How to Host Websites for Clients in 6 Steps

Ron Stefanski

Written by Website entrepreneur

June 27, 2022
How to Host Websites for Clients in 6 Steps

As a freelance web developer or designer, you may have been asked by clients to host their new sites for them. If you haven’t already started doing so, then you’re likely leaving a lot of money on the table.

Instead of sending clients to hosting companies, you can simply host the website yourself and pocket all the profits that would otherwise go to the hosting provider.

When you resell hosting, you can charge a premium for it and add an additional source of recurring revenue to your business.

Your server costs are covered, you make extra money, and the best part is that the process doesn't have to be complicated.

Read the rest of this article to discover the step-by-step process for hosting websites for clients.

Step #1: Pick a Reliable Hosting Provider


If you want to start offering hosting services to your clients, you’ll need to complete some due diligence first. Some things to consider before picking the best hosting provider include:

  • Reliability

  • Security

  • Support

  • Pricing

  • Plan Options

So where should you host?

There are many (many) hosting options out there, but they all fall into just three major categories for the purpose of this article, and these are:

1. Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most affordable type of hosting because many customers share hosting space with a lot of other sites.

2. Managed Hosting

In recent years, managed servers have become more and more popular. Managed hosting servers provide a lot more optimized functionality and additional features, such as:

  • Staging sites

  • SSL encryption

  • Automated backups

  • One-click backup restores

  • 24/7 chat support

A great example of this type of host provider is Verpex.

3. Hosted Platforms or Website Builders

The third option with regard to hosting websites for clients is to use hosted platforms or website builders such as Wix, Shopify and Squarespace.

However, it's important to note that while these types of platforms offer the most features straight out of the gate, your needs are likely to surpass the hosted platform capability very quickly, at which point, you will be forced to migrate your clients' websites off the hosted platform (and this is a huge disadvantage of website builders and can be a huge hassle).

Of course, depending on the needs of your clients, these types of platforms can be a great way to increase your efficiency without adding to your workload.

You'll get fast, optimized hosting, together with design functionality. Updates are taken care of and you don't have to worry about making sure that themes and plugins work well together on each site, which leaves you free to focus on other aspects of your business.


So what’s the best hosting option choice?

Well, we’ve established that it’s best to stay away from website builders, so the hosted platforms are off the table.

You might considershared hosting if it suits your needs, but if you want to do more development and offer custom functionality, or there is a piece of functionality that you really need that isn’t available in any shared hosting plan, definitely go with managed cloud servers or managed WordPress hosting.

I use Verpex hosting, and I’m very happy with them.

They have a good combination of features, price, and outstanding customer service.

Verpex Hosting Review

The platform’s hosting plans deliver industry-leading results with exceptional service.

Competitive reseller hosting prices make it easy and affordable for freelancer web designers to offer hosting for their clients.

Here’s what you get:

  • Premium Features
    Verpex plans include image compression, advanced caching, and built-in CDN, so your clients’ websites load with exceptional speed.

  • Automatic Updates
    You won’t have to worry about manual theme or plugin updates with Verpex. All updates are handled for you.

  • No Hidden Fees
    If one of your websites has a massive spike in traffic, other sites won’t slow down, and you won’t receive a higher bill.

  • Best-in-Class Security and Support
    The platform’s support team is constantly monitoring servers, and you can reach them 24/7.

Step #2: Determine Your Pricing Structure


Once you’ve chosen the right hosting for your clients’ websites, it’s time to decide how much you’re going to charge for hosting.

It’s also important to realize that some client sites will be much larger than others and require more significant storage space. Typically one can assume simply that the more webpages the greater the storage space, but this is not always true.

A site with 15-20 pages may require more storage space than a site with 50 or even 100 pages if the smaller site is built using a lot of dynamic or interactive elements, GIFs, videos, audio files, and related multi-media features.

Setting different prices based on storage size as well as types of content to be hosted can help you determine fairer pricing for both you and your client.

However, being able to refer leads to podcast hosting platforms, online course platforms, YouTube, social media, and other platforms can help increase brand reach and decrease the storage size required by the site.

This can help you to diversify your services while ensuring that you offer your clients the most cost-effective solution. This will help you retain their business for the long term.

Since you’ll provide support to the clients, you’ll need to mark up the hosting costs in order to cover your time.

Step #3: Draft Hosting Contracts


Your next step is to draft hosting contracts, or if you already have contracts with clients, update them to include a hosting option.

A hosting agreement is a legal contract between a web host and a client, stating the mutual rights and obligations of both the web host and the client.

There are many free hosting agreement templates online, but it may be a good idea to get legal counsel to ensure that you’re covering all the basics.

Here’s an example of what a hosting agreement contract looks like:

Web hosting agreement contract Sample

Source

You may find that some clients Aare creating a website for a new business. In my experience, many of these people can use the assistance in forming an LLC or other business entity, filing legal paperwork, maintaining business correspondence, and more.

While you as a web designer may not be able to provide these services yourself, there are many registered agent services that can assist your clients. It may be wise to familiarize yourself with the leaders in the industry and reach out to develop relationships. As with affiliate marketing, it’s possible to receive passive income via referrals to these or other services.

Step #4: Include Hosting in Your Proposals


Now you can start to prepare pricing and descriptions of your hosting services to include on any new proposals.

Instead of simply waiting for new clients to inquire whether or not you can host their website for them, you can take the initiative and offer to host your clients’ websites.

Make your offer, even if they already have their own hosting. You may still be surprised to find that some will be happy to have you host their site so you can handle everything for them.

Even at the most basic level, the ability to handle web servers is considered a high-level skill. The majority of clients don'ts enjoy doing this and would rather have someone handle the technical nitty-gritty for them. They simply want their website to work without having to endure a long learning curve.

Even with training, many clients are almost never able to keep their website updated properly, and so by hosting their websites, you are providing a value-added service that will make you even more valuable to your clients.

Step #5: Set Up Web Hosting


Here’s a step-by-step process for setting up web hosting for your clients.

  • 1. Identify the Type of Hosting Required
    What type of website does your client need? Is it a static site? Do you have to build an eCommerce website quickly? Do they require managed WordPress hosting? Make a choice depending on your client’s needs.
  • 2. Update Your Account
    When you've determined the type of website and hosting required, your next step is to update your account with your host provider.
    The majority of WordPress or WooCommerce hosting plans come with a set number of websites or online stores that you can operate on each plan. As long as you have available slots, simply set up your new website. If not, then you'll have to upgrade to the next plan.
  • 3. Build the Website
    Most hosts will give you a temporary domain to create your site. Set up the client’s website and complete testing and revisions using the temporary domain.
  • 4. Update DNS Records for the URL
    When you’re ready to make the website live, you must point the domain name to your servers. If the client bought the domain name, you will provide them with details of where to point the URL to your host.

Pro Tip: Don’t purchase the domain name for your client.
Domain names are easy to buy, but a headache to transfer, so let your client buy it and then provide you with the login details so you can handle the DNS part.

  • 5. Configure Server Settings
    Now it’s time to configure your server settings, including backups. Most hosting plans include automatic backups or updates, and if that’s the case, simply configure those for each of your clients’ sites.

Step #6: Limit your Risk


When you host your clients’ websites, you’re their first line of tech support. If they install a plugin that breaks the site, you’re the one they will call.

If your hosting provider has an outage, your clients will call you - not the hosting provider. Not to mention the fact that you will get the blame since you (and not the company that you’re reselling) are their web host.

You have to regularly monitor the server load and make sure that no single website is hogging all the resources and slowing other sites down.

In addition to support liability, as a sysadmin, you’ll also have legal liability.

That’s why it’s important to take the time when starting out to get proper legal contracts drawn up, otherwise, you’ll open yourself up to all sorts of liabilities, such as data loss caused by hardware failure and lost sales due to network outages.

Without the proper protection of your business, all it takes is a single bad incident and one pissed-off customer to bring everything crumbling down.

Make sure you protect yourself by telling your business insurance company about the hosting services you’re offering so you can get adequate coverage.

Conclusion


And that’s it for this article. You now have my step-by-step process for hosting websites for clients.

Whether you’re new at this or already experienced in hosting sites for clients, it never hurts to learn more about the complex world of web-server admin.

Use this information to help you set up a successful hosting operation so you can start enjoying the benefits that come with it, including recurring revenue, upsell potential, and most importantly, the increased customer satisfaction you’ll experience when you can add even more value to your services.

Are you ready to add hosting to your freelancing services? Share your thoughts below!

Frequently Asked Questions


What is reseller hosting?

Reseller hosting is essentially a way for you to purchase hosting resources from us in bulk and then to re-sell those resources directly to your clients. You can set limitations on disk space, bandwidth, email usage, and other features on a per-package or per-site basis. We provide a completely managed service from a technical perspective - the server space, hosting resources and support come from us and you are responsible for supporting your end-user clients. You can even brand your clients' cPanels with your own logo for a super professional image.

But reseller hosting isn’t just for web designers, agencies and start-up hosting companies - it’s also a great option if you run a lot of websites personally. Because you have access to WHM, you can create each site with its own separate cPanel. This means each site or client gets their own login to manage their own hosting settings, isolating them completely from other users on the same server or under your account. This improves site performance and resiliency from malware attacks.

We have a lot more information on what is reseller hosting on our blog.

Can you make money with reseller hosting?

You definitely can. There are countless success stories from entrepreneurs that have managed to take on hundreds, even thousands of clients, just be aware of the work you’ll need to put in.

Read our article to learn more about web hosting business income.

How does Verpex help with my reseller hosting?

Our job doesn’t end once we’ve sold you the reseller space. In fact, we’re with you for the whole time you’re hosting with us, supporting both your needs and that of the customers you pick up along the way, whether you max out your cPanel account limit or not.

The Verpex team is at your disposal, acting as your essential support team 24/7. That means anything pertaining to hardware, the network, updates and configuration, security, and connectivity, is all handled by us.

Both you and your customers can focus on running your businesses while we take care of all maintenance and troubleshooting with expert technical support.

What’s included in a reseller package?

Reseller packages commonly include disk space, domain hosting, bandwidth, the latest cPanel control panel, premium support by the hosting providers, the ability to brand your own web hosting company, and so on.

Is reseller hosting profitable?

In general, reseller hosting is very profitable. However, to be able to offset your initial cost, the hardest part will be getting your first few reseller clients.

Are all reseller hosting plans cloud-based?

Our servers are in the cloud. So yes, all our reseller hosting plans are cloud-based

How do I become a hosting reseller?

To become a hosting reseller, all you need to do is select a host, choose a hosting package, create your own hosting packages, and get your hosting business online.

How do I promote my reseller hosting business?

Many find success with targeted Google and Facebook ads when promoting their reseller hosting website. Try and focus on a niche or local market to start off with.

Do you offer control panel customization for resellers?

You can customize your control panel in whichever way you want, thanks to the white-label service we provide.

What is the key to success for reseller hosting?

The foundation of the success of your reseller hosting business will be finding a proper reseller web hosting provider that will provide you reliable and consistent support and service.

Affiliate program vs reseller hosting: What is the difference? Which is better?

Both have advantages and disadvantages and one isn’t better than the other. Rather, each will be better in different circumstances.

Those looking to build a business should try reselling, while those wanting passive income should become affiliates.

You can learn more about the differences between reseller hosting and affiliate programs on our blog.

Will my clients know I’m reselling?

No. If you use White label servers your customers will never be able to connect you to your host partner.

What does white label hosting mean?

This means that your clients won’t know you’re a reseller. Your hosting platform will provide unnamed servers that you can rebrand to fit your business, and you’ll appear as the primary provider.

You can learn more about white label hosting on our blog.

Ron Stefanski
About the Author
Ron Stefanski

Ron Stefanski is a website entrepreneur and marketing professor who has a passion for helping people create and market their own online business. You can learn more from him by visiting OneHourProfessor.com

View all posts by Ron Stefanski
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