The infrastructure of affiliate networks and large arbitrage teams is very similar to each other. Both of them need to connect a lot of buyers, distribute traffic between different advertisers with different rates, track and transmit conversion statuses, and much more. Certainly there are differences. But basically, the infrastructure is similar and the server system is also identical. In this article, we will deal with servers. Yes, there will be more than one server.
Server hardware goals
For what purposes do affiliates and large teams need servers? There are only three main directions:
- Engine, platform, tracker. Basic software that manages the entire infrastructure. Here flows are distributed, conversions are knocked and leads are taken into processing. As a rule, this is a combination of AlterCPA as the backbone of the network and Keitaro with Binom as arbitrage trackers.
- Site storage. It is immediately clear that such a server is needed to contain a ton of landing pages for a bunch of offers for dozens of GEOs. Sometimes there will be more than one server to distribute the load.
- Reverse proxy. Don’t want a server ban for your media buying content? So we need reverse proxies that lie on their own separate territory. At least one. It will serve as the first line of defense and die protecting the network and storage.
Additionally, you can allocate capacity for backup, direct proxies and storage of large resources by type of video files. About them separately at the end of the article.
Why can’t everything be put on one server?
You can, no one forbids. But usually the affiliate network and teams need stability and security. How much traffic will go to dumplings if the server goes down for ten minutes? What if for an hour? And if everything is banned at all and it will be necessary to raise it from scratch? That is why, in the most popular case, the server with a reverse proxy takes the hit in case of bans, and the server with sites is separate from the holy of holies – the engine.
Block 1. Platform
As a platform, your network will be based on AlterCPA Pro. In case you decide to start with AlterCPA Cloud, we have already selected a good server for you, but it is still recommended to study this part for the future, to expand the network. Similar requirements will apply to your team trackers if you decide to use them out of old memory.
The AlterCPA platform, on which an affiliate program is created or an arbitrage team is deployed, processes tons of clicks and works with a bunch of data in parallel. In this situation, there are no compromises on processor performance, or on the amount of RAM, or on the speed of hard drives, or on network speed.
Just because of the requirements for the speed of processing, receiving and transmitting information, cloud solutions in the spirit of Digital Ocean, AWS, YandexCloud are categorically not suitable. Their weak point is the I/O subsystem, that is, hard drives. They are often located on a separate machine and are wildly overloaded. As a result, the database starts to slow down fiercely on the most elementary tasks and the first hundreds of thousands of clicks.
We need a dedicated server that has at least 4 CPU cores, at least 16 GB of RAM and fast SSDs, ideally NVMe drives. The location of the server for the engine is not critical. Considering that a server is an extremely cheap consumable compared to the general costs of an affiliate network or a team, it is better to pay an extra 10-20 euros per month and take power with a good margin.
More than a hundred affiliate programs and arbitration teams have already passed through me, in the creation of the infrastructure of which I took part. There is also plenty of experience in interacting with a variety of services. Over the years, a personal rating of servers has been formed, which I recommend to my clients. Prices, payment methods, flexibility and stability are important. Which server is the best? The one that just works and you only encounter it when paying for the next month.
My personal TOP-1 among all providers. The best combination of price and quality. The highest stability. Excellent selection of equipment. It is Hetzner that we use in our own projects, including for AlterCPA Cloud. Specific pricing recommendation: dedicated server from AX line, best would be AX41-NVMe or AX52 .
Geography: Germany, Finland, America.
Pros: low prices, high performance, a wide selection of servers from the minimum performance on a virtual machine to the maximum with a dedicated server, which is needed for the engine.
Cons: requires identity verification, payment only by card, banned for any sneeze like crypto or adult, requires a reverse proxy.
A good solution in a region with a high speed of work. More expensive than Hetzner, but very stable and with a wide range of fares. I use their monitoring equipment to check the Hetzner server park from the outside.
Geography: Netherlands, France.
Pros: powerful hardware, dedicated Bare Metal performance solutions.
Cons: requires verification of identity, payment by card, expensive.
An excellent solution for networks that do not plan huge volumes. Very handy at the start. Suitable for all types of equipment, from platform to proxy.
Geography: the whole world, in places with built-in DDoS protection.
Pros: high performance, huge selection of servers, pay with crypto, don’t kill the server for strange sites.
Cons: no powerful dedicated servers, working with the server – only through support tickets, costs more than Hetzner.
Block 2. Site storage
A separate server for storing landings and pre-landers is needed to isolate dangerous content from the server, where the core of the whole company lies – the engine. This is especially true for gray verticals. For example, nutra and, in particular, crypto, for which servers are banned at the speed of light and very often. However, no one will give a 100% chance that a server with landings or pre-landings will not be banned. And if the storage is located in the same place as the engine, the whole system will collapse during the bath. Losses will have to be calculated on a case-by-case basis, but if you get more than one and a half buyers, the amount will be cosmically painful.
In addition, a separate storage can save the network in case the main server crashes. Initially, AlterCPA site storage was created as an independent unit, and in case of any problems with the platform, it stores all incoming leads and clicks, sending them to the system immediately after its activation. The latest version has learned to use an additional channel for sending API leads from webmasters through the same storage mechanism, which means that with storage on a separate server, not a single lead or click will be lost.
Separate storage is not required for networks that do not use physical sites. This includes gambling, betting, dating, full-fledged online stores, most of the SS-offers. In this situation, only separate servers for a reverse proxy will be required, which are discussed in the next block.
An interesting implementation option for large teams is to store the sites themselves on the same server as the affiliate network, but without direct access to them via a link. At the same time, there will be more than one site storage, each storage will pull sites to itself via rsync and serve as a purely computing node located in the most convenient region.
Oddly enough, with servers under the storage, you can neglect … Storage. That is hard drives. They are needed for reading and caching, write speed is not critical. Theoretically, even cloud solutions can cope with these tasks, but I still recommend looking only towards full-fledged virtual servers, or better, dedicated servers. Stability is extremely important for both the affiliate program and the arbitrage team.
We take the required amount of SSD with a margin, better from 128 GB, from 2 CPU cores, from 4 GB of RAM. You need adequate characteristics, but you can take a not as powerful option as I recommended for the engine.
The options for the engine from the first block remain relevant: Hetzner. Scaleway, Inferno. At the same time, Hetzner can consider not only dedicated, but also virtual servers. Tariff CX31 and above will be ideal if you do not store backups on the server itself.
Once a great solution, now they’re getting worse. Lots of crypto bans. Lots of stability issues.
Pros: no ID required, relatively cheap, good performance.
Cons: payment only with a Russian bank card, crypto bans have begun, stability sometimes suffers. Not suitable for land storage for geos far from the Russian Federation.
Average solution with good stability. It can be said that it is an excellent middle peasant, which has also proven itself with our customers.
Geography: Europe, USA, Ukraine.
Pros: good performance, crypto payments, good technical support.
Cons: a bit expensive.
Block 3. Reverse proxy
A reverse proxy is your network’s first line of defense against any aggression. It hides the real data of the equipment and takes over the primary filtering. Among the free solutions, the most famous is CloudFlare, and among the high-quality ones – our development PrivateFlare.
Why do you need reverse proxying at all? Nobody likes arbitrage content and almost everyone gets banned. Landing pages for crypto are an ideal target. That is why the engine and landings are distributed to different servers and they try to take servers from those who are loyal to gray content.
However, in addition to these protection methods, you need to put a reverse proxy on separate servers and drive traffic only through them. This provides two benefits:
- The complaint will arrive at the server with the proxy, and not where the repository or engine is located. Such a ban will be a mosquito bite compared to the losses from a crashed server with landing pages and, moreover, with the engine.
- You can hang local domains. For example, in Kazakhstan, the conversion is greatly influenced by the local domain. And you can only put it on a local server, which will be very expensive if you store landing pages there. But if you take the simplest one for a penny and hang only a proxy there, then the scheme will work fine and save money.
Requirements? There is none of them. All you need is a fast communication channel. The characteristics of the CPU and RAM are not important, and the hard drive is not needed at all as a phenomenon, at most for the cache. This can and should be the easiest and cheapest option. Taking a dedicated server just to put a proxy in there is like buying the latest Macbook to use a calculator. Moreover, paid one.
It is important that for each server with storage there are 2+ servers with a proxy. It is also desirable that physically the servers with storage and proxy are as close as possible to each other and to the end user, otherwise the loading time of landing pages will increase and the conversion will drop. And of course, you need to take servers from companies that are the most loyal to arbitrage content and turn a blind eye to complaints.
A good proxy server provider is ban-friendly, does not require verification, and has several locations. That’s why my favorite Hetzner is out at this stage – it can only be used with white files. Past recommendations remain: Inferno (best choice), Scaleway, Timeweb, FriendHosting.
Full BulletProof hosting for projects with legal difficulties in some countries.
Pros: maximum protection and privacy.
Cons: expensive, not really, FUCKING EXPENSIVE! From $100 for the minimum server.
DigitalOcean, AWS, Azure, Yandex.Cloud, Google Cloud
Cloudy slag, which is unworthy of attention under normal conditions, is ideal for this task. You can take it for a penny, sometimes for free on the wrong accounts and data.
Pros: huge selection of locations, quick start, unlimited number.
Cons: only use for proxies!
Block 4. Miscellaneous
In addition to the platform, sites, and reverse proxy, your network may need some other solutions:
- Backups. It is recommended to have an external storage where all your servers will store their backups. Without further ado, the best solution is Storage Box by Hetzner at BX11 or higher. Access on all protocols, price below the baseboard, large volumes, stability is the best.
- Direct proxy. Useful for protecting your addresses from disclosure and subsequent attacks. If you need stable external addresses, the recommendations are the same as for a reverse proxy. If stable addresses are not needed, use a ready-made solution, for example, AstroProxy.
- File storage. Useful for uploading video files or other media that doesn’t want to clutter up the main storage. Especially if it’s repetitive. The best solution is shared hosting from any provider, such as Timeweb, with a domain linked via CloudFlare.
Choosing a server is not an easy thing. Don’t bother yourself, just contact AlterCPA specialists! We will think over everything for you depending on your volumes and tasks.