Integration

Integration is the process of attaching an Adspect stream to your traffic flow, be it for active filtering or passive statistics collection. You will need a server (hosting) with PHP 5.6+ language support and enabled php-curl and php-json PHP extensions.

After creating a stream you will be immediately brought to the integration page. This page may also be accessed using the “Code” button next to each stream’s name in the list of streams.

Adspect supports three types of integration that differ in technical details and use cases:

  • Forward PHP integration via a standalone index.php file
  • Reverse PHP integration via including a filter.php file
  • JavaScript integration via <script> HTML tag embedding using a remote ajax.php file

All three integration types employ a special PHP file that is tied to a particular stream in the system. This file communicates with Adspect backend servers in real time and performs traffic filtering, acting as a client in the client-server architecture of Adspect. As per Adspect development roadmap, these files will eventually be replaced with a full-featured PHP SDK in future.

Adspect PHP files do not contain stream settings. You may change any stream settings at any time, and these changes will be picked up on the fly, i.e. you do not need to replace our PHP files after making changes.

PHP Integration

PHP integration is the most secure type of integration. We strongly advise to use this integration type everywhere.

PHP integration comes in two flavors: forward and reverse. The only difference between them is how our PHP files are wired with your locally hosted landing pages, i.e. which file receives incoming traffic. Both flavors are equally secure otherwise. Choose whichever is more convenient for you.

Forward PHP Integration

Forward PHP integration is the most common type of integration. If you don’t know which integration type to choose, then go with forward PHP integration.

In forward PHP integration filtering is done by a special index.php file that you place in your landing page directory or elsewhere accessible via HTTP. This file acts as an entry point for web traffic and is wired to our servers that process clicks and make decisions.

Forward PHP integrationTraffic flow chart

After uploading the index.php file to your hosting its URL will be the cloaked URL suitable for use in advertising campaigns. Several copies of the same index.php file may be used for protecting several offers or landing pages without interfering with each other.

Reverse PHP Integration

There’s also a slightly different reverse PHP integration that uses a filter.php file which is included into your PHP page file (normally your safe page) via a single line of PHP code. Traffic lands directly on this page, our code in the filter.php file inspects it and chooses either to keep the visitor on the page or display a different one.

Reverse PHP integrationTraffic flow chart

In order to perform reverse PHP integration you first need to download the filter.php file on the Reverse PHP Integration tab and put it into the folder of your site or landing page. Several copies of the same filter.php file may be used for protecting several sites or landing pages without interfering with each other.

Then add the following code as the first line of your site or landing page index file (usually named index.php) above all other code:

<?php require __DIR__ . '/filter.php' ?>

If your site is written in pure HTML, then you may safely change the extension of your file from .html to .php before adding our line of code to it.

Once set up, you then simply direct traffic to the page you added the code into.

If you added the code into your safe page, then specify “No action” for a safe page action in stream settings. Adspect will not take any action, leaving the visitor on their current page which is the safe page. Likewise, if you added the code into your money page, then specify “No action” for your money page in settings.

WordPress and Other CMS

Reverse PHP integration is useful for integrating Adspect into sites based on WordPress or similar CMS (content management systems.)

WordPress has a file named index.php in its root folder. That is the file where you should add that single line of PHP code discussed above. Place the filter.php file into the same folder.

Most other PHP-based CMS software also has such index.php entryway files in their root folders.

Please note: WordPress updates will overwrite this index.php file, thereby removing our integration code! If your WordPress-based stream suddenly stopped registering clicks in Adspect reporting, then the likely cause is recent WordPress update, and you should redo integration.

Getting Scan Status

When transferring control to other PHP files or doing reverse PHP integration into them, you may obtain scan status information about each click using the $_adspect global PHP variable. It contains an array of the following structure:

array (
  'cid' => 'fd808d23604d84fbc5e81d7b954c4f9a',
  'ok' => true,
  'js' => false,
  'action' => 'local',
  'target' => 'page.php?utm_campaign=test',
)

The fields are:

  • cid – unique Adspect internal click ID, string (will be the same for both stages of click processing;)
  • ok – whether the click was determined legitimate, boolean;
  • js – whether JS fingerprinting code must be served, boolean (will always be false since JS fingerprinting happens before transfer of control to the user’s code);
  • action – action performed for the visitor, string (will normally be either local or noop);
  • target – target for the action performed (URL, file path, code), string.

Hidden URL Parameters

Sometimes it may be desirable to expose a URL parameter to Adspect but keep it hidden from everyone else otherwise. For instance, one may want to use a single stream across several ad campaigns, but attach a unique sub ID per campaign without physically entering it in ad URL. With reverse PHP integration, this is as simple as adding the desired parameter to the $_GET superglobal prior to calling Adspect code:

<?php
$_GET['subid'] = 'hidden';
require __DIR__ . '/filter.php';

In this example, Adspect will see URL parameters as if they actually contained subid=hidden.

JavaScript integration

JavaScript integration is meant to be used with third party services like Shopify, Blogspot, or Tilda, where you cannot upload custom PHP files to do PHP integration. Traffic flow is much like in reverse PHP integration: visitors come to the safe page first, then legitimate ones are displayed the money page whereas moderators and bots are left where they are.

JavaScript integrationTraffic flow chart

You will also need to download a PHP file called ajax.php and host it somewhere, but its final location does not matter as it will be linked into the safe page using a <script> HTML tag.

It is important to link ajax.php via HTTPS if the website you are integrating Adspect into also uses HTTPS (which is almost always the case.) Trying to link ajax.php to an HTTPS site via plain HTTP will result in mixed content error in most modern browsers, and cloaking will not work.

Like PHP integration, JavaScript integration also supports several modes of operation:

  • In JavaScript redirect mode, legitimate visitors as determined by our filters will be directed to the money page via JavaScript redirect using the location.replace() method, i.e. the URL in the address bar will change. This is the usual mode. If you don’t know what to choose, then go with JavaScript redirect.
  • In iframe overlay mode, legitimate visitors will be shown the money page via an iframe overlay without redirecting them anywhere, i.e. the money page iframe will be placed over the safe page. Please note that websites may forbid displaying their content inside an iframe by using the X-Frame-Options response header.
  • In passive mode our statistics will be updated, but no further action will be taken–the visitor will remain on the page. This mode is like Google Analytics–perfect for collecting passive insights and blacklists of bot-ridden sources in cases that do not require cloaking.

Several copies of the same ajax.php file may be used for protecting several pages without interfering with each other except for shared statistics.

Please note that safe page setting is ignored in JavaScript integration because visitors initially land on the safe page, which is the page that our <script> tag is placed on.

Switching Streams

Each stream has its own index.php, filter.php, and ajax.php files wired to it that have the stream ID encoded inside. However, you may override that encoded stream ID and send a click to a different stream by putting the destination full stream ID into the __sid URL parameter, e.g:

https://example.com/index.php?__sid=1ea85c7c-b977-6804-8e69-00162501c2b4

You may find stream ID next to its name in the streams list.

If you need use a different parameter name instead of __sid, then open Adspect PHP file in a text editor and replace the __sid string with the desired name (e.g. utm_campaign.)

Debugging

The most often observed error is 500 Internal Server Error, which is usually caused by either of the following misconfigurations:

  1. File specified for zero redirect displaying of money/safe page could not be found;
  2. Your PHP installation does not have cURL support–you need to install the php-curl package.

All Adspect PHP files support debug mode. If enabled, any server-side errors will be displayed directly in browser window. In order to enable debug mode you need to open our PHP file in a text editor, find the following piece of code in the beginning of the file:

<?php
 defined('ADSPECT_DEBUG') or define('ADSPECT_DEBUG', 0);

and replace 0 with 1 in it:

<?php
 defined('ADSPECT_DEBUG') or define('ADSPECT_DEBUG', 1);

If your PHP integration does not work, e.g. you observe an HTTP 500 error, then you will see error details in debug mode. When debugging JavaScript integration, you should navigate directly to the URL of the ajax.php file. If you don’t know how to fix a particular error, then please contact us in Telegram about it.

Do not forget to disable debug mode after all errors are fixed.