Technical overview

Technical overview: How Organic works

A peek under the hood for technical leaders working at digital media publishers.

Organic's tech in a nutshell.

The Organic SaaS Platform includes products mapped to specific business needs, as well as a shared component library and headless frontend consumer experience architecture. Everything is driven by publisher-owned first-party data, which powers integrations and analytics, and is stored in clients’ data warehouses.

A high-level overview.
The technical details

The Organic platform is a React/Next.js project with a GraphQL API connected to a Django (Postgres) backend deployed on AWS RDS, with Google BigQuery acting as the data warehouse.

We use Docker and Kubernetes (via AWS EKS) for containerization and orchestration and Celery for running asynchronous tasks. We use Sentry and Datadog for monitoring, and write tests primarily with pytest, Jest, and Selenium.

See a more complete list of Organic’s media partners and tech integrations

The Organic SDK is a JavaScript snippet that loads bundled dependencies based on the browser (i.e., module vs. no-module) and client config (e.g., which client apps are enabled). It also logs events from Fastly to BigQuery to be processed for use in the Organic platform.

Organic’s content management system, Organic Content, is built on top of WordPress, and has five major components:

  • 1

    Backend plugin

  • 2

    React frontend and Elements component library

  • 3

    GraphQL API that connects the backend and frontend

  • 4

    Data and hosting services, including data compliance addressing regulatory policies such as GDPR and CCPA

  • 5

    Support for site-specific integrations, capabilities, or frontend components or templates

An illustration of a laptop
Here's how everything connects.
Organic's architecture

A thousand-foot view of how everything interacts:

Diagram showing how the Organic platform works
We have the experience your team expects.
How Organic works with other technical teams

Organic’s architecture and workflows grant autonomy to client engineers and contributors while preserving the stability of site’s content and user experience.

External engineers receive access to site-specific repositories in order to make business-specific frontend and backend changes, such as special blocks, widgets and custom promotional touts. With Organic‘s architecture, site-specific changes can be released in accordance with each client’s specific timelines and approval processes.

Any domain fully integrated with Organic (including the headless backend and DevOps management) has a site-specific Github repository for backend and frontend development. In addition, enterprise clients may have access to an additional backend plugin repository that impacts more than one domain across their business (commonly referred to as an “organization” repository).

Requests for changes to the core Organic Content codebase (the organic-content repository) may be submitted to Organic for review and approval. It is recommended that contributors propose these changes to Organic before beginning development work to obtain preliminary concept approval.

“Organic Content allowed us to skip a bunch of steps, and really, really focus on the user. The best part of working on Saveur was that we could just focus on the UI, and just focus on the interactions—the little animations here and there that usually get pushed out. Organic opened the door for us and it's why the project took just a month: because we could just focus on the fun stuff.”
Greg Allen, CEO at First & Third
Keeping an eye on what's important.
DevOps and site monitoring

Organic monitors all hosted sites for uptime, performance, and other metrics.

Availability monitoring

Organic-hosted sites have more than 99.999% uptime. We use Pingdom to monitor uptime for all hosted production sites, focusing on homepages, sitemap pages, and other critical content.

Pingdom sends health check requests every minute to monitored URLs, then waits 30 seconds for a response of 200 OK. If this response is not received, Pingdom sends a notification to PagerDuty. PagerDuty notifies Organic engineers and product managers via Slack, and notifies Organic’s 24/7/365 on-call engineering team by phone to facilitate prompt investigations.

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PagerDuty logo
Infrastructure monitoring

Organic uses AWS Cloudwatch Alarms to monitor critical AWS resources like RDS, Elasticache instances, and SES reputation. Organic tracks the following metrics:

RDS

CPU usage

IOPS burst balance

Free storage space

Elasticache

Memory usage

Current items number

SES

Reputation.BounceRate

Reputation.ComplaintRate

If any metric hits a specified threshold, AWS notified Organic engineers and product managers via Slack for immediate investigation.

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Application performance monitoring

Organic uses Datadog for APM and infrastructure monitoring. The Datadog agent is installed on every EC2 host on staging and production EKS clusters. The Datadog agent collects the infrastructure data about CPU, memory, and free disk space, per every host. Organic monitors for the following scenarios:

EC2 level:

High CPU usage
Low free disk space
Out-of-memory (OOM) event happened

Application level:

Impressions per ad unit anomaly detected
Impressions per site anomaly detected

Organic installs Datadog packages on a code level to track application performance like database queries, code-level calls latency, requests to third-party services, dependencies, and other health metrics.

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Error monitoring

Organic uses Sentry to track application errors for hosted sites. Sentry packages are installed on a code level and send error details to the Sentry dashboard. If any error fits the specified alert rules, Organic engineers and product managers are notified via Slack for investigation.

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Custom tools

Organic maintains its own tools to monitor other critical site functionality, including:

Robots.txt changes:

If changes are made to robots.txt files, a PagerDuty alert is generated.

Failed cron jobs:

Organic tracks failed Kubernetes CronJobs in production and staging clusters every five minutes.

WordPress Post modified date alerts:

If any WordPress post date was modified programmatically, an alert will be sent to the Organic engineering team via Slack.

Services that grow with your needs.
Organic services help to grow your business and eliminate disruption

Organic is committed to helping publishers reduce technology friction so you can focus on growing your business. Let our team be an extension of yours.

In addition to building amazing software for publishers, we offer a variety of additional services, including:

  • Implementation

  • Customer success

  • End user support

  • Professional services

  • CMS migrations

  • Advisory services

“When I acquired SAVEUR in 2023, I chose Organic to power our CMS, ads, and affiliate marketing. Organic’s tech and top-notch support program allow me to focus on the work I truly love: creating transportive food and travel content for our readers.”
Kat Craddock, CEO and Editor-in-Chief at Saveur
FAQ
Data and hosting FAQ

Organic uses AWS and Fastly as Cloud Web hosting and CDN solutions, both of which promise at least 99.999% uptime scores. Organic-hosted sites perform at this rate, as measured by Pingdom.


Organic provides security features such as Web Application Firewall, DDOS protection, and Vulnerabilities Scanning. For a full account of Organic’s security features, contact Customer Support.


Yes.


Organic-hosted sites have more than 99.999% uptime with only a few minutes outage per year.


Every day.


Organic’s internal alert system allows us to respond immediately in the event of an outage.


Organic uses AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service; customer applications (e.g. sites and related services) work in isolated Docker containers.


Yes, it is possible to scale up or down resources based on client requests. When responding to requests to scale up or down, Organic may recommend optimizations that will more effectively address the underlying reason why such a request was made. The Organic DevOps team configures the infrastructure to optimize speed, performance, and cost values to ensure site and application performance. Organic’s hosting solutions allow for almost infinite scalability in terms of CPU/RAM, traffic, and storage to be able to handle sites of all sizes.


Yes, Organic offers 24-hour monitoring, with an alerts ecosystem using Pingdom, PagerDuty, Sentry, DataDog, and AWS Cloudwatch.


We do a production database backup every night around 1 a.m. UTC, and all backups are stored in S3.


Namecheap is our registrar.


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