Rafael Leitao

June 6, 2016


Rafael Leitao, a famous Brazilian chess grandmaster, had already applied to Design Russia with a logo design of his online Academy. This time the issue was the security and problematic speed of his website.

Website URL – www.rafaelleitao.com

Rafael Leitao  Image 1


The client complained that his site had got very low grades at the Google Pagespeed Insights, whereas his developer constantly faced plugins compatibility problems. Sometimes many features of the website just stopped working or were just very slow, so Rafael was losing some valuable customers.

We started with checking the page speed analytics, and the results, to put it mildly, were not brilliant. The site was suffering from extremely slow server response time. Almost an empty file took 2.8 seconds for the server to respond. We also looked through the site coding system and found a lot of installed and enabled (but not updated) plugins (22 all in all), some of which had not been used at all. We also found overloaded database with huge tables, but didn’t find any cache and security plugins.


The main objective of our project with Rafael was the site speed and security optimisation.


We divided our action plan into two parts: first, the site coding optimization, and second, the hosting server adjustment.


We began with the site backup which is a must in any kind of web design and programming operations. Then we got rid of all the useless database tables and plugins, updated plugins in use, enabled and configured iThemes Security and cache plugins. When we had finished the coding optimisation, we switched to the hosting adjustment and it turned out to be a Herculean task indeed. We started with very low statistics at the Google Pagespeed Insights. After the available hosting settings had been changed the site rate for desktops increased by 30 points, but the result still remained in the red zone.

Since we were not very happy with the high speed response result, and it was obvious that Rafael’s actual hosting server simply couldn’t do better, we suggested changing the server.

After analyzing all pros and cons we came to the shared GoDaddy hosting service, which seemed to be just the right thing for Rafael’s Academia site. Changing the hosting service wasn’t an easy decision for our client either, because it meant moving the whole web site to a new ‘habitation’. Rafael was both anxious about the site operation (issues, articles, Google analytics, site settings, etc.) and the users who must be able to visit the site permanently.

Consequently we took the following steps. Rafael’s site had to be operating successfully on the old server, while we were copying it to the technical domain of the new hosting. When we had finished copying the site itself and Rafael had approved the site outlook and running on the technical domain we completed the shift to the GoDaddy server and applied the CloudFlare CDN service. The latter aims at reducing hops and lowers latency, thus increasing the site high speed response.


As a result the site went live at the new hosting server GoDaddy with the following speed rates:

  • 406 milliseconds – an empty file load time
  • 3.11 seconds – load time of the main page
  • yellow zone (67/100) for the desktops at Google Site Speed

All in all the site got faster and safer, and Rafael’s Academia operates successfully offering new online courses, sharing information and experience. Rafael doesn’t lose customers any more and is thinking about launching an English-language version of his site… it is very likely with our assistance…

Rafael Leitao  Image 1

Development team

Alexander Vobyachenko – developer

Maria Tkachenko – project management

Yury Davydov – legal support

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