Once you’ve decided that you want to use Revive Adserver, the next important decision is: where and how do I host my Revive Adserver?
There are basically three options:
- hosting it yourself on your own site or server
- outsourcing to a hosting company
- opening an account with a specialized hosting company
Below, I will discuss all three options and the pros and cons of each. As is so often the case, every situation will have it’s own characteristics, so there is no single answer to the questions of where to host Revive Adserver. I hope that you will be able to make your own decision based on the information presented here.
Factors to keep in mind: costs, flexibility, scalability and peace of mind
When making the decision about where and how to host your Revive Adserver system, there are a number of factors to keep in mind: costs, flexibility, scalability and peace of mind.
Nowadays, costs seem to be the only aspect that people consider. That’s understandable, because it’s very easy to quantify and compare them. It can be appealing to look for the least expensive solution in the short term, but in the long term that could result in unexpected expenses and worries.
Hosting Revive Adserver on your own site or server
Since Revive Adserver is a free open source system that can be downloaded from the Revive Adserver website, it is easy to just download it and install it on your own server. If you consider going to self hosting or having it hosted by a specialist company, I do recommend that you have an evaluation copy setup first, to get better acquainted with the software and its functionality.
The costs for hosting your own Revive Adserver might be negligible, especially if you have plenty of disk space and bandwidth left in your hosting plan. If you know how to install a PHP/MySQL application, and are willing to follow the guidance in the installation instructions, you won’t be needing any help, which would provide great flexibility. You will need to take care of backups and upgrades yourself. When your site’s traffic begins to grow, so will the ad server, and that might result in a need for scaling. Setting up the ad server with scalability in mind is always a good idea. Hosting your own ad server does mean you will also be responsible for problem solving, recovering from failures, and generally will mean that you’re the one worrying about it. So peace of mind in this scenario will be low.
Hosting your own Revive Adserver is a good plan if you know your PHP and MySQL, are willing to spend a bit of time setting up and configuring the software, and are ready to perform upgrades at regular intervals. You should also have sufficient disk space and bandwidth in your hosting plan. If this sounds like too much of a burden, it might be wise to consider one of the other options mentioned below.
Outsourcing the hosting of Revive Adserver
Another option to consider is to outsource the hosting of your Revive Adserverto a company that specializes in hosting medium size or large PHP/MySQL applications. Just like with regular web or application hosting, there are numerous hosting providers that could provide this service, and picking the best one for your situation might not be an easy job.
Specialized hosting provider
Revive Adserver is ‘just’ a PHP/MySQL application, but you might find that your usual hosting provider does not know the software or doesn’t know it well enough. If you intend to stay with the hosting provider that you know and trust, it might be a good idea bringing in a Revive Adserver expert to help you and your provider with the initial setup and configuration, and to be available for additional consulting afterwards. Most of the work involved in hosting Revive Adserverfrom a technical perspective has to do with fine tuning the hardware and operating system, web server, database server and network. Hosting providers should have these skills in house, it’s just the little bit of extra expertise about the specifics of Revive Adserverthat is missing.
If you ask for a quote from a hosting provider, they will probably not be able to formulate a price per 1 million ad impressions, especially if they don’t have experience running Revive Adserver. It is most likely that they will quote you for the server setup and the bandwidth. However, it might be hard to figure out how big a server you will need and how much bandwidth you will consume. For instance, the bandwidth will be different when you host the ads for your advertisers yourself versus a situation where the ads are actually hosted externally by the advertisers or their agencies. You will need to convert a cost per gigabyte of bandwidth into a cost per 1 million impressions. In some of the larger Revive Adserver systems I’ve worked with, I’ve found that the bandwidth can vary between 120,000 and 200,000 impressions per gigabyte, but this is from a very limited number of systems. I’m considering to do a client survey to find out what their numbers are.
You might be able to find providers that are willing to offer this kind of hosting for incredibly low prices. As said in the introduction, though, costs should not be the only factor in making a decision like this. When you work with an experience and professional hosting provider, you should also be able to agree on the flexibility that is needed for your scenario, just like scalability. Outsourcing the hosting of any application should mean you also outsource the worrying about it, and that should result in peace of mind for you.
Making your decision
Based on the options presented and discussed above, you will have to weigh all of the pros and cons and make your own decision. There is not a single decision that’s right for everyone.
One scenario is to start with hosting the ad server yourself, but configuring it in such a way that you have a growth path and are able to migrate to an outsourced solution in the future. That will give you the benefit of low costs in the short term, but also the flexibility to migrate to an outsourced situation in the long term and take care of the scalability requirements. Putting in a little bit of thinking and planning will give you peace of mind that you’ve made the right decision and are ready to meet the demands of your site’s growth if and when it happens.
In addition to consulting services, my company Platform IQ also offers hosting for Revive Adserver. Since we have specialized in this software and nothing but this software, and since we’ve been doing that for a decade, we know it inside and out. Just have a look at our site at ReviveServers.com and contact us for a quote.