Benefits of stape hosting for Google Tag Manager server

Author
Stape
Published
Nov 26, 2021
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Setting up server-side tagging can be daunting. You have to invest time and money into setting up a cloud server, get familiar with the key concept of server-side tracking, and finally, set up ss tracking. We created stape hosting for the server Google Tag manager to make server-side tagging easier. 

With Stape’s, you can set up tagging server URL in 1 click - it's super simple. Plus, it saves you money. Stape’s hosting is around five times cheaper than GCP

With that being said, stape's sGTM hosting has multiple benefits, including its price point and simplicity, which allows anyone without technical knowledge to set up cloud hosting for the Google Tag Manager server. 

But besides its cost and simpleness, stape has multiple other advantages. In this post, I want to cover all benefits that stape hosting for sGTM offers. 

1. Custom loaderCopy link to this section

It’s highly recommended to use a custom subdomain for your tagging server URL. It will help to set cookies more accurately and prolong cookies.

Let me show a few examples.

    - Increase cookie lifetime.

Safari has built-in Intelligent Tracking Prevention algorithms that cut cookies’ lifetime to 24 hours (most of the time). With the help of server-side tracking with a custom subdomain, you can prolong cookies in Safari. It means that when a user revisits your site, it won’t be considered as a new user. 

    - Set 1st party cookies.

When setting up Facebook conversion API using server GTM, you need to send fbp and fbc to Facebook servers. You can’t set these cookies when using a third-party subdomain as a tagging server since only your domain has access to declare cookies for your website. Without a custom subdomain, fewer parameters would be sent to Facebook, and hence lower number of events would be attributed to your campaigns. Click ID and browser ID (fbc and fbp) are fundamental parameters when measuring the results of your paid campaigns on Facebook. 

Stapes custom loader does even more - it helps make Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics 4 scripts more resistant to blockers. 

You can set up a custom gtm.js loader inside the stape.io admin. Just click settings and add your Web Google Tag Manager ID. After that, you need to update the GTM code on the site. 

When you add web GTM ID to the stape.io custom loader, you can see that gtm.js and gtag.js were replaced by a random request path . This enhancement helps you “hide” the Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics 4 script from adblockers.

cutstom gtm.js loader 

2. Preview headerCopy link to this section

Preview header is a useful feature when you need to send requests to the server Google Tag Manager container from elsewhere (not web GTM). For example, from the CRM. Using the stape preview header feature, you can see requests from the CRM in the Google Tag Manager server container preview mode. 

Let’s say you want to send a purchase event from the CRM to the server Google Tag Manager. One of the ways to do that is using webhooks. Data from the webhook will be delivered to your server Google Tag Manager but won’t be displayed in the preview mode, making debug and setup more complicated. 

This is where the stape’s preview header feature helps. Using preview header, you can “force” sGTM preview mode to display all requests sent to the sGTM, no matter whether it was done by your web GTM or third-party resources like webhook. If you do not use the preview header, your sGTM container will receive data, but requests won’t be displayed in the preview. 

To set up the preview header in stape, open the preview mode of the server Google Tag Manager -> Click three dots in the top right corner -> Click send requests manually -> Copy X-Gtm-Server-Preview HTTP header.

server google tag manager preview header 

Then go to your stape.io account -> click settings -> Preview header config -> paste preview header you’ve copied from the sGTM -> Click save.

!

Remove the preview header once you’ve done with the setup and testing

Preview header is a dynamic value. If you did not remove the preview header and open the sGTM preview the other day, you wouldn’t see any requests in the sGTM preview mode. It happens because the preview header was changed, and if you have the old preview header added to stape, you won't see any requests in the sGTM preview since it relies on the old preview header.

3. Faster gtm.js/gtag.js/analytics.js loading timeCopy link to this section

You may notice that the server GTM container set up using automatic provision takes a long time to load. Stape’s hosting solves this problem by using brotli to optimize the loading speed and using Nginx instead of node.js since Nginx is faster in cached file serve. 

gtm.js loading time GCP
gtm.js loading time stape

4. No need to run scripts if you want to upgrade to the production environmentCopy link to this section

The default GCP deployment uses a single server. This environment is recommended for testing limited traffic. When you decide to move server-side tagging to the production, you should upgrade to App Engine flexible environment. 

When you upgrade, Google allocates a minimum of 3 servers per container for redundancy. 

There are two main things you should consider when upgrading from test GCP deployment to App Engine flexible environment:

    - Costs

The minimum production set up on Google hosting will cost USD 120 (three cloud servers where each costs USD 40). Stape’s minimum cost is USD 20; for more significant sites, we offer a Business plan that costs USD 100—interested why are we cheaper? We have this blog describing how stape optimizes the cost of the GTM server.

    - Run shell scripts to upgrade to production

When you decide to upgrade to the production environment adding a credit card to the Google Cloud is not enough, and you need to run shell scripts manually to upgrade to the production. Plus, some other configurations are required to decrease the costs of server Google Tag Manager hosting. 

Stape hosting will do the job for you and in less than 30 seconds, making the upgrade of the cloud server streamlined. All you need to do is click one button in the stape.io admin

5. No additional configuration in the server GTM containerCopy link to this section

The default configuration requires modifying Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 clients to load GA from your server URL. You’ll also need to add Google Tag Manager Web Container client to load gtm.js from a custom subdomain.

Loading gtag.js and gtm.js from your tagging server URL will give full advantages of server-side tracking and first-party cookies. 

Stape hosting does everything automatically. You just need to add transport URL to the GA4 and UA tags inside the web Google Tag Manager container. No need to set up additional clients or make other configurations in the server Google Tag Manager container. 

6. AutoscalingCopy link to this section

A flexible Google Cloud environment will autoscale your sGTM from a minimum of 3 servers to 6 servers. When Google notices that your server GTM needs more resources, they automatically autoscale. sGTM may require more resources for several reasons: traffic to your website may increase, or you've updated server-side tagging setup and sending more events, etc. 

Autoscale has good and bad things. The good thing is that sGTM will receive more space when it needs and will continue working. There might be situations when cloud hosting stops working without autoscale, and you need to update it manually. 

The bad thing is that autoscale means a higher price for sGTM hosting. Three servers from Google will cost USD 120, while six will cost around USD 240. 

On stape, we autoscale servers when you need them. If our system notices that your server needs more CPU or memory, we add it. Stape does not have additional charges for the autoscale. If you’ve subscribed to the Pro plan, you will still pay USD 20, and server GTM will get more CPU and memory when it needs, and you will still pay the same amount. Our billing is connected to requests only. 

7. Access and billingCopy link to this section

Stape has two types of accounts:

  • Personal
  • Agency

Using agency accounts, you can manage and create containers for clients. This feature can be handy for agencies. Let’s say you want to set up server-side tracking for your client and ask a client to add payment. You can do it using a stape agency account, just create a container and send an invite to a client via email. The client can add their billing, while you still can manage and set up their container. If you would like to apply for an agency account, just send an email to support@stape.io 

8. Account sharingCopy link to this section

You can share access to your stape.io account with other people. Once you've shared access, another person will have full access to your account. They will be able to view, edit all containers.

To share access click on Account Settings -> Shared Access -> Invite User.

9. LogsCopy link to this section

Pro and Business plan users have access to logs. This feature is handy while setting up server-side tracking. It helps to understand what data was sent to server GTM and what response was sent. For example, you can check if all purchase events had 200 status (meaning were processed correctly) or filter all events with 500 errors and see the error reason.

Types of logs:Copy link to this section

1. Access Logs. Show the requests received by your GTM server. You can check the details of each log and see corresponding Request logs and Response logs if any.

2. Request Logs. Show requests that the server has sent to the Facebook, TikTok, etc., platforms. Available only if you use Stape tags.

3. Response Logs. Show the server's response from the Facebook, TikTok, etc., platforms. Available only if you use Stape tags.

10. APICopy link to this section

We're always looking for ways to expand our platform, which is why we've added API access. If you are interested in building an integration with Stape and want more information on how it works or what the requirements might be then just send us an email at support@stape.io

11. Server zonesCopy link to this section

We have several hosting zones and constantly expanding server locations. 

  • US Center (Iowa)
  • US East (South Carolina)
  • US West (Oregon)
  • EU West (Belgium)
  • EU North (Finland)
  • EU Center (Germany)
  • AP East (Singapore)
  • AP South (Delhi)
  • SA East (São Paulo)

11. Global CDNCopy link to this section

Global CDN is an excellent feature available for all Stape sGTM containers, and it's entirely free to use. It utilizes Cloudflare’s platform, which loads js files from a server that resides closer to your site visitors resulting in faster webpage loading speeds.

12. Team of expertsCopy link to this section

At Stape, we have a team of experts in server-side tracking to help you get started. We understand that setting up accurate and reliable tracking can be a challenge, which is why we’re here to help make sure your clients get the best possible results. Our staff has extensive experience in creating and managing server-side tracking containers for all kinds of businesses, from small startups to Fortune 500 companies.

Conclusion:Copy link to this section

Stape’s hosting for the server Google Tag Manager is not just the cheapest and easiest one to set up. We also offer numerous hosting features as well as server-side tagging solutions, making your tagging experience simple and straightforward.

Though stape’s sGTM hosting is located on Google Cloud, all our automated solutions make managing your server GTM hosting more effortless. We help you set up server-side tagging for your website without having to spend hours setting everything up tagging the server manually.

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