How to Resell Hosting - A Comprehensive Guide

Julia

· ·Reseller Hosting

How to Resell Hosting - A Comprehensive Guide

As more and more entrepreneurs look for increasingly simple setups for their business websites, we’ve seen an explosion in resellers entering the market to provide personalized service.

If reselling is something you’ve been considering, or you’re simply curious about how it all works, we’ve created this step-by-step guide to help you get started and decide if it’s the right decision for you.

What Is Reseller Hosting?


A reseller will rent a set amount of server space from a large hosting platform, before then selling on that space to third-party clients. The reseller gets to promote the service under their own company name, as well as provide unique extras that might not be available from the primary host.

It’s a particularly popular choice among businesses already working in the digital space, and you can find more details over on our reseller hosting page.

Pros and Cons of Reseller Hosting

Pros

Low barriers to entry - Even those lacking experience in the web hosting field can jump in and give it a try
It’s a chance to grow your brand - reselling is the perfect opportunity to expand the brands of those working in digital industries
It’s relatively inexpensive - Introductory packages can usually be found between $10 and $20 per month
Support is constantly improving - As reselling becomes increasingly popular, web hosting platforms are pulling out all the stops to attract new customers with impressive support options
Cons

You’re restricted by your partner platform - You’re totally dependent on your web hosting platform for uptime and feature compatibility
It’s hard to compete on price - In a crowded market, it can fast become a race to the bottom. Find other ways to make your service stand out as unique besides you price point

How to Start a Web Hosting Business


It’s actually a lot easier to start your own web hosting business than you might think. It can be a lucrative source of revenue for major hosting platforms, and you’ll often find the sign-up process and technical management aspects are all made as simple as possible in order to draw in as many budding new web resellers as possible.

You can check out our comprehensive guide to starting your own web hosting business here, including the pros, cons, requirements, and need-to-know info.

Who Would Benefit From Being a Reseller?


  • Web developers - If you’re already building the website for your clients, why not manage their hosting needs too? Reselling is the perfect complementary addition to your business

  • SEO and marketing professionals - Another great industry that fits right in with reselling. Not only can you optimize your client’s website for Google, but you can also actively make sure they’ve got all their keywords and meta tags covered in the back end of the site when they host with you too

  • People looking to start a brand new business - You don’t need a lot of experience to get started as a reseller. There’s no denying it’ll be a lot of hard work, but if you’re willing to learn, and have the time to put forward, this could be a fresh start for you

How to Resell Hosting


How to resell hosting guide

Step 1 - Define Your Offering

You should never enter this industry without first having done your research. It’s a pretty crowded market, and most of those that find success have done so because they found a niche and had a defined offering. Some might focus on being the go-to host for restaurateurs or realtors, while others might differentiate by providing top-notch customer service.

Find something you’re passionate about, and build your hosting offering around that. Many resellers are actually former business owners that were frustrated with some aspect of their web hosting services in the past and are looking to solve a problem.

Step 2 - Compare Hosting Platforms

There are dozens of hosting platforms offering reseller services right now, and it can be difficult to know which to pick. Larger platforms will generally have more tools and features to choose from, but prices can vary considerably. We’d recommend never going for the cheapest platform you find though, as this can often come back to bite you further down the line.

Check out online reviews, create a comparison chart of your favorites and find out which ones offer the best customer service integrations. Most providers will have free trials, or money-back periods, and we suggest taking full advantage of these. So try a few out before you make the final decision.

Step 3 - Choose an appropriate hosting package

Once you’ve found a hosting platform, you’ll need to choose the best package for your needs.

Generally, different tiers will offer management of more websites, more memory and more bandwidth at each subsequent level, so your decision will largely be based on how many clients you want to sell to.

However, keep an eye out for some of these little extras that might help sway your decision:

  • Free installation of a billing and customer management dashboard
  • Daily backups of customer data,
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Strong security controls

Step 4 - Decide on Hybrid or Dedicated Servers

Decide on Hybrid or Dedicated Servers*

This decision will go on to impact the types of services you can offer to your clients. Hybrid servers will probably be your best bet when starting out, as it allows multiple clients to share the same space.

However, some resellers go down the route of becoming dedicated server specialists. Here, each server is limited to just one user and your client will have full control over its use. One client should be able to host dozens of websites on there too and is a service many will be happy to pay a premium for.

Step 5 - Decide on a Managed or Unmanaged Service

If you’re brand new to reselling, we’d definitely recommend going down the managed route when you start out.

Under a managed service, the web host will look after all the technical aspects of your business, including uptime issues, software installation, bug fixes, integrated customer support and server security.

An unmanaged service means all of these responsibilities now fall onto you. While it might at first seem counterintuitive to choose this option, some resellers prefer it because it gives them complete control over every aspect of the business.

Step 6 - Write a Business Plan

We can’t stress enough that this is a business just like any other. This isn’t something you can pick up and operate easily as a passive income stream, it takes ongoing and consistent management to make it a success. Therefore, much like any profitable venture, you’re going to need a business plan.

Plan out how many clients you expect to take on, and the steps you need to take to win them. Budget for everything. Including hosting costs, marketing, potential staff hires and emergencies. Setting clear expectations should enable you to quickly scale up when you need to, or scale down during lean times. Make sure you find a hosting partner that offers flexible plans to meet the ever-changing needs of your operation.

Step 7 - Make Sure You Can Provide Strong Customer Service

web hosting customer service

Being able to provide excellent customer service might just be the most important aspect of any reseller business. This is actually another reason we recommend you choose a managed service. This way, your hosting platform can worry about the day-to-day technical issues, while you work on the customer-facing aspects of your business.

In fact, as a smaller host, you’ll be able to provide incredibly personalized responses to customer queries right from the moment they’re onboarded. Make sure you have a welcome email set up for new customers, that 24/7 live chat is available, your website interface is easy to use and keep your customers up to date on any downtime issues.

Many hosting platforms will offer integrated customer service tools as part of most packages, and we suggest you make full use of these. Just remember to make tweaks and add your own personal stamp too.

Step 8 - Have a Marketing Strategy

We mentioned earlier that reselling is becoming an increasingly popular and crowded market. The competition is stiff, and new web hosting services are springing up all of the time. It’s therefore vital to have a targeted, and fully costed, marketing strategy.

A good place to start is with Google and Facebook Ads, targeted at your chosen niche. For example, you might want to buy keywords for manufacturers or gyms looking to host a website. Or, it might even be worth targeting a sub-niche in your local area. This is a good choice for web developers that are looking to snatch up the local hosting market.

Do some networking in your area with your local Chamber of Commerce, or sell yourself as an all-in-one web development and hosting platform. If you’ve signed up with a provider that allows free domain transfers, you can make a tidy income poaching clients from your rivals, all because you were able to build a personal relationship with your customer base.

Don’t forget other avenues like email marketing campaigns, applying SEO to your website, social media posts and even old-fashioned phone calls to prospects. Looking for new clients is how you’ll be spending most of your time as a reseller, so never neglect your sales and marketing strategy.

Step 9 - Create Packages for Your Customers

This is your chance to add a little creative spark into your business, and you can offer as many packages as you’d like. We’d advise not going overboard though, and focusing on building your client packages around the core offering you outlined all the way back in step one.

Bear in mind that several features are now pretty much expected as standard across the industry, such as free SSL certificates, File Transfer Protocol access, one-click content management installers and free domain name registration. So, if you’re not offering these you might end up driving some customers away.

You’ll need to remember that you’ll be restricted in terms of services you can offer based on your own relationship with the hosting platform you’re renting space from. Take a look around the industry and find out what competitors are offering, and which hosts offer the most freedom to develop unique customer packages. Then, calculate overheads for each package and make sure to price it accordingly.

Step 10 - Have a Control Panel to Manage Customers and Billing

The final piece to the reseller puzzle is to have an intuitive customer management dashboard in place. The best platforms will be able to track billing, record customer queries and even facilitate marketing campaigns to some degree. In addition, communicating with your customers in this way makes you look more professional, lets you set up automated monthly payment collections, monitor missed payments and allows the processing of new orders when you're not online yourself. Web Host Manager Complete Solution, and many of the best hosting partners will allow you to easily integrate the tool into your reselling business.

As an added bonus, it even lets you start an affiliate program in which your customers can refer their friends and family to your hosting service for a small percentage of the sale.

Having a platform like WHMCS in place means your customers can get their websites up and running within minutes, and it’s an essential tool to have in place before you start your reselling adventure.

Summary


If you’re someone that loves a challenge, and isn’t afraid of a little hard work, now is the perfect time to get into the reselling game. As you’ve seen from our guide here, there’s a lot of groundwork to be done upfront, and your business will need a lot of attention for it to remain successful. However, for those that plan appropriately, understand the risks, and are fully aware of the work that needs to be done, it can be an incredibly lucrative and rewarding business to get yourself into. If you’d like to know more, why not head on over to our reseller product page to find out what’s on offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Really Make Money Through Reselling?

Yes. 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.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Reseller?

In theory, you can be up and running in just a few minutes. However, only those that have done diligent research, and have written a clear business plan will succeed.

Will My Hosting Business Be Anonymous?

Yes, through the use of Whitelabel servers, your customers won’t know you’re reselling.

How Do I Deal With Customer Support Queries?

Most new resellers will use support channels offered by the web hosting platform. Although customers can direct all queries to you personally, or your own customer service team, if you wish.

What Experience Do I Need to Get Started?

Most resellers have at least a basic understanding of the industry, but you don’t need any detailed technical expertise to get started.

Julia
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Julia Raznik
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