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  #1  
Old
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 13

How to start off?


Hi!

I'm considering starting up a small web host and I'm wondering which route would be preferable - reseller, VPS or dedicated server? I have a starting budget of about 400 USD which is pretty low. A reseller host that offers WHMCS and cPanel is pretty awesome considering its price, however it doesn't feel like a serious host would use reseller hosting and I'm looking to learn more about hosting.

What do you guys recommend? The fees for cPanel and WHMCS are pretty hefty for me so I'm not sure if I should go for a dedicated server/VPS but a reseller instead. I've been looking at Hetzner and they offer a pretty good server for 49 EUR a month (149 EUR setup fee) but then I would have to pay a lot for cPanel and WHMCS.

Thanks



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  #2  
Old
Business Professional
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Missouri
Posts: 1,292
John,

we talked on another thread, but let me add some more information here.

If you don't plan to hire staff (with your budget it seems you won't) then let me suggest you take 2-3 months minimum (regardless of how fast you learn) to do research. Minimum of 14 hours a week worth of research. The only time (in my opinion) that owners and co-owners can start a company without any knowledge in the field they are entering is if 1) they have management experience/knowledge and 2) they plan to hire staff who are very knowledgable in that field.

Also, think about it, a serious host would not invest only $400. I'm not trying to let you down, I just don't want to see you lose $400. If that's all you got, it seems you don't have much money to play with and $400 would be a huge deal to you if you just lost it. Please play this game safe and WAIT until you're ready. Have a business plan before you start, and definitely wait till you have more money to invest. In the mean time, while you save, do a lot of research.

my 2 cents

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PKN Technology Group - Parent Holding Company in IT Business


  #3  
Old
Web Hosting Master
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 2,373
Great advice from Patrick. I've seen recommendations that you should be able to cover at least one year of operating costs when starting a business. Of course, some start with much less and are successful, but they're the exception and not the rule.

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  #4  
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Premium Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1,430
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickN View Post
John,

we talked on another thread, but let me add some more information here.

If you don't plan to hire staff (with your budget it seems you won't) then let me suggest you take 2-3 months minimum (regardless of how fast you learn) to do research. Minimum of 14 hours a week worth of research. The only time (in my opinion) that owners and co-owners can start a company without any knowledge in the field they are entering is if 1) they have management experience/knowledge and 2) they plan to hire staff who are very knowledgable in that field.

Also, think about it, a serious host would not invest only $400. I'm not trying to let you down, I just don't want to see you lose $400. If that's all you got, it seems you don't have much money to play with and $400 would be a huge deal to you if you just lost it. Please play this game safe and WAIT until you're ready. Have a business plan before you start, and definitely wait till you have more money to invest. In the mean time, while you save, do a lot of research.

my 2 cents
+1 there.

Do what Patrick mentioned here twice and then start your business, if you are still confident at that time.

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  #5  
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Web Hosting Master
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Chennai
Posts: 617
Even I would recommend you to do a lot of ground work before jumping. Starting a hosting business, though seemingly easy, will not be very successful (not to be negative, but circumspect) because running a hosting company is fiendishly difficult (and that too, without a reputation).

All that I want to tell you is that, please don't be in a haste and, in the end, become a fly-by-night operator.

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  #6  
Old
Junior Guru
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: California, USA
Posts: 208
I would suggest going with a reseller option due to it being largely possible to give customers an experience akin to a high end host and having low start up costs. I started with only $150 and that was plenty. The way you cover for not being the sole entity behind the company is by treating your customers like gods, and I mean that. Make your customers feel like you care about their website and give them the best support possible. While it may not seem like you are this big professional company, people will come, and if you offer excellent service, they will stay. So in the end, go with the reseller, and only move to VPS then Dedicated once you are ready and have the client base to back up the increased expenses. Consider the fact that few clients paying modest price can't cover for your own dedicated servers. Start small, and don't get ahead of yourself.

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  #7  
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Business Professional
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Missouri
Posts: 1,292
Ryansworld10,

You mentioned start small, but I really think $150 is too small. That's just almost near impossible. A decent website to even get customers to stay on your website would cost you at least $150 already from a free lancer. Then you have WHMcs, reseller (assuming that's the route you choose), and support cost. No funds for any sort of marketing? Don't make the poor man lose his money. The amazing stories by Michael Dell (Dell, Inc.) and Brent Oxley (Host Gator) even start at $1,000. Honestly, either you're exaggerating the $150 too low, still in development and no where near success yet, or you really need to write a story about how you did it so myself and thousands of others can be inspired. I'm not trying to bash you here, I'm just saying...if you can truly invest $150 in a business and go far then you're going to be one of my inspirations.

Anyway,

Whether John listens to you or me, all I want to point out is $400 will be REAL tough and don't say I didn't warn you, let alone $150.

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PKN Technology Group - Parent Holding Company in IT Business


  #8  
Old
Business Professional
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Missouri
Posts: 1,292
Doesn't a business license registration, tax, merchant account, all this great stuff already going to cost you the $150? lol. Sorry, I forgot to add that in there, just thought of it. And don't forget domain registration and SSL and many many many factors. Sorry I'm bugging you on this, I'm just really trying to figure how it all works with just $150 regardless of how lucky you are. I know you can probably find clients and such, just trying to figure out how you got online and going with that budget.

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PKN Technology Group - Parent Holding Company in IT Business


  #9  
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Nevada
Posts: 147
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickN View Post
Doesn't a business license registration, tax, merchant account, all this great stuff already going to cost you the $150? lol. Sorry, I forgot to add that in there, just thought of it. And don't forget domain registration and SSL and many many many factors. Sorry I'm bugging you on this, I'm just really trying to figure how it all works with just $150 regardless of how lucky you are. I know you can probably find clients and such, just trying to figure out how you got online and going with that budget.
A local business license here costs that much alone

I wouldn't rely on your hosting business to be your sole income until it's fairly well established. I've just nearly managed to get my business to pay for itself, and I work constantly.

Basically as others have said, it can be a -lot- of work. However, don't let that discourage you if you're up for it. It can also be highly rewarding when you figure out some server quirk, or help out a client in need. Good reviews make you feel really good, and it gives a sense of accomplishment .

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  #10  
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnMoberg View Post
... which route would be preferable - reseller, VPS or dedicated server?
I suggest to start with a reseller account from a reliable webhost with good reputation while at the same time get a small cheap VPS to improve your server management knowledge.

Then you can move to a VPS or dedicated server later and are ready without delay because you know already how to manage a webhosting server.

Tom Tomson

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  #11  
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Business Professional
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Missouri
Posts: 1,292
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlusWebHost View Post
A local business license here costs that much alone

I wouldn't rely on your hosting business to be your sole income until it's fairly well established. I've just nearly managed to get my business to pay for itself, and I work constantly.

Basically as others have said, it can be a -lot- of work. However, don't let that discourage you if you're up for it. It can also be highly rewarding when you figure out some server quirk, or help out a client in need. Good reviews make you feel really good, and it gives a sense of accomplishment .
That's what I'm saying. Over here in Missouri it costed me $135. I wish it was strictly enforced and required that any sort of business/company was required a business license. We wouldn't see many kiddie hosts if it was that way, but sadly I'm pretty sure it'd be too hard for the government to go around and deal with it.

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PKN Technology Group - Parent Holding Company in IT Business


  #12  
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Junior Guru Wannabe
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: India
Posts: 77
If you're looking to get started with web hosting business get a reseller hosting and look for a provider offering WHMCS free, once you have a good base of customers for your business, you can think getting VPS or Dedicated server as per your turnover.

Wish you the best for your new venture.

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  #13  
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,225
1) Reseller
2) VPS
3) Dedi
use business sense and manage it well. Browse the forums to learn, learn, learn!

  #14  
Old
Junior Guru
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: California, USA
Posts: 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickN View Post
Doesn't a business license registration, tax, merchant account, all this great stuff already going to cost you the $150? lol. Sorry, I forgot to add that in there, just thought of it. And don't forget domain registration and SSL and many many many factors. Sorry I'm bugging you on this, I'm just really trying to figure how it all works with just $150 regardless of how lucky you are. I know you can probably find clients and such, just trying to figure out how you got online and going with that budget.
Sorry, when I said $150, I wasn't counting most of this extra stuff. In this case I do agree that $150 is quite an impossible task as at this point I have spent much more than that.

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  #15  
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Business Professional
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Missouri
Posts: 1,292
Yeah, $150 is definitely impossible. If $150 was enough to start your own hosting company everyone would do it, regardless if they fail or not. $150 investment to possibly create a successful company, who wouldn't? right? lol

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PKN Technology Group - Parent Holding Company in IT Business


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