What Is Reseller Hosting?
Reseller hosting can be a very lucrative business. But you have to do it right, and that starts with getting the perfect host. This article will explain how to do this.
Getting Started With 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 Like Being a Landlord
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.
Why Be a Reseller?
There are a few key reasons to resell hosting:
- Setting up sites for family and friends
- Expand your business’ product offerings
- 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.
Different Reseller Hosting Types
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 customized hosting packages.
The reseller host you choose will either limit or enable your own host business goals, so make sure you choose wisely.
Most reseller hosts are equipped with certain standard features.
Note that not every host will have the features below, so determine your must-haves beforehand.
- cPanel or WHM
- Selling different styles of hosting
- Ability to offer your users unlimited disc space and bandwidth
- Bundled SSL certificate
- One-click installer.
cPanel and WHM
Offering users a cPanel account is the most common approach, but on occasion, you may want to offer WHM to customers who are looking to manage multiple websites at once.
Different Hosting Styles
Different reseller plans will let you sell different styles of hosting.
For instance, some may be fine with shared hosting, but you may want to bulk up your offerings by including VPS and dedicated hosting as well.
The ability to offer your users unlimited disc space and bandwidth is a great draw.
Typically, this will still have limits, like almost every shared hosting plan, but it’s a better offering than limited disc space and bandwidth.
Some reseller accounts come with bundled SSL certificate.
If you’re offering e-commerce hosting, then including a free or cheap SSL certificate is something you’ll want to consider.
Web hosting customers love one-click installers like Softaculous, Fantastico, and Installatron. Unfortunately, they are pretty expensive and not commonly offered with reseller plans
Other Reseller Features
There are a lot of other features that you might want for your reselling businesses. I’ll discuss some of them below.
You’ll also normally benefit from a white label package.
This 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 provisions. 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.
The final thing to keep in mind is utilizing an add-on domain reseller account.
If you’ve used beginner shared hosting in the past, then you’ve probably seen or used the feature that lets you register a domain at the same time you create your hosting account.
Most reseller plans offer you the ability to add domain reselling to your list of reseller services.
If this is a must-have, then double-check that the ability to resell domain names is included with your reseller hosting account.
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.
Hosting Is a Crowded Field
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 by starting a web hosting company.
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.
Set-Up Customer Support
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.
In fact, providing customer support will probably be where most of your time is spent. It’s a rarity for hosts to support resellers with their own customer support staff.
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.
If You Want to Succeed: Do the Work
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 inquiries
- 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
- Hosting can be pricey, particularly with white label support
- You’ll need to be obsessively organized with administration, accounts, and backups.
Avoid Free Reseller Hosting
When choosing a reseller host it can be tempting to go with a free reseller account, however, this will only lead to trouble. The best option is to go with a cheap reseller host that has a track record of stellar service.
Remember You’re Responsible
Finally, remember that being a reseller means being responsible for other people’s e-commerce 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.
Pros and Cons of Reseller Hosting
Hosting of all kinds have their good and bad points. That’s just as true of reseller hosting. So it’s important to remember of pros and cons of reseller hosting so you can decide what things are really important to you and which are deal breakers.
- An easy way to make money without a lot of work
- A good way to get started in web hosting
- You can offer customized hosting packages
- You’re responsible for handling some support tasks for your customers instead of the host
- You’ll have to determine pricing to turn a profit
- White label packages can be expensive
My Choices: The Top Three Reseller Hosts
A lot of hosts offer reseller plans of many types. But to help you out, it seems reasonable to tell you what hosts that I think are the best if you want to get into the reseller business.
HostGator reseller control panel screenshot via WhoIsHostingThis
If your goal is to offer the best unlimited plans to your customers, then HostGator’s reseller hosting is a great choice.
With this reseller package, you’ll be able to offer unlimited domains, MySQL databases, email accounts, and more.
It’s extremely flexible and can grow with you as your host business grows.
InMotion reseller control panel screenshot via WhoIsHostingThis
InMotion provides you with a solid high-performance host.
Face it, it’ll be hard to grow your hosting business if you offer subpar site performance.
Since InMotion uses SSD drives, they’re much faster than traditional hard drives.
Plus, the ability to offer your customers DDoS support and automated backups is a huge plus.
SiteGround reseller plans screenshot via WhoIsHostingThis
Siteground provides one of the best all-around reseller packages.
It’s more expensive to get started, but you’ll be able to offer your customers things like free email accounts, solid uptime and website speeds, free CDNs, and free SSL certificates.
Plus, with five different datacenter locations, you can help your customers reach a worldwide audience.
Reseller hosting is a great business for the right kind of person.
If you are technically minded and also well-organized, you could be running a profitable business in no time.
And don’t forget: a business that required very little in the way of start-up cash.
Remember People Are Depending on You
But you need to be serious about it. Your customers will depend upon you. If your site goes down, you don’t have the luxury of letting it sit because you have the flu today. There are others whose businesses are relying on you.
So if you want to be a web hosting reseller, make the decision now that you are going to be committed to it. And if you do that, you could make it a great success.
Looking for a great reseller option?
SiteGround — rated #1 by our readers — offers user-friendly reseller plans with plenty of freebies for your customers. Backed by excellent customer support, these plans are very affordable. Use this special discount link to get the best deal.
Other features in Hosting Types
Reseller Frequently Asked Questions
- Who is a web hosting reseller?
Resellers buy a hosting plan, divide the resources to create their own packages, and then sell those packages to customers. Some resellers market shared hosting only, while others resell VPS, cloud, and dedicated packages too.
- How does reseller hosting differ from shared hosting?
Shared hosting is designed for one person, with one control panel, and one username. You can’t create any additional accounts. Reseller hosting gives you an additional control panel with the ability to allocate chunks of space to other people.
- Why do people resell web hosting?
Reselling web hosting allows you to create your own virtual hosting company, without the expense of buying or leasing the servers yourself.
Reseller hosting is also popular with people who offer hosting as part of a service (such as a web designer that designs and hosts customers’ sites.)
- How can I make my reseller hosting business profitable?
When choosing a hosting company, be sure to read expert and customer reviews, and test out a company’s customer service. Although it may be more time-consuming, you should take advantage of a company’s trial period, if they offer one, so you can get a feel for the web hosting service before committing to it long-term.
You will also want to make sure that you brand and market your company effectively, to stand out in what has become a crowded marketplace, and be prepared to provide excellent customer service to your own hosting clients.
- Do all hosts allow reselling?
No. While many hosts market specific reseller plans, others may permit you to resell space on a VPS or dedicated server account. You might have to get their permission first.
Some hosts simply don’t offer any reseller options at all, so it’s very important to ask pre-sales questions before signing up for a host you are interested in.
- Are there any risks to reselling web hosting?
When you become a reseller, you’re essentially acting as a middleman for your hosting company. While you can set your own prices, you’re also responsible for the way your customers use their space, and you are ultimately answerable to the ‘parent’ host.
Additionally, all of the administration is down to you, so you’ll need to set up billing systems, support hotlines, and handle all of your taxes and accounts yourself.
- Do I need to be a hosting expert to be a reseller?
No, but you need to be able to provide a reasonable level of technical support, and you must be prepared to take on the responsibility of running a full-time hosting company. That may mean responding to outages and critical issues 24 hours a day.
You really need to have good working knowledge of HTML, PHP, CSS, email, domains, and DNS records.
- What hosting types can I resell?
You can sell any type of account that is made available for reselling at your provider.
- How much is it going to cost me?
You’ll need to pay for your reseller plan, at whatever level you choose to purchase it.
You’ll also incur all of the normal costs of running and marketing a business, including advertising, domain registration, software, support, phone lines, and staff salaries.
It will inevitably take a while to sell enough hosting to break even. Bear this in mind when you choose your first reseller plan.
- What control panels do hosts provide?
If you’re planning to resell Linux hosting, you’ll usually be provided with cPanel and WHM. cPanel controls the settings on each individual user account, while WHM controls all of the accounts at the top level. There are other alternatives, so if you have a preference, check with your host.
- Will the web host provide support to my clients?
In most cases, resellers are responsible for providing first line support. That means setting up accounts, email addresses, and databases will be your responsibility, and you’ll also need to answer all technical questions from your clients.
Your host will take care of more advanced questions. However, you may still need to act as the go-between to relay responses from your host to your customer.
- How much should I charge for hosting?
Check what other hosts are charging, and come up with a figure that offers similar specifications to customers. You will need to be able to cover your costs while remaining competitive.
- Can I sell add-ons with hosting?
Yes. You could sell extras like marketing vouchers, themes, upgrades, software, or SSL certificates. Check with your host to see what’s available.
- Can I resell accounts on my VPS or dedicated server?
Check with your host. Even if you get WHM, you might not be allowed to resell space on your plan.
- Will my host back up my customers’ websites?
In most cases they will not, so it’s up to you to have your own backup routine. It’s really important that you take your customers’ data seriously. They will depend on you to provide backups if something goes wrong.
- Will my customers know I am a reseller?
Not necessarily, unless you choose to tell them. Many resellers create their own company names, brand logos, and billing systems. Their customers never know who’s providing the hosting on the other side.
There are pros and cons to this approach. On the one hand, it makes the company look independent and self-sufficient. But in some cases, it can be a benefit to use the parent company’s brand as a selling point, and it means that you can potentially put your customers in touch with the parent company’s support department for complex questions.
There is no correct or incorrect option. It really depends if you are reselling to create an additional revenue stream, or reselling to build a brand in its own right.