Sorry for all the questions, but I have been looking around everywhere, including here trying to find the hosting solution I need. I am an experienced developer who is starting out on his own with a few clients. I'm going to be developing and hosting clients' sites. So I want something that will be pretty reliable. Also, as I pick up clients, I'd like to be able to add domain names so I can host separate sites under my account; this way I can bill the customer directly rather than have them getting bills from different people.
For quick development time, I will be using ASP.NET for the web applications. I'm more familiar with MS Sql Server, so I'd prefer that too. I was looking at ************.com, and it seems like they had exactly what I was looking for, until I saw that their parent company (Uni-Marketing Alliance Inc.) has an 'Unfavorable' rating with the Better Business Bureau, and they need a year's payment in advance.
I'm having a hard time wading through all the hosting providers trying to find what I need. Does anyone have any recommendations on what I need? Should I be looking at separate accounts for each client rather than multiple sites under one account? My reputation will be riding on these sites so I want something that's reasonably priced but not really expensive. What price range should I be looking for in a solution like this?
I was in the same situation as you are. So we ended up with our own servers. In the long run we found that we could offer our clients more (development wise) by having full control over the servers (i.e. if we needed to purchase a Crystal Reports license or install something in the GAC we chould).
If you already have clients and your a serious .NET developer you should look into you own servers.
As Primal Blue has suggested, if you can afford it, use your own dedicated server. GIves you a much better control over th applications you wish to run on your servers.
But if your budget doen't allows going dedicated right now, you will find many hosting providers that can provide you a reseller account to suit your requirements. Remember that Windows hosting will generally be costlier than Unix/Linux hosting, and the choices would be less in comparison.
It would be better if you provide your clients independent control panel, from where they can manage their little things like mail and FTP accounts etc. This will decrease your regular administrative chores to a large extent. You will still have control over your clients domain, as a reseller.
Personally, I have been using www.weberz.com, and Tracy has been more than helpful to me. But it would be more suitable if you search over here for more providers.
I currently don't have any paying clients yet, the first one of several is just now on the burner. I'm partnered with a graphics designer who brings the work in, so I don't know for sure how quickly new sites will come in. Do you think it would be a good initial plan to purchase each client a separate account/site until I have enough income from these projects to cover the cost of a reseller's account? Would I be able to seamlessly transfer the clients' sites to the reseller account?
Also, is $9.95 a month per site a reasonable amount to pay for hosting a single site like I've described?
I have been in the same situation as you are in right now. I would advise you to go with individual accounts right now, and shift to reseller when you have couple of them. This way it won't burn a hole in your pocket. Make sure that you pay monthly , so that you can move up to a reseller account pretty smoothly the day you are able to afford it. Also, check from yuor provider if he can move you up to a reseller account withouth any problems. THis will save you lot of hassles.
As for the price that you are getting right now, I am not surewhether it's the right price or not. Depends upon the specification and other features provided by the host. Whatever you pay, make sure that the host has a good reputation, becasue ulitmately, you will depend on it for your earnings.