It’s a question we’ve been asked a couple of times in the last week, Are we just reselling some else’s hosting?, so we thought we’d answer it and delve in to what we do and why.

The simple and short answer

The simple and short answer is that no, we do not resell someone else’s web hosting.

It’s worth digging into this a little bit more though, as there are really a couple of different questions being asked here, even though it’s the same words, depending on the context of the situation and the person asking.

A female and male leaning against a large question mark, with questioning looks on their face.

What do you mean by reselling?

When it comes to hosting, there’s really two types of reselling, although one isn’t traditionally called that:

Traditional reseller accounts

This is where you don’t own or run any of the servers or infrastructure, or have any control over the software installed etc. You simply create an account for your customer and upload your website or app and let the host take care of the rest.

Renting servers

This is where you still don’t own the servers or infrastructure, but you are responsible for everything else: The software you run; updates; security etc. You’ve also got more flexibility in terms of what resources you can provide to your customers as the server is just for you.

The server may be a physical, dedicated bare-metal server, or it might be a virtual server – be it described as a VPS or a cloud server, droplet, instance etc.

We should make it clear, there’s nothing inherently wrong with either of those, if there was then we’d have very few customers ourselves, as we provide reseller accounts as well as both physical dedicated servers and cloud servers to our agency customers to use to provide hosting for their customers.

What we do instead

If we don’t use reseller accounts and we don’t rent servers from someone else, what do we do then?

Enter, colocation

We make use of a service called colocation, often called colo, where we own our servers and we colocate them in someone else’s data centre. Once again though, it’s not quite that simple, as there’s a number of variations on colocation:

Per server colo

This is where you pay a separate fee for every server you place in your provider’s facility. When done this way, the provider typically runs the network and provides IP addresses etc.

Per rack colo

This is where you rent a whole equipment rack, like a big metal cupboard for servers, and install whatever servers and networking equipment you require.

In this scenario you’d typically be in charge of the networking between servers and your provider will provide one or two connections to their own network; However, you may also run your own independent network connected to the internet, that is separate from your providers.

We mainly use option #2, we rent full racks from a data centre in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and they provide power and some network connectivity, but we actually run our own independent network (known as an autonomous system) with our own IP addresses.

We also use option #1 where we need something off-site that’s not your run-of-the-mill hardware setup e.g. Our offsite backup servers are co-located on a per-server basis as we don’t need a full rack of equipment in the locations we use and we don’t need to run our own network.

For services where we don’t need something custom, but we need it outside of our own network for redundancy we also use cloud servers from AWS, Azure and Google Cloud e.g. our DNS servers where the four servers are located on our own network plus AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.

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Why we do it

The simple answer again? Control. We want control over as many aspects of our service as we can have, because it allows us to be as flexible as possible with our clients. If a project for your customer requires an obscure set of hardware requirements then we can do that, the same on the software side.

Imagine if you need to add 2TB of media to your server each quarter, but your client sends it on external drives with a Thunderbolt interface. We can, and have accommodated that because we can order the parts and add it to your server so it isn’t a problem to connect the drive to your server.

When we set out in business, it was to help you as much as possible and that hasn’t changed over the years, and that sometimes means dealing with some odd requests that mainstream providers would have turned away as it isn’t on their set list of products. That’s not very helpful.

What we do resell

That being said, we do resell some items purely because we don’t have the order volume or the skills to make it worthwhile us doing it ourselves, it would just end up being a distraction from what we do.  What do we resell then?

  • Domain names other than any .uk domains e.g. .com, .net etc.
    • Domains are something that tend to “just work” most of the time, and there’s no flexibility around providing them, so it doesn’t make sense for us to become an ICANN accredited registrar and deal with all the associated red-tape, cost and multiple registries.  We’d either need to start registering 100x more domains each year, which would be a distraction, or charge a lot more for them, all for no real gain for you.
  • Software
    • To produce and maintain software as feature rich and reliable as our backup software, security software, operating systems, control panels etc. would take teams of considerable size.  The same applies to various services we provide and manage:
      • Microsoft 365
      • Google Workspace
      • LastPass
      • NordLayer
      • Cloudflare
      • Sucuri
      • Etc.

Summing up…

In summary, we aren’t a reseller of someone else’s web hosting, but we do resell software and other services where appropriate for your needs.  If there’s something we’ve missed or you want to know more, feel free to get in touch with us.