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Hosting Websites: Do's & Don'ts

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  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2006
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Hosting Websites: Do's & Don'ts


So you're pumped, ready to start your hosting dream. You've started your dream hosting company by purchasing a reseller, a VPS, or maybe even a dedicated. What next??

Step 1: Plan Ahead
What do you want to spend money on? What don't you? What do you want/need/prefer? What do the clients prefer? Heres a simple list of great things a great host may offer:
  1. Automatic Billing Software
  2. Live Support Chat
  3. HelpDesk Support Client
  4. Support Forums
  5. Hosting Control Panel
  6. An easy to navigate website
  7. Extras & Bonuses, Something other hosts don't offer!
The Site Itself...
Must be easily navigatable. It should contain all the information your visitors need; plans, prices, features, services, support, pre-sales support, contact information, and a fancy home page. It should look professional.
I suggest; If you don't have experience in web design, and aren't looking to hire anyone for their high rates, go with TemplateMonstor. I know a lot of people who are freelancers, that will customize your template monstor template for like $5. I do it for $10. You can use Joomla, but it looks better if you design it from scratch or from a template; its more professional looking to say the least.

Whats this about a billing software?
It manages accounts, payments, and subscriptions for you. It really takes all the fun out of it, but honestly, its more honest than your clients . Professional billing solutions may be expensive, but they have features that free solutions can't compare to; such as paypal interigation, website order forms, client center, monthly/quarterly/yearly subscriptions, coupon codes, and various control panel variations. I suggest:Support, Support, and Lots of It!
A client has an issue; say for example here that his Cpanel password is denied, because he thinks he forgot it. Its a simple answer, but how can he ask you if you don't have support? He can't. What is the solution? Many Options...

Live Support
A great answer to support; as long as you have money and an operator.*I suggest LiveHelp

HelpDesk...
A non live solution, I suggest (http://www.kayako.com/) Kayako, but there are hundreds of other (some free) possibilities.

Support Forums!
Another great way to do it, and it can be free!
  • Invision Power Board
  • VBulletin
  • PhpBB
  • SMF
There are many other alternatives, these are just the top of the line (top two cost $, bottom two are very good free ones)

Hosting Control Panel
Its neccesary. You can't run a host without one. Theres mostly paid alternatives, but probably included with your reseller, vps, or ded. Small hosts can probably ignore this collum.
  • Cpanel
  • Plesk
  • H-Sphere
Thats It! You're on your way to a professional host in no time, feel free to add on! -Tim



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  #2  
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Surrey BC
Posts: 1,301
Actually a business plan should be first. Setting up the business is the simple part. Having a clear idea on how you are going to procede and move ahead is the hard part. Sure you might be ok for the first few months but unless you have some super human organizational skills you'll hit a brick wall sooner or later.

Also I would set up your hosting site on a seperate server then your reseller/vps/server account. This way if your clients go down, your site won't. Now you can communicate with them and keep and update log.

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  #3  
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Thank you, Skippytim!
Can you give examples of point 7 Extras & Bonuses, Something other hosts don't offer ?

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  #4  
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: England
Posts: 8
thanks skippytim, can you tell us of what hosts shouldnt do, as mentioned in the title.

  #5  
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11
Sure! Sounds good; adding to it now!

Actually, I'm going to keep working on this...

  #6  
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Northern Ireland
Posts: 100
Thanks for the list, I never really thought of live help as I have never persionally used it before when I was purchasing hosting.

  #7  
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Join Date: Nov 2006
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Thanks for the post, great read

  #8  
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Nice article, simple explained hole thing. I got few valuable ideas here ;D

  #9  
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Toronto
Posts: 15
Really useful information, thanks.

  #10  
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 8
Excellent advice for those of us out there lucky enough to own/rent a server.

  #11  
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Chicago
Posts: 16
You customize templates for $10? How long does that take you, like 20 minutes?

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  #12  
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One rule which I think is vital is don't host yourself on the same server as your customers because if that goes down they cannot contact you. I have been with hosts who do this and it drives me mad.

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  #13  
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Israel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torrentk View Post
Thanks for the post, great read
...

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  #14  
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Join Date: Jul 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crandall87 View Post
One rule which I think is vital is don't host yourself on the same server as your customers because if that goes down they cannot contact you. I have been with hosts who do this and it drives me mad.
Yes this is a must, Has saved us lots of hassle, We host with a highly reliable provider away from our servers

  #15  
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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We actually do host on our servers but.... we offer several avenues that customers can reach us at all times.

1) Through our main site

If the server the main site is on goes down - then

2) Through our .net site

If the network goes down - then

3) The infamous gmail address

Either way - we make it a point to be available for our customers during crisis situations.

We are looking into options of running a server on a network outside of where we currently have our servers that would house our site. But even still - 2 and 3 would come into play if that server went down as well.

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