Web hosting resale is something many people think about for a variety of reasons. With improvements in web accessibility, it’s something even those of us who aren’t particularly tech-savvy can do. A reseller’s success depends more on their administrative abilities than their technical knowledge of servers and inner workings.
So, what exactly is reselling hosting? Simply put, a reseller is a front for a more prominent web hosting firm. Physical servers, the kind you can see and touch, is owned by the hosting company and are what make websites accessible online. Web hosting providers provide the hardware and have the staff and expertise to keep it running and secure. The hosting firm will address server hardware or operating system problems.
The reseller pays the hosting provider for the right to resell the services to their customers. You can either buy individual accounts from the host to resale, as in the case of a Virtual Private Server, or you can be given a dedicated portion of the server to resell, as in the case of a Shared Hosting Account. If a customer has a technical problem, they will call you as the reseller, and you will then contact the service provider for assistance. We’ll go through how to select a hosting provider and reseller plan briefly, but where do you begin?
First, settle on a target market.
Identifying your target market is the first and most crucial stage in launching a successful business. The most important consideration is whether you want to limit your hosting sales to existing customers, such as those you’ve worked with on website design and maintenance, or whether you’ll host anyone who contacts you. This is significant since a wide range of reseller packages are available from different hosting providers, some of which grant client access to administrative services on the reseller’s server while others do not. If you decide to offer hosting services in addition to your usual web design services, your customers will likely wish to have some autonomy. So that you are not constantly resetting clients’ passwords and setting up their email accounts, you will opt for a reseller account that provides them with these capabilities. Decide on your target market before looking into reseller plans, and keep your objectives in mind as you do so.
The second step is to pick a partner.
Do not base your decision on price alone while researching hosting partners. You should be able to contact your host at all times (at the very least via email) in case of an emergency, so be sure they provide reasonable assistance. Review the hosts’ available interfaces from the perspective of your target market. To help your customers learn how to set up their email accounts and perform other routine operations, most providers provide a choice of control panels, such as Plesk and C-Panel. Find out how many domains you can host with a single plan, if that number may increase, or if you need to purchase a new package to accommodate your needs. Do you have shell (root) access to your server through the host? If you have experience with programming, you may find this interesting; otherwise, you may be more focused on the available user interfaces. In what ways are their hosting services unique? Nowadays, practically everyone has heard of a Blog or a Forum, and many would like to have one of their own. If clients request specific programs, does your hosting provider have a package that makes it simple for you to install them? What are their terms for making payments? Values tend to improve when you pay for a more extended period upfront. Can you put your logo on the server dashboards? If you want your customers to think of you exclusively as their provider rather than your host company, you may want the option to brand all of the products you resell with your logo.
Third, give yourself some guidelines to follow.
Make a plan for promoting your web hosting services. Do you want to provide multiple packages at various pricing points or just one? In what ways and at what intervals will you accept payments from your customers? Overselling is a systematic method of making a profit while reselling hosting services. Overselling occurs when more accounts are sold than can be accommodated by the available storage space offered to customers. The truth is that most of your customers won’t even come close to using all of the storage space you provide them with. Therefore, overselling is not inherently harmful because it allows more customers to use the service. However, keep in mind that this will necessitate close monitoring of your clients, as the performance for all clients will suffer if you load too many onto one account and they start using up all their capacity. Make a decision now about the level of monitoring and client management involvement you’d like. Suppose you want to avoid the hassle of quickly purchasing a new hosting package and manually migrating your customers to a new machine because your current one is at capacity. In that case, you should avoid overselling and remain closer to the recommended limitations.
Fourth, establish guidelines for your customers.
The Terms of Service (TOS) is an agreement that all web hosts must have in place. You should have one, too, even if your firm is tiny and you only deal with a handful of people you know well. In the event of a disagreement, you and the client are both covered. From refund policies to authorized content types, there is much to consider when drafting terms of service. If, for example, your web server prohibits pornographic sites, you cannot endorse their use by your customers. Your best bet is to make a copy of your host partner’s TOS and modify it to suit your needs. That way, you can meet your partner’s requirements and account for anything else you want or need.
This brings us to phase five: promotion.
After settling on the hosting plans you will offer, pricing, and terms of service, you are ready to promote your business to potential customers. If you haven’t already, contact the people who have hired you to create their websites and offer them your new hosting services. One powerful way to encourage customers to switch is to provide free website migration to your server. New hosting customers will transfer their sites, but your current clientele will be grateful for your assistance. Upload a copy of the new service terms along with your website hosting offerings. Put out the word about your new services through all the channels you already use to promote your current ones.
As you expand, keep an eye out for more products that may be a good fit for your reselling business. Many hosting providers also give domain reseller services, which allows you to profit from the growing demand for domain name registration. You may make your reselling business a valuable addition to your organization by adhering to sound management practices in service delivery, billing accuracy, and tailoring service bundles to individual customers.
Debbi works with clients who need web hosting and domain names and focuses on helping new website owners and hosting resellers get started.