Becoming a hosting reseller can be a lucrative means of starting a new business or cross-selling to your current customer-base, without the complexities of setting up and fully managing your own infrastructure. By employing your technical hosting knowledge, you can benefit from a recurring income and a long-term relationship with customers.
But like any business, it requires strategic planning and investment before you can offer a compelling and reliable service. Here are five steps to getting started as a hosting reseller that will set you up for success.
1. Select a host
This is possibly the most important step, as the service you offer to your customers will be directly linked with the service your host offers you. You should have a number of questions in mind when searching for a host:
- Do they have a good reputation? Check reviews, Twitter, forums etc.
- Do they have complete ownership and control over their infrastructure? This includes their data centres and network.
- Do they offer customisable server deployments? Whether it be a scalable bare metal cloud or a dedicated server environment, can you completely customise your hardware and software to your requirements?
- Do they offer application support for resellers? Either for leading billing software, control panels or your own systems, you need API integration.
- Do they offer generous discounts for resellers? As you grow your customer-base, do you retain more revenue per acquisition?
2. Choose your hosting package
Traditional reseller hosting involves selling provisioned space on a dedicated server, but cloud environments, where your reseller package and your customers’ packages can be easily scaled, are popular today. Whatever your preference, you should choose and customise your hosting package based on your projection of customer growth, your expectations of customer requirements and your budget. By completely tailoring your server environment through, for instance, the number of cores or the type of hard drive fitted, you can deliver enhanced performance to your customers and gain a competitive advantage.
3. Create your own hosting packages
The hosting packages you offer will again be determined by your expectations of who your customers will be. A key consideration is the pricing strategy you employ. Typically you will not be able to compete solely on price against big hosting companies, so factors such as resource allocation (disk space, bandwidth, databases etc.), the type of hardware and software instances available and quality of support should dictate the prices of your plans.
4. Plan your support system
You need a control panel, plus ticketing and billing software to manage and support your customers. WHMCS, the leading web hosting automation platform, is often the go-to application for handling billing and support, and you may want to choose a hosting provider that have aWHMCS plugin. Whatever you choose, you need to get to grips with your system as it will act as the backbone of your communication with customers.
You also need to plan the logistics of the support you offer, for example, the hours that you provide support (which should be reflected in your pricing) and the arrangement between you and your host regarding how you handle physical hardware issues.
5. Define your terms of service
Every host, including resellers, needs to define terms and conditions of service to prevent illegal, abusive or disruptive activity by customers. For resellers, this needs to be in accordance with the host’s acceptable usage policies. This can always be found on a host’s website, but if you need further guidance or support, you should contact your host to establish your documentation and ensure it is legally sound.
6. Get your hosting business online
Just like any other business, you need to bring your hosting services to market. Of course, this involves creating an eCommerce website or, if web hosting is a natural extension of your current services, adding landing pages and support system functionality to your existing business’ site.
From here, it’s up to you how you approach your marketing strategy, whether you utilise display or search ads, develop an organic content marketing plan or something else.
The key to reseller hosting success is treating it like a business. Whether you provide managed infrastructures or applications services, your customers expect reliability and professionalism. The host you rely on for your reseller service lays down the foundation of this, and that’s why in many respects the initial stage of choosing a host is the most important. Find out about the Redstation Reseller Programme today.
To ensure you hosting reseller business has the support it needs, you might want to consider the world’s leading billing software. If this is something your interested it, don’t hesitiate to download our guide for hosting resellers about ‘How to Get the Best from WHMCS’.