Business Insider

Business Insider Use Case

Business Insider is a fast-growing business site with deep financial, media, tech, and other industry verticals. Launched in 2007 by former top-ranked Wall Street analyst Henry Blodget and DoubleClick executives Dwight Merriman and Kevin Ryan, the site is now the largest business news site on the web. Business Insider has seven international editions and 40 million visitors each month.
Industry: Media
Location: New York, NY
Customer since: 2014

Favorite features
Instant Purge
Custom VCL
Surrogate keys
Real-time Dashboard

Why Fastly
Flexibility and control
All-SSD architecture

case study business insider 1

Why Fastly

As Business Insider’s global presence continues to grow, they need to deliver the same quick, high quality experience regardless of their readers’ location. Because Fastly is powered by Varnish, the state-of-the-art web accelerator that Business Insider was already using, it was easy to integrate Fastly without overhauling their existing infrastructure, enabling them to deliver a fast, personalized experience for their users around the globe.

Varnish at the edge

"Fastly is the only CDN that lets us harness the power of Varnish to cache and update content globally. What we really needed was Varnish at the edge, closer to our readers around the world. On Fastly, we were able to keep all of our Varnish configurations while broadening our reach, so that a reader in California, Europe, or APAC can come to Business Insider and get fresh content as fast as somebody in New York. Moving to Fastly was the perfection solution."
Julie Sommerville, VP of Engineering

case study business insider 2

Personalizing the reader experience

Business Insider serves personalized content to individual users, ensuring their editors, logged-in readers, and visitors each have a unique experience on They do this by writing and instantly deploying Custom Varnish Configuration Language (VCL) to attach different headers for each type of user. This enables editors to see the content uncached, and gives them the ability to publish and update content instantly, while readers see the latest content in real time. Article comments are cached separately from the article itself — using Fastly’s surrogate keys, Business Insider can display the latest comments without having to purge the entire page.

Real-time news

Business Insider needed a CDN that could keep pace with modern editorial cycles in order to remain competitive. Their editorial process is iterative; when an article is published, there’s a feedback loop between editors as a story develops, and the article must be updated accordingly.

When an editor makes a change, Business Insider needs to purge the cache immediately, ensuring their readers see the most recent version of the latest story as it happens. Fastly’s Instant Purge gives Business Insider the freedom to make unlimited content changes and control which version of an article is cached and served to readers.

Fastly’s real-time analytics allow Business Insider to monitor events as they’re happening, enabling them to identify necessary changes and make and push their own configurations as needed. In addition to real-time and historical stats, Fastly’s Dashboard offers Business Insider insight into percentage of requests per second, hit ratio, errors, and a global traffic profile.

Business Insider and Fastly Integration

Mobile & media

According to comScore, mobile usage accounts for 60% of digital media consumption. Given the ever-increasing popularity of mobile, it’s important that Business Insider offers a quality experience for readers accessing its site on mobile devices.

Business Insider’s primary concern is its geographically diverse user base — they have seven international editions with five million visitors each month. This includes editions in Australia, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, China, and the UK. Fastly’s globally distributed network allows them to serve content from the edge, speeding up the experience for both mobile and desktop.

"We were able to simply drop Fastly on top of our current implementation, which was a huge advantage. It was clear that other CDNs would have required us to change a lot of our infrastructure, but Fastly acts as an extension of our stack."

Julie Sommerville
VP of Engineering

"We have three different types of use cases on Business Insider — our editors, logged-in readers, and readers who are visiting and don’t log in. Fastly’s Custom VCL lets us serve content from the edge that’s tailored to each type of user, ensuring a great experience for our readers while giving editors complete flexibility."

Julie Sommerville
VP of Engineering

"Fastly gives us a significant competitive edge. Our editorial process is extremely iterative, and Fastly lets us make and deploy changes instantly, ensuring our readers see the most up-to-date content. Being able to purge and update articles in real time should be the standard for all media sites.”

Julie Sommerville
VP of Engineering

“We wanted to be faster for Business Insider’s end users. Fastly is the only CDN that allows us to purge at the edge and update our content in milliseconds.”

Julie Sommerville
VP of Engineering

"The Fastly Dashboard allows us to monitor real-time data and changes as we update our configurations and VCL.”

Chris Buckley
Director of DevOps

“We wanted to be faster for Business Insider’s end users. Fastly is the only CDN that allows us to purge at the edge and update our content in milliseconds.”

Julie Sommerville
VP of Engineering

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