To be available to their users, all websites need to be on a computer somewhere, connected to the internet and world wide web. You can either organise this yourself, or let a hosting provider do some or all of it for you. The degree to which the provider does this, is what differentiates the types of hosting you can buy.
Hosting for multiple sites
Reseller hosting is pretty much the same as our virtual hosting technology (What is virtual hosting?), but in addition you get your own administrator control panel where you can create multiple accounts for your customers, each with their own login and resources.
Reseller hosting provides a low cost entry point to the world of hosting websites without the worry of managing servers, or the expense of your own dedicated server or cloud server. It allows you to create accounts for each of your customers at no extra cost, up to the limit of your package.
As with virtual hosting there’s nothing for you to worry about other than building amazing websites and applications. You don’t have to spend time installing the operating system, configuring it, installing the web server, the database server etc. and keeping them all secure and up to date. Your host will install and maintain all the hardware and server software, pay for all the licenses and they should be keeping up with the latest technology to make your websites fast and secure.
Hosting as a holiday
Imagine for a moment that each type of web hosting is like holiday accommodation, traditional reseller hosting would be like an old-fashioned youth hostel and our modern reseller hosting based on our virtual hosting would be like a hotel:
Traditional reseller hosting
With a youth hostel you’re sharing everything without any controls in place: A communal “bunk room”, shared kitchen, shared bathroom and generally not a lot of privacy. If someone is using the bathroom or kitchen (resources) when one of your customers need it, well they’re going to have to wait.
Modern reseller hosting
With a hotel your customers each have a room of their own, with their own bathrooms, they control the lights, they control the aircon and they’ve got a lot more privacy. They’ll still be sharing some bits, but it’s a lot less, if they need the bathroom then they can just use it, it’s there waiting for them and if they need food they go to the dining room and the hotel fairly handles the sharing.
Is reseller hosting right for my customers’ websites?
Unfortunately it’s not always as simple as, “I’ve got 20 accounts, this package lets me host 25 websites so that’ll do“. There are a number of things you need to consider, here’s our top 5 things to consider when looking at different types of website hosting.
We’ve rated each of the areas out of 5 based on our own services to help you quickly compare the different types of hosting available. As there’s a lot of variation between providers you should always check any assumptions before signing up.
Ease of use
When it comes to hosting, reseller hosting is a small step up from virtual hosting, but not much. You still don’t need to know about managing servers or database software etc. we look after all of that and provide you with the tools you need to help you manage your websites effectively, especially if they are using WordPress.
Whether it’s disk space, bandwidth, CPU or memory your site needs enough resources to run properly. Some providers will offer you unlimited disk space and bandwidth (but usually with vague conditions attached) whilst giving you low CPU and memory resources to share between your accounts. As reseller hosting is sharing a server between customers, you obviously get less resources than you would with a system dedicated to you.
The amount of resources varies considerably between providers. Some providers will give you a block of disk space, bandwidth, CPU and memory (and maybe database limits) to share as you see fit, others will give you a predefined number of hosting accounts with their own specified limits. We take a hybrid approach, giving you a block of disk space and data transfer, letting you create a number of accounts each with 1GB RAM and 1vCPU core.
This is another area that differs greatly between providers. With some you’ll pretty much be on your own unless it’s something the provider is in charge of that’s actually broken. With the vast majority of providers you’ll be expected to provide first line support to your customers and assist them with their problems e.g. configuring their email etc. Some providers will provide support to your end users, but these tend to be fewer in number and more expensive. We offer both options.
Just like with virtual hosting you’re going to be limited in what you can customise for each account most likely limited to selecting the version of PHP or Ruby etc. and their relevant settings but that’s usually as far as it goes with customising software with reseller hosting.
As you don’t have sole access to the server you still can’t install a different database server, or a custom search engine software for your site etc. although some providers will try and accommodate requests for some tools e.g. You need a certain command-line tool to build your sites such as gulp etc.
Reseller hosting will usually be more expensive than virtual hosting as there’s often extra licensing costs for the provider, as well a change in support required, but the affordability per account is often better still. With most providers there’s nothing extra to pay on top of your account fee, although some will charge for things such as SSL certificates (to make sure browsers say your site is secure) so you do need to check if there’s anything you think you’ll need that might be optional.
If you wanted to replicate the same sort of experience as our reseller hosting on your own dedicated server or cloud server you’d need to pay for licenses for a control panel, operating system, security software, Litespeed Enterprise and more. Even for a small server the monthly cost would be more than most reseller hosting packages per month, so as you can see, it’s still great value for the extra flexibility it can bring.
Potential downsides and issues
A key part of our ethos is honesty and integrity, and that means we need to point out some potential downsides to reseller hosting. That’s not to say they will be a problem for you and your customers, just that they could be depending on circumstances.
As it’s a shared service, your email is on the same server as other customers as well which means if one of these customers sends lots of spam then there is the potential that the server could be put on a blocklist and your customers might have trouble sending email for a short period of time.
However we work really hard to make sure that this doesn’t happen by having:
order screening to make sure suspicious spam accounts never get setup on our servers
although we can’t apply the same checks to our customers-customers.
brute-force protection to make sure someone can’t guess your password and login to your email and send spam
outgoing spam filtering as well as incoming spam filtering
multiple levels of malware protection to stop spam sending scripts being uploaded to customers sites
we act and act on any spam/abuse complaints we receive
we monitor our IP addresses in blocklists
Whilst we have a very good track record of not getting our servers listed in blocklists, it isn’t 100% foolproof (more like 99.99%). This issue isn’t unique to our reseller or virtual hosting though, as we also see this happen regularly with certain email service providers where they haven’t dealt with spam complaints and get blocklisted.
If this is something you are worried about then please book a call with one of our team and we can suggest extra steps that you can take to reduce the chances of this being an issue for your customers.
Sudden traffic increase
This one isn’t really specific to just virtual or reseller hosting, but as you generally get less CPU and memory resources compared to a cloud server or dedicated server the increase in traffic might not have to be quite as big to cause you problems. This could make your website unavailable if you suddenly find your website featured on TV or the front page of Reddit.
Fortunately there are some cost effective ways to deal with this if you’re worried this might happen to your website, often working out cheaper than moving a customer to their own virtual hosting package (which might not solve the problem either).
If this is something you are worried about then please book a call with one of our team and we’ll walk you through the options available to you as our reseller hosting isn’t designed for high traffic websites.
If another website gets a sudden increase in visitors then you don’t need to worry though, our virtualisation technology means no single website or account can monopolise all the resources of a server and leave your customers with nothing.
Affordable even for small agencies and developers
Easy to get started with and use
No server management required
Manage your customer accounts from a single login
Can let customers manage their own email addresses etc. from their control panel
Limited resources compared to larger virtual or dedicated servers
Limited customisation options compared to your own server
Potential problems with email because of other customers
Not suited to high traffic websites
Reseller hosting can be a great way to start out if you have a number of small websites to manage and just want a single login to administer your sites. If you’re anticipating that you might be creating websites that will be busy or are quite resource intensive then you might be better with your own cloud server or dedicated server, or even giving each customer their own virtual hosting account.