Part II here will cover the basics of hosting. Consider this an extension of Part I as it is 100% always required before you get started up into affiliate marketing done the right way.
Now, there are a few different variations of hosts out there. Let’s talk about them.
A shared host is one server that hosts many, many users websites and domains at the same time. Many times, you can get unlimited data transfer and bandwidth usage. But, be wary – Shared hosting is 100% not recommended for CPA marketing. It’s cheap, and its quite true when you hear “You get what you pay for.” I’ll get more into this with a personal story later in the chapter.
A VPS is the next step-up available from shared hosting. While one server is shared amongst more than 1 person, most VPS providers guarantee you will always have at least some resources, especially RAM available to you. This differs from shared hosting, because if someone is running a RAM intensive script on their site, it would most likely all be hogged by one site on the previously mentioned shared host – leaving your sites to stutter or not load at all because they don’t have access to any RAM. With a VPS, you won’t run into this issue unless almost every one on the server is using up all their dedicated RAM, plus some. It’s unlikely this will happen, and I’ve never had it happen on my own VPS systems.
A VPS is recommended for all new affiliates looking to get into paid advertising.
Next up, we have dedicated servers. Big, fast, and bossy, you won’t need these guys until you can afford to pay them off with less than a day’s worth of profit from your affiliate marketing ventures. These are all for you. No shared resources, dedicated hard drives for faster access times, more RAM for more intensive tracking, redirecting and database processing, and dedicated lines out for faster consumer pings. As you make more money, you should be stepping up from a VPS to a dedicated server or two eventually. You might get to a point where you even need a CDN, content distribution network. These sync your data across multiple points across the globe, allowing faster connections from different people depending on where in the world they are visiting your links from. This is for the real heavy hitters that need the utmost in uptime and speed. It’s unlikely you will really get to this point strictly with CPA based marketing.
My personal setup sees all my tracking on a dedicated server, finalized and heavy landing pages on another server, and several VPS systems for smaller campaigns and SEO projects, or things like this blog.
When I first started marketing, all I had was a Dreamhost account. It had treated my blogs well, but now I was about to launch my first affiliate marketing campaign. I wasn’t using a tracking script, but I wasn’t completely dumb and used a PHP redirect so I could change links if I had to later down the line. I spent $5 on a dating ad, saw I made $6, so I left my budget at $30 and went to sleep. I thought I was on track to at least break even.
When I woke up, I checked my Facebook Ad. Sweet. I had spent all $30 and my stats looked really nice with a low CPC and high CTR. I had maybe 100 clicks or more. But, when I went to check my commissions I saw I was only showing about 20 clicks and 3 conversions. My shared hosting account had crapped out overnight. Either someone else on the server crashed it, or it seriously couldn’t handle 100 people trying to click my ad and it let me down. I bit the bullet, and I had a VPS up and running the next day. To this day, about 5 years later, that VPS has never failed to handle any of the traffic I have sent it.
A VPS might cost $50 more a month over shared hosting, but it has saved me more money over what I would lose due to unreliable shared hosting. I’ve had several students of mine report profitability on old campaigns they used to run on shared hosting at a loss due to the increased speed and reliability of a better host. Do yourself a favor and invest a little more in a better host.
There are a ton of great hosts out there. I personally recommend Wiredtree. Their servers are speedy and their support is even faster. This helps me especially being in Thailand, as I’m up mid-day, most of America is sleeping. But not Wiredtree’s support! They are up 24 hours a day, everyday of the year and most of my tickets are answered in 5-10 minutes. It’s awesome! They’ve got great coupon deals everywhere, so do a bit of Googleing and you’ll find a good deal.
Many affiliates love BeyondHosting. These guys are great because they install Prosper202 or CPVLab tracking for you upon your request. If you are having trouble installing it on your own, these might be the guys for you. They’re not the cheapest, but support and knowledge is very high!