It takes a lot more than a post on WHT Seriously, be prepared to spend a LOT of time researching. You'll be reading a lot of articles on WHT, searching the forums, reading about starting a business, providing support, installing software, server options, maintenance, backups, upgrades, hacking, fraud, ........
So, I think the rule of thumb is that if you're posting a question that has been answered already, your chances are severely degraded.
You must think carefully about the type of client base you are going to target. My company hosts mainly small business sites, who find us through word of mouth.
We offer various methods of support, such as Email, Instant Messenger and Client Exec which they can request support through. You also must make sure that any support response time you specify you stick to, as it is the first thing customers pick you up on!
I would also recommend starting with a reseller, and hosting maybe only a few sites to get the hang of it first, because if it is only you and a dedicated server, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of tasks you are left with, whether they are to do with managing the server or assisting/looking for clients.
Linuxtechie, I'll address the "What does it take?" part of your question.
It takes a lot. A lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of energy --- expect to have no life for a year or two as your business gets off the ground. You will work your *** off and then some, and have no results to show for your work. You will make many stupid mistakes, and kick yourself for making them. You will lose friends, and make even more enemies. You will also provide the means for people to make a living, share their life, or just have fun. You will be an outstanding, bright light shining among dimmer, less-ethical hosts. You will have lots of fun yourself. You will learn more in two years' time than you would have learned in the rest of your lifetime living a "normal" life.
Aye, hosting is like that.
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
Absolutely, not to mention many hosts are scared to death of a giant company like Microsoft or Google scooping up all of the profits with the flip on a switch.
Microsoft is working with many hosts to improve their administration offerings, but they have been known to take over the industries of their (now-former) partners. Google is offering loads of simple and free services because the resources are at their disposal. Yahoo, well, they already offer web hosting ;-)
So, it's an interesting and somewhat fresh market. You have to take the good with the bad.
People the web hosting industry is already saturated enough...would you agree? However, with intuitive attitude, innovative products and the customer is always right state of mind, you will be ok. The customer is the reason why you are in business, alot of providers seem to forget this concept. No matter if you have 1 customer or one million every customer deserves your attention when it is needed. You need to provide excellent support along with unmatched quality of service. Furthermore, your usability of your website and services has to be expectional. The web hosting industry is growing everyday because personal websites and business customers are merging into the net either for storefronts or simply as information to post to customers, friend and family. That being said, there are alot of consumers looking for web hosting that have no idea where to start. If you make it easy for them to purchase, setup and mantain you will overcome your competition with flying colors. Anyone can make it with the drive and desire to do so. In addition, make your hosting company different than all the other millions that are out there. If you just provide diskspace, bandwidth and cpanel that is not good enough. Consumers can get attached to their web hosting provider just like a cell phone provider. It's the usability and user experience you provide.
You do not have to have loads of money to start in this business (yes, it's good to have it...but not really needed.) Do not expect to get rich overnight, otherwise you will be just another fly-by-night web hosting provider that is here today and gone tomorrow. Building an empire doesn't take hours, it takes years always remember that. I would suggest creating a business plan and marketing strategy and stick to it like glue. Create a list of weekly, monthly and yearly goals that you wish to accomplish and strive and try your hardest to complete those goals. Remember Thomas Edison failed 164 times before the light bulb was created
Basically hard work and total dedication to the customer will get you far in this industry. Not tons and tons of dollars spent on costly advertisment campaigns. Word of mouth is the biggest advertiser out there, and if your customers are satisfied with the service and support you are giving them, then the word will get out eventually. Remember, it takes time to build a great solid reputation.
So lesson for today review:
1. Customer is always right! Be there when the customer needs you.
2. Innovation is a must. cPanel, diskspace and bandwidth plans just don't cut it.
3. Hard work, total dedication to your customers and your overall business! (yes, sometimes this means working for 48 hours straight through)
4. Business plan, marketing strategy and GOALS (make sure you stick to all of these) and the business plan is like a weekly schedule of duties to perform.
5. Failure is ok, but don't give up! You WILL NOT make it your first time around.
In the beginning it takes a lot of time, dedication, knowledge, and money. If you have a few months to prepare then make sure you know everything about servers and how to access the server incase of an emergency. You must have a lot of patience too because if you don't have a lot of patience then you won't be able to deal with everything that will be going on.