Issues with reselling web hosting.
And what I intend to do about it.
I'm starting a business to fix nearly all the issues web designers find when running their own hosting environment for their clients. Below is a run down of the current options to you, what I feel is wrong with them all and why I believe my offer to you is more beneficial.
Your current options
When choosing to provide your clients with web hosting, these are you current options.
This is the option I started with when I was 14 when I had a few clients locally paying me for their hosting. If you are running a business, and part of that is providing a web hosting service, you really shouldn't be using a reseller account, here's why.
Resellers are massively oversold
The only way certain companies which shall not be named can provide you with unlimited hosting for £29.99 a month is because they expect you to only use a tiny amount of space on their servers. There isn't an unlimited amount of space on the whole internet never mind giving an unlimited amount to every customer. The wording they might mean is unmetered, which means they don't bother looking. But even then if you're the most prolific user they will tell you to stop using so much of their resources or try to move you onto a dedicated package that provides a set limit for a higher fee each month.
Don't forget the hidden costs
When resources are oversold, you are given a certain amount of space under the understanding that you only use a lot less than that. This means that somewhere in the terms and conditions will be hidden costs or some kind of penalty for using the resources you think you are buying. This is shady marketing and I don't like it. That's why my hosting service has set limits determined by the size of the VPS you buy. Put as many sites on there as will fit, because there are definitely space limits on the hard drives.
Unmanaged VPS / Dedicated Server
An unmanaged VPS can be the cheapest and most desirable option as many freelancers see this is a way to flip a $10 server by selling space to all of their clients on the hope that the server never goes down. This also includes an unmanaged dedicated server.
You don't know how to manage a server
It's just not good enough to follow a guide to set up a server, or several isolated guides for that matter. Servers need to be setup by somebody with knowledge of servers and who has managed them for years (me!)
You don't need another hat
You're a freelancer, so you're already wearing all of the hats required to run a business, you don't need another. Managing a server isn't simply a case of setting it up and letting it run forever. It needs tweaking for performance, updates need to be run and when everything goes tits up, a reboot and a fix at 3am.
You really don't want to be woken up at 3am
Picture it. You have a meeting at 9am with a potential new client when you get woken up at 3am with text messages that your server is down. Naturally you followed a guide to set the server up so aren't completely sure what to do when it goes down. So you just manage to get the server up before heading out to your 9am meeting. You blow the meeting and worst of all, your server goes down again because whatever issue brought it down is still there and now it will recur. A pretty dreary day in the office if you ask me.
Managed VPS / Dedicated Server
Now the best option is a managed VPS, which is close to what I am going to provide (more later) but there are still issues with managed hosting.
Far too often I see pricing for managed services running into hundreds of pounds just for somebody to manage the smallest of servers. In these cases I believe the only time somebody will work on your server is when it goes down, or when you specifically ask for some work to be carried out on the server. There won't be proactive updates or even performance tweaks.
Hello, I'm David, I'll help you with this ticket
David might be helping you this time around, but next time you probably won't get David again, certainly not the same David who knows your business and knows which clients have the most needs. Ideally you need somebody who knows your business, knows what you need and knows the circumstances of your hosting. Ideally this person would know the percentage of revenue that hosting brings in for your business so they can react properly and in a timely manner. David only knows what you put in the ticket, and not a whole lot more.
Now I know that I am tooting my own horn here, but take a look at the likes of Heart Internet and Rackspace and you'll see that I haven't just made all of this up. Here's what I will offer you if you move your hosting over to my managed service.
Let's face it, I could provide the best service in the world and you still won't spend time migrating all of your client sites over to my environment, it's a pain moving web hosts. So I'll migrate your client sites for you seamlessly so you can enjoy the benefits described below.
My business is ensuring your business runs smoothly. Part of your business will be recurring hosting revenue, and I need to do my job to help you keep hold of that revenue each month. I will take a vested interest in you and your business and I will ensure the only person you need to speak to regarding your hosting will be me. So you don't have to speak to multiple people in the same support ticket like larger companies.
No hidden fees
The package you choose has a monthly fee and that is the price you will pay each money. Go over on your bandwidth? I'll let you know when you get close, but I won't add it to your bill. Not only does this mean it's easier to budget your expenses but it's also more convenient to know up front how much you will be paying each month.
Proactive updates & performance enhancements
I won't be having thousands of customers, and even if I did I will be in a position to hire more server administrators to be able to focus on a limited number of clients to ensure a personalised service. This means we will be able to carry out proactive updates so rather than you asking us to upgrade your server, or worst the server not being upgraded we will do it automatically. We will also carry out regular performance enhancements, anywhere we can see we can benefit you and your clients we will.
But what about my full-time job?
I realise I have written on this blog about my full-time writing role at Zengenti. That won't stop me from carrying out this work for you any other time of the day. Here's why you don't need me full-time (yet). Zengenti are aware of my hosting offering and knew about this before they hired me.
- I'll be setting your server up from scratch to be almost bullet-proof with a secure firewall and HTTP brute force protection. If someone decides to DDOS your server, it will stay up, but might be a little slow.
- I'm writing software to carry out much of the tasks I would do anyway. Like in the case of a brute force attack, I can compile a list of the perpetrating IP address' and block them from accessing the site. This can all happen in near real-time, reducing the need for me to always be available.
- If the server goes down for any reason, my monitoring service will reboot the server automatically and send me an urgent text message with details. I will then be able to login to the server to diagnose the issue and perform a fix. If this is an issue that occurs on all other servers I manage I'll be able to roll a fix out to all other clients so it won't affect them. Of course this means that any time an issue occurs on any of my client servers then all other servers will be patched against it.
- Of course there will also be regular server updates to the software running.
- The latest version of PHP, Apache and MySQL will be used. Let me know what extensions you might need extra and I'll do this upon set up.
- I will also help change your clients nameservers so they point to your new server with me. I really want this to be as painless as possible for you to move your service over. After all you have a business to run! :)
If this is of interest to you, head on over to hostingandsupport.co and pop your email address in the form. The price listed there isn't the price I'm launching with. Price will start from £99 a month for a server with 2GG RAM, 40GB SSD and 3TB of bandwidth. Or you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know you're interested. I'll be ready to launch in a few weeks.