Web design and marketing agencies and freelancers who don’t offer to host their clients’ websites under reseller hosting are missing out on a valuable opportunity.
If you are a freelancer, or own or work for a web design or marketing agency, you’ve probably been asked by clients if you can host their websites. This is not uncommon, especially if the client is not particularly tech-savvy and doesn’t want to deal with multiple aspects of having an online presence all at once. Perhaps you’ve shied away from doing so before, thinking that you don’t have the capability and required knowledge and experience to manage servers for your clients. This is where the beauty of reseller hosting comes in.
Reseller Hosting in a Nutshell
Reseller web hosting involves a parent web hosting company that rents hard disk space and bandwidth to another company or individual (in this case, you). In turn, you will then rent space and bandwidth to your own customers. It allows you to offer web hosting to your clients as a value-added service.
The great thing about reseller hosting is that you don’t have to purchase the hardware, maintain a datacentre, set up the physical servers, install Linux, etc., yourself. When you offer to host your clients’ websites under reseller hosting, all you will be responsible for are the following:
- Create and set up a hosting account with a parent web host
- Host your customers’ websites under your reseller hosting plan
- Maintain/update your customers’ web properties
- Act as mediator between the parent web host and your clients in case any hosting-related concerns arise
Benefits of Hosting Your Clients Websites
1. Additional and Recurring Income
One of the biggest benefits of providing web hosting services to your clients is that you will get additional and recurring income; and it’s no secret that recurring income is essential to any business. The reason why web professionals aim to work on a retainer basis is to ensure that they will receive steady income every month based on the number of hours that they put in. Web design and marketing agencies can earn recurring income when they host, maintain, and manage their clients’ websites.
Additionally, with reseller hosting, you are buying wholesale hosting services at a discounted rate and can offer them to your clients at a profit. You will start seeing an increase in profits once you start to resell hosting to several clients.
2. Value-Added Service
Most clients don’t have the know-how it takes to create websites and market them, much less the intricacies of web hosting. They don’t really want to think about anything that goes on behind the curtains; all they want is for their websites to do what they’re supposed to do. Having the ability to handle all aspects of their website makes you valuable to them.
3. Customer Satisfaction
You’ve likely encountered a situation in which the customer has come to you asking for help even after you are done creating and launching their website. In this scenario, you’ve already done all that you are bound by the contract to do. This puts you in an awkward position. On one hand, you’ve already done your part but if you don’t help, your client might think that you’re being unhelpful and become displeased with you. On the other hand, you end up helping them without payment.
Becoming a ‘one-stop-shop’ means you can ensure customer satisfaction as well as compensation for your efforts.
Working on a client’s website that you don’t host can become tricky in some instances, such as when you need to upgrade versions of PHP and you’ll have to go through their web personnel, or if you must access their account and the IT guy has changed passwords, etc. When you host clients’ websites, you don’t have to go through anyone else in case there are changes that need to be made.
Of Domain Names and DNS
You might be asking, “Should I buy the domain name for my client as well?”
You can, but you might not want to. Here’s why: Since your client owns the business, they should also own the domain name. You wouldn’t want to be put in an awkward position in case you and your client hit a bump in the road and decide to part ways. Domain names are relatively easy to purchase so your client shouldn’t have any problems taking that task on. Also, domain transfers are notoriously troublesome.
However, you should definitely be able to control your customer’s DNS. Let’s say for example that you need to switch hosts or need an upgrade with your current host in the future. This means you will need to switch IP addresses, which in turn means that all A records must be updated. If you don’t have control of your client’s DNS, doing this can become a major issue.
Web Hosting for Agencies and Freelancers
Web professionals know that no matter how incredible a website looks and how well it functions, your customers won’t be happy if the website isn’t secure or if pages take too long to load. Therefore, it’s important to consider a variety of factors and criteria when choosing your parent web host and reseller plan:
- How much does it cost? – This is probably the first thing you’ll check when comparing web hosting companies and plans; however, it shouldn’t be the only factor on your list. Take an honest look at your budget and evaluate which plans you can afford. The most expensive web hosting plans aren’t always the best or the right fit. However, it’s also true that you get what you pay for. Find that healthy balance between cost and the hosting features that you absolutely need.
- Does the web host offer features that suit my needs? – Make sure that the prospective web host can support the operating systems, programs, applications, features, etc., that you plan to use. Helpful tools such as cPanel and the WHMCS account management and billing software are a big plus.
- Are they reliable? – Find out if the web host is reliable and has a sound track record. It is essential that the parent web host you choose is available 24/7 in case of technical issues. Find out what kind of support they have in place; live chat, 24/7 telephone support, knowledgebase, tutorials and user forums are the standard when it comes to reputable web hosts.
Questions to Ask Your Prospective Parent Web Hosts
- Do you offer an uptime guarantee? Can you prove it and show it in writing? How do you monitor uptime? Do you have a Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
- How do you handle downtime?
- Do you offer a money-back guarantee?
- Do your rates go up periodically? How often and by how much?
- Do you offer free website migration assistance?
- How do you handle site security? What kind of security features do you offer?
- Do you proactively monitor and apply security updates?
- Do you provide SSL?
- How easy is it to scale up or down if I need to?
- Do you provide technical support 24/7? How can customers contact you in case issues arise?
- What is your average response and resolution time?
- Do you perform regular backups? How do you handle restoration of backups? Do I have to pay extra for this service?
These days, most businesses rely on their website as an essential part of a marketing plan. If you’re going to offer to host your clients’ websites, you need to choose the right web host and reseller hosting plan by determining whether their pricing and services suit your needs. It may take some time, but it is important that you do your research well. You will be able to make an educated decision on which provider to choose when you compare and understand the differences between reseller hosting plans offered by various companies, analyse your specific requirements, and ask vital questions.