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Web Hosting Issues
My thoughts
Terry




msg:789607
 5:10 am on Feb 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have never wanted to resell hosting space because paying for each account and chasing people for money is a pain in the neck.
On the other hand getting clients (for my web designs) to order their own hosting account and register a domain name, seems to be beyond a lot of them.

Looking around for a new host I discovered that there are a number who offer unlimited domains in the one account.

So my nice new personal hosting account has 1 gig of space and 20 gigs bandwith. I can have as many domains in this as I can cram in, each with it's own control panel, at no extra cost to me.

So what I plan on doing from now on is offering clients "free" hosting, the cost of which is built into the site design and upkeep fees.
I'll probably register the domain name for them as well, paying for the first year myself but putting them down as the owner so that they will get the renewal notice.

How does that sound for a method?

 

Marcia




msg:789608
 5:53 am on Feb 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

Terry, if the host is good, with few problems and good uptime, the actual hosting part ends up being virtually effortless. But it's a tremendous convenience to clients when they have no idea how to even begin with it. It's a tremendous relief to them, and it's easier and saves you time in the long run than having to walk people through and answer a lot of email back and forth.

One thing to remember is that with maintenance there's a difference between monthly upkeep (try over 60 emails in one month, from one person) and once-monthly updates and routine maintenance, like if a price needs to be changed or there's a minor text change. Some can send email every day, and others you won't hear from - ever. They just send their payment as soon as they get the bill. Try to figure how much of a monthly time allotment you're willing to include so it remains workable for you.

I've been doing that type of "package" quarterly on a limited number of modestly-sized sites for quite a while, and it's very workable with the right people, especially if a bit of optimization is part of it. When you check rankings you can just go in and make a bit of a change here and there when needed with no hassles and no lengthy correspondence. How much leeway you'll have depends on the individual. But it's generally not even noticeable and an occasional unexpected email to them with links to new rankingas with the subject: check your rankings does tend to keep them happy and very loyal. And if you're not already doing optimization, you'll have an opportunity on the sites you're maintaining if you add that to the agreement as a "courtesy".

List exactly what items or services you'll be including and make that part clear right off so there's no mistaking it down the road. If it's a product site, some people might assume that maintenance includes adding many items any time they'd like to, even though routine maintenance is not the same as site additions and updates. That can end up very time consuming.

It's a good plan with design, convenient for both you and clients. I've had to deal with some difficult people, so I'd safely say that if there's any question at the beginning of how they'll be to work with you can have a Plan B, like for 3 or 6 months with an option to renew, so you, yourself are not locked in for such a long time. Those will probably be exceptions, but it can happen.

Im in the process of switching hosting now and thinking of re-doing the packages and including some "free" features like you mentioned. I've got the figures added up, and it's very workable if there's enough paid up front.

Sounds like you found a good deal, good luck with it.

IanTurner




msg:789609
 8:44 am on Feb 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

We moved away from the monthly maintenance model as it was a real nuisance. If you included monthly maintenance people thought you were too expensive, if you lower the price people take you for a ride.

Crazy_Fool




msg:789610
 11:12 pm on Feb 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

watch you dont get stuck with clients that only have the initial design job done and no updates etc otherwise you end up hosting sites for nothing.

i offer 6 or 12 months free hosting with all contracts - after that they pay normal hosting rates. that way i get money out of them regardless.

the free hosting has been a deciding factor in several small contracts - people like it. it's all something to do with the word FREE - doesnt matter what you give them thats FREE, the more free stuff, the better.

brotherhood of LAN




msg:789611
 11:21 pm on Feb 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

what if you offered a set rate for each unique visitor, or even a % of an amount according to ROI. Its hard to quantify a fair deal in these invisible assets called web sites

Brett_Tabke




msg:789612
 10:08 am on Mar 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>what I plan on doing from now on is offering clients "free" hosting

I'd read the fine print on the hosting agreement closer. Most under the setup you described will terminate your account if you try to host other domains that you don't own.

Terry




msg:789613
 2:39 pm on Mar 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Host domains I don't own? Not a problem. Thats what it is for. I have private nameserver, a master control panel, each domain I set up has it's own CPanel. Unlimited domains, email addresses with smtp, subdomains and MySql databases.
Not bad for $25 a month.

Brett_Tabke




msg:789614
 5:06 pm on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

That sounds like a nice setup Terry.

petertdavis




msg:789615
 9:46 pm on May 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Another idea is a business relationship between a web design company and a web hosting company. Sure, the two often go well together, but there are lots of people (as this thread shows) that enjoy one of these services but think the other is a headache. My hosting company has such a relationship with a couple of web design people. They like doing the design, but don't want to be bothered with the hosting. We do hosting, but have chosen not to get into design. They sell their designs, and send the customer to us for hosting. We share the revenue with the designer. Everyone comes out ahead. It does work a lot better than letting your (sometimes clueless) customers go off on their own in search of hosting, or worse yet find another design company that offers hosting. Plus, the designers seem to enjoy the monthly checks that they get on the customers hosting accounts. :)

txbakers




msg:789616
 4:17 am on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would like to able to offer a control panel for my web hosting clients. Right now they can control their own email accounts over the web through the remote mail server page, but I've seen so much more.

Is there a set of scripts used for this?

Thanks.

petertdavis




msg:789617
 4:34 am on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Almost all web hosting accounts (maybe not the free ones) offer a control panel. There are numerous of them, my favorite being cpanel with plesk a strong second. If your web hosting provider is unable to provide this for you as part of the account package I would suggest moving to a different company.

txbakers




msg:789618
 6:28 pm on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well Peter T Davis, moving to another host would be difficult seeing that I am my own host.

I was looking for something I could install for my clients hosting with me......

petertdavis




msg:789619
 8:40 pm on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

What os are your servers running? You might check into the two control panels that I mention, cpanel and plesk.

txbakers




msg:789620
 9:34 pm on May 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm running IIS. I did look up those two. PLESK seems to be only *nix. The Cpanel software is very expensive!

Thors Hammer




msg:789621
 12:57 am on May 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

"One thing to remember is that with maintenance there's a difference between monthly upkeep (try over 60 emails in one month, from one person) and once-monthly updates and routine maintenance, like if a price needs to be changed or there's a minor text change. Some can send email every day, and others you won't hear from - ever. They just send their payment as soon as they get the bill. Try to figure how much of a monthly time allotment you're willing to include so it remains workable for you."

I agree with this. Take a very close look at this.

When I had decided to open an office for my satellite dish business, I had also decided I wanted to get into doing web design and some graphics work etc... I was lucky enough to get an office right next door to my isp that serviced my home. I had a real good relationship with them, to the point that they let me run a cat5 right into their router.... Now that was NICE !!!!!

I then started hosting some sites that I had designed, which they allowed me to use as much bandwidth as I needed at no charge ;). I was even alloted a number of static ips from them for this purpose.

The way I handled it was to give them (my web clients)the quotes for the site work, maintenance (updates as needed 'charged per incident', monthly search engine submissions, monthly site statistics etc...) each of these priced seperatly. Then the charge for hosting was based on site size. But basically I charged $19.95 per month for them, seperate from all the other above stated additional charges.

I found that they would pay the fees for the services they wanted without any question.

I made sure to clearly define in my contract with them the terms of each service, so there was no misunderstanding what those charges were or would be.

PS. Yikers, this was long winded. So much so, 2 other posts were made by the time that I hit 'submit'. ;)

I was running linux boxes, 1 for a firewall, 1 for a email server, and 1 for the web server.
Thor

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