December 2, 2010, 12:50 PM

Groupon speeds up its web site by caching more content locally

The daily deal site uses services from Limelight Networks.

Lead Photo

Daily-deal site Groupon says it has reduced its site loading times by caching content on geographically-distributed local servers, using services from Limelight Networks Inc.

The daily seal site, recently the subject of rumors that it is going to be bought by Google Inc., did not release how much its site speed increased, but Shinji Kuwayama, Groupon’s director of engineering, called the change substantial.

Over the past two years, Groupon says it has expanded to some 300 cities in 31 countries. Consumers use Groupon to find online coupons for goods and services, usually from local merchants, though Groupon recently has been offering deals from national chains. Groupon says its deal page updater, besides offering deals tailored to specific markets, also needs to refresh constantly, presenting site speed challenges. “Site speed is critical to our customer experience and online conversions,” Kuwayama says.

Groupon uses Limelight not only to locally cache such features as the deal page updater, but to help process payments more efficiently. Groupon can store the secure pages needed for checkout closer to where the consumer is located, leading to speedier checkouts.

Kuwayama says the caching system could help Groupon avoid web site crashes, such as the one experienced late last month when talk show host Oprah Winfrey plugged the company on her program, and avoid digital bottlenecks as the company attracts more visitors. “For us, everyday is bigger than the one before,” he says.

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