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Case Study: World Press

Acquia Takes the Pressure off World Press Photo with a Stable Online Platform

Case Study: World Press

Integration of Four Complex Websites and the Transition to Acquia Cloud Ensures Stable Websites

“From the moment Acquia took over hosting our websites, we have not experienced a single moment of downtime,” explained Sander Zwart, online manager at World Press Photo. Three years ago, managing more than ten websites, each with its own suppliers and hosting parties, took a great deal of direction and was not cost efficient. So, World Press Photo looked for a hosting partner with Drupal know-how, who could also seamlessly integrate its many websites and ensure a stable platform.

The Challenge

To meet World Press Photo’s mission to increase the standard of photojournalism and reach a mass audience with uncensored information, a stable website was needed, one that is permanently accessible. Sander Zwart explained that interest is growing in the Middle East for the photos that World Press Photo publishes. “Freedom of the press is an issue there, and when you see that our uncensored information is reaching people, we are also achieving our mission digitally,” said Zwart.

When Zwart started working at the organisation three years ago, it had more than ten websites, with almost as many suppliers, and many of the websites were hosted by different parties. “We are a small organisation, and coordinating so many suppliers took up a lot of time,” said Zwart. “It was also not very cost efficient to work with so many different parties.” World Press Photo startedlooking for a single hosting partner who could consolidate the websites.

The new partner had to have Drupal know-how, because the most important websites ran on the Drupal platform. “Before, we were often sent from pillar to post when we had a problem with a website,” said Zwart. “The developer of the website shunted problems onto the hosting party, and vice versa. To prevent this, we looked for a full-service company with expertise in all aspects.”

The Solution

World Press Photo chose Acquia because Acquia’s proposition was the strongest in terms of Drupal expertise. “If one of our websites goes offline during the night, for example, Acquia guarantees to proactively work towards an immediate solution,” said Zwart. “This was a major difference compared to other parties, who claimed that in such instances the developer should be contacted to solve the problem. While in this process, we also switched to a different solution integrator, Capgemini. The strong, existing relationship between Acquia and Capgemini supported our decision.”

Before launching the project, discussions occurred about the websites’ visitor dynamics. The dynamics are easily predictable at certain moments, for example during the announcement of the World Press Photo of the Year. However, at other times the volume is not so easy to predict. “You have to take this into consideration when choosing a hosting solution,” says Zwart. Fluctuating dynamics calls for a scalable solution. “Acquia swiftly supplied an action plan that was discussed and agreed upon with our solution integrator,” said Zwart. “Within a month, our key websites were integrated, and we switched to the platform that we still work with today without any problems.”

The Results

Zwart explains that since the switch to Acquia Cloud, the websites have not experienced any downtime. “Since the moment Acquia took over, the sites have been stable. This stability is very important to us. If a website would go down during the announcement of the Photo of the Year, it would be very damaging. This announcement takes place with the utmost precision, down to the second, and is advertised in advance worldwide.”

Another important advantage of the switch to Acquia is that Acquia is an international organisation. “Our development team is located in India, so we are always working with a time difference,” said Zwart. “It is reassuring that a hosting party is available 24x7 and can take action if needed. It is also very convenient that developers can easily implement changes online. New functionalities can be added in just a few clicks via a drag-and-drop system. Previously, we had to request the
hosting party schedule when new functionalities could go live. We no longer need to do this.” Zwart said, “Now, the websites are stable, and we can continue to work on future plans. We want to expand our vision to give as many people as possible access to unrestricted and uncensored information. We don’t want to reach only people in major Western cities, but also people who live in remote areas of Africa, for example. Sometimes they do not have a computer, but do have a smartphone. We are working towards the ability to quickly provide this group of smartphone users the highest standard of uncensored, prize-winning journalism images.”

“We no longer have to worry about the availability of our website.”
Sander Zwart
Manager Online at World Press Photo

Company Information

World Press Photo
Based on two spearheads: increasing the standard of photojournalism and increasing the audience with unrestricted and uncensored information
Stable websites since the transition to Acquia
Drupal user since 2011
Acquia customer since 2014
  • Acquia Enterprise Cloud
  • Enterprise Support subscription for Drupal