

iPhone Lighthouse Insights
The new, mobile-friendly website of Lighthouse Insights.

This was done with the help of the “slow log” provided by PHP-FPM, one of the software modules running on the server.

The slow log helped isolate the code that was inefficient or making complex database queries. The code was then either rewritten or removed altogether.

The server errors were thus driven out!

Building the WordPress Theme from Scratch

The existing WordPress theme in Lighthouse Insights’ website had many bells and whistles, which led to greater complexity and difficult maintenance.

To compound the problem, one of the plugins used in the site had a serious vulnerability that invited a malware attack on the site.

We all decided to start with a fresh canvas.

Vinaya, being a skilled designer apart from being a writer, prepared the detailed designs for the complete makeover.

The design makeover was inspired by the latest trends in online publications, as also the need to highlight the most crucial stories being covered by Lighthouse Insights.

Concurrently, we shared a collaboratively edited Google doc to capture all requirements for the project, which were frozen after we all were satisfied with the details.

The theme’s code was developed in the leanest possible way, with a focus on speed. At regular intervals, Team Lighthouse Insights was able to review the progress on a staging server.

Furthermore, we migrated the site to a new, high performance Linode server, in a data center located in Singapore.

Securing the New Website

As an urgent safety measure, the offending plugin that attracted malware was removed even before the new website theme’s work was commenced.

After moving our newly built, lean website to a similarly lean and optimized Linode server, we enabled Cloudflare.

Cloudflare’s network not only provides a Content Delivery Network to serve web page content from a visitor’s nearest node, but also brings a decent firewall to stop malicious hackers.

“This time we’ve been very fortunate to have a developer who was more concerned about LI than us.”

– Vinaya Naidu, co-founder of Lighthouse Insights

The Launch, and Long Term Maintenance

The completely revamped website was launched by Lighthouse Insights on 30th November, 2015, just a day before the publication’s 5th anniversary.

A long term, year-on-year maintenance contract for the smooth daily operation and regular security updates has been awarded to Laccadive IO. 

Do get in touch with us to know more about how we can make a difference to your online presence or web solution idea!

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