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starting a hosting company - paid or free?

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  #1  
Old
Web Hosting Master
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 889

starting a hosting company - paid or free?


Hi

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)
or
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?



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  #2  
Old
WHT Addict
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 169
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  
Old
Web Hosting Master
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 889
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?

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  #4  
Old
WHT Addict
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 169
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  
Old
Web Hosting Master
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 889
i am not going to offer any control panel to free hosting customers.

they will just get ftp access

  #6  
Old
Disabled
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 556
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  
Old
Web Hosting Master
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 889
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  
Old
Disabled
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 556
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  
Old
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2
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  
Old
Web Hosting Master
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 889
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  
Old
WHT Addict
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 169
Quote:
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  
Old
Performance Specialist
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 10,516
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  
Old
Web Hosting Master
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 889
i'm not going to start off with a dedicated server. i'm starting with a resseller account.

  #14  
Old
Junior Guru Wannabe
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 45
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 200.0.0.0/8, 201.0.0.0/8, 81.0.0.0/8 from registration, as well as some other countries.

  #15  
Old
Junior Guru Wannabe
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 79
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.

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