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What is Reseller Hosting?
Ever fancied being a web host and setting up your own business? Reseller hosting allows you to create packages and sell them for whatever price you like. Reseller hosting is also very useful if you're looking to create new income streams in an existing business. For example, you might want to sell web hosting alongside a new website you've designed.
Reseller hosting is a type of web hosting that allows you to sub-let your space. The host gives you a large chunk of disk space and bandwidth, and you can carve it up and market it as you wish. The host doesn't dictate the prices, nor do they inflict their brand on your venture, so you can essentially start up a hosting business of your own.
There are a few key reasons to resell hosting:
- Setting up sites for family and friends
- Adding hosting as a new revenue stream to an existing business
- Starting a new business on your own
You still need to make sure that the plan is right for you, since not all reseller packages are equal.
Reseller hosting can be provisioned on a range of hosting plans. Basic reseller hosting tends to be set up on a shared server environment. For more power and control, you can often resell space on a VPS, cloud or dedicated server plan. Check that your host allows reselling if the plan is not marketed as a reseller plan specifically.
What You Get
Hosts generally give resellers a bulk discount, because they are essentially bringing new customers into the fold. This also allows you to make a profit on your own customised hosting packages.
You'll also normally benefit from a white label package, which means that your host's branding doesn't appear on the control panel, billing software and other administrative areas. From the cPanel login to the invoices you generate, you can use your own company name, giving your reseller hosting business a professional feel.
Your job as a host will be to provide first line support to your clients. If they lose their password, or can't locate a feature in cPanel, your host will normally expect you to deal with this. For more complex support queries, hosts offer different provision. You can submit tickets yourself and act as the go-between, or you can put your customer in touch with your host directly. In doing so, you may lose some of that white label sheen; if you plan to outsource support like this, ensure your host extends its white label provision to its support offering.
Can You Turn a Profit?
Many of today's big web hosts started off as resellers, proving that you can build a successful business this way. However, these hosts may have got into the business when they had few competitors in their niche. Nowadays, the hosting market is crowded, so there are fewer opportunities to make waves.
Don't expect to set up your business, sit back and watch the cash roll in. You will need to market it, deal with admin, write policies, set up advertising, create user accounts and compete for business against some of the best known brands on the planet. Depending on your business model, you may also need to provide some level of support. If your host runs into problems, your users will come to you for a solution, so reseller hosting isn't entirely stress-free.
If you're looking for a 'set and forget' earnings solution, you can sign up as a hosting affiliate and simply refer customers to hosts. While this isn't hassle-free, it's arguably less time-consuming than running your own hosting company. On the flip side, you can earn a great deal of money from being a reseller if you're willing to put in the effort to sign up your first 50 clients.
We just touched upon a couple of reasons why reseller hosting isn't hassle free:
- You need to be available to help your customers with support enquiries
- As a reseller, you have no direct influence on the hosting provider, yet you are wholly dependent on its success and stability
- Problems at your host will cause you headaches as your customers expect you to fix them
- While label hosting can be pricey, particularly with white label support
- You'll need to be obsessively organised with administration, accounts and backups
Finally, remember that being a reseller means being responsible for other people's ecommerce stores, business sites and livelihoods. You'll need to be tough when someone flouts the rules, and bear the brunt of complaints if things go wrong. If you have a head for business, reselling web hosting is a great way to increase your income online.