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Getting Days Out Guide Back on Track With an Umbraco Health Check

Getting Days Out Guide Back on Track With an Umbraco Health Check


02 Nov 2022 • 2 min read

Days Out Guide, owned by National Rail, provides 2-for-1 tickets for various major attractions throughout the UK when traveling by train. Learn how we brought their website back on track.

Innerworks is coming soon...

This blog was originally published on our previous Cogworks blog page. The Cogworks Blog is in the process of evolving into Innerworks, our new community-driven tech blog. With Innerworks, we aim to provide a space for collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and connection within the wider tech community. Watch this space for Innerworks updates, but don't worry - you'll still be able to access content from the original Cogworks Blog if you want. 

Who are Days Out Guide?

If you’ve travelled by train in the UK, you’ll have heard of National Rail. If you’re not from the UK, National Rail is the definitive source of customer information for pretty much everything train-related. 

Days Out Guide is a National Rail programme which has been running for over 20 years, with millions of people relying on redeeming the website to redeem vouchers for discounted attraction visits every year! 

Noticing the signs.

After relaunching on Umbraco 7, Days Out Guide noticed slow page load times of up to 20 seconds and complete site outages under minimal traffic (with an average of 50 users). 

Days Out Guide reviewed their systems enough to know that something wasn’t working as it should. We advised an Umbraco Health Check so that we could look “under the hood” and find out what was going on.

The Umbraco Health Check. 

Our industry-leading Umbraco Health Check is a series of tests conducted by Umbraco-certified master developers. The test results are given to our clients on a clear, comprehensive report that identifies exactly why a website is struggling and how to fix it.

For Days Out Guide, their report revealed serious problems, including poor coding standards, non-standard Umbraco development practices and major configuration issues! 

Working with the results.

We worked with the Health Check results using Cogworks Agile Workflow. Our workflow simplifies development practices, separating a long list of issues into manageable tasks ordered by priority. 

Over two weeks, our team made intelligent, incremental changes. Such as:

  • Waving goodbye to redundant code.
  • A lot of database reconfigurations.
  • Adding Umbraco packages, like USync.
  • Reducing the server CPU.

1000% better. 

Following the Umbraco Health Check:

- Site performance sky-rocketed, with adjustments to the code resulting in 1000% faster page-load times and user traffic capacity!

- The improved performance metrics reduced Days Out Guide’s infrastructure needs, cutting hosting costs by 50%!

- Using their Health Check results, we also initiated more robust Umbraco security practices by introducing fully automated deployment strategies for future development.

We even got some nice feedback. 

“I appreciate the work you do for us; we’ve made good progress on the site it will only go onwards and upwards from here.” - Pinar Yuge, Days Out Guide Digital Marketing Manager, Rail Delivery Group

Get in touch if you're curious about your Umbraco. It could be that its full potential is just a few smart, incremental changes away. 

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