Offering Hosting With a Design Package

I purchased a hosting package with unlimited space and bandwidth a few years ago. I have a few clients already hosted on this server with excellent results so far. I want to start offering hosting with my design packages for free for a year, then charge them for the use of my server after that year. I figure I can do this and charge not only for the hosting, but the routine maintenance of the server as well. Is there anyone out there who is doing something similar, or would I be better off betting the bullet and consider reseller hosting?

Undoubtedly, you can offer hosting with your web design service to get more profits. However, there are few things you should consider

  1. With web design service, you can answer your clients’ emails within 24 hours, or even more. However, with web hosting service, if there is any issue, your clients want to have immediate answers. 24 hours is too long in hosting industry. Can you work all days? Or having anyone else to help you?

  2. Do you have any experience with web hosting management?

  3. Usually, with unlimited offers, they limit other factors such as CPU, RAM, I/O and so on. If putting multiple accounts on it, you might have trouble with slow performance.

If you can’t do those things, it would be better to have partnership with a good hosting vendor and direct your web design customers to them. You will get commission then.

Many design agencies do provide a customer with combined packages like design, design + domain, design + domain + hosting, design + hosting + domain + maintenance.

Ideally speaking, I would suggest you divide the packages you provide your client in to three parts

  1. Cost of design
  2. domain cost + hosting cost
  3. Regular maintenance of the site and hosting.

I would theoretically not recommend that you provide hosting based maintenance package and it would be better to leave hosting based maintenance to the hosting companies.

What if the hosting is down in the middle of the night? Or they have email issues. You will need to support the client till it gets fixed whenever they need help.

Further, another disadvantage of having all your customers on a single account is that say if some DDos Strike or virus attack or script attack or if huge site access spike in terms of bandwidth takes place on a single client site it might result in all sites within that account getting affected or going down due to just one site.Further, no hosting company can offer unlimited pack in true sense. All are limited by their small print / terms and conditions where they clearly state that even incase of unlimited pack there are multiple limitations. I also doubt if reselling of shared hosting is legally permitted though many do it, legally and ethically speaking, I would refrain from such an idea.

I have been in to website design and hosting business for over 12 years now, so from my experience here is how I work and quote

  1. Fixed cost of design billed.
  2. Redirect customer to my reseller hosting and domain registration where I ask client to create an account and buy hosting. Also mention to them that these are annual charges and need to be paid separately and are managed separately by a 3rd Party. If they do not like my reseller hosting and domain registration solution, they are free to move their domain and hosting to any other person freely as I do not directly control them. This also gives them some peace of mind. And also they know how much they pay for hosting / domains. Further, I also mention that all hosting and domain queries need to be directly addressed to the hosting company and yes at times if they have an issue, I do help them by talking to hosting support and getting the issue sorted.
  3. Quote a separate price for website maintenance (not including hosting maintenance). For the maintenance amount, I help them add content / update content / any other issues like minor design updates / if there is a script attack etc, fixing that for them and so on. But you need to mention that only X number of things are included and major design updates etc would not be under maintenance.

Hope this helps you decide, how you wish to move forward with your idea.

Thanks for your responses. For me, the best solutions looks to be reseller hosting. With that said, what kind of limitations can I expect with reseller hosting? I’m looking at a package with 50Gb of space. How many static
Ages can I comfortably host on that space and would all reseller customers be affected by a DOS attack on one customers site?

Yes, if you plan to take reseller hosting, you should note that support would be on you and not the hosting company. If anything does go wrong you would need to interact with the hosting company and get things sorted out for the customer.
For a 50 GB package on Reseller hosting I think you should be thinking of anywhere between $50-$150 a month. Usually reseller hosting comes with limitations on number of Cpanel accounts you can create as well as number of domains that could be hosted. Hence its best to read ToS for each reseller hosting before jumping in. You will also need to see if they offer WHM along with the hosting or thats optional because WHM allows you to easily manage your clients, payments and support. Secondly, the amount of backup they keep. Because say if there is a virus / script attack and you need to restore a clients data, the higher days you have backup the better, because a client could come in say after a week that his sites seem hacked.
I have been providing both types of options for my clients - a direct hosting link to my reseller domain and hosting as well as reseller hosting where in I provide support to the client. If you have 100s of customers then sometimes it makes sense to buy reseller hosting and support them yourself as the profits you could earn could be higher.

Scenarios : Directly passing customers to hosting company via your reseller panel : say if hosting costs $4 then the company could give you say around $.5 so for 12 months that could be $6 of income for you

Now you have a reseller hosting panel : 50 GB at say $100 / month so your cost per GB comes to $2 per month. Now you price 1 GB at $4 then the profit per GB would be $2 and you could earn $24 out of it!

Hence, if you have a ready base of say 100 customers on hosting the profits could jump as soon as you have reseller hosting.

50GB on a reseller hosting account, I doubt any quality vendor provides that. With that request, usually, they will suggest you go with VPS or a server.
Now, let’s see more details on your circumstance.

  • How many clients do you have, that you might offer hosting service?
  • How about their average website usage? I mean how many GB of disk space for each website? Do you really need 50GB of space?
  • Which web programming language are you using for web development? PHP, JSP or .NET framework?

Usually reseller hosting comes with limitations on number of Cpanel accounts you can create as well as number of domains that could be hosted. Hence its best to read ToS for each reseller hosting before jumping in.

I recommend to start as a reseller, choosing the best package for starters (with unlimited cPanel accounts and lots of space/traffic) and if you have some funds to invest, then do End-user support with your hosting provider. So you actually run hosting business and clients can get whitelabeled support from your provider, this shouldn’t cost more then $150-$250/mo. <snip>