15 Best Affiliate Programs by Categories | 2021 Ranking of the Highest Paying Programs

If you’re on the hunt for ways to make extra income, you may have heard about affiliate marketing.

By promoting a product or service to your friends, followers, and clients, you can earn passive income based on your referrals. Keep reading to find out how you can make use of the best affiliate programs.

Why Become an Affiliate?

I used to hear some criticism when affiliate programs came up in conversation, but today, some of the world’s leading companies offer benefits and commission rates that are too good to pass over. With Shopify, PureVPN, and AliDropship in the mix, there’s an earning opportunity for everyone, whether you’re a blogger, freelancer, or something more niche.

Plus, how great does it feel to log into your affiliate dashboard and see hundreds, even thousands of dollars that weren’t there a few hours ago?

Who Should Join an Affiliate Program?

Of course, affiliate marketing programs aren’t usually as simple as promoting a product and waiting for the money to roll in. You’ll need to carefully consider your audience, the type of content you produce, and how many referrals you could realistically expect.

For example, if you’re a beauty blogger with a following of makeup and personal care enthusiasts, you may not get a high conversion rate from promoting a digital marketing service.

But if you’re an entrepreneur who networks with startups and small business owners, you’ll likely find success when you recommend your favorite software on commission.

Before you make the jump from customer to affiliate, read about the best affiliate programs for all kinds of products.

Best Recurring Affiliate Programs

Earning a one-time commission on a referral sure does feel good, but when you need a steady stream of revenue, it’s best to set up with a recurring affiliate program. This way, you’ll earn a monthly rate on referrals rather than a bulk reward at the time of subscription.

Here are some of the best recurring affiliate marketing programs I’ve found:

1. Leadpages

Leadpages is an online tool that helps you build websites, landing pages, and pop-ups. You can customize pages to collect customer information and raise your website’s conversion rate. As a Leadpages affiliate, you’ll promote various lead generation tools to help entrepreneurs boost their business.

To join the Leadpages Affiliate Partner Program, you’ll need to be an established customer. Once you begin promoting landing pages, you can participate in special promotions, such as a $5,000 bonus for hitting a goal of new memberships sold. Leadpages also gives you the option of linking to free content pages, like videos or apps, if you’d prefer not to link out to a product page.

Commission: 30% every month

Cookie Duration: 30 days

2. Pabbly

Pabbly combines a range of tools for online marketing and business management. You can create email marketing campaigns, use a form builder, and take advantage of email verification and workflow automation. Pabbly offers convenient app integrations for all its features.

As a Pabbly affiliate, you’ll get a central dashboard to track all your sales and referral details. The app keeps things simple by monitoring your progress with a single cookie. Essentially, whether you decide to promote only one product or the whole package, you’ll still get a 30% commission on all products sold.

Commission: 30% every month

Cookie Duration: 30 days

3. Clickfunnels

Clickfunnels is a landing page builder that lets you carefully design popups, subscription forms, and intuitive guides to help customers navigate your sales process. Everything you need to improve your website comes from a dashboard with drag-and-drop building functions.

The website’s affiliate system works in tiers based on your time and success promoting products. Joining the Clickfunnels Affiliate Program guarantees that you’ll earn 40% commission on the website’s front end offers, while new subscriptions bring in 20% commission. Over time, you can max out and make a 40% monthly recurring commission.

Commission: 40% every month

Cookie Duration: lifetime

4. SEMRush

Digital marketers use SEMRush to improve their SEO with competitive analysis. The site’s top features include keyword tracking, data insights, and site audits. You can use the comprehensive membership package to conduct market research, make smart advertising decisions, and integrate with social media platforms.

BeRush, the SEMRush affiliate program, offers a generous 40% commission rate under a first cookie model. The site remembers old customers who cancel their membership and re-subscribe later, so the affiliate still earns a commission for clients who dip in and out over ten years.

Commission: 40% every month

Cookie Duration: 10 years

5. GetResponse

A combination of digital marketing and landing page tool, GetResponse lets you send opt-in forms, host webinars, and access various list growth tools. You can use marketing automation to speed up your workflow and improve customer retention.

GetResponse offers two affiliate programs, which you can choose between or even join both. The self-hosted recurring program is the best bang for your bucks, with 33% commission on 120 cookie days after someone use your affiliate links. Because your commissions are unlimited, and GetResponse plans max out in the thousands, you could earn a substantial amount each month.

Commission: 33% every month

Cookie Duration: 120 days

Best VPN Affiliate Programs

In an age where more critical and sensitive interactions happen online, tons of internet users use a VPN to protect their data. If you use a VPN that you love and recommend it to others, why not earn some money by becoming an affiliate?

Here are my favorite VPN providers that offer the best affiliate programs:

1. IPVanish

IPVanish is a notorious private browser for a good reason: it offers unlimited bandwidth, no traffic logs, and over 1,000 servers worldwide. Users can stream, torrent, and browse with no data limits, without worrying about the VPN or other unwanted tracking.

Once you earn $100 as an IPVanish affiliate, you can get your first monthly payment. In the first month, IPVanish even lets you earn up to 100% commission. If you get a strong start out the gate, you can expect a big payout followed by a decent recurring rate.

Commissions: Up to 100% + 35% recurring

Cookie Duration: unknown

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is a trusted, established anonymous browsing network. With its broad reach of 58 countries, users take advantage of fast speeds and compatibility across multiple browsers and devices of any kind. They offer monthly, yearly, and multiple-year plans at flexible price tiers.

If you’re considering becoming a NordVPN affiliate, keep in mind that this program gets you a dedicated account manager to help drive sales. Nord is notorious for a high conversion rate, so take advantage of the free advice to boost commissions and earn the most for each subscription you bring to the company.

Commission: 40 to 100%

Cookie Duration: 30 days

3. SurfShark VPN

SurfShark is the VPN of choice for users who want their IP to travel the world. The multihop feature disguises your true identity by masking with multiple locations at once. Surfshark navigates around geo-blocked websites and paywalls by connecting the user to a regional server, making it easy to access and stream foreign content.

Getting in as an affiliate for this popular and widespread VPN will give you access to a 40% commission rate for each product. With its 1000+ servers worldwide, you have a large base for recruitment and competitive pricing, bringing in a high conversion rate.

Commission: 40%

Cookie Duration: 30day

4. PureVPN

PureVPN offers fast connection speeds, multi-logins, and over 6,000 servers with its basic 1-year subscription tier. Members can upgrade to use a dedicated IP, which packs on extra anonymity for browsing, streaming, and P2P torrenting.

Becoming a PureVPN affiliate will be the most fun you’ve ever had with a recurring program. The company’s affiliate rewards are gamified with contests and prizes that unlock once you hit your goals. You can stay motivated with helpful push notifications and performance reporting to celebrate your achievements.

Commission(s): 40%

Cookie Duration: 35days

5. Express VPN

Express VPN is the oldest running VPN at 12 years in service. The network maintains a high-quality product, keeping loyal customers happy while attracting new subscribers. Express VPN sells pre-configured routers that offer security and speed with no home setup needed for the not-so-tech-friendly. The network reaches 94 countries with 160 servers.

Express VPN also keeps up a competitive affiliate program. You’ll get a dedicated account manager to help you drive referrals, which cap at $36 commission each. There’s no limit on how many referrals you can bring in, so use the advice from the world’s oldest virtual private network to share their steady stream of revenue.

Commission(s): up to $36 per referral

Cookie Duration: 90 days

Best Website Affiliate Programs

It seems like you can get anything through eCommerce these days. In a growing worldwide industry that supports all kinds of businesses, there’s a unique affiliate program for every niche. Some of the most popular websites today offer high-value affiliate rewards on thousands of annual memberships.

Here are the best website affiliate programs:

1. BigCommerce

eCommerce platforms like BicCommerce help businesses with both digital marketing insight and website building tools to serve customers. BigCommerce has been around since 2009, powering over 60,000 online merchants with helpful analytics and sleek website templates.

BigCommerce affiliates can cash in the big bucks, especially when new referrals make their first monthly payment. The 200% commission rate on new subscribers, along with $1500 per enterprise customer, means the sky’s the limit for how many growing brands you can refer and get rewards.

Commission(s): 200% or $1500 per entreprise customer

Cookie Duration: 90 days

2. Weebly

Weebly users love the simple website builder with a convenient drag-and-drop building function. The convenient format allows plugins from social media and embedded links, with a paid subscription to remove watermarks and access more analytics.

Weebly’s long cookie window is the most notable feature of their affiliate program. With 120 days to earn a commission from a referral, new customers can shop around with other website builders before purchasing. You still get rewarded with a 30% commission up to 3 months after promoting Weebly.

Commission(s): 30% recurring

Cookie Duration: 120days

3. Elegant Themes

WordPress users use themes to enhance their websites. Elegant Themes, a library of pre-made templates with 550,000 customers, makes web pages look polished with little work from the site owner. You can customize over 110 website templates and 880 layout options to get the perfect look.

WordPress offers its users a hefty commission rate for promoting Elegant Themes. Each referral brings you 50% commission, and that includes annual renewals on old referrals. Popular themes like “Divi” have a high conversion rate, so you can hook new members by using the theme with a promotional link.

Commission(s): 50% each sales

Cookie Duration: unknown

4. Shopify

Shopify is the most popular eCommerce platform around. With over 500,000 websites worldwide, it combines website building tools with store management features, analytics, and payment processing. Essentially, it’s a complete sales kit for online businesses, both large and small.

Shopify’s excellent name recognition makes the affiliate program particularly attractive, but the high commission rate is the real reward. You can make up to $2,400 on monthly subscription referrals through the 200% commission earned, and you’ll also get a flat $2,000 bonus when users sign up for ShopifyPlus.

Commission(s): 200%

Cookie Duration: 30 days

5. AliDropship

Finally, AliDropship is an eCommerce platform explicitly tailored to dropshipping. From the popular online retailer AliExpress, AliDropship can build you a full online store already outfitted for business. If you prefer to use your website, you can opt to use their plugins and add-ons or take advantage of several prebuilt themes.

The site boasts free shipping worldwide with zero hidden fees. A membership plugs you into a vast network of 100,000 trusted suppliers, and AliDropship gives you tools and advice to grow your business from there. Essentially, a new business owner with no experience can start from scratch and watch their profit margin increase.

Joining AliDropship as an affiliate partner comes with multiple benefits. First, if you run your eCommerce website, you can access plugins, banners, and themes to improve your business. If you’re already an AliDropship customer, it’s worth joining for these perks alone.

As far as commission rates go, you can earn up to 100%, or $869, from a single sale. Combined with AliDropship’s worldwide popularity with new and established retailers, these highly competitive rates attract plenty of affiliates.

Commission(s): up to 100%

Cookie Duration: unknown


Trust me, becoming an affiliate isn’t easy! You do have to work hard to get your first commissions and get to know your audience. It doesn’t hurt to work with the best affiliate programs that offer perks, benefits, and competitive rates.

Whether you’re a freelancer, online business owner, or content producer, we could all get used to waking up to an extra thousand dollars in the bank. Once you find the right affiliate program for you, the only things you’ll need are elbow grease and a little bit of marketing savvy.

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Hey, It’s Denis. The guy behind SmarTech Commerce.