One of the most lucrative businesses you can start right from the comfort of your home is a web hosting company.
I know most of us don’t have the huge investment or infrastructure needed to set up servers and systems, and cannot afford to hire a technical team to manage the operations.
But I am here to tell you that not only can you operate a web hosting business from anywhere with a very small investment, you can actually do so profitably.
Here’s a fact for you: One of the biggest hosting companies on the web, HostGator was founded by Brent Oxley in his dorm room at the University. How did he do it? By becoming a reseller of a large data center company called The Planet (now SoftLayer). It’s the data center that owns and manages the servers, network and other infrastructure while the reselling company rents space on their servers and sells hosting to its own customers under its brand name.
And that’s what we’ll talk about: Reseller Hosting and how you can create your own hosting company by using other hosting providers’ services. And more importantly, do it with a bare minimum set up.
In reseller hosting, the hosting provider allots you a certain bandwidth and hard drive space which you can utilize for hosting sites of your own clients. The company will also enable you to create your own plans, prices and other services, all with your brand name on it.
Depending on your technical expertise and how small or big you want to start with, you can have the parent host manage most of the support, while you act as a communication medium between the host and your clients. So for any technical issues that your client faces, you forward them to the host and they’ll resolve them. That also means you will have to constantly monitor the interface to see if everything’s going smooth on both ends-your customer and the parent host.
Finding a Good Reseller Hosting Provider
Most of the large hosting companies offer reseller hosting these days. Here are some tips to choose one among them:
- Compare their rates. Of course, you don’t want to blindly choose the least expensive one, but it helps to know the rates and understand how much you can charge for your own hosting service later.
- Technical Support. Probably the most important criteria. Check how much technical support your host will provide to your clients. Not all of them offer complete support, so you will need to decide how much customer assistance you can provide yourself. Personally, I’d prefer a company with round the clock support via chat and phone.
- Uptime: Another crucial factor in deciding a hosting company is its uptime record. If you don’t want to face angry customers later, choose a company that has less than 1% downtime which ensures all the sites hosted on their servers rarely go down.
Promoting your Hosting Service
Once you’ve decided on a hosting company, it’s time to promote your hosting services. Advertise your company in the online classifieds and promote your site via SEO and paid traffic. But don’t limit your advertising only to the internet. You can go to your local businesses and distribute flyers that showcase your services and how they can benefit hosting their sites with you.
Provided you have the budget, you can also sponsor tech. events and networking seminars in your local business community to get more exposure.
If you’re already offering some kind of web services to your clients like web design or programming, tell them about your new hosting service. They are the ones most likely to sign up with you.
Since you would be just starting, you may even launch a discount offer and bulk rates for those who sign up early. Give them the best possible customer service, create attractive hosting plans (of course, don’t promise any features that your own host doesn’t offer!) and encourage them to spread the word about your hosting, thus making your own clients into affiliates.
Once you have a few customers, you can expand your business by hiring employees to take care of the support, maintenance and minor technical issues.
So there you have it. A profitable online business you can start from home and earn a passive income month on month. All you need is a decent computer and lots of determination and the ability to work hard.