What is web hosting?
The web hosting business in a nut shell
As every website needs a web hosting account (space on a server) there are many companies providing this space on their server(s) for a fee. Most companies offer a set of plans (normally 3) with varying disk space (hard-drive space) and bandwidth (bandwidth is a limit on how much your website files can be downloaded each month - the amount of visitors can visit the website will vary depending on how big the website files are). For example, let's say your server costs are $20/month (a common price for a reseller account), if you sold web hosting priced at $3/month to 20 customers using this reseller account your income would be $60/month.
Can I start a web hosting business?
Absolutely, providing web hosting is easier than it's ever been as companies offer reseller accounts which are basically small chunks of a server. A reseller account will allow you to get up and running quickly, the benefit of such an account is that the provider generally manages the server thus making it possible to start without any experience with managing servers. However, it's important that you choose a reliable reseller hosting provider as the success of your business will partly depend on how well your provider can manage the server (keep it online, keep the performance/speeds high) your customers are hosted on.
We recommend looking for a reseller account that uses cPanel. cPanel is the leading web hosting control panel and allows your customers to manage their websites and email easily. The other side of cPanel only you will see is WHM (Web Host Manager), this is the admin control panel that allows you to view/terminate/create web hosting accounts (a cPanel control panel and space on your reseller web hosting account).
What do I need to start a web hosting business?
A domain name
A domain name is a website address (e.g zomex.com, google.com, bbc.co.uk). This is how customers will find your website and web hosting offers.
A web hosting website or template
You can either design your own website, hire someone to do it for you or purchase a website template. We recommend purchasing a website template as it's a quick and effective way to get your business up and running. We provide a mix of premium web hosting templates. We provide web hosting templates as WHMCS templates & Wordpress themes. They allow you to create a website for your web hosting business without any HTML knowledge thanks to our exclusive template control panel (Wizard Panel). They are also fully customizable and in our opinion the quickest and most cost-effective way to get your business up and running.
Software to automate your business
What makes the web hosting business attractive to entrepreneurs is the low start-up costs, the possibility to grow a highly profitable business and above all the ability to automate most tasks. We recommend WHMCS (Web Host Manager Complete Solution), WHMCS is software installed on your website that connects with payment gateways (e.g PayPal) and your reseller account/VPS/dedicated servers WHM control panel. The software is able to automate invoice creation, account creation, account suspension/termination, domain registration, invoice reminders & much more.
We provide many web hosting templates built for WHMCS including our premium WHMCS templates and Wordpress themes (which come with a optional WHMCS template addon that syncs with WHMCS). We also provide WHMCS services to help you get your business up and running.
Web space to resell
Resell-able web space can be purchased in the following forms:
Reseller account - A perfect choice for beginners - this is allocated space on a server along with WHM control panel which makes managing your customer's accounts easy.
VPS server - A VPS (Virtual Private Server) is suitable for those with experience managing servers (Apache, CentOS, Linux experience). Think of a VPS as a small server within a larger server that's completely isolated from other VPS on the server. This effectively is a server where by you have full root access to it but without the cost of your own server.
Dedicated server - A dedicated server is a server dedicated to you only (your own server, no other customers using it). This can be costly but as long as you have experience managing a server it will allow you to offer more competitive web hosting plans.
Most companies find it best to start with a reseller account and then upgrade to a VPS/dedicated server as they grow.
This sounds too good to be true, what's the catch?
The web hosting industry is very competitive as every company is offering a very similar service. The differences between offers tends to be:
- quality of support
- account resources (disk space, bandwidth, email restrictions etc)
- website/brand loyalty
It's important that you don't try and compete on price as the big companies can always offer something cheaper. Instead focus on looking after your customers and continue to improve your business in all areas.
If you're passionate about your business, focus on a specific niche/target market and provide exceptional support to your customers it is possible to grow a stable business but as with all great things it will take time and dedication. The great thing about the web hosting industry is throwing money at advertising is not effective for a new company as it is in other industries. This sets a level playing field allowing start-ups fueled with dedication and willingness to do anything for customers to grow a successful business from scratch with very little capital.
If you already provide web design, have friends looking to start a website or plan on marketing your business to local clients you will be at a distinct advantage.
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