To get you started with your hosting business, there are five essential things that you will need:
1. Web Hosting
Obviously, you will need a web hosting platform from which you will resell hosting space to your customers. There are generally three options from which to choose: reseller hosting, VPS hosting and dedicated hosting.
Reseller hosting may be the most affordable option, although itâ€™s is not on my recommendation list. When using a reseller plan, your customers are hosted on a web server that is shared with thousands of users from either the parent host or other reseller businesses. This can lead to poor performance and security issues that are caused by the other hosting accounts hosted on the same server.
I personally think that the best option is either VPS or dedicated. A Virtual Private Server (VPS) provides you with the same level of flexibility as a dedicated server, but at a fraction of the cost. Of course, a cheap VPS hosting plan will never yield the high performance results that can be achieved by a dedicated server, but you will be able to add more resources (like RAM and disk space) to your VPS as your business grows. You can browse the list of VPS hosting plans here.
Choosing a Web Hosting Company
When choosing a web host we strongly suggest you consider these three options:
Managed Hosting: You will sleep better at night knowing that a highly-skilled team of experts are monitoring and taking care of your web server 24 hours a day. If you have a managed hosting plan, the support team will also take care of performing maintenance and security updates to your server. Ask your provider if your plan is managed or unmanaged.
DDoS Protection: Chances are that every network or web server will be attacked eventually one way or another. While DDoS attacks will not compromise the security of your server nor the integrity of its data, it will bring it to its knees by generating a high volume of queries.
Backup Service: Lots of customers assume that their data is backed up regularly; however, that is rarely the case. Getting a good backup service is essential. If you are going to use a VPS service, some hosting companies can provide you with a backup service that will allow you keep images of your entire server and restore your VPS to a previous state if an upgrade or a configuration change goes wrong.
Keeping your customers happy is a must and you can accomplish that by providing them a robust and reliable hosting environment. Never assume youâ€™ll never run into any major problems with your server.
2. Control Panel
To manage your web server, you will need a control panel. There is a wide variety of free and paid control panels available, but the main ones are cPanel and Plesk, with cPanel being the industryâ€™s leading control panel.
cPanel is definitely our favorite control panel because it can perform most of the server updates for you, minimizing the need for technical knowledge of the Linux operating system.
Your users will easily get around cPanel because it comes with video tutorials for every available feature, with the potential for greatly reducing the amount of support requests you will receive.
3. Billing Software
Billing software can handle online orders and perform various maintenance tasks, such as suspending hosting accounts upon non-payment for instance. The billing software needs to use an API to connect to your web server so that it can manage hosting accounts.
One of the most popular billing software for hosting businesses if WHMCS. It is basically a fully-featured shopping cart for web hosts, providing features such as ordering, billing, domain management, reporting, and affiliate marketing. An interface for mobile devices allows you to remotely manage your customerâ€™s hosting accounts.
WHMCS can easily be integrated with cPanel. You can either lease a license monthly starting from $15.95 per month. Owned licenses disappeared since they changed their business model back in 2016 the starter license will work up to 250 clients, then you can upgrade.
4. SSL Certificate
To protect the privacy of your customers and handle sensitive data such as credit card numbers, you will need an SSL certificate. I strongly advise you to host your entire billing software on a secured connection (HTTPS). We offer SSL Certificates from $29.95
5. Payment Gateway
Even though you can handle most payments through Paypal, it is highly advisable to use a third-party payment gateway to handle credit card transactions. This will protect you from most frauds and will free you from the responsibility of securing the payment process.
Most payment gateway services will charge you with a setup fee and a percentage on each transaction. This percentage is usually determined on the volume of transactions you have.
WHMCS supports several payment gateway services that include the following:
- Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 2checkout
- Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Amazon Simple Pay
- Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Bidpay
- Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Google CheckOut
- Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Payza
- Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Authorize.net (Start your application here)
- Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â BluePay (Contact us for application at firstname.lastname@example.org)
WHMCS can also accept Bitcoin payments using the Coinbase Payment Gateway module.
Stay tuned for the next reseller hosting tutorial in which we will begin to put all of this together.