I am a freelance web developer and currently host around 20 projects. I haven’t reached that scale where I could buy a dedicated server and hire a server guy to manage everything for me but a simple shared hosting plan is not good enough for me either since I also need SSH access and an ability to sell hosting packages for my clients. So once the hosting package is sold, I don’t have to deal with hosting anymore and hosting provider handles all inquiries if there are any problems.
At the moment I have a VPS but I am sick of managing it because there is always something that does not work fully and I find myself often worrying about the server while really my job is entirely different and I do not want to do the hosting part. How would you solve this problem and what could you recommend to me?
Could you hire someone to manage the VPS? What problems are you exactly running into? I host about 6/7 sites and usually the only changes I need to make are updates to software.
I am not sure if it’s my hosting provider or me but I have DirectAdmin + CentOS installed and there are occasional problems with sending mails, adding subdomains. Then if I sell a hosting package, I need to keep track of when I need to bill my client again. I love everything about being a freelance web developer, finding clients, talking to clients and all that but hosting has been a terrible experience for me so far. It is also distracting me from what I do best which is programming, building sites. I was thinking about using DigitalOcean and cloud hosting but I haven’t figured out if they have a reseller package. Now I also made an enquiry to MediaTemple about their VPS package, maybe that will work better. Alternatively, I could do things the old way and hire someone to manage VPS as you suggested but that will still not solve the main problem which is that essentially I am responsible for hosting and if something is wrong, the client will write to me and not the hosting provider. Also, I travel often and occasionally don’t have internet access for weeks so that’s another reason why I don’t want to do anything with hosting myself since for hosting you always have to be available which is burdensome.
That’s a very astute question! :tup:
A VPS is generally pretty limited in terms of storage, traffic and CPU usage (which is often the most limiting factor - especially if you’re using canned apps like WP or Drupal). I have a managed, dedicated server and it has reasonable storage and traffic quotas AND I get to use the CPU up to 100% (which I never expect to get to). The key, here, is that the server’s own staff is looking after all the security and daemon updates as I can’t afford to spend 24/7/365¼ of my time after learning all the intricate details of how their hardware (which is top notch - WebHostingBuzz.com) is configured out of the box. All it takes is a quick ticket to get their support staff to answer questions or handle the rare problem (WHB has a fantastic support staff).
I would expect that your host would also love to have the maintenance contract with you for your VPS but I’d recommend that you assess your storage/traffic/CPU usage before you spend any time (money) on server upgrades and maintenance.
If you can’t quite reach the dedi level (managed, to be sure), then I’d think that a reseller account would be best for you. Their quotas are generally more liberal than a VPS and the host takes care of all the daemon upgrades but you get to manage your own (sub)accounts.
If you have too many (sub)accounts for a host’s reseller plan, they’re pretty inexpensive so buy another account OR put the storage/traffic/CPU hogs on a shared account. Multiple accounts are no worse than a dedi as I have mine segregated into three accounts and manage each from their own cPanel (or my WHM which manages the accounts).
Lots of options for you but you must assess them against your perceived requirements (and further expansion).
^ I agree, a Reseller hosting account from good reliable host may suit you better. You’d still be the middleman to sort out any issues but that would usually be submitting a support ticket to your host for them to sort.
Of course if you don’t want the hassle of managing any hosting then you really need to get your clients to buy their own hosting.
Yes, reseller hosting or a managed VPS is the way to go.
There are plenty of web hosts offering Managed VPS or Managed servers. The most important thing is to have a rough projection about the computing resources you’d need on the instance (CPU, RAM, Storage). Just go and compare pricing of some Managed VPS providers and then speak to them about the pricing and about the managed service agreement. Someone mentioned that “Reseller Account” would be fine. it is like that in theory. Just make sure you’ll get one from a quality Reseller host, not from one that sells cheap and allows the service to be abused.
Thanks guys for all your valuable input. I will probably go with Managed VPS. I will finish using my current host after a few months after I use up the whole year which I paid for and then I will make the transition and will share my experience later as others might find it valuable.
The other option of course is that you find a reputable host to partner with, then you either just buy their standard hosting package off of them and sell on to your client, or the host may give you a discount for multiple purchases, or a referral fee for each client you send to them. That way you can avoid 99% or 100% of the hassle.
I think getting your clients to purchase their own hosting is the way forward. You can even make money by having affiliate links on your website which you point your customers to.
Also make sure you sell them the idea of having their own hosting account. A bit like self-service at petrol stations or in the supermarket. It’s all about making their life easier and better!
I also think it’s important that all companies own their websites, regardless of whether they employ someone to develop it for them or do it by themselves. I recently wrote a blog post about it. I can put up the link if you want to read it.
Sure fws2014, would be very interesting to read. Send it as private message, cheers