Challenge

Helping four million motoring fans find what they need

As one of the United Kingdom's premium online automotive news and discussion sites, PistonHeads keeps more than 4 million motoring fans up to date with articles and features about the latest cars and motor sport events. A key part of their success is the site’s vibrant discussion forums, where users share news and views on everything from individual marques like Porsche, Bentley and BMW, to sporting events and the latest insurance deals.

Yet, over time, the forums were becoming a victim of their own success. With more than 40 million posts across 200 different topics, and around 10,000 new posts every day, the site’s database search index was proving slow off the mark—and was returning inaccurate results to boot.

Strategy and solution

Driving fast, flexible searches with Elasticsearch

PistonHeads called in our expert team of on-site search engineers. Using Elasticsearch, the flexible and scalable distributed RESTful search and analytics engine, we helped them index their 40 million existing forum posts and create new website functionality for fast, flexible and effective search queries. PistonHeads moderators can now search across hidden forums, prevent the creation of duplicate topics and drive more accurate results. Users are able to search every post in every forum. They can filter by user, date or forum topic. Their searches are aligned with their personal site permissions. And, best of all, they get results from new posts just 15 seconds after they’re posted. So, it’s a fast, flexible and effective solution—and it’s shifting the PistonHeads search experience to a higher gear.

In search, just like in motorsports, speed counts. And with a large online forum, the United Kingdom's PistonHeads website for fans of all things automotive, the database search function was too slow. So we helped them implement Elasticsearch across their hundreds of different forums.

4M

PistonHeads keeps more than 4 million motoring fans up to date with articles and features about the latest cars and motorsport events.

10K

With around 10,000 new posts every day, the site’s database search index was proving slow off the mark—and was returning inaccurate results to boot.

40M

PistonHeads needs to index 40 million existing forum posts across 200 topics and create new search functionality for fast, flexible and effective search queries.

Transformation

Supercharged search

With their new search functionality in the driving seat, PistonHeads is taking its discussion forums to new places.

PistonHeads is now serving five times the number of search queries at vastly greater speeds—and taking their customer experience into the fast lane.

They’re now returning results for 250,000 search queries every day—a remarkable five-fold increase on their previous capabilities. The PistonHeads team now have the insights into each user’s search journey to improve customer experience yet further. And with faster, more accurate results, users are ever more engaged in the lively discussions that are the engine of the site’s success. What’s more, the reduced workload in managing duplicate content means the company has even been able to cut their forum administration costs. So they are getting higher performance at a lower cost. That really is supercharged search.

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5x

PistonHeads is now serving 250,000 queries per day—a remarkable five-fold increase in the number of search queries.

15

Users can search every post in every forum and filter by user, date or forum topic. Best of all, users get results from new posts just 15 seconds after they’re posted.

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