**This guide is for people interested in starting a cPanel/Linux-based web hosting business.
----> The Website ($0-$300+/month)
Image, presentation, and appearance is everything, I mean your new, what else do you got? Some may tell you reputation and word of mouth is key, while that is true, you don't have that yet. Building a solid, user friendly, and attractive website is where you start--it can make the difference of gaining 1 customer vs. 10, and that is a fact. I would recommend buying a pre-made template from someone off the web hosting forums. Now n' days you can spend just around $100 for a complete unique design WITH INTEGRATION into your billing software! I remember years ago I use to be able to charge $100 alone for billing integration, ah have times changed.
Web Designer Recommendations:
- #1 for templates, they aren't unique (meaning they get resold) but a great place to get your first professional website.
- Man times have really changed! You can get wonderful great looking templates completely free!
WebHostingTalk - http://www.webhostingtalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=56
----> The Billing Management ($10-$30+/month)
Face these facts, you need billing software and you need to look professional. In today's world, its dirt cheap and does more than billing software has ever before! Automate sales, account creation, and more! You can also forget about the previous need of needing to buy a separate software for ticket/support management.
Billing Software Recommendations:
- The #1 rated billing management software.
- A very close match with WHMCS, in my opinion the design is much nicer and admin control panel is more user-friendly.
----> The Hardware ($100-$500+/month)
I cannot stress this enough, if you want to have a healthy start with total control, you need to get your own server. Not a VPS, not a reseller account--a server. With a server you are in control, you are free to make addons, changes, etc. You don't have to rely on some other company and wonder why your servers are down. Having your own server will improve customer support, performance and give you a fresh start on a clean slate. Imagine you get a nice client base, then decide to upgrade to a server--clients do not like to be moved, you have a potential chance of losing some in the process and issues with transferring websites do happen. You'll also be able to provide reseller accounts and look more professional. Always buy unmanaged servers!
Expect to spend $100-500+/month - This of course depends on the hardware you choose to go with, the license/addons you get for cPanel, etc. I personally recommend investing $500+/month on a server with four SATAII/III hard drives/RAID10 on Intel Xeon machines from a reputable data center.
- Very well known, but pricey. Great support. Located in the USA.
- More affordable and lots of locations to choose from. Great support. Located in the USA.
- Known for very cheap servers locations world-wide and growing. Okay support. Located in the Europe & Canada.
- Also known for very cheap servers. Okay support. Located in Germany.
WebHostingTalk - http://www.webhostingtalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=36
----> The Server Admins ($29-$100+/month)
Whether your a techie yourself or not you need to have server admins to collaborate with. They need to secure your server, perform any tasks you need, bring it back up should the server go down, investigate any compromised systems, etc. All this sounds like you may need to spend some hardcore cash, but you don't! Lucky enough I have found some great server management at a cost you can't beat anywhere. Never use your datacenter for server management!
It is a very common practice for data centers to advertise "fully managed servers" and then when you need something installed, they tell you they do not support this and that--blah blah blah! Even data centers that offer "true" managed services might be great, but they usually come at a greater cost. This is why you should go with a separate company that is only dedicated in providing management services--they will do much more at a much less cost and they are another source of advice for choosing/maintaining servers. I have been with data centers whose hardware is crappy or faulty, yet they claim otherwise. Having server management outside of your data center is like having your own team to combat against some of the bad practices data centers might follow. "Never put all your eggs in one basket
Server Management Recommendations:
- I have personal experience with these guys, they will do so much for you you'll be amazed! At $29/month and $19/month for additional servers, you can't beat that pricing. They also have been in business for 10+ years!
- Another great company that gets praised all the time for their affordable prices!
WebHostingTalk - http://www.webhostingtalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=139
----> The 24/7 Support ($29-$100+/month)
Impress your customers and relax by providing them with true 24/7 support. I have found some of the most cheap and reliable outsourced support. You will find that your customers will be very happy getting professional responses in less than 20 minutes! Don't try to be a one man show, you can very easily lose a client that doesn't get a response in under 30 minutes, not to mention how stressing it can be.
Support Crew Recommendations:
- #1 rated for outsourced support. I give them an all around A+++
- This is the cheapest company and great for starters, $29/month to provide your clients 24/7 support? Yeah, you won't find that anywhere. I give them an A+++ for pricing.
WebHostingTalk - http://www.webhostingtalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=138
----> The Advertising ($0-$????+/month)
Lets face it, if you are reading this your on a budget and you need some cheap/free advertising. I can only recommend some free/cheap sources, it is up to you to use your imagination and plot advertising schemes. Find web designers, work with them, contact friends, local business, etc.
Google - They are always offering free coupon vouchers ranging from $25-$100+, free advertising!
Yahoo/Bing - It may take some searching, but you can sometimes find free vouchers as well.
FaceBook/MySpace - The same goes, do some digging to find free vouchers. They do not always offer them.
- People looking for hosting submit to this company and you can buy these referals. This requires a budget of at least $100+ and time. You need to fight for referals (I believe they get sent out to 5 people per person) in emails, giving them the best offers and customer service. You need to be very proactive if you wish to maximize the use of this service.
WebHostingTalk - http://www.webhostingtalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=45
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR WEB HOSTING BUSINESS!