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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb My UK Hosting Dream!!!

    I have always wanted to own my own company and work for myself, of course the problem has always been what sort of business would i want to control?

    Originally i thought the answer to the question was 'Website Design' (due to my background and qualifications) but having left uni and being unable to get a job in the web design industry due to my lack of commerical experience i started thinking about the alternatives... and the answer was 'Cheap UK Web Hosting'.

    To be honest ive been let down in the past by EUKHost, although for the cheap price i shouldnt really complain! In the last 2ish years ive exerienced downtime, loss of emails and other data and even problems with adding of additional domains through there control panel (although thats probably due to my own stupidity!!!).

    So my dream is to provide something similar, nice and cheap and really really reliable.... webhosting by designers for designers (as id like to look at it). So ive starting building my interface for my hosting company and ive looked at reseller hosting. Ive looked at a number of resellers having already discarded EUKHost as a possibility for the obviously reasons of data loss and downtime (despite there new and much needed website image, although its obviously a template).

    The decision for a reseller account has fallen at this time to bpweb.net who appear to have a professional appearance and have provided excellent email communication about the services they provide, if their hosting and after sales service is as good as thier pre-sales services they are definately the choice for me.

    So i have a first choice of reseller hosting... now comes the hosting prices and what i like to call the 'two big snags'.

    The cheapest package i am looking to offer is £19.99 and that gets you 250mb of storage, 10gb bandwidth per month, you can stick 5 domain names on the account (hence the buyer can host 5 unique websites on the same hosting account) and various other features including some mysql databases etc. etc.

    The next package would be £29.99 which would have 500mb storage and 25gb bandwith or storage. Finally there would be a package for either £39.99 or £49.99 which would have 1000mb of stoarage and 50gb of bandwidth per month. Needless to say the number of addable domain names and other features would increase dependant on which package.

    Now the two snags and this is where i need some commments:

    1) i dont want to provide peoples domain names, i just want to provide people with hosting. The reason for this is because i really cant stand people being in control of my domain names. I want to know where my domain names are so that if i want to leave a host i can do so without having to muck around trying to get my domain name back (EUKHost take note). Quite simply would you buy hosting without a domain name or would you expect to get a free domain name with the hosting? Take into consideration the price of the cheapest package im looking to offer... "we provide the hosting, you provide the domain" (well i think its quite catchy).

    2) Support... if im totally honest theres no way i can provide 24/7 support. Sure ill check for emails and problems 2 or 3 times per day, but i cant provide continous support 24/7. My main issue behind support has always been to use it to complain about downtime and loss of data. Other than that ive always been able to sort the problem myself!!!

    So based on my prices, my minimal support service and the lack of domain names... would you buy???

    At the end of the day i want to provide something that i would buy... something that was reliable... something that was cheap.

    Thanks for reading this far... im sure your all bored by now, but makes some comments if you like.

    Cheers

    ---------------------------------------------------
    Sabian1982
    Multimedia, Technology and Design BSc

  2. #2
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    What is your unique selling point for this?

    From what I've read it seems like you're trying to do something that plenty of others already do.

  3. #3
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    i think what i want to achieve is a hosting company that is good value for money and each package has the ability to use quite a large number of domain names so the user can say have 20-30 or however many unique websites running on one account. i think its obviously hard to create a unique idea for anything that someone else hasnt thought of... otherwise we would all be millionaires wouldnt we?

    basically when i was looking for hosting i wanted something cheap, something that i could use quite a few domain names on, a nice lot of bandwidth and space and something that was very reliable... no down time or loss of data... im basically try to achieve what i would want to buy...

  4. #4
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    So basically you want to provide cheap and reliable web hosting?

    The problem is, your plans aren't really 'cheap' -- at least not compared to most hosts out there these days.

    Also your plans aren't going to be reliable, at least not support-wise -- checking for emails 2-3 times a day is simply not enough to sustain a business on.
    valvemedia ltd private label reseller specialists!
    web hosting, e-commerce, content management and awesome design services
    Looking to sell? we are on the acquisition trail - US/UK hosts only.

  5. #5
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    I say take it and run with it! And good luck to you! The UK needs a stable, reliable, cheap web host, and you sound like the guy to do it! Keep us updated!
    Daniel B., CEO - Bezoka.com and Ungigs.com
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valve Ben
    So basically you want to provide cheap and reliable web hosting?

    The problem is, your plans aren't really 'cheap' -- at least not compared to most hosts out there these days.

    Also your plans aren't going to be reliable, at least not support-wise -- checking for emails 2-3 times a day is simply not enough to sustain a business on.
    Thanks for your feedback... im looking for the positive and the negative... thats probably why i have yet to set up such a company at this time as ive already realised the negative problems you've highlighted!!!

    Right lets start at the top... the price you say of 19.99 which would give you the cheapest package of 250mb web space, 10gb of bandwidth pm, say you can use 5 domain names on the website to host seperate sites under the one account, 10 MySQL databases (2 for each domain name) and a load of other features...

    You say that 19.99 for that isnt cheap compared to other hosts out there... id agree with that 100% but show me a UK based host that serves UK customers (which is what im looking to do) that is that cheap.

    A search on Google for "cheap uk web hosting" showed up some cheap hosting...

    One the first page (one of the cheapest i could find) was from 13.99 with 150mb of space. With this you can only have 1 true domain (im offering 10), 1 POP email account (mine will be unlimited), no subdomains (again ill offer unlimited), ZERO mysql databases (did i mention mine would provide 10)....

    At the end of the day my 19.99 account would totally outstrip the other companies 13.99 hosting and mine would include features that would have normal had to be bought as addons... for anywhere up to an additional 50+ per year.

    I agree support would be time limited ie responses would be replied to way within 12 hours of submission but the quality of responses would be exellent as well as being supported by a knowledge basis, user forums and records of all previous problems and solutions experienced by customers. The idea to grow the hosting company into its only little communitie of site owners... i know its a pipe dream at the moment and that the reply is there are hundreds of website forums out there...

    Some more comments anyone? is there something cheaper in the UK (im just lazy and dont want to trawl through lots of google search pages...

  7. #7
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    No, I don't believe there is anything cheaper in the UK. Again, I say take your idea and run with it!
    Daniel B., CEO - Bezoka.com and Ungigs.com
    Hosting Solutions Optimized for: WordPress Joomla OpenCart Moodle
    Data Centers in: Chicago (US), London (UK), Sydney (AU), Sofia (BG), Pori (FI)
    Email Daniel directly: ceo [at] bezoka.com

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mynameweb
    No, I don't believe there is anything cheaper in the UK. Again, I say take your idea and run with it!
    Thanks for your feedback!!!

    One thing i would like to ask from your own experience from running a successful business is relating to the support of customers which is my main concern.

    Do you find any particular support problems continously come up and generally how many support requests do you get in (say for example) a week...

  9. #9
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    Off the top of my head, lets go with unitedhosting.co.uk - well known on this forum and serving a high number of sites these days. They are a UK company with UK servers.

    They're basic reseller plan (as I don't believe they offer multiple domains on normal plans) is $34/month (19.50 UKP). With this you get 3GB disk space and 30GB b/w, as opposed to your 250MB disk space and 10GB b/w. You can also host up to 30 domains compared to your 5.

    I'm not trying to put you down in any way, but I seriously suggest you do more research before jumping in at the deep-end.

    Will you be offering phone support? IMO support is the thing that sets hosts apart from each other. Sure everyone offers disk space, and mailboxes and mysql db's etc.. in that sense you can match other hosts directly. But support is a whole different ball game.

    You need to decide exactly who your target market is. You are aiming at web designers, which mean they will be reselling to their clients. These kind of people need to KNOW that when one of their customers has a problem, they can rely on you to fix it, otherwise it makes THEM look bad.

    You need at the very least 9am-5pm support (phone preferably) to support these kinds of clients IMO.

    HTH
    valvemedia ltd private label reseller specialists!
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  10. #10
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    If you don't want to "muck about" with domain names, then why not use a reseller from a registrar that gives the owner their own control panel ? The user can then simply move their domain away if they have problems with you.

    EUK was the reason I moved from a reseller account to dedicated server several years back, so I know where you're coming from. I had to fight to get my domain name (right up to the registrar !) as well, some things don't change

    Unless you have a large support load, 24/7 support can be done by a 1 man band if you set your helpdesk to SMS you and you have a PDA with a GPRS or 3G link you can do support from virtually anywhere.

  11. #11
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    Hmmm...so far, we have not gotten any "most popular" support questions. But some common ones do include email problems (usually you have to tell them to use their ISP's SMTP server), script-related issues/requests, and of course if their website does not show up, you will be the first one they contact!

    But as far as questions you can count on, they generally run all across the board.

    We get most of our support requests as soon as a client signs up. After the first two weeks or so, the tickets seem to slack off. The main reason we get tickets after that is for, again, website being down or email problems.

    I thikn your idea of checking emails about three times a day will work fine. Just make sure you include on your website the feature '24 hour response guarantee' or something similar. This will assure clients that although their email will not be answered right away, it will be answered within a day.

    Hope that helps some! If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask them!
    Daniel B., CEO - Bezoka.com and Ungigs.com
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  12. #12
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    The main thing with support is to get something back to the customer ASAP to set their expectations.

    Give them nothing and they don't know where they stand and get upset.

    Tell them when they can expect an answer by with a simple email autoresponder or helpdesk call acknowldgement page - AND tell them if you're not going to meet the target. Most customers will appreciate simple honesty.

  13. #13
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    I think theres some confusion here
    They're basic reseller plan (as I don't believe they offer multiple domains on normal plans) is $34/month (19.50 UKP). With this you get 3GB disk space and 30GB b/w, as opposed to your 250MB disk space and 10GB b/w. You can also host up to 30 domains compared to your 5.
    thats a resellar account though, and thats price per month. Im not going to offer resellar accounts... and my price of £19.99 for 250mb etc ect would be the yearly price!!!

    Looking at there cheapest hosting package is 200mb @ £5 per month... that would be £60 per year... im offering more webspace and more features for £19.99... other than the 24/7 support (where an SMS idea was mentioned by monaghan)... i cant really see much comparision...

    I think at the end of the day (as mentioned in this forum on previous posts) is that word of mouth and places like this are the key to generating customers. At the end of the day i would need to get a minimum of 25 customers in a year to make a profit and cover my startup costs!!!

    At the end of the day im a young designer doing something completely different as my full time job. As long as i cover my initial expenditure during the year i dont mind!!! Id prefer to have a really popular site that grows into an online community than something that makes me a tonn of cash. Of course i wldnt complain if i got both!!! :p

    Thanks again mynameweb for the stats plus if you could provide some indication on how many new customers you get each month/year that would be useful. Use my email if you dont feel comfortable posting that info to the forum.

    Cheers

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabian1982
    I think theres some confusion here thats a resellar account though, and thats price per month. Im not going to offer resellar accounts... and my price of 19.99 for 250mb etc ect would be the yearly price!!!
    Ah well you didn't say that was yearly in the original post did you, in that case then yes, you are very cheap

    BTW - there's no difference between a 'reseller' account and multi-domain account in essence, hance why I chose that plan as a comparison.
    valvemedia ltd private label reseller specialists!
    web hosting, e-commerce, content management and awesome design services
    Looking to sell? we are on the acquisition trail - US/UK hosts only.

  15. #15
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    Actually, Valve Ben, there is a difference. Many of the hosts that offer multi-domain shared hosting strictly forbid these accounts from being used as reseller accounts.
    Daniel B., CEO - Bezoka.com and Ungigs.com
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  16. #16
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    I'd be concerned with offering yearly prices so low when your starting out, if you only sell 1 account, the £20 won't keep your reseller account up for long, even if you buy a mega cheap oversold usa based kiddie hosting reseller account.

    If you're doing a full time job, then you'll have to think the support processes and ensure your customers are happy with the response times - either that or you'll have to nip to the bog with a GPRS PDA every time you get a call

    Good luck

  17. #17
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    also i spose you cant really use them as proper resellar accounts can you... theres no seperate control panel really...

    still it would be interesting to know realistically if i SEO my site well enough, and get the word out there about my hosting site the number of sign ups i can expect with in a month or a year.

    So how long do u think it will take me to get 25 customers at the prices and service im offering...

  18. #18
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    What's all this nineteen night nine? It's twenty quid!

    .99 this, .95 that are americanisms which were introduced to the UK. Charge that penny more...give it to charty if you don't want it.

    So how long do u think it will take me to get 25 customers at the prices and service im offering...
    1 day or 20 years. No adverts = No Clients.
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  19. #19
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    sabian1982,

    If you use good SEO tactics and effective advertising methods such as Google AdWords, it would be quite possible to get 25 customers in one day. It all depends on how much you can spend and how brilliant of a marketing campaign you can develop. But it is indeed realistic to expect to get 25 clients very quickly.
    Daniel B., CEO - Bezoka.com and Ungigs.com
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    Email Daniel directly: ceo [at] bezoka.com

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mynameweb
    No, I don't believe there is anything cheaper in the UK. Again, I say take your idea and run with it!
    i would agree, bandwidth is usually the most pathetic thing for some of the prices, hence why my servers are in the US, makes it so much easier

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mynameweb
    Actually, Valve Ben, there is a difference. Many of the hosts that offer multi-domain shared hosting strictly forbid these accounts from being used as reseller accounts.
    I said "in essence", as in technically there is no difference -- TOS can stipulate many things!

    And anyway, in the context of the thread starter there is actually no difference anyway. He is the one planning on offering multi-domain and I used a reseller plan to compare to his -- unless you have seen a TOS which strictly forbids the use of such an account for hosting multiple personal sites rather than reselling?

    If I had compared the other way then possibly we would have an issue.
    valvemedia ltd private label reseller specialists!
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  22. #22
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    Whatever...

    Your comparison could confuse those who do not have a bigger depth of knowledge. You need to be careful when trying to help someone out that you keep this fact in mind.
    Daniel B., CEO - Bezoka.com and Ungigs.com
    Hosting Solutions Optimized for: WordPress Joomla OpenCart Moodle
    Data Centers in: Chicago (US), London (UK), Sydney (AU), Sofia (BG), Pori (FI)
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  23. #23
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    No need to get upset, we are all friends here

    I didn't feel that someone on a hosting forum would need further information, but shall make sure in future that I explain all the details so as not to confuse anybody.
    valvemedia ltd private label reseller specialists!
    web hosting, e-commerce, content management and awesome design services
    Looking to sell? we are on the acquisition trail - US/UK hosts only.

  24. #24
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    .99 this, .95 that are americanisms which were introduced to the UK.
    It was actually introduced to prevent theft from shops, but that's for another thread entirely!
    Steve

  25. #25
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    Sorry, Ben, I can get a bit touchy sometimes!

    I do understand what you're saying - I just wanted to make sure that the OP and other folks reading this would not get confused!
    Daniel B., CEO - Bezoka.com and Ungigs.com
    Hosting Solutions Optimized for: WordPress Joomla OpenCart Moodle
    Data Centers in: Chicago (US), London (UK), Sydney (AU), Sofia (BG), Pori (FI)
    Email Daniel directly: ceo [at] bezoka.com

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valve Ben
    BTW - there's no difference between a 'reseller' account and multi-domain account in essence, hance why I chose that plan as a comparison.
    There is a very real difference with most hosts - a "multi-domain" plan only has 1 control panel instance, a reseller plan gives a control panel instance to each domain

    If it's primarily aimed at a UK audience for hosting, then a server in the UK is highly recommended.

    As to the financials, only the OP will know from their business plan whether it will work, but a worked example to help...

    Costs :
    one-off, assuming amortosed over 36months
    1600 for a decent dual-xeon, 2gb ram, 3 200Gb disks in Raid 5 setup

    Annual, assuming amortised over 12months
    300 for a control panel licence
    300 for other s.ware licences (support system etc)

    Monthly
    20/month for 1u of space at a datacentre
    200/month for 1Mb/s of decent bandwidth circa 1000Gb transfer/month

    So you're looking at a "spend" of approx:
    45+50+220=315/month
    not including transcation costs, banking fees, staff, tax, ni, premises etc.

    Support: irrespective of your price people *will* expect instant responses 24/7

    How many plans @ 20/year do you need to sell to cover the costs ?

    How much support will they take - we find that people who expect it cheap have a much higher support requirement than thoise who put a "value" on their internet presence and are prepared to pay for uptime/reliability/redundancy

    There is a reason not too many hosts sell what you're offering for 1.65/month (yes there are some, and ones noticably cheaper than that, but mostly they last about 6months until they run out of steam or cash from their other jobs to fund it)
    Rob Golding Astutium Ltd - UK based ICANN Accredited Domain Registrar - proud to accept BitCoins
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by othellotech
    There is a very real difference with most hosts - a "multi-domain" plan only has 1 control panel instance, a reseller plan gives a control panel instance to each domain
    I'm beginning to wish I never posted now

    I only used that as a comparison as it was the closest thing in the context of the original post I could find to what he was planning to offer on the first UK host I hit.

    valvemedia ltd private label reseller specialists!
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  28. #28
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    Thanks for all the feedback everyone, now ill try and respond.

    The main cost for the year is obviously the resellar account that im going to purchase. Its more than likely at this moment in time that i will be buying from www.bpweb.net. If im selling packages from 19.99 per year that would mean i would need to sell 25 packages at that price in a year to cover the set up fee for the reseller account.

    Other than that i dont really have much more costs at this time. I wont need any other staff or control panel license (as mentioned by othellotech) as this should all be covered by the reseller.

    As for getting my hosting site out there, im looking at good professional website (which is what you should expect from a designer), submission to some popular directories, links in my forum signatures, submission to the major search engines, some possible reciprical linking (although apparently this idea is now dead with Google) and a small amount of Google Adword advertising!!!

    On the idea of price (mentioned by affordahost) do you think i should be rounding stuff up... hence a 20 package as apposed to a 19.99 package???

    Finally going back to the major issue of support as being discussed, obviously if this hosting site works well and gets enough customers, i can obviously start providing a high quality of support and even provide 24/7 assistance. Initially though the support will be through the knowledge basis, a forum (when there are enough memebers) and guarenteed email response within 24 hours.

    Mike

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabian1982
    On the idea of price (mentioned by affordahost) do you think i should be rounding stuff up... hence a 20 package as apposed to a 19.99 package???
    TBH, it's quite a hard one to call.

    On the one hand some people like to see prices rounded up as they see it as more 'honest' and on the other hand some people will still see 20 as being more than 19.99 -- silly I know, but true.

    I'd like to think (and hope) it wouldn't make a difference, but I've never tried it myself.
    valvemedia ltd private label reseller specialists!
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  30. #30
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    On the idea of price (mentioned by affordahost) do you think i should be rounding stuff up... hence a £20 package as apposed to a £19.99 package???
    £19.99 for sure, we had customers complain about us being too expensive when we use to round up order amounts in our billing system. Since we made the move to being a .01 less, we've had no more complaints and secured more customers.
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  31. #31
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    .99 .95 .97 .00 - whatever suits you realy, most people ae not "fooled" by thinking 19.99 is any less than 20.

    bpweb ? presumably because for £300/yr you get unlimited diskspace, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited control panels, etc ?
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  32. #32
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    Unlimited UK Web Space and Unmetered Bandwidth... can see there being major problems there in the future. Find yourself a proper host offering something actually available.
    Steve

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by othellotech
    bpweb ? presumably because for 300/yr you get unlimited diskspace, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited control panels, etc ?
    well i was going with the 450/yr account due to multi domain sites... with the 300/yr you can only reseller single sites, were as the more expensive means customers can set up multiple accounts with multiple domain names, which is obviously what i want to do.

    I did email bpweb a couple of times about 6ish months ago when i was originally thinking about this and i got quite a bit of feed back! It was confirmed that yes there is unlimited bandwidth and unlimited web space, which obviously means that you can set up as many accounts as you want and also allocate as much or as little web space and bandwidth etc as you so wish!

    Obviously my many question when emailing was "is this truely unlimited web space and bandwidth" the repsonse was yes! The reason being people buy webspace all the time but how many people actually use all the web space they buy?

    Me personally? i have 200mb of web space with a seperate web host and ive probably only used 30-40 mb's in total. Obviously people have different needs and would obviously need more...

    Take a look at www.bpweb.net they are in number 3 position on google.com when you type 'reseller hosting'. If there SEO and feedback so far is anything to go by im thinking they are quite good. Plus i cant really seem to find very much negative feedback in forums about this company, and they appear to have been around for quite a while!!! I could only find a couple of references to them on this forum and only a couple were bad... of which one is infact for reseller hosting :/

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  34. #34
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    Unlimited disk / bandwidth doesn't exist

    The server will have limited resource, I suggest you search on "overselling" and "unlimited", perhaps this will open your eyes.

    It's not so bad if you oversell your allocation, however when the person selling it to you is also overselling, then you start to run into problems.

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Toronto, ON.
    Posts
    95
    Los off emails is usually caused by a host that allows spamming, and gets blacklisted.

  36. #36
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    3,102
    I like the idea behind unlimited bandwidth - don't get me wrong - but I agree that when you charge so little, there is no way you will be able to cover your own costs. Unless, perhaps, you can make it up on volume, and the fact that most of your clients won't use that much anyway.

    Because, on the flipside, every host that is lambasted for offering unlimited bandwidth and written off as a failure is still around.

    So once again - good luck to you! I think you'll succeed!
    Daniel B., CEO - Bezoka.com and Ungigs.com
    Hosting Solutions Optimized for: WordPress Joomla OpenCart Moodle
    Data Centers in: Chicago (US), London (UK), Sydney (AU), Sofia (BG), Pori (FI)
    Email Daniel directly: ceo [at] bezoka.com

  37. #37
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Essex, UK.
    Posts
    126
    I agree to an extent.

    While other hosts want to burn people at the stake for offering 'unlimited' bandwidth, and while we all know it is technically impossible -- Joe Bloggs at the average SME simply reads it as "hey, great - I'll never get any unexpected bandwidth bills".

    Let us know when your site is up and running, I'll look forward to seeing it
    valvemedia ltd private label reseller specialists!
    web hosting, e-commerce, content management and awesome design services
    Looking to sell? we are on the acquisition trail - US/UK hosts only.

  38. #38
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Nottingham, UK
    Posts
    408
    Thanks for all your responses ppl. Ill take a bit more of a look around for reseller accounts but as bpweb.net looks very well established ill probably go with them. Those of you who are 'undecided' (shall we say) about the unlimited features can take a look at the FAQ page http://www.bpweb.net/faqs2/reseller.php

    This weekend ive managed to get the basis of my site designed, just working on the particular pages at the moment. Personnally i think it looks really, really good, but then again i am a bit bias as it is my own design! :p

    Will keep you updated and thanks again for the feedback!!!

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