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The company I work for runs a web site that gets a little over fifty million hits a month. We are looking at replacing our existing custom-written ad server with a prepackaged solution. It fundamentally must be able to scale up to this level of traffic, which eliminates a substantial number of solutions.

Our servers run Linux and so any ad server would obviously need to run in Linux.

Anyone have any software and (less important) hardware recommendations for ad serving that can easily handle 50,000,000 hits per month, and that can scale up modestly into the low nine figure hits/month? Happy to hear about Windows solutions, though we definitely will not be running those.

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Jeff Atwood indicated that they tried OpenX inside a Linux VM and "it fell down hard". It's not clear if running it outside OpenX would be significantly better. – ChrisInEdmonton Jul 17 '09 at 16:50

Does it need to be a standalone solution? If not, I've had great experiences with Google's Ad Technology, which I believe the "premium" solutions allow you to have custom ads, not just AdSense text.

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Doesn't need to be standalone, but keep in mind that our traffic is fairly significant, even when looking on a per-webserver basis. Google Ad Manager is certainly worth a look. Do you have any reason to believe this could handle the traffic? – ChrisInEdmonton Jul 17 '09 at 16:53
Google builds everything for scalability. I'd think they would be able to handle it better than the rest. – Nalandial Jul 30 '09 at 2:45

Give OpenX a look at. They have a free hosted solution for upto 100 million impressions a month. Or you can host your own Ad-Server. I used there phpAdNews back in 05 and it was a very powerful and great ad tool. They changed there name at some point...

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I hear bad things about OpenX. Basically, it simply doesn't scale up to close to the level we need. See for example,… – ChrisInEdmonton Jul 17 '09 at 21:02

We were running OpenX for a while, eventually got 0-day'd and ze russians installed a php rootkit. I suppose it can happen to any software, just thought I'd mention that you should plan to run it in isolation.

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