This article was contributed by Dustin B. Cisneros from RackNerd , a seasoned and knowledgeable contributor of the hosting industry for 12+ years.
What is Reseller Hosting?
Reseller Hosting is a form of web hosting whereby the account owner has the ability to create sub-accounts with his or her allocated resources (storage, bandwidth, number of sub-accounts). The reseller can then sell hosting accounts to customers and friends. Generally, the resellers end-users will have their own private control panel login credentials provided by the reseller.
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How does Reseller Hosting work?
Traditionally, and before 2020, 99% of the Reseller Hosting offers that existed in the marketplace were powered by a control panel you may have heard of before: cPanel/WHM. cPanel/WHM is a well-known control panel, with decades of development track record behind it. This is why many hosting providers and consumers alike prefer running cPanel/WHM software on their servers.
2020 marks a year of a lot of hosting providers ceasing or changing their cPanel/WHM based reseller hosting services because of the cPanel price increases (which was of much controversy on the Internet). The price increases enforced by cPanel on the corporate level resulted in price increases of the software licensing, to the tune of 25% to 500% for hosting providers.
Previously, hosting providers were able to receive a cPanel license which allowed for unlimited account creations on the server for one flat monthly fee. The new structure is billed monthly on a per-account basis. You can quickly see how bad this situation can turn out, for hosting providers who provided unsustainable offers with unlimited accounts.
The result? A lot of providers were forced to entirely switch off cPanel’s platform and moved over to an alternative platform such as DirectAdmin. On the other hand, some providers have raised their prices to make up for the increased licensing costs, while continuing to offer cPanel/WHM based services.
Despite the noise, you might still be considering a cPanel/WHM reseller account for the simple fact that end-users prefer the control panel interface they already know and love. This can result in easier conversations with your customers, and overall a simplified experience that could result in more sales.
NOTE: If you see a web hosting provider offering reseller accounts powered by cPanel/WHM with unlimited account creations, it’s probably a red flag that the hosting provider hasn’t updated their offerings to sustainable packages, or that you are looking at an expired offer.
Purchasing with a hosting provider who sells sustainable packages ensures the long term longevity of their business, and as such, your uptime.
Getting Started with Reseller Hosting
Are you looking to start a business? Starting a business helping friends, businesses and such with their online presence can result in recurring money! A reseller hosting account is the best way to start. With a reseller hosting account, you can either create hosting accounts for your own websites/domains, or resell the space to your customers. Thus, in short, it offers you benefits of low maintenance, better control, and income generation, all without having to worry about maintaining and managing your own server.
The first step is to decide whether you want to go with a web hosting provider that offers reseller accounts based on cPanel/WHM, or based on DirectAdmin.
You’ll naturally find that the DirectAdmin offerings are much more cost-effective since they still offer flat-rate server licensing to web hosts for the time being. As such, DirectAdmin web hosting providers are able to shave some more costs down to you, the customer. It’s purely a business decision for you now to decide whether you want to risk losing potential opportunities or potential customers because you are not using a control panel they are already familiar with.
There is no doubt that cPanel/WHM is the king in popularity among the control panels, and is a panel that even beginners have used at some point before. This can be a huge advantage, as your offers will better resonate with your audience/customers. Therefore, while a cPanel/WHM based reseller may be slightly more expensive, and come with limitations to the amount of accounts you can create on a package, the extra few dollars you spend may go a long way in winning sales, and long term customers for your business.’
One more due diligence item to watch out for is to check and ask your reseller hosting provider if their servers are Whitelabel. This way, you can sell hosting services to your customers without them knowing who the hosting provider is, rather all they’d see is the upstream datacenter.
Looking for a cPanel reseller account? RackNerd , who contributed this article to the community, is providing a special discount for the LowEndBox community. Enjoy 50% off for life on any of their cPanel/WHM based reseller hosting packages here: https://www.racknerd.com/reseller-hosting
Use the promo code: 50OFF-RESELLER when ordering.
cPanel Billing & Automation for Web Hosts
After getting set up with your reseller hosting account, you can either manually create sub-accounts within the WHM interface for your clients and manage your billing manually using PayPal / Stripe, or you can choose to install an automated billing system on your website to handle all of that for you, such as:
WHMCS ( https://www.whmcs.com/ ) – Paid
Blesta ( https://www.blesta.com/ ) – Paid
HostBill ( https://hostbillapp.com/ ) – Paid
BoxBilling ( https://www.boxbilling.com/ ) – Free
The above billing softwares integrate with cPanel/WHM using API and will allow you to offer instant activation for your customers. The above tools also include a support ticketing system that you can use to interact with customers. Additional features include full automation i.e suspension, termination and more.