Hi - I'm a 20 year old bloke from Australia - NSW, and I have been seriously thinking about getting into the hosting business over the last few months.
I have thought about a range of things to great extents and have read all the stickied tutorials from start to finish several times. Basically I've sat down with a few knowledgable people with a whole bunch of useful notes I have found on this forum and talked about what can happen/what can go wrong/how can I do this, that or the other etc.
Any inspiration would be good - I suppose I just wanted a bit more guidance and, in particular, any personal stories of achievement, or failure - and the reasons behind these outcomes. At the moment, I am drafting a budget and business plan - as well as thinking of a name (the fun bit!). I suppose once the budget is done it's time to decide whether it's all viable/profitable in the end.
I plan to buy a US based reseller package and market it to the Australian web hosting market only.
Regarding the budget, here's the things I am including:
- The reseller package itself
- My own domain and hosting
- Billing software costs
- SSL costs
- Others? I'm drawing a bit of a blank at the moment, I'm sure there is more...
Webhosting really is a good business and gives your returns, if the plans are chalked out properly and you stick to the plans that has been decided by you and your crew members.
In the marketing front, well, I would suggest you not to stick yourself to a particular market. Keep your self open and let the oppurtunities come on their way. Once they reach you don't leave them with all respect.
Then the servers or the reseller package that you take, should be enough to cater the needs of your client. If you are going for a reseller package then I would suggest, that it is not a good idea, since you are putting a limit to your boundaries.
So always go for a server from a good datacenter which is reliable and which gives quality support for your server.
The webdesign of your site also plays an important role in the hosting business. That is the look of the site.
Lastly, the name of your hosting company should be something that is related to the business that you are doing. All these matter though they are small things. But they have to taken careof in the right manner as these are you initial steps that lays a foundation for your hosting company.
For a successful hosting company to be created there are quite a few 'Precious' variables you should cover:
-Am I selling Shared Hosting or Reseller Packages?
-If im going to sell reseller hosting what datacenter do I want to use?
-How much knowledge do I know (Technical wise) about hosting?
-How am I going to promote my website?
For starters, you sound like your going to do a reseller hosting account. I'd suggest some in-depth research before choosing your hosting provider. Website design plays an 'Intense' role in your business. A graphical, but hard to navigate website will scare off customers. A sloppy text website with too much, or too few information may as well flock off a customer.
When I design websites for family/friends/customers I always keep some factors at hand if it's business related:
-How fast can a user navigate through the website with ease
-Can the customer find their item with a few clicks and without confusion
-Is the layout clean, but friendly
-Does it maintain a professional level
Running a hosting business requires great details, as in support-wise. Will you be able to handle customer problems? Can you provide a fast response? Whether you know the answer to your customer questions or not, a good habit is to reply or 'Acknowledge' their problem, so they understand the company has received their complaint, and they feel comfortable it's being worked on. That provides leisure time for you to understand their problem.
For now this is all i'm going to write heh..Best of luck and wishes with your future plans!
██ Jordan G.
██ Mambug Studios
██ Hosting, Designing, Scripting
██ We specialize in designing, coding, deploying and maintaining businesses online since 2005.
Long-term expenses need to be factored in. You have no budget for support staff, it would appear. Granted, you can handle that yourself right now - but what about later? Have you set your pricing high enough so that you can hire staff after you get your first 500 - 1000 clients?
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Make sure to choose a niche as it will be a ton easier to market yourself, or if you don't and do general hosting at least split that into several niches you will focus on inside that. Makes it cheaper and easier to get customers...
Ask about their staff. Find out how many on-call staffers they have and what the average turn-around time on pages is (taking into account that some resolutions take longer than others). Ask about their own network and service reporting applications. See if they use Nagios, for example. Find out if they have 24/7 support. If they have more than one tier, what is the turn-around time for the upper levels of their technical support. How many different ways can you contact their technical support~? Do they have an easy to use trouble ticket system~? How quickly do they say that each ticket will be responded to at each level of support~? Keep in mind that when your clients have a problem and you need to contact your host's tech support, you're not the only one waiting. Your resold client is waiting too.
If you go with a Windows host, find out if they support both .NET 1.1 and 2.0 or just one of the two. What else do they support~? ColdFusion~? What about Persists (http://www.persists.com) software like AspUpload. Do they provide for the use of ISAPIrewrite~? Do they allow you to install third party applications~? Find out how many ways you're allowed to access your files besides FTP. Do they offer secure FTP~?
If it's a Linux host, there are more questions to ask yet. Do they offer ssh access~? If so, do they allow clients to use commands like chmod (changing permissions on stuff) and ln (creating symlinks)~? How about FrontPage extensions~? Lots of people use FrontPage (though supporting it can be a hassel).
Find out what kind of control panel they offer to you and if you can customize a watered-down version to your resold clients. What can the control panel do for you~? Can you manage your DNS, filesystem permissions, email spam settings... these things are so handy and you'd definately want to make sure that you can get access to as much of it as you can. The more that you can take care of yourself when your own client wants something done, the less you have to wait for your host's technical support to either take care of it or get back to you for any reason.
How long has the company been in business~? Have they moved their busiess to new locations over the past while~? Why~? Can you contact some of a potential hosting company's current clients~? Some hosting companies will provide a list of their clients.
Finally, here's a few thoughts to consider while you're looking around. Large hosting companies aren't necessarily better than smaller ones. The level of customer service is one of the biggest concerns that a lot of people have. Anyone can host a Web server and promise 99.9% uptime but if they can't communicate well, simply refuse to discuss your concerns with you if they're not super easy to fix or just don't listen, it doesn't matter how great their hardware is. They're going to be a terrible host and you should look elsewhere.
He's going for an Australian Market, which is easy since there are only about 5 hosts.
Only 5 hosts in entire Aussies? It seems all 5 are here on WHT too
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