It is not uncommon for a web design and/or web development company, or agency to look at additional opportunities they can offer to their clients. Overtime, more and more agencies are turning to web hosting as a key revenue stream. So how can you leverage hosting for your business?
The two primary options are Reseller Hosting and Affiliate Programs. Both are excellent choices though it can be difficult to decide which is the best for you and for your business. In this article, we are going to cover the key differences, advantages and disadvantages of both Reseller Hosting and Affiliate Programs.
Reseller vs Affiliate Programs
Choosing what is best for you and your business will primarily come down to the revenue strategy, time and effort you would like to put in.
If you are a reseller, you would have rented out space from your Reseller Hosting provider and would essentially be managing your own business. As an affiliate of a web hosting company, you would refer that customer to the web hosting provider at which point you can be fully hands off and receive a commission for that sale.
Still not sure? Don’t worry, we’ll go into each in more detail below.
What is Reseller Hosting?
Before we get into the specifics of reseller hosting, it is important to know the basics of how web hosting works. If you were to setup a web hosting provider, from scratch, you would need to purchase or lease a dedicated server, install the relevant software such as a control panel and backup utility, configure the server for performance and hardened security, build a website and grow from there. The costs in this process is very significant.
With Reseller Hosting, all of the above has been done for you enabling you to focus on your marketing and growth channels, or your existing customer base. This is thanks to the server already being setup for you by your reseller hosting provider which typically includes a control panel with resources that you can carve out and allocate to your own web hosting customers.
Even though you are saving a lot of headaches in the initial setup process, by opting for a reseller hosting account you are still effectively setting up your own business, or at the very least, another service for your existing business. For example, if you run a web design company called Yellow Web Design, you could offer a hosting product as part of that, Yellow Web Hosting Services.
Advantages of Reseller Hosting
- Low Startup Costs – As your reseller provider will sell multiple reseller packages on a single server, you are effectively splitting the cost between your peers. What could have costed hundreds of dollars per month in a fully blown dedicated server is now in the dens of dollars range.
- Passive Revenue – Web hosting is a subscription business so each customer would pay you monthly or annually. You’ll see constant payments from each and every customer significantly boosting your revenue streams as time goes on.
- Quality services with less work – The quality of your reseller hosting provider will reflect on the quality of hosting you provide your clients. If you love the service provided by your reseller hosting provider, your clients will love your hosting service.
Disadvantages of Reseller Hosting
- Limited Control – As you are renting space and resources from your reseller hosting provider, you wouldn’t have the ability to change the configuration of that server. Instead, you would need to rely on the configuration and software provided by your reseller hosting provider.
- Customer Service – Your clients will not know you are on a reseller package. Instead, all they will see is the name of your company. This means you also have to provide all of the support and overhead which can be consume a significant amount of time.
- Time & Maintenance – As your own web hosting company, you would need to put in the time and resources to maintain your hosting service. For example, you would need to setup a website to offer your service from, and your website would need to be kept up to date with the packages you offer.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
If you thought reseller hosting sounds like a lot of work, affiliate marketing might be a better choice for you. As an affiliate of a web hosting company, you will be able to refer your customers to an existing web hosting company and earn a commission for each sale you bring them. In short, affiliate marketing can be considered a hybrid between a sales and marketing role, whereas reseller hosting you’re the CEO.
The setup process is much more simplified when compared to a reseller package, at most you would need to signup to a web hosting affiliate program at which point you will be given a unique link. That link will be the identifier between your customers and your affiliate account ensuring you are properly credited for each sale you refer.
Advantages of Affiliate Marketing
- Easy to Start – As an affiliate, there is no need to setup a website and there is no package to order. You would simply register for an affiliate account and share a unique link with your audience.
- Reduced Responsibility – As an affiliate, you essentially hand off the hosting relationship to the company you are referring the customer to. This means they are responsible for everything from servers, support, packages and pricing and more.
- Significant Revenue Upfront – Web hosting companies typically pay in the range of $50 – $100 per sale. With packages starting as low as $3.95/mo, the web hosting company is making an investment to you for that customer.
Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing
- One-Time Commissions – Commissions are typically one-time which means the company you referred the customer to would receive the lifetime revenues of that customer, not you, the affiliate.
- Flat Revenue Stream – As an affiliate, you would be paid for each sale with the commissions typically being fixed. You do not benefit should the customer purchase any addons or additional services for their hosting package.
- Limited Flexibility – You would not have any control over the plans & pricing offered by the web hosting company, nor the promotions they offer.
- Affiliate Terms & Conditions – As an affiliate, you would have to honor the policies and procedures set out by the web hosting company you wish to promote.
Recommended Reseller Hosting Providers
Hostimony maintains a list of web hosting companies offering Reseller Hosting services though the final rankings are strictly based on genuine customer reviews. To find the best reseller hosting provider for your web hosting company, we recommend viewing our list of Best Reseller Hosting companies.
We list reseller package starting at only $11.97/mo, with certain companies offering special offerings such as:
- SSD or NVMe Storage
- Free Domain Reseller Account
- Free Domain Registration
- Free Web Hosting Automation System (Typically Clientexec, WHMCS or Blesta)
- Free SSL Certificates
- Free Daily Backups
- Free Website Migrations
- cPanel / WHM Control Panel or DirectAdmin
- And More!
When choosing a reseller hosting provider, we recommend opting for a company with a Money Back Guarantee. With a Money Back Guarantee you will be able to try a web hosting provider at no cost and no risk.
What are some recommended affiliate programs?
Choosing the best affiliate program for your needs can be a difficult decision. After all, there are thousands of affiliate programs to choose from. Our recommendation is to compile a list of service essentials (such as control panel, location, infrastructure, support options etc) which should help you eliminate many of unsuited affiliate programs.
Once you have your list, you can join the affiliate program which fits your needs best.
Need a helping hand? We’ve listed several great affiliate programs you can choose from:
- A2 Hosting – From $55 to $125 / Sale
- FastComet – From $50 to $125 / Sale (Shared); $75 – $150 / Sale (VPS); $100 – $200 (Dedicated)
- GreenGeeks – From $50 to $100 / Sale
Conclusion: Reseller Hosting vs Affiliate Marketing
There is no one-size fits all conclusion. If you are looking to enter the hosting market which you choose would ultimately come down to what your end goals are.
If you are looking for a lifetime revenue stream and are willing to put in the time and effort into launching your own company then reseller hosting may be the best fit for you. As a reminder, with reseller hosting you will be responsible for your clients, managing their support, the package you sell, the billing and more.
If reseller hosting sounds like it may be a bit much to chew on it, affiliate marketing is likely the best fit for you. As an affiliate you are able to hand off each customer to a web hosting provider and let them take it from there. After each sale you make you would be paid for it, albeit only one-time.
Once you have decided which is best for you, feel free to check out our top list of Reseller Hosting companies as ranked by genuine customer reviews for each company.