Explosm How Mutations modernized Explosm’s CMS while reducing monthly costs

Explosm worked with Mutations to modernize their website inside and out, from redesigning the website, to promoting new content and game sales, to updating their hosting platform and migrating their content. All in order to save thousands of dollars per month.


Explosm is a multimedia company best known for the insanely popular webcomic Cyanide and Happiness. From its start in webcomics in 2005, the company has expanded into international-selling card games, video games, animated shorts, and their viral Comic Generator, which Mutations built. Their website today receives 2.5 million monthly visits.


Explosm came to Mutations looking for a major upgrade for their site. Their last website redesign was in 2014, and for a site with millions of visits a month, the owners thought the design and layout was getting stale. The company had introduced many new card games and merchandise in recent years and wanted to see more revenue from merchandise sales by converting their loyal comic readers into game players.

Additionally, the existing outdated site infrastructure, hosted on AWS, was costing Explosm thousands of dollars a month in hosting costs, especially due to a large amount of content (over 6000 comics, with a new one being added every day). Explosm looked to Mutations to suggest a CMS that the content could be migrated to and hosted on in order to save on those high monthly hosting costs, plus to support easier and less mostly content promotions and changes in the future.


Mutations’ approach to a large site rebuilds like this is always a phased approach. Given the unknowns in how the content would behave, Mutations knew that they’d need to first tackle the challenges with data sorting and ordering, plus site performance. So they pitched Explosm on a multi-pronged, parallel workstream effort to work on the data migration alongside the site redesign and layout. 

On one side of the house, the Mutations’ design team was working on the site redesign and considering how to modernize and better showcase merchandise content and products. The design effort took into account the need for landing pages for the Explosm games (such as Joking Hazard) as well as how to integrate the variety of purchase locations. 

On the development side, Mutations first focused on upgrading the site architecture and settling quickly on a CMS to support the content. They settled on WordPress CMS to support Explosm’s non-technical self-service needs, implemented in a headless fashion to support the custom design that the artistic company had in mind. The data migration of 6000+ comics to WordPress, as well as rebuilding the logic to support the site’s Random Comic Generator on a new platform, required Mutations’ senior architects to solve some tough questions together.


Mutations launched the redesigned, re-architected Explosm website, with content hosted on WordPress, in late 2021. The upgraded site delivered several positive outcomes for the company: 

  • Explosm saved thousands of dollars a month in hosting costs 
  • Vastly improved website security posture; the old site had been running on unpatched code and a framework that was many years past its prime
  • CMS-backed content to allow the team to easily update and add content, as well as promotional landing pages, with little dev support required



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