Looking at making a little residual income through web hosting? Why not consider becoming a web host. Here are a few points that might be helpful:
What is web hosting?
Web hosting is a service that facilitates individuals or organizations to put up web page(s) on the Internet, such that it is available for users to see, by typing in the website address (URL). Web hosts are providers of such services. In order to be able to host with a provider, a domain name is required.
Whom is it for?
If you have working knowledge of the Internet and are willing to invest some time and effort in setting up this auxiliary income stream, you can become a web host.
Why web hosting? Or rather what’s in it for you?
You must understand your target audience and its needs – whether it’s a big sized enterprise or a small / medium business or a blogger with a requirement for a simple website. Each of these requires a different type of hosting, which obviously comes at a different cost.
Bill Aulet, a senior lecturer of entrepreneurship, MIT Sloan School of Management, stresses on how the obvious must not be forgotten – the need for understanding the market size and the end customer.
You can become a web host by
- Leasing services from a data centre – If you’re dealing with a medium to large sized enterprise, then you would have to lease services directly from Data Centers. This allows you greater bandwidth, resources, and margins to work with. You can lease a (dedicated) server from another hosting firm, and then host your clients’ sites on that server. It offers a greater control in managing your business BUT this requires tremendous expertise and you must be available on call all the time.
- Approaching a provider and becoming a reseller – If you’re dealing with small to medium sized businesses or a blogger then you don’t need to directly work with Data Centers, you can resell services from other big established web hosting services out there; it’s handled professionally by a provider. This works well for products such as Shared and Reseller Hosting. Be sure to choose a reliable and established hosting services provider.
You can become a web host with ResellerClub and offer world class hosting services on state-of-the-art infrastructure. Following are a few things you may want to know before you get started:
Types of hosting products
Reseller hosting is a form of web hosting wherein the account owner has the ability to use his or her allotted hard drive space and bandwidth to host websites on behalf of third parties. Read more about ResellerClub Reseller Hosting.
If you do not wish to resell Reseller Hosting and bother about WHM, then you can offer Shared Hosting. Shared web hosting service is where many websites reside on one web server connected to the Internet. This is an economical hosting option, as the overall cost of server maintenance is amortized over many customers. The provider is generally responsible for managing servers, installing server software, security updates, technical support, and other aspects of the service.
If your clients have a requirement for root access and technical advanced resources, then you can explore Dedicated Servers, Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and Cloud Hosting.
Linux or Windows?
The operating system on your customer’s PC has very little to do with the web hosting plan that you offer. Linux web hosting can be used on a Linux computer as well as on a Windows computer and vice versa. As a reseller, you can offer both, but you must understand the difference between the two. Static HTML pages can be hosted on literally any server. It all depends on whether your customer has familiarity in operating one or the other. With Linux it is easier for your customers to find open source scripts and tool.
What are the costs involved?
You must do a thorough research of pricing and factor in the server costs (in case of Dedicated Servers), operational costs, salary of your employees. Consider this – a customer may need cPanel with a particular product and for this, a cPanel license will be required. Having a pricing range for all such license purchases in sync with the bandwidth calculations and strategy of deciding product share (Dedicated vs VPS vs Shared Hosting) in your business will provide you with a complete overview of pricing ranges.
What and how are you going to charge your customers? (Please invest in advertising to ensure you have customers)
There are way too many web hosts out there offering hosting services from $1 to $1000, depending on the type and complexity of the hosting product. Once you have established your fixed and recurring costs, you know where to break even. Use this figure and understand the market for your offerings to arrive at selling prices for your products. Clients who require more bandwidth and space can be charged a higher rate.
All spec and tech in place? Pretty much? But what is your website going to look like?
Make sure you have a visually appealing and a user friendly website offering all the wonderful things you have put together. Deciding on various online marketing strategies such as SEO, SEM, running a Google AdWords campaign can provide you with an option of creating a larger client base.
I cannot stress enough on the importance of efficient technical support (preferably 24×7 as this can be a deciding factor for your potential customers), which will become all the more important as you grow. Nothing delights a customer more than superb support and nothing annoys a customer as much as poor support from a service provider.
I hope this helps you get started with your journey to become a web host. Do share with us others tips and tricks that worked for you!