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  1. #1

    starting a hosting company - paid or free?


    I am thinking of starting a hosting company.

    I just want your opinion on the pros and cons of starting a

    Paid hosting (i charge my customer)
    Free Hosting (Ad supported - just few decent looking ads)

    I think free option will be easier for me as i understand my target market for it. (young people - school prjects- maybe small companies - spamers lol (only joking))

    with the paid option i need to do a lot more thinking on who will be my target market. does anybody know of sources of article on marketing hosting to the right customer for your business?

  2. #2
    The smaller people group you target, the better results you might expect. I think any marketing book explains the basics and everything else depends on your creativity

  3. #3
    I think i've just had a briliant idea for a paid hosting service.

    so i might start with the free one and then soon start another site and offer paid hosting from there..

    I have a question tho. feed back from other hosts here is appreciated.

    when you get a new customers, do they just vist your site and sign up straight away or do they ask questions first?

  4. #4
    Every customer is different. Some of them ask pre-sale questions, while others register immediately.

    Have you already decided what control panel will you offer for free hosting users?

  5. #5
    i am not going to offer any control panel to free hosting customers.

    they will just get ftp access

  6. #6
    That should be fine, but be prepared, as you grow, you'll have flooded server with signups, and you'll have to deal with illegal content.

    Will you provide support also to your customers, free?

  7. #7
    Yeah i will also offer free support. so is it easy to get free hosting customers? and do you lot allow free hosting customers to run sites on a sub domain of your site or do you require them to use register domain?

  8. #8
    If you're serious about providing free hosting, you may allow both options.

    1. Have a registered domain and want to use.
    2. Use subdomain at your own website.

    But you should keep an open eye, most signups could be coming from spammers, illegal content hosters, or both.

  9. #9
    In my opinion free hosting is very difficult to set up and actually make a decent profit from.

    Paid hosting, however, is a saturated market so unless you can offer something new and exciting then be prepared for the long hard struggle.

    Good luck

  10. #10
    owning a popular/ with quite a few active sites. can be handy for uses other then making profit

    yeah S-Comm i'll offer both options

    does any one know of a script that ads some text to every page of the sites hosted by a site?

  11. #11
    Originally posted by saghir69
    owning a popular/ with quite a few active sites. can be handy for uses other then making profit

    yeah S-Comm i'll offer both options

    does any one know of a script that ads some text to every page of the sites hosted by a site?
    I think it's only possible by adding an option to Apache.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    New York, NY
    A free hosting company would work out fine but make sure that you can afford the servers with the ad revenue and make sure that you scan your users' websites thourougly to make sure there are no illegal files hosted on your servers. Making sure that there are no illegal files on your server is very important and if you do not do this you can get shut down quite fast by getting unplugged by the data center or you could get a lawsuit against you.
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  13. #13
    i'm not going to start off with a dedicated server. i'm starting with a resseller account.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    British Columbia, Canada
    Free service is very hard to run. I ran a free webhosting provider and we were flooded with bogus account setups, people hosting trojans, etc.

    Alot of the members were just people looking for places to dump their files for short periods.. eat up all your bandwidth and leave.

    If you're going to do that, I'd recommend blacklist,, from registration, as well as some other countries.

  15. #15
    I ran a free hosting service for a year and still have it, but I'm looking to sell it. It takes a lot of time checking accounts for illegal content and deleting spammers. Be prepared to go through 50-100 accounts a day. Once your service is out there, that's how many signups you'l have a day. I would not recomend starting on a reseller account if you're serious about it.

  16. #16
    doublej are you using a script to add a footer or header to user accounts?

    any chance you can direct me in the right direction?

  17. #17

    do you actually make money off providing free hosting services??


  18. #18
    It was profitable, but I've had to shut down the signup form for right now because of so many spammers signing up. I've kept it closed until we figure a way to stop spammers or the site is sold. When the signup form was open the site was actually profitable without ads on members pages. We still have not placed ads on members sites, but it can be done.

  19. #19
    saghir69, we havn't placed any ads on members pages at this point. The programmer who created the site had an easy way to place ads on members pages, but i don't remember exactly what it was. I would have to talk to him about again.

  20. #20
    thanks doublej, it would be nice if you could find out for me.

    i know its to do with mod rewrite and there are scripts for this stuff but i don't know wat term to search for.

  21. #21
    Could you PM me? I'm not on my main computer right now so I don't have access to the programmer's contact info right now. I don't want to forget about it for you.

  22. #22
    If you are going to advertise try not using pop-ups as it puts the visitors off, it might also turn away your clients.

    You should offer a paid for and a free version of the account with limitations, then the client can choose whats best for them.

  23. #23
    thanks rogueslayer, I plan on starting a paid service too. and free acounts will be very basic. i think running this site will give me an idea of the industry and the demand of web hosting on the internet.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Ohio, USA

    The free and paid hosting customers are two different kind of animals. One always thinks that you should give free services all the time and they take your services for granted. While the others know what they want and they are ready to pay for that services. Do not try to get one experience and then think that this will match to other. Also you will get discouraged more if you have bad experience with free hosting customers.

    I started out with paid hosting and first year was very slow but slowly i gained customers and most of them are referrals from my exisinng customers. So watch out, do not learn chinese cooking to serve italian people !

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  25. #25
    thanks ozone_mark good point.

    things is its too complicated to run a paid service as the expectations are much higher( i don't mean support wise) i mean i need to have a proper web design, billing system , credit card proccessing etc. I guess i can start the free one and then use this one to drive traffic to my new service when i'm ready!

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