There’s a number of reasons why you might want to become a web hosting reseller. But whatever your reasons, this guide to choosing the best reselling hosting service will be invaluable.
For some, becoming a web hosting reseller is simply a great way to make money online. By signing up with one of the best reseller hosting companies, you can start selling hosting packages to anyone who wants one. For others, web hosting can be a relevant additional service that can be offered to clients and customers.
There’s a lot to think about when starting out as a web hosting reseller, not least of all, choosing the best reseller hosting company.
The good news is, this guide has been created to not only explain what reseller hosting is, its pros and cons but how to find the best reseller hosting service for your needs.
What is Reseller Hosting?
Web hosting providers have hundreds, if not thousands, of servers that they use to host the websites of their customers. Another way they make money is to rent out a portion of their server resources and bandwidth to resellers.
These resellers then act as a separate hosting provider. For a monthly, or yearly fee the hosting provider makes a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server available to the reseller. The reseller then divides this server up to offer hosting services for others at the prices they set.
For instance, a reseller may rent a server with 60GB of disk space and 600 GB of bandwidth as shown in the HostGator introductory plan below.
Now the reseller can carve those resources up any way they see fit. As a reseller, you could host six accounts giving them each 10GB of storage and 100GB of bandwidth per month. Or you could divide that server up for three customers. Each would have 20GB of storage with 200GB of bandwidth a month.
You could also decide to offer multiple plans and split the resources up accordingly.
Who is Reseller Hosting For?
Commonly, there are three types of customers for reseller hosting. Each fills a different niche and would require a different type business plan to achieve success.
Anyone looking to start up a small business may consider reseller hosting. There is little upfront money needed and the best reseller hosting companies will provide resources to get you started. The drawback to this approach is that you have to find customers.
If you are good at marketing and price your products right, there’s a chance for your business to grow. There is quite a bit of competition with big names and big advertising budgets to contend with. If you find a niche to target or offer something unique that may help.
Freelance Web Designers
Freelancers paid on a per project basis often relish the opportunity to have a steady stream of money coming into their business. Freelancers who are resellers often provide hosting services to their clients. It’s a nice value add and it helps keep all, or most, of their clients on one hosting provider.
Freelance web designers may also offer free hosting to bring in new clients. Perhaps they offer one month, or even one year, of hosting to entice a new customer.
Where freelancers have an advantage is that they have an existing client base and audience to work with. Even if they are new to reseller hosting, a good web designer will know how to move their clients’ websites over to the new server and adjust their DNS settings.
Web Design Agencies
Just like with freelancers, larger web design firms often use reseller hosting to bring in additional money and simplify the process of managing their clients’ websites. Clients of these larger firms often expect website hosting to be part of the service so acting as a reseller makes sense.
Pros of Reseller Hosting
One of the most overlooked benefits of reseller hosting is that you can pay literally nothing for your own website. If you host your site on your own server, and you have enough customers, you will easily cover your hosting fees.
However, that is a rather small benefit when you look at the bigger picture.
1. Low start-up costs
As you saw in the earlier graphic, you can start acting as a reseller for $20 per month. If you have enough clients lined up, you will likely go with a larger server package. Still, most of the best reseller hosting providers offer something in the $20 per month range.
2. You don’t need to maintain the servers
Since you are renting server space from another hosting provider, you don’t have to buy any servers or hardware. If a CPU fails or a hard drive malfunctions, the reseller hosting provider fixes it.
The same goes for server configurations and software installations. Your reseller hosting partner will setup and configure the server. They will also install the required software and keep it up to date.
3. You can set your plans any way you choose
If you find a niche that could benefit from a hosting plan with a specific configuration, you are free to set that up. If you have multiple customers with unique needs, you can match those requirements through different plans.
4. It’s reoccurring, steady income
Most clients pay for hosting on a monthly basis. This means that you’re constantly receiving a stream of income that you can count on. As long as you keep your clients happy that is.
If customers decide to pay for a full year up front, even at a reduced rate, it gives you more money to grow your business.
Cons of Reseller Hosting
While reseller hosting sounds like the perfect business, that’s not quite the case. There are some negative aspects to becoming a reseller.
1. Lots of competition out there
To begin with, if you don’t have enough clients to cover your costs it can get expensive to keep running your business. Acquiring clients can be tough. There is a lot of competition out there and you will have to compete with some pretty big names.
2. Can be a distraction from your core business
Acting as a reseller may distract you from your other work. If you are a freelancer or a design firm, your main job is to create websites. The added responsibilities of acting as a hosting provider could pull you away from that.
3. Supporting customers can be time-consuming
Finally, you need to provide service and support to your clients 24/7. While the best reseller hosting partners will help with this, you are responsible for the intake of any requests. Often times you will have to play middle-man unless you are technical enough to provide support.
Things to Look for When Choosing a Reseller Hosting Provider
Choosing the best reseller hosting provider is not easy. While there are many excellent options out there, comparing them can be hard. Most of them have comparable costs and their plans match up rather well. However, there are some things that make the better ones stand out from the rest.
Most resellers have comparable costs and their plans match up rather well. However, there are some things that make the better ones stand out from the rest.
1. White label option
Having the ability to rebrand your dashboards, support tools and other aspects of your reseller site is known as white labeling. This allows you to build your brand and not piggyback on the brand of the hosting provider.
After all, if your clients saw another hosting provider’s logo all over the place they may leave you and deal directly with them.
2. Ability to upsell products
Some of the best reseller hosting providers allow you to sell domain registration services, email add-ons and other perks to your customers. This helps you stand out from the crowd and brings in extra money. Make sure your provider offers this.
3. Adequate software library for your customers
You need to make sure that your customers have a control panel like cPanel or Plesk available, but that’s not all. Check to see what types of web applications are available to your customers through the provider’s library. Software like WordPress, Joomla!, ZenCart and others should be standard offerings.
Big name sites such as SiteGround offer many of these things, but you can’t go on name alone. Make sure to check each provider’s offerings.
What to Pay Attention to When Choosing a Reseller Host
To help avoid choosing the wrong reseller hosting partner, there are a few things you need to pay attention to. Make sure you can answer the following questions to your satisfaction:
- Do they provide 24/7 reseller support?
- Which support channels are offered?
- Do they keep servers secure and updated?
- Will they guarantee 99% uptime or better?
- Is their management interface easy for you to use?
- Do they allow for unlimited databases?
- Are they Safe Harbor Certified to protect you against any DMCA violations your customers may commit on their websites?
Reseller web hosting provides a simple way for web designers to offer additional services to their clients while making extra money. Entrepreneurs also may find reseller hosting a good business to get into.
Regardless of why you are offering this service, make sure that you do enough research to find the best reseller hosting for your needs. If you choose the wrong one, it will be a lot of work to transfer all of your customers over to a different provider. And this work will come with plenty of headaches.
So, don’t just jump into reseller hosting because you see a provider with a competitive price, or you think it’s an easy business. Make a plan and put your time in before you make that first payment.