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Reseller Hosting is not a ‘fast track’, or one click business. Many hosting providers may convince you that this is the case to get you on board, but that isn’t quite the case - we would prefer to be honest from the outset that some technical experience or background is essential when starting your own hosting business.
There are a number of things to consider when getting started with your hosting business, which we have outlined below…
Main Website vs WHMCS / Client Area
Whilst WHMCS is able to provide you the functionality required to manage clients, such as a client area, billing and reporting you would still be responsible for the ‘marketing’ side of your business - this includes your main website.
For example, see the following scenario…
https://client.yournewbusiness.com <- This can be powered by WHMCS, which allows you to provide the front-facing client area where your clients manage their hosting accounts and billing. A fantastic example of this of course, is our own client area (https://client.brixly.uk)
Secondly however, you also need to consider a ‘brochure’ or ‘marketing’ type site, which would be used to advertise and market your hosting products and / or additional services. Consider this the shop window to your business. This website would then link to your client area / checkout which is powered by WHMCS.
For example, in the case of our own website we have created a homepage, with a slider to advertise our most popular products…
We also have specific product pages, such as the following…
These pages serve as the marketing content in order to promote those products, and attract clients to purchase your hosting services.
The ‘Buy Now’ type links however would link through to WHMCS, allowing your customers to register and purchase the hosting - from there, WHMCS takes care of provisioning those hosting accounts and sending the welcome emails to your clients (similar to the process you went through when purchasing your reseller account from us!).
If you are a designer / developer, you can of course develop your marketing site using your preferred technologies - many of our resellers use tools and CMS platforms such as WordPress or Joomla to build their main marketing site. If you don’t have the experience to design / develop your own site, you have the option of ‘hosting templates’, which are ready made designs for WordPress (or, your preferred content management system)...
WordPress can be installed from within cPanel directly using ‘Softaculous’, our one-click installer. If developing a WordPress site is outside of your scope then you could consider hiring a developer / designer to help.
As a hosting provider, you would be responsible for providing your clients support. Whilst that sounds incredibly daunting, we do have your back!
We basically provide you technical support directly, but we can’t communicate with your clients - our support team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including bank holidays, so you will never be alone. With time, you will become an expert of your own service, giving you the ability to answer your clients questions and queries without the need for contacting us. We do though understand this doesn’t happen overnight and we also understand that there may be issues or queries your clients raise which require ‘root’ or administrative access to the server - this is where we step in! Just reach out to us by raising a support ticket, give us some time to check the issue and we can advise where required.
As your business grows, you may want to consider either outsourcing your technical support, or hiring some staff to help!
Marketing and Advertising
Hosting is a competitive industry, so in order to sell your product, you need to be found. That's where marketing comes in!
Marketing is an incredibly broad subject, so you would find more through searches online than we could ever advise here! If you are a design or development agency, you have the advantage of upsell opportunities with your current clients.
If you are just starting out, there are some fantastic forums specifically for the hosting industry where people may give some advice as to the best advertising and marketing methods.
The ‘Learning Curve’
Running a hosting business requires some knowledge of the tools and features you are actually providing to your clients, so it helps significantly to do some research both before, and during the earlier phases of running your business.
From day one, we chose to use ‘industry standard’ tool sets like cPanel and WHMCS as they are incredibly well documented online - a search on Google for almost any issue or problem you are facing brings up thousands of articles, knowledge base documents and forum posts.
The providers themselves have outstanding training documentation also - cPanel for example, have their ‘cPanel University’ which gives you the opportunity to learn cPanel extensively and to receive certifications on completion of those courses. You can learn the basics, such as their ‘Sales Certification’ through to advanced systems administration completely free of charge.
The staff here however are all cPanel certified engineers, with many years experience - if you get stuck along the way, just give us a shout and we would be more than happy to help!