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Emily Alice

New Wordpress Designer - Hosting Reseller or Affiliate?

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Hi guys,

I've been reading so many conversations about becoming a hosting reseller or affiliate and yet I'm still having a hard time deciding what to do. I'm very new to the industry so I want to be sure that I have the skills to make it worth becoming a reseller at this stage.  At the moment, I help my clients out (as their designer) with minor hosting issues by getting in touch with the provider on their behalf and working through the issue. I can navigate my way around on a basic level, but want to have a clearer idea of what issues I might run into as a reseller. Questions:

1. What are the most common issues that I might run into as a reseller? At the moment, I will likely only have approx 10 sites with low to medium traffic.

2. Should I just do it? Did other people just dive in when they weren't sure? It seems quite expensive so I'm wondering about becoming an affiliate first for a while.

3. I move a lot between the UK and Australia and built small business Wordpress websites in both countries. Does that mean I shouldn't choose a .au or .uk provider and go for a global option?

4. In 2018, what are the best reseller options out there? I've looked at quite a few now but would love a recommendation.

 

Thanks so much for any help!

Emily

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Hi Emily and welcome to WDF...

One question you might want to take some time to answer is, what exact is it that you want to do?

Are you a web designer, or do you want to become a middle-man, on call 24/7?

To answer your first question:

If you want to go into reselling, you essentially become 100% responsible for every aspect of a clients online business, from the simple things like creating and managing their hosting plan and billing them for it, ensuring you can turn a profit after paying for merchant accounts, billing software etc, right up to that call at 11pm at night to help somebody who has locked themselves out of a server or their email suddenly stops working and you have to troubleshoot it.

Typically, it will happen at the worst times too, like when on the loo or on holiday or very late at night, when X customer decided to sit down and setup their new phone/tablet and got the password wrong, and now none of their devices can access their emails.

That's just a few "tip of the iceberg" things that can and do regularly happen.

The other side to it too that resellers never seem to consider is, "What happens to my client if anything happens to me?"

As a reseller, the hosting company will not talk to them as you are the customer, so if you are in hospital or trying to take a break, you have to go somewhere that you have internet access at all times.. (Unless you like complaints and bad reviews)

If your knowledge of hosting and server side technologies is very limited, then you might want to simply find a fantastic hosting company that you yourself can depend on, and simply recommend them to your clients, taking a nice big commission for each.

That allows you to go anywhere, anytime, and if any of your clients have any hiccups, they speak directly to the hosting company and don't need to depend on you.

It makes a great selling point for you too, in that you can demonstrate great integrity in placing your clients somewhere safe instead of trying to be their "Jake of all trades, master of none" when you tell them "I'll help you get your website setup at X company who will take care of the web hosting for you, and you own the website and the hosting account", with the keyword their being that they OWN the website and the hosting.

Reseller hosting should really just be called "Multi-site hosting".

Question #2:

No, "Just doing it without knowing what you are doing is not wise. You would want to weigh up the pro's and cons first, take the time to learn about things like cPanel/WHM to name just one of a few, along with all the different hosting companies as there are loads, and some WILL put your reseller plan on some ropey underpowered server, or a slow as hell cloud setup sharing with tens of thousands of others (Quite a few of the big players do that).

There are other issues to consider too like where will your sites end up, geographically speaking, as some people complain a lot about "Why is 40% of my traffic from Germany" (Heard this one frequently) when their sites are with one of the big players who have their servers in Germany only.

You may want to consider, are you going to be able to take a call from an irate client who has locked themselves out of their email, or cant remember how to access their webmail, whilst your 12hr flight to Aus has just taken off?

Question #3:

This comes back to SEO. You should be hosting your clients websites as close to their audiences as possible. So if building sites for clients in both countries, who have their audience in their own countries, then you will want hosting in the UK and in AUS too, although AUS get their internet directly from Asianet and a few others, via a PLUTO and what would you do if on a long haul flight and one of them has an issue and cant reach you? They cant call the host if its all with your reseller plan.. Is it worth creating bad vibes with clients over something that generates so little revenue?

Question #4:

All your likely to get here is biased recommendations. For example, we're not a bargain basement hosting company, we're a premium hosting supplier to designers just like you, but, we DO support designers clients directly if the reseller is not available (Unlike any other host), but the sort of recommendation you maybe need is should you become a reseller or not...

Given what you have said about your travels, I would recommend that your ideal situation at the moment would be to find a fantastic host (Like us) and make the most of the affiliate scheme, otherwise you will have clients calling you at odd hours of the night from each country, and you really couldn't be a "hosting supplier" who doesn't have a phone number and is not reachable 7 days a week.

Was I biased enough?

We have a lot of designers who do this, they concentrate on doing awesome design work, then let us handle the hosting and tech support for their clients. Works exceptionally well.

We pay out 50% of a customers first annual payment too.

Your welcome to give us a call or drop us a PM to ask about anything.

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13 hours ago, wesh.uk said:

That allows you to go anywhere, anytime, and if any of your clients have any hiccups, they speak directly to the hosting company and don't need to depend on you.

It makes a great selling point for you too, in that you can demonstrate great integrity in placing your clients somewhere safe instead of trying to be their "Jake of all trades, master of none" when you tell them "I'll help you get your website setup at X company who will take care of the web hosting for you, and you own the website and the hosting account", with the keyword their being that they OWN the website and the hosting.

Reseller hosting should really just be called "Multi-site hosting".

Nail on the head really. It's a lot easier recommending, most hosts will offer some sort of thank you. Make sure whoever you recommend run fully managed, some hosts don't even backup as standard, they charge extra! The other point is make sure the host can talk with you as well as the client, or setup the account under an email alias the cc's you. The reason is I've had issues in the past where the client has zero technical understanding and yet is the only one who can liaise with the host. Last i'd say pick the right setup for each client, all to easy to go for an entry level shared hosting environment when VPS or better should be required.

Prime example i'm having DB connection issues with TSO Host, even wrote a cron (every 15 mins) to help them debug lol. This is a prime candidate to get off shared and on to vps :)

Capture.PNG.1a5875bffebf18e6f94718e71cf79901.PNG

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Hiya BrowserBugs

We dont have an "entry level" shared hosting, its simply just shared hosting, and you pay based on the space and traffic, simple as that. Every shared plan has the same features.

Also, a VPS is not an upgrade to shared. Its a big shame that a VPS, which is naturally slower by design, due to being an operating system, within an operating system is considered by so many hosts as an upgrade when in fact its a step sideways.

It shows you how oversold and restricted others shared hosting is when done badly.

If somebody is new to hosting, then a VPS could be the worst thing they ever do, as they will now have to manage the website, the control panel and on top of that, the server itself. Not ideal.

Feel free to give us a shout, maybe we can help...

We've had a lot jump over since TSO came under GoDaddy's ownership.

Edited by wesh.uk

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Hi wesh.uk and BrowserBug,

Thank you so much for taking the time to give such thorough responses to my questions. I clearly still have a lot to learn and this was the final information I needed to decide that I will start off with an affiliate option for the next year or so. 

wesh.uk,  I will take a look at your hosting plans. Many thanks again!

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On 8/11/2018 at 1:37 PM, wesh.uk said:

Hiya BrowserBugs

We dont have an "entry level" shared hosting, its simply just shared hosting, and you pay based on the space and traffic, simple as that. Every shared plan has the same features.

Also, a VPS is not an upgrade to shared. Its a big shame that a VPS, which is naturally slower by design, due to being an operating system, within an operating system is considered by so many hosts as an upgrade when in fact its a step sideways.

It shows you how oversold and restricted others shared hosting is when done badly.

If somebody is new to hosting, then a VPS could be the worst thing they ever do, as they will now have to manage the website, the control panel and on top of that, the server itself. Not ideal.

Feel free to give us a shout, maybe we can help...

We've had a lot jump over since TSO came under GoDaddy's ownership.

I've been watching the whole Tsohost saga unfold on Twitter. It's insane. Love some of the ninja marketing by other webhosts. Last Thursday I had a little moan about Tsohost on Twitter and within a few hours 4 different hosts had called directly - including uk2 (yuk!).

Back on topic, for the type of work I do, a VPS is always an upgrade over shared hosting. With shared hosting you're limited as to what software can be installed. With a VPS you have full control. At the end of the day managing a server really isn't that hard. It's even easier if you escape Cpanel insanity and use Nginx on it's own imo.

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Hiya Rallport

Apologies for not clarifying this, as what I meant related to performance, not functionality.

A VPS is a step sideways, in that you wont get better performance, but you would of course have total control over functionality.

I only referred to it in turns of performance, because so many hosts overcrowd shared servers, that they then push a VPS as an upgrade, which if it truly is a performance upgrade, then things are already n a downwards spiral.

So yeah, upgrade in functionality, definitely, but then if you have a situation where you want something installed that wont affect others negatively, and your host wont install it, then it may be time to bail and look for a host that says yes, and not finds 100 ways to say no.

We've installed things for people repeatedly, so long as they don't require a user to have root access or any detrimental affect on performance.

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1. What are the most common issues that I might run into as a reseller? At the moment, I will likely only have approx 10 sites with low to medium traffic.

Customer support can be time consuming, even with a few clients. If something happens the onus is on you to solve problems when they arise, and if your host is sub par you could find yourself spending a lot of time on things.

Another one is email, if your clients use IMAP accounts you will get some storing a lot of emails and that can soon fill up your disk quota. With email generally you can get a lot of instances where clients contact you because "their email stopped working", often that's because of things outside your control like them losing their passwords, misconfiguring email apps, or connectivity.

2. Should I just do it? Did other people just dive in when they weren't sure? It seems quite expensive so I'm wondering about becoming an affiliate first for a while.

After 15 years of hosting clients sites I came to the conclusion that it wasn't worth the hassle. Nowadays I recommended hosts to clients instead via an affiliate link or two so I get a small payment if they choose one. It's a lot less to wroory about.

3. I move a lot between the UK and Australia and built small business Wordpress websites in both countries. Does that mean I shouldn't choose a .au or .uk provider and go for a global option?

Choose a host that matches what's best for your clients, e.g. if they have a mainly UK audience choose a UK host. Your own location is irrelevant.

4. In 2018, what are the best reseller options out there? I've looked at quite a few now but would love a recommendation.

As other have echoed it's easy to be biased as everyone has their own preferred hosts. What I would say is:

- don't go cheap, you get what you pay for
- avoid hosts that offer everything as "unlimited", usually there have strict rules buried in their T&C's which you can easily fall foul of.
- avoid the ones that advertise on TV, they seem to spend more money on advertising than their infrastructure
- be wary of hosting best of/review sites, these tend to be biased towards the ones that pay the best affiliate payouts
- do your research, if you want a UK host look closely because they may be based in the US or some out of the way country

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15 hours ago, wesh.uk said:

I only referred to it in turns of performance, because so many hosts overcrowd shared servers, that they then push a VPS as an upgrade, which if it truly is a performance upgrade, then things are already n a downwards spiral.

Overcrowding is my biggest issue with shared hosts, VPS with dedicated memory IMO makes more sense, on shared I always get the SQL server which is shared with some muppet who likes to "select all" on their 500k row table and doesn't play it safe disconnecting at the end :(

Edited by BrowserBugs

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7 hours ago, BrowserBugs said:

Overcrowding is my biggest issue with shared hosts, VPS with dedicated memory IMO makes more sense, on shared I always get the SQL server which is shared with some muppet who likes to "select all" on their 500k row table and doesn't play it safe disconnecting at the end :(

lol, I totally get that. In fact, now with CloudLinux, guaranteeing resources on shared servers is super easy, as is stopping anybody from monopolising resources, so the problem you mention, just doesn't happen, ever.  🙂

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Hey.

1. One of the worst thing to happen is when your client's website is down and this might be a hosting problem, maybe maintenance or others.

2. I'm a designer as well, and I've done that before, although I stopped now due to other opportunities.  I had 2 clients hosted on my reseller account and they pay me once a year, for the total package of website maintenance and hosting. They get their own cPanel.

3. Yeah, just for the .com domains.

4. I would recommend Jolt Hosting's Reseller package. They have a £1 fee for the first month. So it's like a 30 day trial. You can cancel anytime.

These are for your Reseller option, I don't have any idea regarding affiliate.

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On 8/19/2018 at 5:39 PM, wesh.uk said:

lol, I totally get that. In fact, now with CloudLinux, guaranteeing resources on shared servers is super easy, as is stopping anybody from monopolising resources, so the problem you mention, just doesn't happen, ever.  🙂

I have to agree with this. We've moved all of our Shared Hosting over to highly optimized servers now including CloudLinux with FScage, PHP7, MariaDB, SSD Raid Drives, NGINX reverse proxy in front of Apache and you know what? It's pretty stunning the page load and performance you can get out of a good shared hosting account that isn't oversold. 

We do monitor our clients DB usage and proactively reach out to them to help them optimize when we can see things might be getting a little out of control, but other than that, there is just no comparison in what some of our clients are now experiencing on sub $10 plans compared to a few years ago, or even today under some of the less respectable hosts.

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7 minutes ago, Matt-RackX said:

reach out to them

Oh god, you said it... Not you too... Why??????????????

Why do people use a phrase that is longer, and less to the point than what's actually correct to start with?

"Contact them" is actually less letters, easier to type, and doesn't imply the use of lifeguard skills...

Sorry Matt, its a big laughing point here in the UK, but also very annoying...

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7 hours ago, wesh.uk said:

Oh god, you said it... Not you too... Why??????????????

Why do people use a phrase that is longer, and less to the point than what's actually correct to start with?

"Contact them" is actually less letters, easier to type, and doesn't imply the use of lifeguard skills...

Sorry Matt, its a big laughing point here in the UK, but also very annoying...

You know, I'm in the UK too, but I think it was habit I picked up spending the best part of 10 years working with mainly Americans in investment banks. People say it ALL THE TIME.

Now I barely even notice it :)

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My 10p's worth:

1. What are the most common issues that I might run into as a reseller? At the moment, I will likely only have approx 10 sites with low to medium traffic.

It's a 24/7 responsibility! When you get a text/email at 2am from a client who's site has stopped working you'll need to be on the case, especially if the client is losing sales, because downtime reflects on you. Of course a good host will have 24/7 monitoring in place to deal with server side issues and fix them as soon as possible.

You'll also be the contact for anything server side, that means dealing with email issues, databases, things not working etc. With a few clients that's not too bad but once you start getting a lot of clients the time you spend on support increases, that's why charging enough to cover support time is important else you'll be out of pocket.

Also you are responsible for billing and chasing up late payers!

2. Should I just do it? Did other people just dive in when they weren't sure? It seems quite expensive so I'm wondering about becoming an affiliate first for a while.

I'd suggest doing affiliate first - I have a list of hosts I work with and I offer a suitable selection to the client based on what is the best fit, it's up to them which to choose though in practice all of them go for my first recommendation.

Of course using affiliations you'll only get a one time payment for each account sold and not the recurring revenue you would from a reseller.

3. I move a lot between the UK and Australia and built small business Wordpress websites in both countries. Does that mean I shouldn't choose a .au or .uk provider and go for a global option?

It's usually best to use a host that's in the same country as the client, or at least where most of their customers are, e.g. if it's a UK business that has mainly UK customers then use a UK host. If the client's customers are worldwide then host location isn't so important, but there you could use a host where most of their customers are.

4. In 2018, what are the best reseller options out there? I've looked at quite a few now but would love a recommendation.

You get what you pay for, go cheap and you often get cheap/substandard service. You can of course pay a lot and still get rubbish! I've used Clook for nearly 15 years now, they're not the cheapest, but they are red hot on security and reliability, plus they answer support tickets literally in minutes 24/7 (my fastest ever response was 23 seconds!). I sleep soundly at night knowing all my clients sites are in good hands.

 

 

 

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