How to tell if a host is only a reseller

Is there an easy way to determine if a web host actually owns the servers or if they are just a reseller?


In additional to all those technical things(which sometimes can be fooled) SUPPORT its timing and way it is provided tells the story as well
when ever there is a big problem (ticket) reseller will run towards his/her bigboss lol…so intution may also help

Thanks for all the great responses. I’ve been asked to admin their site and I am not familiar with the hosting company. At this point I don’t know how well the provider has been performing. I guess my next best step is to give support a call in the middle of the night over the weekend and see how that goes.


Well it’s impossible in many cases to find if the host is a host and not a reseller :slight_smile:

Sometimes a careful combination of traceroute, tools such as, and last but not least, can help you determine that a certain provider is using reseller hosting from host X. Generally though, reseller hosting providers go to great lengths to ensure that the link between them and their reseller is very hard to discover. As such, there is no list of steps to take that will, at the end, tell you who is reselling for which company.

I agree most of the major hosting companies do have there servers located at other data centers. There are some hosting companies that own there own data center though.

Even big hosts (eg Hostgator) can have their servers co-located in someone ele’s data centre.

Check the traceroute. You can use this tool.

However, some hosts (like us) own their own servers but have them co-located at another datacenter, so it could get kind of confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

I do not understand why do you need that for? If you get good and quality services from your web hosting company I believe that is not so important to know if they are resellers or not. I think that is obvious.

Doesn’t that just tell you whose data centre the servers are in. Just because a traceroute on HostGator takes you to the Planet data centre doesn’t make HostGator a reseller since it is their own servers that just happen to be co-located in that data centre.

So for XYZ hosting that the traceroute sends you to the Planet’s data centre doesn’t tell you whether they have their own servers in the data centre or are a reseller for HostGator.

So for XYZ hosting that the traceroute sends you to the Planet’s data centre doesn’t tell you whether they have their own servers in the data centre or are a reseller for HostGator.

Traceroute is a blunt tool for this purpose. That’s why I didn’t stop at it. DNS records can hold tips as to who the real provider is but it can take some detective work. In any case, there’s no guarantee you can find out if someone’s using a reseller account.

Ask them directly and then recheck. That will demonstrate you how honest web host is with you.

As others have said only a select few of hosts own their own data centers so the majority of large hosts are technically resellers.

Hostgator’s servers are located in The Planet data center (they don’t own). They also resell domain names from Enom.

Hosting providers using co-location are NOT resellers. They actually own the servwers that they are hosting the sites on - they just don’t own the data centre that those servers are located in. Since running a data centre requires very different skills from that of providing web hosting, most web hosting providers would use co-location so as to outsource the actual connection of their servers to the internet to a company that specialises in that particular service. The only hosting provider I know of who run their own data centre is BlueHost/HostMonster/FastDomain who between their three brand names host millions of domains (I have seen stats that show they host over 1% of the web).

There isn’t any way to tell who owns a web server though through any lookup facility on the internet though, you can only tell where the server is located. There is therefore no way to tell whether the server is owned by the hosting provider or whether the provider is just reselling space on someone else’s server.