1. Choose the platform you want to use.
More open source software programs are available for Linux than for Windows, which makes Linux less expensive. While most programs (Perl, PHP, Flash, etc.) run on both platforms, a few runs on only Windows or Linux. A site that requires ASP or MS Access, for example, requires a Windows platform.
2. Choose the control panel you want to use.
Control panels for websites range from very basic to loaded with features. As a reseller, you’ll also have a control panel for you to set up and control hosting accounts.
In Choosing Your Hosting Automation Software, we compare several control panels, all of which offer good features for web host resellers.
3. Choose your web host.
The web host company that you choose for your reseller account is a key decision — your business success depends on the quality of your host. Factors to consider when choosing a web host for a reseller account:
- The platform and control panel
- Account features
- The company’s reputation — search for online reviews by clients
- The record of server uptime
- The level of support — how fast does tech support respond to support requests, especially time-sensitive ones?
- Flexibility — does the web host have packages that allow you to upgrade when your needs increase? Will they customize plans if necessary?
- How long the web host has been in business — while a new web host may be very good, many web hosting businesses fail within the first year
- Price — consider what is included in the price
- Get Started with reseller hosting.
4. Set up your hosting plans and prices
Divide your bandwidth by your disk space to find out the ratio of bandwidth to disk space that you can offer. Take into account any ratios that differ if you upgrade to a larger package, and then base your packages on that ratio.
For pricing, consider what competitors charge, but also factor in any additional services you’ll be offering.
5. Develop a business website
You have three main choices for website development:
- Create a website using an existing website template
- Hire a designer or a design company to design your site for you
- If you have web design skills, design your site yourself
Include all the information that clients will want to know about your services and company.
6. Make your site e-commerce ready
To be able to accept payments for hosting accounts, you’ll to set up:
- An SSL certificate
- A merchant account
- A payment gateway
7. Set up a helpdesk
A helpdesk allows clients to contact you with support requests and you to track and respond to those requests.
8. Set up billing
With an automated billing system, clients are billed and payments are registered with little effort on your part. Most billing software licenses are priced per month or per year, with some billing software companies offering prices for lifetime licenses.
9. Create a welcome email
After you set up hosting accounts for your clients, you’ll need to send them a welcome email. Include in this email:
- A confirmation of the plan details
- The nameserver names
- A username and temporary password
- A link to the control panel
- Links to your knowledge base / FAQ and to your helpdesk
10. Market your website
Submit your site to search engines. Tell your family, friends, and business acquaintances about your website. Include a link to it in your signature line in outgoing emails. But don’t stop there — market your website via incoming links, advertising, newsletters, and special offers.