OpenX: Transitioning From Self-Hosted To Hosted

Today GoDaddy threw up on me, tossing the blame on my self-hosted OpenX adserver, which I’ve been running for several months without issue. More on that later. At the end of the day, (actually, closer to the beginning, which made for a long day) I had to reduce or eliminate my use of the OpenX installation hosted on my GoDaddy account, under threat of having my whole site shut down, or being forced to move to a pricier hosting plan. I knew that OpenX was working on a hosted solution, so I figured I’d give that a go.

OpenX hosted is available for free, up to 100 million impressions per month. I wish I had that sort of traffic, so I’m in good shape. After setting up an account, I was told that it could take up to 48 hours to actually get the thing setup – in reality, it was closer to 3-5, so that’s definitely a plus for OpenX. The hosted setup looks nearly identical to the self-hosted solution, which is also a plus. It can be confusing to a newcomer, but there are plenty of helpful guides around to explain things.

Unfortunately, one thing that they have not mastered quite yet is migrating someone from a self-hosted install to a hosted install (or vice versa, for that matter). After pinging the team on Twitter (@openx_pm), I found out that there is a tool in the works to make that easier, but it’s not available just yet. I only have ~10 advertisers set up anyways, so I set about doing this by hand.

Several hours later, I have my OpenX install basically mirrored on their servers, and I’ve replaced all the code in my WordPress files, so that Symbian-Guru.com is now serving ads from the new hosted OpenX, instead of the self-hosted one on my GoDaddy account.

This was not the way that I wanted to spend my Wednesday, at all. However, it’s nice to have it finished. I’ll keep them both running for a short time, just in case something blows up, but overall, it appears as though OpenX’s hosted platform will certainly serve my needs. A nice bonus is that they are integrated with their OpenX market, which means I can automatically fill empty ad spots with ads from their publishers, and can even set a minimum CPM, which is nice.

I have had issues with Adsense in the past, which is why I have an adserver in the first place. It allows me to still use Adsense on my site, but I can also insert my own direct sales ads, without having to change the insertion code in my templates. If you want to experiment with different ad networks, I would highly recommend that you check out OpenX’s hosted solution, as it makes it really simple to swap out different codes on your site.

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