Casting Now
Website Design and Development

Project Brief

Casting Now were referred to us as the company needed on-going support for a custom built casting website. We were tasked with providing technical support for Casting Now to help resolve issues and assist their customer service department.

Our team have worked alongside the company owner to plan future development for the website. We built a spam blocking system that allowed us to block accounts that were excessively messaging members about potential jobs. Since this system was put in place the customer service team have reported a significant drop in spam related enquiries.


They contacted us as they needed a PHP Developer. The company website was having issues, there were changes they wanted to make but couldn’t. In 2017 we migrated the website across to SSL (https) to improve the security of the website. Having an SSL certificate allowed them to benefit from better security and consumer trust.

On an on-going basis we have maintained their hosting server and performed security and software updates where necessary. We have made recommendations to further improve the website and hosting infrastructure.

Website Issues

The website repeated code throughout hundreds of files. This meant that any change to the HTML had to be replicated across hundreds of files. We would have separated the code for data retrieval and the code to display that data. Doing this allows you to have one layout file that can be shared across the website.

Using page templates would have made the code easier to maintain and improve moving forwards. Instead there was no modular system set up for each of the core areas of the website. Instead, code was scattered all over the place and the code failed to follow common website development best practices.

Other Problems Included:

  • The website did not utilise templates when sending out emails. This meant one change had to be done over 50 times for all the emails, instead of simply updating a shared template
  • They did not use PHP Classes to encapsulate functionality, which would of allowed code re-usability and provide additional security
  • There was limited security when uploading files from users and no limitation on what file types were allowed. There was also no security scanning in place when files were uploaded.
  • Passwords were stored as plain text in the database along with a hashed version. This was to allow website administrators to login as a particular user to provide support. This was immediately flagged as a security issue and we came up with an idea to add user switching to the admin dashboard

User Blocking System

The website didn’t have adequate protection on the registration page to prevent bots registering accounts. There were also instances where a user of the website broke the terms of service and needed to be blocked. The website didn’t have this in place, and there were significant complaints raised about this by the members.

Our solution allowed the website administrators to login and see a breakdown of how many messages were sent by each user. We then displayed the top 50 and their account and messages sent were audited. If the audit revealed a breach of Casting Now’s terms of service, they had the ability to apply a temporary or a permanent ban. When blocking a user, the website admin had the option of typing a message to the user about their violation.

The user would see this error message when attempting to login to their account.We wanted to roll this feature out to the members so they had control over who they wanted to block. This information would then be analysed and if users are reported their account is automatically blocked. This idea would have seen a massive reduction in support tickets.

Automated Reporting

One of the features we wanted to introduce was an automated reporting engine. The reports would allow the administrators to set their reporting date range to the last 12 hours, 24 hours, 72 hours, 1 week, this month, this quarter, last 6 months and last year. Here are some of the use cases of automatic reporting within their system.

  • How many user registrations were there in a given time period
  • How many paid and free accounts were registered in a given time period
  • Show what percentage of users registered for a free and paid plan
  • Out of all the trial accounts, how many upgraded to a free plan
  • How many failed logins occurred in a given time period
  • How many temporary and permanent account bans there have been in a given time period
  • How many messages have been between users in a given time period
  • Show the top 10 accounts with the count of how many messages they sent in a given time period
  • Show an audit log of website activity for a given time period
  • Show how many successful, failed and abandoned transactions have occurred in a given time period
  • Show the monthly revenue for a given time period
  • Show month by month comparison of revenue for a given time period
  • Show number of support tickets grouped by their status for a given time period
  • Show each admins average support ticket resolution time in days, hours and minutes ordered by the top admin first

Monthly Customer Support

We provided technical support over email on a daily basis. This included diagnosing issues, fixing and improving code, applying additional security to the code and reporting to the Managing Director. Over time we reallocated any unused customer support time to working on website improvements. This allowed us to bring in new features over time. With new features, the company could have restricted the new features to certain plans. This may have seen more paid registrations on the site.

Technologies We Used


Ben and his team did a fantastic job of helping us work out technical issues and handle support tickets. They were always quick to respond and fix problems that arose from the system. Lacey Tech proposed some great changes to the website that allowed better auditing, security and ease of use. We are very happy with the work done by the team and they have been great to work with. The changes they introduced have saved us hours answering support tickets and we now have reply templates, which was another great idea to make us more productive.
Sara Damergi

Technologies Used

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Google Analytics

Google Tag Manager

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