Millions of people enjoy the rollercoaster rides and family attractions at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (BPB) every year. The theme park’s website is its main sales channel. It is a media rich site, with a huge amount of video content to help promote and sell tickets for the many attractions on offer.
The need for a new more scalable architecture was identified in order to handle the traffic spikes experienced and the growing number of page views at key times of the year. As a result BPB began the search for a new hosting provider.
High Performance Hosting
Having researched potential new partners, iomart-owned hosting company UnitedHosting (UH) was recommended because of its reputation for providing high performance and fully resilient cloud hosting, particularly for eCommerce sites.
One of the key challenges was to help the theme park’s management team to understand how using the cloud would help and not hinder Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s online ambitions. The BPB management team immediately saw the potential in cloud hosting. UH explained how an isolated cloud environment would provide the secure solution they needed and demonstrated the ease with which capacity could be ramped up in the shortest possible time frame.
Developing more effective load balancing and better optimising the back end database were key to improving the performance and flexibility of the website. With the front end running on WordPress and the booking engine and administration platforms utilising the Laravel framework, it was decided to do a split implementation to minimise any risks during the migration.
The website was migrated without any downtime and UH now hosts all of the attraction’s sites (over 10) and 80 domain names in a secure and resilient private cloud. Site performance and user experience have been improved and online sales have grown.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach estimates it will save approximately 10 per cent a year off its IT bill as a result of the move to the cloud, due to the ability to scale resources up and down as required. Website performance has been optimised and users have a much better experience across their mobile devices.
“The hosting migration was a big move and UnitedHosting have supported us all the way through. We have employed best practices such as dynamic scaling, load balancing, caching and inbuild monitoring. While we want our guests to enjoy an amazing visit to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, we also want this to start with a smooth ride when visiting and buying tickets through our website.” Alex Petchkarev, Software Engineer and Web Systems Manager for Blackpool Pleasure Beach