There aren't many industries where companies set up other companies as potential competitors, but web hosting is certainly one of them. The plethora of web hosts available on the market makes it look like there are thousands-upon-thousands of individual companies operating in the web hosting arena with their own capacity, when in fact, if you trace the origins of the services these companies offer, you might find the majority of web hosts are selling services that originate from a relatively low number of web hosting providers. "Resellers" – companies that sell on other companies services - represent the bulk of the industry these days, and often resellers receive a lot of encouragement from providers to do well in their new chosen profession.
Providers who offer "reseller hosting" packages to resellers provide their products and services on a 'White Label' basis to virtually anyone who wants to channel their entrepreneurial spirit towards the web hosting industry. Resellers purchase services from a provider, and set up a website under a unique company name and logo, and offer a provider's products and services as though they were their own. Not only that, many providers offer the templates a reseller needs to set up a web hosting website and also offer a wealth of advice: white papers and manuals on best practice, and hands on training which teaches a reseller how to find the customers they need to generate the sort of income that makes it worth becoming self-employed.
Once up and running, resellers operate as the middlemen between their customers and the web hosting providers. When a reseller's customer has technical issues, he or she reports to the reseller. The reseller then liaises with the provider to seamlessly address the issue. As a result, reseller customers are often oblivious to the fact that they are actually using the services of another company.
Becoming a reseller has obvious advantages. With limited startup costs, someone can get into a business that enjoys consistent growth and can generate considerable profit. But where does a budding reseller start? How do you get on the bandwagon?
Find the Best Reseller Hosting Package for Your Needs
Sounds too obvious to mention, but your lifespan as a reseller is going to be very much dependent on the package you buy into. Given that resellers themselves offer reseller packages to their customers to sell on, finding the right package might well be your biggest challenge and a considerable investment in time and energy. Do you run with providers that offer massive savings on bulk services en masse and therefore offer more profit potential, or do you select a provider who deals with fewer resellers and offers a more intimate service with a select group of partners? Who provides the best support? Who has a good reputation and who doesn't?
Speak to the Web Hosting Community
To shorten the learning curve, get involved in the web hosting community. Fortunately FindUKHostingprovides a forum where members of the web hosting community gather to chew the fat, do their research, and gather intelligence. These are the people on the frontline and they will have valuable information regarding which Reseller Hosting packages offer value and which you shouldn't touch.
Speak to the Web Host
Once you have got a short(ish) list of providers start talking to them – look at contracts and look at Service-level Agreements (SLAs). If there is anything in them that you don't understand, go back to members of the web hosting community and ask them questions. Ask the community what you need to ask. You might come up with a lot of questions, but never mind – a good provider will be happy to address them all:
- Is your network reliable?
- How often do you do backups?
- What compensation do I get if your service is down?
- What about the future – do you have the capacity to support me if this business takes off?
- How many support staff do you have and what is their availability?
- What happens if I am not happy with your service?
- Etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum.
Check the web hosting sites
Once you have a good feel for what you need to know to make a good decision start looking at websites like FindUKHosting. Look at comparisons of the various providers these sites provide. Do you get a free domain name reselling account with a particular provider? If so, they might be the provider to go with – everybody needs an additional revenue stream, right? What apps does a provider offer end users? What about website builders? What about migration services – does a host help users move from one provider to your services? Again, if so, they might be the one you want.
How do you differentiate yourself?
You need to choose a Reseller Hosting package and provider that will allow you to stand out from the crowd. Some providers go so far as to offer control panels that allow resellers to mix and match products and services in a wholly unique fashion. Obviously, with that type of capability you could address niche markets that might potentially be more lucrative. Other providers allow you to control customer accounts directly, again giving you the potential to stand head and shoulders above other resellers in terms of the customer service, etc. you offer.
How do you promote yourself?
Some providers provide assistance with promotion – you might get some Adsense credits or advertising on Bing or Yahoo, etc. Some providers will promote you to their own Facebook community, etc. But although you are going to rely on your provider for technical prowess and quality products and services, you need the business basics if your web hosting venture is going to be successful. As with any business, successful branding and marketing starts with a thorough plan. Don't skimp on the spadework – again, if in doubt, hit the forums and ask people who have been there before you.
Your aim is to be the next web hosting great, and you can't do that tugging on your provider's shirtsleeves. Remember – many of the leading web hosts in the industry started as resellers and then ended up with their own servers and capability… Your goal is to emulate and surpass that success – reselling is a means to an end, not an end in its own right.