Web Server Load Balancing with NGINX Plus


Leading SEO Analytics Provider Leverages the Full NGINX Plus Feature Set to Deliver Exceptional Customer Experiences
Use Cases
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Ahrefs provides an all-in-one SEO toolset, with free educational materials, a passionate community, and support.


As Ahrefs continued to grow and expand its subscriber base, it needed to enhance its internal services and significantly improve business workflows to deliver exceptional customer experiences.


Improved Infrastructure and Application Performance

Advanced Application Security

Consistent Architecture and Configuration for On‑Prem and Public Cloud Infrastructure


Ahrefs Pte. Ltd. is an analytics services provider in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry, serving more than 45,000 subscribers globally. As it embarked on its next phase of growth, Ahrefs needed its servers to be scalable and packed with more features that enhance its workflow, improve internal service performance, and strengthen security controls. The company turned to NGINX Plus as a complete application delivery solution including load balancers, application gateways, and much more.


Founded in 2010, Ahrefs Pte. Ltd. is a leading analytics services provider in the SEO industry, headquartered in Singapore. Ahrefs was already a well‑known platform for backlinks and SEO analysis when founder and CEO Dmitry Gerasimenko created Site Explorer, which disrupted the then‑stagnant field of backlink analysis and kick‑started a new round of competition among SEO tool providers. The company builds SEO tools and develops free educational materials that help millions of website owners worldwide drive more traffic from search engines. Ahrefs’ tools and features cover the most essential SEO needs including competitor research, keyword research, site auditing, rank tracking, and more.

Serving more than 45,000 subscribers across more than 180 countries, Ahrefs hosts the world’s largest third‑party database of search queries. The company collects, processes, and stores petabytes of data to help businesses and marketing professionals optimize searchability of their online content and boost their brand’s digital presence. It updates its index with the latest backlinks on the web every 15 minutes and its web crawler processes up to 8 billion pages a day. The data empowers customers to make informed decisions and drive significant improvements in page rankings.

As businesses continue to shift into the digital sphere, an incremental demand for computing power is inevitable. The open source version of NGINX performed well, but as traffic grew, it was clear to our team that an enterprise‑grade solution was necessary. We needed a complete solution that’s easy to manage while delivering a full suite of application delivery features and functions, and NGINX Plus delivers just that.
– Dmitry Gerasimenko, Founder and CEO, Ahrefs

This also means that the business’ success hinges largely on its backend infrastructure and server capabilities. Over the past decade, Ahrefs had deployed NGINX Open Source to support its platform and drive application delivery and reaped the solution’s many benefits.

However, as the business grew, Ahrefs needed to expand, secure, and tighten its infrastructure to handle this growth. To embark on its next phase, the company needed more than just reliable, secure, and high‑performing modern web servers – it was critical that servers were scalable to support its expected growth.

Ahrefs wanted to enhance its internal services and significantly improve business workflows to deliver exceptional customer experiences.


To reap the added benefits of enterprise‑grade features such as high availability and session persistence to support its growing business, Ahrefs upgraded to NGINX Plus.

NGINX Plus extends NGINX Open Source with advanced functionality and award‑winning support, providing customers with a complete application delivery solution. Combining high‑performance web server functionality, a powerful front‑end load balancer, and a highly scalable proxy cache, NGINX Plus offers a feature‑rich, end-to-end platform for managing web applications with ease.

Ahrefs leveraged features such as the active health checks and DNS‑based service discovery, which immediately adjusts the set of load balancers when there’s a change to the associated IP addresses.

With these added features and improved application performance, Ahrefs can now process larger datasets quickly and seamlessly. The company experiences better internal services and improved workflows, which translates to an enhanced product delivered to its end customers.

Beyond additional load‑balancing and security‑control features, NGINX Plus provides Ahrefs with scalable and reliable high availability along with monitoring of over 150 metrics to support debugging and diagnosis of complex application architectures. This way, Ahrefs can eliminate the complexity of managing a “do-it-yourself” chain of proxies, load balancers, and caching servers in a mission‑critical cloud environment.

Furthermore, NGINX Plus offers Ahrefs comprehensive commercial support. NGINX experts are available around the clock and Ahrefs is guaranteed a 30-minute response time to support any queries. Apart from debugging and error correction, clarifications on documentation discrepancies as well as timely assistance with installation and deployment are also covered by NGINX’s award‑winning support services.


By deploying NGINX Plus, Ahrefs can maintain higher application performance, improve its overall security posture, and ensure consistent architecture and configuration in its hybrid cloud environments.

Improved Infrastructure and Application Performance

Featuring enterprise‑grade load balancing with session persistence, active health checks and more, NGINX Plus enables Ahrefs to maintain high application performance and easily handle high traffic volume. Intelligent, high‑scale load balancing translates to quick and timely data pulls.

Advanced Application Security

With IP address‑based access control lists and rate limiting working in tandem, NGINX Plus secures Ahrefs’ web and application server environment and improves the company’s overall security posture. Ahrefs is better positioned to guard against DDoS attacks and other cyber threats.

Consistent Architecture and Configuration for On‑Prem and Public Cloud Infrastructure

NGINX Plus is flexible and portable – it can be deployed anywhere: public cloud, private cloud, bare metal, virtual machines, and containers. This enables Ahrefs to reduce complexity and achieve stability when running its applications in hybrid environments.

About Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a software company that develops online SEO tools and free educational materials for marketing professionals. Ahrefs crawls the web, stores tons of data, and makes it easily accessible via a simple user interface. The data can be used to aid keyword research, link building, content marketing, and SEO strategies. Ultimately, the tool helps to accelerate the growth of organic search traffic to a website.