Want to be a hosting company? Everything you want to know!
After a fantastic amount of time in the company of personal email hosting, I have come to realize several things. Learning these things has helped me in my business more then anything else! It wasn’t any expensive SEO company, it wasn’t any overpriced Google or Yahoo advertisement program. It had been difficult work, it had been hours and HOURS that turned to days and after weeks of time spent running on the site, editing the website (then editing again), making certain my key word relevancy was up to par using my favorite keyword analyzer at Submit Express, checking to make sure my packages were priced to compete with other host’s that provided the same quality services that I supply (maybe not the kiddie host’s that offer 25gb disk space and 200gb bandwidth for $5.00 per month), along with taking care of my customers to make sure they got anything they wanted or needed.
So anyhow, let’s get to what has worked for me personally. Some of you other host’s may disagree with me, or have had different experiences then I, therefore again, this is only what worked for me personally, and is my view only.
I started my very first web hosting company in November of 2004. I can not disclose the name of that business due to the agreement of sale, however I could tell you it was a very successful sponsor, and was on course to be a large player in the internet hosting game. I simply burnt out and had to sell! I was working 16-20 hours a day taking care of clients via Yahoo, MSN, ICQ, AOL, Skype, PHPLive, and some other live chat program that I could use, email, and telephone. This leads me to my first assessment, and bit of knowledge to pass on.
1. Support: This is (in my mind) the most significant part a web domain and email hosting company, and can make or break a starting company FAST, both way. If you offer TRUE 24×7 service to your client’s, and the service they receive is fast, accurate, and friendly. Your brand (domain name and logo) will spread like wildfire, over time, you only have to be consistent with the support. You can’t let tickets put around since you needed to go to school, or you needed to mow the yard, or your girlfriend would not let you, or else you simply didn’t feel like dealing with it.
This can end up being a really tough task after awhile. The first couple of customers you receive will submit a couple of tickets a month. Then, when you have a few more, possibly 25, you may begin to have tickets, live chats, emails, pre-sales questions, all of it pouring in at once. Then you get up in to the 50-100 customer range and you’re swamped. This is when you start to loose sleep and begin to burn out quick!
If you’ve got 50-100, or ever 30 or so, you ought to look in an outsourced support alternative. I have utilized BobCares and have found them to be the most professional and dependable for the package that they offer resellers, and starts at $24 per month to pay 12 customers 24 hours per day 7 days a week.
Some hosts, and customers, frown upon outsourcing service, but until you have the money to employ your own support staff, I advise you to start looking into outsourcing. Another company I’ve heard great things about is Root Service, though I have not tried them, I’ve noticed that they have some very good prices, and as I said, good testimonials.
So that’s the upside, the bad side is easy. You do not offer decent support, and you find yourself in 3 weeks notification that the 500 FREE hosting customers, and no compensated customers that you have, that they will need to seek out another host as you’re shutting down. Picking a server: When you’re searching for a reseller, or VPS server, you may be tempted by the low prices of some overselling host (run by a 15 yr old kid) that delivers the world or, my favourite,”Unlimited”. .LOL. You show me a bunch that has a hard drive with unlimited space, and I’ll show you some pictures of Big Foot that I took in Buck Snort Tennessee! If you choose a host by price alone you’re destine to fail. You will end up with nothing but downtime, nothing to inform your clients when it occurs because your server is no where to be found, and as soon as the server IS up, it is going to be so overloaded it will operate like an epileptic chicken!
I heard it explained best on a forum,”There is no ideal host, there’s only the host that’s perfect for you”. I suggest you look at Internet Hosting Talk.com. Make sure to look at the”Advertisements” section, there are invariably a few good offers there for whatever sort of best email hosting uk you are needing. You can also Google the words”web host review.” This will bring up hundreds of different resources for use in choosing a web host. This can be very overwhelming too, so try and be specific you can on your search terms.
When considering the costs offered by provided a host, ask yourself a few questions.
A. Does the site look professional, or does it seem like something you may have made when you were 13? This is sometimes not the best method to ascertain your host, so again, do not base your choice on the website alone ! What kind of server specs (CPU, RAM,) does the server state your accounts will be stored on? If you do any additional research, you will observe a dependable server with even a single P4 3.0GHz HT server with 1gb RAM will cost $150 AT CHEAPEST, and if you go into the dual CPU servers, then the price of one server can go up to $300 a month EASY. So, if the server is offering 5gb disk space and 100gb bandwidth for $5 per month, then you can be fairly sure you’re not getting as great a deal as it may seem!
C. Assess their support link, does it even work? If they offer live chat, use it, send them an email and ask questions specific to your needs, ask as many questions as you want, in as many different mails or tickets as you want, it is a very important decision, be certain you get what you need from a provider that will provide you what you need.
D. Uptime: lots of hosts offer shared hosting plans for as cheap as $1.00 for the first month. I suggest you register and pay for one month. Tell the server exactly what your intentions are, and that you need your accounts to be put on the same server your reseller is going to be placed on so it is possible to review the sources. Then put a free uptime monitor for example DotUptime on it and see exactly what the uptime is like in a 1 month period of time. Spending a couple of bucks to make certain that you get what you need will save a TON of headache in the future!
E. Look as numerous web hosting forums and / or Google pages as possible for”whateverhost”. Look and find out what others have to say about the host. But, remember also that no host can please EVERY customer, and some folks just can not be pleased.
F. Finally, is it in your budget? Do not be afraid to spend some cash if you’re able to, but don’t go overboard either. Remember, you have to spend money to generate money. I’m one to really go all out from the beginning. I feel that the longer you put into a GOOD host, the more you return, and the happier your clients are, in turn bringing more customers. So we have our servers at LiquidWeb.com. They have proven to be the most reliable in terms of managed dedicated servers.
3. Choosing a billing system: There are various billing systems readily available, and searching for one that is fits may also be a sporting task. You will find the first few big name scripts like ModernBill, WHMAutoPilot, ClientExec, and Lpanel. Most of these options allow for automated account creation, meaning every time a customer signs up and pays, it automatically generates their account and mails the client their login info.
It is not sensible to use this feature, however, unless you also pay for a fraudgate to confirm all your orders prior to setup. If you let instant (automatic ) account creation with no fruadgate, you’ll find yourself swamped with spammers and fraudulent orders that result in charge guards, in almost no time at all!
ModernBill is by far the very best in my view, and goes for around $25 a month. It keeps tabs on everything you can think about, ands some very key characteristics that others don’t have, such as the capability to upgrade bundle price based upon the upgrades they select. WHMAutoPilot is another step down in the same cost ($25). It is still an extremely powerful billing system, but lacks a couple of little features that ModernBill has. ClientExec is the best choice for a start web host, and begins at $12 a month. It is all you need to get prepared to sell and keep track or your own clients. Additionally, it has a built-in service desk (most good billing scripts do). When you pick your billing system, make certain that you read the description of that package. A number of them charge per client after a certain amount, and that could get expensive. Promotion: It is no secret that any websites success is contingent upon the total amount of traffic it receives. Thus, in order to get traffic you have to let folks know that your site and bundles are out there!
Some good ways I have found for doing so are:
A. Forum articles: Register at as numerous web hosting forums you can see in Google. Most web hosing forums have”Requests Hosting” sections, so that you are able to post offers to requests there, and you can also post offers from the”Offers” area generally. Be certain of the forum rules BEFORE posting your offers though. If you post an offer and it’s edited by a moderator and just reads”Read the rules” your not going to look as the most trusted host. Remember to place a link to your own hosting site, and maybe just a tiny sentence or 2 about your services in your signature on the discussion. Try and make it eye cacthing, add some colour, or some symbols (>> +ll whatever).
B. Search for internet hosting forums for individuals offering advertising space. I use WebHostingTalk.com for my ad searches, and it has worked nicely. Don’t buy advertisement space on just any site. Try to only buy advertisement space on websites that pertain to yoru marketplace. By way of instance, you wouldn’t place ads for a hunting website on an animal rights activist website! Try to only place advertisements for your hosting business on design websites, or hosting search forums, hosting directories, script creation sites, anything that they might need a hosting company for!
C. Banners: Many state banner ads are dead, but I disagree. I know when I go to a site and watch an eye catching banner ad, I have a tendency to click the ad to see what it is all about. Whether this results in a sale or not, it is still a fantastic route for brand awareness. Consequently, if you opt to do some banner advertising, make sure you have an advertisement that appears professional, and eye catching. If you have an ad that nobody notices.
D. Word of mouth: Without a doubt, the Best Kind of advertisements! When you provide good service and support to a customer, he goes and tells his friends” Hey, I got this host you guys should check out”.
E. Local Market: Never underestimate the regional industry. You can begin by creating some fliers to post around town, or put some business cards on post-it boards. Ads in your regional newspaper or advertising magazine are occasionally good also. You can also think about sending a little packet of information regarding your company and what you can do for a client to small businesses in / around your area which might need a website and/or web host. If your budget allows for this, radio and tv ads are great resources, but may be quite pricey. Prices: Do not attempt to be the cheapest host on the cube, you will just wind up into the earth with time. If you have a look at the”Big Boys”, or as I like to call them, the”Oversellers who can”, you will see that if you attempted to beat their prices you’d be out of business within 2 -3 months.
Lets say you get a reseller package with 10gb disc space, and 100gb bandwidth (a little large for a beginner I understand, but it is an easy round number to use J ). We’ll say that your freelancer costs you $25 per month.
You can look at your costs in a couple of different ways, here’s a couple that I use:
Disc Space Price (monthly) Bandwidth
5GB $12.50 50GB
Or, you can split the costs and also look at it like that:
Disc Space Cost Bandwidth Price
5GB $6.25 50GB $6.25
Or, do a little chart like this:
Disc Space 10GB 5GB 2.5GB 1.25GB 612MB
50GB $18.75 $12.50 $9.37 $7.81 $7.03
12.5GB $14.06 $7.81 $4.68 $3.12 $2.34
Remember to ad in your other costs, like your charging system, your own sitebuilder (if you have one), processor fees, and some other price you may have to add.
After you have added up all of your prices, then decide what you believe is a fair price to charge OVER your costs. So if a bundle costs you $5 a month, then perhaps you would charge $8 – $7 – $6 a month. Just make sure you permit for sufficient profit to upgrade if you want to.
Again, don’t try to be the most affordable, you are going to be shooting yourself in the foot for certain!
6. Overselling: Overselling is the custom of selling more disc bandwidth or space then you truly have. So for instance, lets say you have 1 apple, you tell 8 people you will promote them %25 of this apple. So if the people really eat all of their apple, then you’re in trouble! Some overselling is ok, not a lot, you do not wish to overload your freelancer or VPS, or dedicated host. You may safely assume the next (generally ).
In case you have 10gb disk space, and 100gb bandwidth, you may sell it as if you’d 12gb disk space, and 120gb bandwidth. It’s a small percent, but might help to increase profits. But be sure to keep a close eye on things, and upgrade when / if needed. Professionalism: When you’re submitting an ad on a forum, replying to a pre-sales email, talking a to client in conversation, or responding to a support ticket, you always have to maintain a professional attitude through your address, or typing. Someone searching for hosting is not likely to be interested in a post that reads just like a 12 year old . Try to use appropriate punctuation, I am not the world’s finest at that (since you can see), but I attempt J.
Never talk company matters or personal client data in public situations such as forums. This can result in serious legal issues!
8. Free Hosting: A lot of hosts offer free hosting hopes that the consumer will eventually update. The truth is, just about%5 your free hosting customers will upgrade to a paid program. Additionally, it is usually those seeking free hosting which have no idea what they are doing and ship countless service tickets per month. Or, they register with a free host, send out several thousand spam emails, and then proceed to the upcoming free server.
So to make a long story short, hosting is not worth time or frustration. Rather, maybe offer a small, shared package for $1.00 per month. That is low enough to reel them in, then have them upgrade.
In case you do decide to offer free hosting, then be sure to place free hosting clients on one server or reseller, and compensated customers on another server or freelancer. That way if one of your spare clients overloads the server, your paid customers are not affected at all, and you have no worries of dropping them! Firm, Fair, and Consistent: I have discovered that you have to be fair entire, but you have to also be firm, and consistent with your clientele. If they are late on their payments all the time, start to punish them with a late fee, their obligations will soon show up on time for certain. I really don’t mean to punish them $100 for the very first time their late, but there ought to be some sort of”push” to create them pay on time.
If you have a customer who’s requesting a refund because of an extended quantity of downtime, then you would want your cash back to, so give it to themalways be fair.
Stay along with your billing system and system tools, and when you come across a issue, take good care of it right then, don’t wait!