Alright, I made my first post here a few months ago, and had intentions of starting my own reselling business. Well, things got hectic here, I am working 50+ hours a week with 2 jobs.. so that was put on hold. Well, as time has went on, things have calmed down and I'm ready to get started again, hopefully by christmas this year.
But this time, I feel going the reselling method is not right for me. As of now, I am hosting 2 websites, one of which is really beginning to take off and will soon need a dedicated server to handle it anyway. So, my plan was to either co-locate or get a dedicated box through fastservers or rackshack or something to host my couple websites. Then, since I will have more than enough bandwidth/space, and cpanel/WHM already installed, why not make the extra space make $$$ for me?
I was going to start up a hosting biz regardless, but considering my sites need a bit faster than a mid-grade shared server anyway, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to get both going off on the right foot. Not to mention, I also have a few websites/domains floating around in my head I would eventually like to start up, but hosting gets expensive when you're paying 20/month for 3 sites all on different shared servers. So I could also bring these ideas to life.
So.. just wondering if this plan of attack would be acceptable or not? IMO I think it would suit my needs great, since I already have the domain registered for the business, I have my plans pretty much calculated out, oh, and also... this is the big kicker. I have about 3 or 4 users of my one website who are not satisfied with their host, and would like to switch to me when I get this going. So.. 4 clients right from startup isn't too bad I don't think.
Also, just to clarify, I'm not looking to become a huge and get rich operation, I am offering hosting for a smaller segment of the market, or niche, and although I may eventually be able to possibly live off from the income it produces, I understand I'm not going to become the next rackshack or anything. Its just a hobby I enjoy doing, and if I can help people out and make some cash on the side, that would be ideal.
So... with that being said, am I looking at realistic expectations here? If so, what are your suggestions for billing. I have read the many threads on here regarding the new VISA policies.. , I've read all about 2CO, all the 3rd party operations.. and I'm still a little unclear on merchant accounts, and if that would even be appropriate for a startup without a lot of money coming in.
I think your plan is pretty sound, and you may find that as time goes on, that hosting can be a fun industry to be in. Renting your own machine is definetely the way to start, we are now just converting from renting to owning our own hardware and co-locating with a major dc. One day, we hope to have our own lines.
Regarding the merchant account, get one from your local bank. I know they are more expensive, but the service will be much better if you can walk down there and talk to someone if you run into trouble.
As for linux administration, I can do fairly well. I run redhat 7.3 and mandrake 8.2 here at home to constantly learn and experiment with. I have also been using shell access on my sites I run now for installing various software like ImageMagick, MySQL, etc...
I'm not completely efficient and quick, but I can usually get things done. If I do choose to co-locate, I will then I have someone I will contract their services out if I need major help if anything goes wrong with the server. I'm lening towards a "managed" dedicated, where at least everything is installed and comes complete with cpanel and WHM so I can eliminate some of the initial headaches of getting a server going.