Broadly, all web hosting services can be categorized in three groups:
- Shared or virtual web hosting services
- Dedicated web hosting services
- Reseller web hosting services
Shared Web Hosting
The most common type of web hosting is shared hosting. In shared hosting, you create an account with a web hosting company for a monthly or yearly fee for a pre-determined amount of web space, bandwidth, functionality, etc. In turn, the web hosting company ‘hosts’ or maintains your website on their server. This type of web hosting is suitable for most small business and information websites.
Dedicated Web Hosting
If your website is extremely large, has a large number of concurrent users or attracts extremely heavy traffic, then you can opt for dedicated hosting. In this case, only your website is hosted on a server. When you opt for dedicated hosting, you do not share your bandwidth or server space with other websites.
Reseller Web Hosting
Web hosting can be quite a lucrative business considering the explosion of websites. Just about every individual and business needs a website these days – and every website needs to be hosted somewhere. However, when you start a new web hosting company, you may not have enough capital or time to invest in either the server, infrastructure or the maintenance that a web hosting set up demands. In the start-up phase, it is often more prudent to focus on marketing and growing the business than to be bogged down by the hassles of ensuring your web hosting setup is running smoothly. This is where reseller web hosting comes in.
What is Reseller Hosting?
Instead of setting up the infrastructure needed for starting a web hosting company, you can buy a bulk hosting plan or reseller account from an established web hosting company. This way, a large amount of web hosting space and bandwidth is allotted to you as a web hosting reseller and you can divide this into smaller pieces or packages and “resell” them to your customers. This way, you build a partnership with an established hosting company, avoid the hassles associated with creating your own web hosting infrastructure and can focus on marketing your hosting services and packages. The established web hosting company benefits too because they have now acquired a bulk hosting partner who off-takes a certain committed volume of web hosting space or bandwidth.
In this arrangement, the web server belongs to and is operated by the established web hosting company or primary host. In most cases, the reseller is free to claim the server as their own even though they seldom have full physical access to it. If your customers need some amount of customization by way of additional modules being installed on the server, etc., in most cases, the parent hosting company will be happy to oblige their reseller hosting partners.
How does Reseller Hosting work?
It would not be wrong to say that a reseller is a representative or agent of the primary hosting company, acting as the middlemen between the customer and the primary host. A typical reseller hosting account has the following characteristics:
- Agency: The reseller typically acts as the agent of the primary hosting company. In some cases, the reseller may use the primary hosting company’s brand name while marketing the hosting service. Many primary hosting companies offer affiliate tie-ups where their resellers can refer customers to the parent hosting company for a referral fee or commission.
- Marketing: In some cases, the reseller advertises the hosting service as being that of the parent hosting company. In this arrangement, customers usually are referred to the parent host for all technical support and other requirements while the reseller’s role is limited to marketing the service. In other cases, the reseller can re-brand the service in their own name and provide support to their customers. In this scenario, the customers need not ever know that their hosting provider is a reseller of the primary hosting company.
- Packaging: Depending on the marketing arrangement, resellers may either act as a representative of the parent hosting company or re-package the service under their own brand name.
- Space: Resellers purchase web hosting space and bandwidth in bulk from the primary hosting company and then divide it into smaller packages depending on the need of their customers.
Starting a Reseller Hosting Business
If you are seriously considering starting a reseller hosting business, you need to do the following:
- Find a reliable primary hosting company that offers good reseller packages.
- Make sure you have a well thought out marketing plan of hosting packages that can be offered to your customers. Decide whether you want to rebrand the hosting or act as a representative of the primary hosting company. Make sure your partner is open to the kind of arrangement you are looking for.
- Make sure you have enough control over your control panel as a reseller to be able to manage and invoice your customers.
- Find a differentiator. Why should someone purchase a web hosting package from you rather tahn your competition? Try and create a differentiator that will make your packages attractive to your customers. This can be by way of pricing, the flexibility of packages you offer or some other form of differentiator
- Market your service. Make sure you have a well optimized website that attracts enough visitors to make your business viable. If needed, promote your service online and advertise in conventional marketing channels.
How do you get started with a reseller hosting account?
Setting up a reseller web hosting account can either be an effective way to earn a supplemental income or, depending on your commitment and marketing efforts, it can be a great full time business too. The first thing you need to do is find a reliable partner. Check the reseller hosting plans offered by Ballistic Domains. We would be happy to get you started. Contact us if you need any help setting up your reseller hosting account.