Do you offer services to help people with their websites? Perhaps you’re a web designer or a developer? If so, it is now possible to become a hosting reseller and add web hosting to the list of services you offer your clients.
As a hosting reseller, you’ll be able to offer your clients the hosting services they need and, in return, benefit from regular monthly income from each client you provide hosting for.
1. What is reseller hosting?
Essentially, reseller web hosting is where you buy hard drive space and bandwidth from a web host and then sell this on to your own customers. It’s like renting an apartment block and then letting the apartments to individual clients. Most web hosts have reseller hosting packages available for their clients.
2. The benefits of reseller hosting
There are quite a few benefits of reseller hosting. For a start, it enables you to offer a wider range of services to your clients. As a web developer, for example, you can become a one-stop shop: there’s no need for your clients to go elsewhere, they can get everything they need directly from you.
Reselling enables you to create your own hosting brand. Good reseller packages are white labelled, so your clients never know who you buy their hosting from. This enables you to create your own, unique hosting plans which can be customised to meet your client’s needs. You can set up, manage, and operate the back-end of your client’s websites and manage domains and email. And, of course, you can charge for providing this service.
As you can rent additional resources as your reselling service grows, it means you can start off small and upgrade as and when demand requires. Perhaps best of all, as you are using the services of your own web host, server management is done for you. There’s no need for any expertise in that area.
The biggest benefit, of course, is a financial one. By selling hosting, short-term clients become long-term customers. As a result, the lifetime value of your customers increases and you get steady income over the long term, helping with cashflow and profits.
3. What does a reseller package include?
Reseller packages can differ from host to host, however, most of them include the following:
- Disc Space and unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited domain hosting
- White label branding
- cPanel / WHM control panels for Linux or Plesk 12 control panels for Windows
- Customised account and website management for clients.
- Additional hosting features for clients, e.g. email, cPanel, and security tools
- Technical support (usually 24/7) offered by hosting provider
4. What services does your web host provide?
A frequent concern of those considering setting up a reseller hosting business is that they lack the technical expertise. However, this is not an issue. Web hosts are keen to sell reselling packages and understand that most resellers don’t have these skills.
For this reason, a good provider will take care of all the backend management for you. This includes setting up and maintaining the physical hardware and network infrastructure, and undertaking security monitoring, patching and software updates on your behalf.
You should also get 24/7 technical support if there are any issues, together with guaranteed uptime levels of 99.95% backed by service level agreement (SLA).
5. What to do before starting to offer reseller hosting
Before you start offering hosting to your clients, here are some of the things you will need to consider.
Decide upon the right hosting plans for your clients
If you are going to make a success of your hosting service, it needs to meet the needs of your customers. The plans you offer, therefore, should be based on those needs rather than being dictated to by the resources and features of your reseller account. If you are a web developer, you’ll have a good idea of the businesses you cater for and the type of hosting that would suit them best. If you work in a different sphere, you may need to research your target market first.
Things to consider include the size of disk space and amount of bandwidth clients require, the types of software they will use to build their websites, the number of email accounts they’ll want and their security needs (remote backups, malware and intrusion scanning, SSL, etc.).
You may want to put together a range of different packages for your customers to choose from and which give them the potential to upgrade as their business grows.
Manage your own growth
If this is your first foray into hosting, it’s a good idea to start out small. This will give you time to learn about hosting whilst growing your client list. This keeps overheads down (iTMerri’s Reseller Starter package with 30 GB of disk space is available for just $8.99 per month excluding VAT.)
As your business develops you can consider moving to larger plans such as our Reseller Premium (75GB for $12.94 pm) or our Reseller Supreme, (150GB for $16.99 pm for first month). If you grow even bigger, we can upgrade your reseller services to a dedicated server or cloud environment for you.
In web hosting, overselling is the practice of selling too many web hosting plans that, when combined, have a total resource demand that outstrips the capacity of a server. Some web hosts do this because they don’t expect all customers to fully utilise their hosting plans. However, if they do, the server would not be able to cope. This can lead to slow performance and even client’s websites going offline. It’s not good for business.
When you set up your reseller business, you should always aim to leave 30% of your disk space free. This redundant 30% can be used for existing customers who need extra space and to ensure all resources are never fully used up. You need to work that 30% redundancy into any costings and forecasts you prepare.
Make sure you provide great customer service
Providing the actual hosting is the easy part of being a reseller host. Your provider takes care of most of the technical stuff and once you have configured your plans and set up your customer’s accounts, most other things are automated.
However, your customers will have issues from time to time and it’s your response to these that can make or break your business. Prospective customers will expect a quick reply when enquiring about a package and existing customers will expect an equally swift response to any issues. You should, therefore, make sure you have the in-house capacity (both in terms of staffing levels and staffing expertise) to deal with these. If you don’t, you may have to find a way of outsourcing your hosting customer services.
You should consider other satisfaction metrics, too, such as security and reliability. You and your customers need to be confident that the level of security you have is adequate. This means taking proper and effective precautions with your own server (enforcing clients to use strong passwords, etc.) and ensuring that your host provides necessary security measures, such as intrusion monitoring and daily backups.
Reliability is also crucial to your success as a reseller. None of your clients will want their website going offline as it gives a poor impression of their businesses and may even lose them money. It won’t do your reputation much good either. For this reason, you should make sure that you have measures in place to minimise potential downtime (such as not overselling). You should also check the reliability and uptime rates of your host. You and your customers should never tolerate anything below 99.9%.
From reading this article, you should now have a wider understanding of what a hosting reseller is and how you can offer hosting to your clients as a way of extending your own business. You should also understand the benefits of reseller hosting and the things you need to consider before offering hosting as a service.
If you are interested in becoming a hosting reseller, take a look at our range of affordable reseller plans.