Tools to Capture and Convert the Web

Creating webpage screenshots as fast as possible

21 September 2015

We have recently finished a series of improvements to our services to make it as fast as possible to create webpage screenshots, run a scrape or create a animated GIF etc.

First of all we analysed our hardware and made several changes that has greatly sped up screenshot generation times. The first change was to move to MongoDB using WiredTiger as the database engine, which massively improved our database response times.

Next we migrated to a new data centre, which uses SSD hard drives and dual network connections that are 100 times faster than our previous servers. This meant our customers get much better, more consistent performance even under heavy loads.

Finally we analysed our custom built software and implemented a faster caching technique that allows us to cache web content, such as images and JavaScript without impacting the speed of screenshot generation. We now also automatically block many third party web analytics services to reduce the number of web requests required to take a screenshot. All of which, has reduced the time it takes to generate a screenshot by as much as 50%.

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