The Best Affiliate Programs to be Part of in 2020

In this article, you’ll learn all about affiliate marketing and get a list of the highest-paying affiliate programs.

Affiliate programs are a great way to make money online. 

If you spend time on social media or blog regularly, you could be earning money by promoting products and services.

The affiliate industry is growing fast. Affiliate marketing spend is due to reach U.S.$8.2 billion in the U.S. by 2022 – up from 5.4 billion recorded in 2017.

So, how can you become an affiliate?

To get started, you need to know which companies have affiliate programs – better yet, which companies have the highest-paying affiliate programs! Then, you can promote your referral links and start generating passive income.

In this article, you’ll learn all about affiliate marketing and 75+ of the highest-paying affiliate programs for beginners.

This list includes affiliate programs in popular categories such as web hosting, fashion, beauty, fitness, and travel. We also share programs in niche categories like VPNs, marketing, music, and gaming.

Let’s dive in.

(Psst! While we feature third party brands in this article, we are not affiliated with them, other than those related to Oberlo and Shopify. Details mentioned in the article are true at the time of publication but may change over time.)

What Are Affiliate Programs?

Affiliate programs are partnerships between businesses and online promoters. The promoter – known as an “affiliate” or “affiliate marketer” – works to drive web traffic and sales to the business’s product or service. In exchange, the business pays the affiliate a commission for any sales generated from the web traffic.

How Do Affiliate Programs Work?

Affiliate programs provide marketers with a dedicated, trackable link to a product or service. When promoting the business, the affiliate will always use this special link. Then, when users click the link, visit the business’s website, and make a purchase, the affiliate will be credited with the sale. As a result, the business will pay the affiliate the agreed commission.

Affiliates often promote businesses through popular digital marketing strategies, such as social media marketing and search engine optimized (SEO) blogging.

Referral links are tracked automatically using browser cookies. And each program tracks this link for a different amount of time, often referred to as “cookie life” or “cookie length.” 

For example, say there’s a cookie length of 30 days. When someone clicks your affiliate link to visit the business’s website, you’ll receive a commission if they make a purchase anytime within 30 days of clicking on your link. After 30 days, the cookies will expire, and any sales will no longer be credited to you.

Now, there are two main types of affiliate programs: self-hosted and affiliate networks. Let’s explore the difference.

1. Self-Hosted Affiliate Programs

Self-hosted affiliate programs are run by the business itself and require affiliates to work directly with the company.

For example, to sign up for Shopify’s affiliate program, you can simply head to

Sign Up for Shopify’s Affiliate Program

2. Affiliate Networks

On the other hand, affiliate networks contain programs from many businesses. These networks often provide a central dashboard that allows you to manage multiple affiliate programs in one place.

Some programs are open for anyone to join, and others require you to submit an application. Some applications are reviewed automatically, but many programs require an Affiliate Manager to review your application manually.

This article will explore self-hosted affiliate programs first, then end with a list of some of the best affiliate networks.

How to Identify the Highest-Paying Affiliate Programs

If you’re looking for the best affiliate programs for beginners, there are five key things to consider: 

  1. High commission rates
  2. Long cookie lives
  3. Recurring payments
  4. High average order values (AOV)
  5. High earnings per click (EPC)

Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

1. High Commission Rate

Some affiliate programs may offer a 5% commission, others like Shopify offer a 200% commission. The highest-paying affiliate programs typically have a high commission rate.

2. Long Cookie Life

As noted above, the longer the cookie life, the more likely you will earn a commission.

3. Recurring Payments

Most programs pay affiliates a one-off payment. However, many of the highest-paying affiliate programs provide a recurring payment. For example, ConvertKit charges users a monthly subscription fee and pays affiliates 30% of the money generated by each referral every month.

4. Average Order Value (AOV)

AOV is the average amount of money customers spend when using your referral link. 

For example, if you promote a clothing brand that pays 6% commission and your referral spends $50 on jeans, you’ll only make $3. However, if you promote a mountain bike brand that offers a 6% commission and your referral spends $2,000 on a new bike, you’ll earn $120.

To calculate your average order value (AOV), divide the total revenue by the number of sales.

5. Earnings-Per-Click (EPC)

EPC is the average amount of money you make each time a user clicks on your referral link. Essentially, it tells you how well your referrals are converting into sales, and how much money you can afford to spend on marketing activities, such as pay-per-click advertising.

For example, if 1,000 people click on your link and you make a total of $400 in commissions, your earnings-per-click will be $0.40. From this, you know that if your average cost-per-click is $0.39 or less, you’ll make a profit.

To calculate your earnings-per-click, divide your total earnings by the number of clicks you generated.

What Are the Best Affiliate Programs?

If you’re looking for some of the highest-paying affiliate programs for beginners, look no further. Here are 75 of the best affiliate programs in a range of categories, from ecommerce and VPNs to travel and gaming.

Ecommerce Affiliate Programs

Shopify Affiliate Program

Ecommerce platforms are often able to pay high commissions to affiliates thanks to their high lifetime customer value (LTV). These programs are ideal if your target market is interested in starting or expanding an online business. Here are some of the best ecommerce affiliate programs in 2020.


Shopify is one of the largest ecommerce platforms in the world. It offers online retailers a host of services including payments, marketing, shipping, and customer engagement tools. Affiliates earn an average of $58 for each referral that signs up to the platform.

Cookies: 90 days

Commission: One-time payment of 200% per signup, and $2,000 per Shopify Plus subscription.


3dcart is a growing ecommerce platform that offers its users plans from $19 to $999. Affiliates are paid a one-time payment for each sale by direct deposit, check, or wire transfer.

Cookies: 120 days

Commission: 300% of each sale


Sellfy is an ecommerce platform for creatives who want to sell digital and physical products.

Cookies: 90 days

Commission: Tiered – 25% up to 6 sales, 30% up to 15 sales, 35% up to 40 sales, and 45% for 41+ sales. There are also special rates for 100+ sales per month.

Web Hosting Affiliate Programs

Hostgator Affiliate Program

Web hosting affiliate programs are very popular – after all, everyone who wants to create a website needs web hosting. These programs are perfect if your target audience is interested in starting a blog.


Bluehost is a well-known web hosting service that hosts over two million domains. The best part? There’s no cap on how much an affiliate can earn. Also, Bluehost pays affiliates via PayPal.

Cookies: 90 days

Commission: $65 for each qualified signup.

WP Engine

WP Engine is a popular WordPress hosting service. According to WP Engine, businesses that switch to the service notice increased site-loading speeds and uptime. For affiliate marketers, the company offers a payout on two popular products – web hosting and Studio Press Themes. 

Cookies: 180 days

Commission: $200+ on web hosting services, and 35% of studio Press Theme sales. Also, when you refer other affiliates to the program, you can earn $50 for each qualified sale they make.


Hostinger is a web hosting platform with subsidiaries in 178 countries. The company has over 29 million users with a range of plans to suit all web hosting needs. Users can also choose a domain name through the site.

Cookies: Unknown

Commission: Up to 60% per sale.


GreenGeeks claims to be “the world’s #1 green energy web hosting provider” – it’s a good choice if you’re marketing to an environmentally conscious audience.

Cookies: Unknown

Commission: Tiered – $50 to $100 per sale based on the number of sales per month.


HostGator offers shared, dedicated, cloud, and VPS hosting, as well as domain registrations for individuals and businesses. The affiliate program provides product discount codes that you can use to promote the web hosting service.

Cookies: Unknown

Commission: Tiered – $65 to $125 per signup, based on the volume of signups per month.


Cloudways is a cloud hosting platform with an affiliate program best suited for performance marketers and media publishers.

Cookies: Unknown

Commission: Two payout models – tiered commission of up to $125 per sale, and a hybrid commission of $30 per sale + 7% of the sale’s lifetime value.

Liquid Web

Liquid Web is a fully managed web and cloud hosting service that manages more than 500,000 sites. Customers can choose between self, semi, or fully-managed servers. 

Cookies: 90 days

Commission: $150 to $7,000 per sale, plus a 50% commission bonus for pre-paid plans. 

VPN Affiliate Programs

ExpressVPN Affiliate Program

VPNs (virtual private networks) help users to protect their data and access global content. It’s a popular affiliate marketing category that you can promote to a tech-savvy, privacy-orientated market. Here are some of the best VPN affiliate programs.


ExpressVPN is one of the most popular names in the VPN world. Affiliates get paid via Pay-Pal once their payouts exceed $100.

Cookies: Unknown

Commission: $13 for each one-month signup, $22 for each 6-month signup and $36 for each 12-month signup. 


NordVPN offers VPN services for individuals and businesses. This provider has one of the highest commission payouts for affiliates. Plus, affiliates can earn a 30% commission on subscription renewals.

Cookies: Unknown

Commission: 100% of each one-month subscription, 40% of 6-month subscriptions, and 40% of one and two-year subscriptions. 


IPVanish operates 1,500 VPN servers in 75+ locations around the world. The provider offers automatic PayPal or Direct Deposit payments on payouts of more than $100.

Cookies: Unknown

Commission: Up to 100% of all new subscriptions, and up to 35% of all subscription renewals.


PureVPN is one of the most feature-packed VPNs on the market. Affiliates can get a rough idea of how much they can earn by using the PureVPN affiliate earning calculator. 

Cookies: Unknown

Commission: Varies based on the type of traffic, the amount of traffic, and the subscription period. 


StrongVPN is one of the longest standing VPN services. The affiliate program uses a two-layer tracking system, so even if a referral deleted their cookies, the sale can still be linked to you. 

Cookies: 30 days

Commission: Up to 200% of each sale.

Marketing Affiliate Programs

SEMrush Affiliate Program

The digital marketing industry provides countless opportunities for affiliate marketers. So, if you’re in the business-to-business (B2B) space, consider signing up for one of these marketing affiliate programs.


Hubspot is a software suite for marketing, sales, and customer relationship management (CRM). The affiliate program is designed specifically for marketers and bloggers who generate a lot of content.

Cookies: 90 days

Commission: A flat rate of $250, $500, or $1,000 per sale – based on the product tier.


Leadpages helps users build landing pages for forms, booking calendars, calls-to-action, and more. What makes Leadpages stand out is the incredible amount of forms and templates to choose from.

Cookies: 30 days

Commission: 10% of each sale as a recurring commission + up to 50% commission based on the number of sales generated each month.


ConvertKit is a comprehensive email marketing tool targeted toward bloggers and other content creators. The tool offers slick visuals and an easy to use editor. Plus, ConvertKit provides affiliates with a dedicated training course to help them grow their commissions. 

Cookies: Unknown

Commission: A recurring 30% of every signup.


SEMRush this SEO tool helps marketers to track keywords and create SEO strategies. This is a very high-paying affiliate program.

Cookies: Unknown

Commission: A recurring 40% of every sale.


Moosend is a creative marketing tool that helps businesses automate repetitive email tasks. Its drag-and-drop tool allows users to add social media buttons, graphics, and text to emails.

Cookies: 120 days

Commission: A recurring 30% of every subscription.

Social Pilot

SocialPilot is a social media management tool for professionals, marketing teams, and enterprises. It supports major platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, and Linkedin. The tool provides publishing, collaboration, and analytic solutions in an easy, clean interface. 

Cookies: 60 days

Commission: A recurring 30% of every subscription.


SpyFu is an SEO and PPC tool that marketers and content creators can use to find data on the keywords competitors have used. The tool also shows keywords that websites bid for on Google Ads, along with the cost-per-click and search volume. 

Cookies: 1 year

Commission: A recurring 40% of every subscription.


PromoRepublic helps social media marketers to create and store content for social media, use AI to schedule posts, and manage clients. 

Cookies: 120 days

Commission: 30% of sales and a recurring 30% of every renewal within a year of the original sale.


amoCRM is CRM software that integrates into messaging platforms, such as Messenger and WhatsApp. The company provides education and training for affiliates, and requires marketers to become certified before promoting the software. 

Cookies: Unknown

Commission: A recurring 35% of every sale, which increases to 50% once you reach $10,000 in sales. 


Pabbly provides business with software to manage online forms, email marketing, and billing.

Cookies: 30 day

Commission: A recurring 30% of every membership plan, and a flat 20% of every “Life Time Deal” (a membership lasting 12+ months)

Summary: Affiliate Programs

If you’re looking for small business ideas, consider becoming an affiliate marketer.

Affiliate programs allow you to start an online business from home by earning commissions promoting and selling other business’s products and services.

To become an affiliate marketer, you need to join a business’s program and decide how you plan to market its product or service. For example, you could join TripAdvisor’s affiliate program and promote the website by starting a blog about travel.

When trying to identify the highest-paying affiliate programs, look for a high commission rate, long cookie life, and recurring payments.

Finally, make sure to choose affiliate programs that promote products and services that you’re interested in and value. This way, you’ll be much better positioned to promote them in an engaging and compelling way.

Want to Learn More?

Thomas is a B2B content writer specializing in SaaS, ecommerce, and digital marketing.
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