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Managed System FAQ

General questions around the managed service we offer

Zeno avatar
Written by Zeno
Updated over a week ago

What is the managed version? How is it different to the self-hosted?

The managed system is essentially the self-hosted tracker but installed on infrastructure managed by us.

That infrastructure itself is considerably different to installing the software on a single server, as we have modified it to split critical parts onto different servers, allowing us to maximise performance and minimise bottlenecks.

We monitor this infrastructure very carefully and the different structure allows us to get much higher consistent performance for you compared with the self-hosted tracker on a typical server.

The managed system lets us provide a controlled environment to minimise bugs/issues that come with software being distributed on thousands of variations of system environments. Think of it like a well-tuned game running on Playstation/Xbox vs a game running on Windows and dealing with 10 million different hardware and software combinations.

Why should I use the managed system over the self-hosted?

The managed system is for you if you don't want to mess with the technical overhead of servers, want a high-performance system that has reliable technical administration, and you just want to focus on your campaigns.

The managed system will receive our priority attention for the near future as well, so you can expect key updates to be rolled out there first.

What technical things do I need to do?

To start out, you just need to submit your interest, register and go through our payment flow and we'll kick things off.

We'll ask you for the core domain you want to use as well as primary server location, which we can guide you through.

We will also need you to change your core domain's namesevers to ours, so that we can manage the domain's DNS. You will also ideally do this for all alias domains you want to use as well (CNAMEs) as this lets us provide free SSL.

Once you go through the registration flow we will set up your stack and email you login details.

If you are migrating from a self-hosted installation we will coordinate a migration time/date with your first, and you'll be able to go through the registration/payment flow around then to make the transition as smooth as possible.

How do I get billed?

The managed system plans are an all-inclusive price that covers a set infrastructure stack with X GB of database storage.

We then suggest a monthly volume target for the stack, which is the amount of visitors per month the stack will handle without issue and with at least several months of data retention coming from that.

We don't charge overages and you will be able to manage your data from the application, by being able to a) see how much DB storage has been used and b) purge data yourself through our reset stats function.

Why is the managed pricier than the self-hosted?

Well, obviously we pay for the servers and infrastructure, so that costs more as the scale of traffic increases, and we're now the ones covering it.

However we have also invested a lot of time in modifying the software to work in a higher-performance managed environment, and we have ongoing monitoring + system administration of every managed installation.

So it's a combination of required infrastructure, development overhead and time spent by our tech team watching over things like a hawk.

We also plan to have some features roll out on the managed system only that provide advantages over the self-hosted, where we can only practically provide those in an environment we control.

Does the system scale automatically?

Yes and no.

It's a managed system, meaning our tech team deals with it directly.

However, it's not a SaaS system with autoscaling of a single unified infrastructure.

On the Flux Starter plan for example, we suggest a monthly volume of 10 M users. The system will however cope with 20 M a month, but you'll use your DB space quicker and large, complex reports may get slow given the database back-end is not as powerful as say on the Flux Pro plan.

So, we will provision hardware so that can safely deal with your plan's suggested volume of traffic and reasonable spikes, and we will respond to sudden load increases as much as we can, within reason - either by notifying you of an issue, or adding in a temporary extra server for a few hours to help deal with the spike.

We can scale your plan up and down as desired. To be reasonable, we will only do this once every 7 days at most -- unless perhaps you get into an insane situation where you need to scale from 1 M clicks per month to 200 M over the course of two weeks. Hey, it can happen right? If so, of course we'll make it happen on our end :-)

How much traffic can the managed system handle?

A lot.

FunnelFlux is designed in a way that makes it highly tolerant to large traffic loads and we can scale to the moon, kinda.

As long as you don't send huge bursts you'll be fine.

What's a burst? Well, consider an example where you are expecting 10 M entrances per month, so 335k per day.

That's about 14,000 clicks per hour, around 230 clicks per minute and 4 clicks per second.

So, our hardware will be optimised to deal with that and more, so you would be OK sending e.g. 40,000 clicks per hour -- but this might only be able to cope for several hours, maybe half a day before things start getting a bit overloaded.

We'll of course be able to deal with a "small" burst like that relatively easily.

However if you start a pops campaign with a high budget and its starts sending the equivalent of 500,000 clicks per hour -- over 30x your monthly expected pace, then the system will struggle to cope for sure, and our alerting systems will light up like a Christmas tree.

So while we do our best to manage the load there, we can only react within a given timeframe (a few hours) to such changes in traffic -- on our end we can't tell if a spike is going to last a few seconds, minutes, or hours based on some traffic you are getting, so we have to respond accordingly.

If in doubt, we'll email you to let you know about the issue.

Note: please bear in mind that time on page tracking also counts as a request, so is similar to getting a hit/redirect. 

So, make sure your time on page tracking resolution isn't something silly like 1 second. If you did that, sending 5 users per second to your landers would result in another 5 request per second (so now 10/s), and it would compound as more users enter your landers and stay there for a little while.

In that scenario, a simple stream of 5 users per second, hitting a lander where they spend 60 seconds there, could lead to a peak of 300 req/s! Much higher than you want, so be smart with that feature.

Can I host landing pages on my tracking server?

No, unfortunately not.

Our goal with the managed system is to have it well-controlled and free from external influences that could cause issues.

Additionally, the setup that allows any domain to point to the tracker means that landers would always have to be in subfolders, not the root of the domain.

This may sound a little stubborn, since its "your tracker", but its in the best interest of everyone to leave landing pages that have their own server load on a separate server so that they can't impact the tracking system performance.

Do I get root access?

No, we definitely don't provide root SSH access to the managed system.

Who can access my data and tracker?

Given we don't provide root access, you can't dive in and query the DB. But of course you have the tracker, so you have access to all data there.

If you want backups of your data, e.g. to truncate/prune but keep the old data, we can certainly export it for you.

We just don't allow outside hands to get involved in the servers and infrastructure, as it goes against the point of having a controlled, managed system.

As for data access, obviously our tech admins who manage the system have root access to everything. Some people are paranoid that people will "steal their campaigns" and so on.

Well, that's all well and good, but if you are paranoid about that, you probably shouldn't use any managed or SaaS tracker, or likely many other systems. You probably shouldn't use Facebook or have a Google account either...

On our end, we're here to help and for that we generally need access. We won't access your database directly unless we need to fix things, check for errors etc., and we often ask for support user access to your tracker to be able to diagnose issues for you, assist with questions and so on, much like in the self-hosted.

That user is able to be enabled and disabled at your discretion.

We will however also have an administrative user in the system for the purpose of managing updates, and checking for consistency when doing those updates. That user will not have access to your campaigns, landers etc., but mainly the settings areas. Conversely, you won't have access to the system updates area, as those will be managed by us.

Can you set up SSL certificates for me?

Yes, we provide SSL by default on all managed domains and alias/CNAME domains, provided you change your domain nameservers to ours.

If you can't for some reason, we recommend you use Cloudflare for the SSL and we can advise on the ideal settings for the domain.

However, we don't advise going down this route unless absolutely necessary (e.g. a lot of other records on your domain that are unrelated to the tracker), and this is not ideal for our Flux Pro/Business plans as we do have to set up paid features and critical configurations in Cloudflare.

What are these addons you offer?

Extra server locations - if you would like us to add another region for your tracking edge servers (the ones that redirect users), we can do so for $99/mo per region. So you could technically get the Flux Micro plan, then pay $198/mo extra to get servers in the US, Europe and Asia to improve tracking performance.

Extra data storage - this is available for the Flux Business plan and is only suitable to people on this who are doing high volume. Here, we can modify your stack to use larger, network-attached storage for your database.

The upside? Much more data capacity. Instead of about 1 TB we can go to 16 TB.

The downside? Slower reporting, as this storage type is not as fast as local SSD.

This addon is free, it is a choice rather than an extra.

Can I migrate from the self-hosted to the managed?

Yes, we can migrate your data for campaigns, funnels, landers, offers etc. and all tracked data.

However, if the managed system's database structure moves away from that of the self-hosted (we have plans for this!), this option may become unavailable.

But for now, yes this is possible.

What provider do you use for hardware?

Long story short, we have tested a lot of providers and decided to go with DigitalOcean, primarily because of the high availability of their servers/storage in many regions and because they provide us the ability to safely scale and optimise your infrastructure.

Other providers often suffer from decreased availability in regions and we don't want this to affect managed users.

Because we work with DigitalOcean, we can also provision your server and database in a variety of regions depending on your use case.

How do software updates work vs the self-hosted?

Updates will be split between the self-hosted and managed, as the managed system will be our priority for key feature updates.

We have made this decision because it lets us roll things out in a controlled environment, rather than releasing frequently to self-hosted customers where the variety of servers/environments and tech know-how results in us having to address a lot of bugs and peripheral issues that waste time.

On the self-hosted side we will continue to have updates, and the updates occuring on either platform will eventually crossover to the other.

On the managed system we will control update deployment, this section will be locked to you as a user.

What is our data retention period?

Unlimited in a sense, but this will depend on your volume and database size.

You will be able to see your storage and truncate/prune as you need to, it is up to you.

If you need more storage you can upgrade to a larger plan, or can contact us for advise on reducing data usage.

Old data that is no longer needed still incurs storage costs, and can slow down reporting if you run reports covering all campaigns over long periods. So it's sensible to delete super old campaigns and funnels that you'll never look at again -- but we'll leave that decision to you.

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