How to Host Websites for Clients in 6 Steps

Ron Stefanski

Website entrepreneur ··Reseller Hosting

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 companies out there, but they all fall into just three major categories for the purpose of this article, and these are:

1. Shared/Budget Hosting

This type of hosting is cheap because many customers share hosting space with a lot of other sites.

2. Managed Hosting

In recent years, managed hosts have become more and more popular. These types of hosts 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

The third option with regard to hosting websites for clients is to use hosted platforms.

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 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 choice?

Well, we’ve established that it’s best to stay away from cheap hosting, so the shared/budget option is off the table.

You might consider hosted platforms if they suit 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 hosted platform, definitely go with managed/VPS 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


How much does hosting cost?

Shared hosting is usually cheaper, while dedicated hosting is more expensive. However, there are lots of options in between for different prices.

Is reseller hosting profitable?

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

Can web hosting be changed?

Regardless of your technical knowledge, anyone can switch web hosting providers. You can find a new web hosting provider that can help you with it, or you can migrate to the new provider on your own.

What’s the difference between shared hosting and WordPress hosting?

Web hosting is a catch-all term for any type of hosted service. WordPress hosting a specialized niche that’s optimized to the WordPress content management system.

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

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