Best Ways to Resell Hosting — Reseller, VPS, or Dedicated Servers?
Last updated on Nov 2, 2017
Reselling web hosting is often a lucrative business if done correctly. You need to provide good support to your clients and offer a decent set of features, but other than that, you are mostly free from worries. Of course, this depends on the nature of reselling model that you have. If you are cutting corners and relying on poor upstream hosting provider, your reselling business will not fare well.
Thus, you need to pick an upstream hosting provider that offers reliable uptime. Beyond that, you also need to have a business model that is profitable. One such concern that you should have is: which is the best way to resell web hosting? Should you opt for a reseller plan, get a VPS, or have a dedicated server? This article shall answer the question.
Reseller Web Hosting
Reseller web hosting is the most obvious model that a new web host can follow. You purchase a reseller package from a reputed web hosting provider, and then resell shared hosting plans to your clients.
Naturally, this involves the least expense and least technical prowess. On the other hand, the chances for profit are not the highest as you cannot really offer custom plans or entertain enterprise clientele. You wouldn’t become a millionaire simply by selling shared hosting, after all.
Reseller web hosting is ideal if you are just starting out and do not have the time, efforts or resources to deal with server management. Your reseller account will come with cPanel and WHM and all the other tools installed for use. You can just create packages and resell hosting to your clients.
On the downside, barring a few exceptions, you can only resell shared plans. If your clients need VPS or other solution, you will have to send them elsewhere (or provision one on their behalf).
Reseller hosting is meant for newer hosts as well as design agencies that might wish to offer web hosting as an addon.
Virtual Private Servers
Getting a Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a popular choice among resellers. These are cost-effective solutions and you can even get a fully managed VPS that you can use to resell web hosting.
The biggest advantage here is that you have greater and granular control over your hardware. You can choose what to install, how to manage it, and everything else. More importantly, you can resell more efficiently as a VPS has greater room for growth.
On the downside, a VPS can be a costlier option as compared to reseller plans. You may need to pay for management fees, or pay separately for cPanel and WHM licenses. Plus, securing and hardening a VPS can be a tiring task if you are not an expert at it.
A VPS is the best way to upgrade if you have outgrown reseller hosting. Bear in mind though, if you are not comfortable with server security, go for a fully managed VPS even if it means you have to spend a heavy amount per month. There is nothing worse than seeing your clients’ sites compromised simply because you did not take enough security measures.
A dedicated server is meant for you if you have a large number of clients. If you are looking for a dedicated server in order to sell hosting, there should be only two possible scenarios:
- You have outgrown VPS and reseller plans and have established a big list of clients.
- You are planning to be a big-budget adventurer in the world of web hosting and do not wish to start small.
If the first option applies to you, congratulations! Make sure you select a dedicated server that is powerful enough to host your clients’ content with ease.
If it is the second option, you must be prepared to be amazed by the level of saturation and competition in the web hosting industry. With that said, make sure you have a marketing and promotion budget equally big in order to truly do justice to your business.
So, what is the bottom-line here?
Well, you should use reseller hosting plans if:
- You are selling shared plans
- You are a freelancer or agency in web design and development
- You are just starting out
Go with a VPS if:
- You have outgrown reseller plans
- You have a large number of clients
- You need more control over your server and wish to install custom scripts
- You have the required skills or budget to tackle server security
Opt for a dedicated server if:
- You have an even larger number of clients
- You need absolute total control over your server
- You can take care of server security or hire someone for that purpose
Lastly, if neither of the above seems to impress you, or if you do not wish to resell hosting yourself, you might consider signing up for an affiliate program with some reputed web hosting provider(s) that you use and trust. In this manner, you can send clients to the other providers and earn some income. Obviously, this is not comparable to a big scale web hosting business, but it can be a decent alternative to starting a small-sized reseller hosting business if you do not have the resources to promote your new venture.
Have you managed or taken care of a web hosting business? Which model did you opt for and how was your experience? Share your views in the comments below!
Sufyan is a contributor to a variety of websites and blogs about technology, Linux, open source, web design, content management systems and web development. Learn more about his works on sufyanism.com