In it’s most general sense the question “What is an Ad Server?” can be answered as: an ad server is a computer system for serving ads.
What is an Ad Server: An Example
Say you have a webpage at example.com, the content for the web page is typically served by the web server residing at example.com. In addition to the content, the webpage may have ads on it. While in some cases the ads are also served by the web server at example.com. Often they are served by a separate ad server. See the infographic to the right.
What is an Ad Server: Types of Ad Servers
An ad server could be installed on the same server as the webpage at example.com or it could be hosted on a different server like ads.example.com. Or it could be hosted by a cloud ad server system like AdPlugg at www.adplugg.com.
How Ad Servers Work
Why Use an Ad Server?
Using an ad server provides numerous benefits over trying to serve ads yourself. Common Ad Server features include:
- Serve ads based on a schedule
- Serve ads based on the user’s browser, geographic location, etc.
- Serve ads on certain pages but not others
- Display ads in a certain order
- Rotate ads
Hosted/Cloud Ad Servers vs. Installed Ad Servers
Installed ad servers can be standalone, add-ons to existing web servers, or addons to CMS (Content Management System) systems. Hosted/Cloud Ad Servers typically reside on servers controlled by an advertising system such as AdPlugg. While setting up your own ad server can give you additional control over your setup, using a hosted cloud based ad server such as AdPlugg can be much easier to setup and is designed to automatically scale based on your traffic.
Hopefully, i’ve answered the question: “what is an ad server?”. If you still have questions, please post them in the comments section below. With how easy it is to set up AdPlugg, it may be quickest to just try it out and learn what using an ad server can do for you. Click this link to get the AdPlugg WordPress Ad Plugin.