The ever-changing web hosting market is constantly offering new opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs to start up their own web hosting business; however it can all be very overwhelming especially if you’re new to the industry. The web hosting market can be very profitable but proper research and planning is crucial to the success of your new business venture.

So, you might be wondering, how can I setup a web hosting business? This step-by-step guide will show you how - while avoiding the many issues and pitfalls that can affect your success.

But, what is web hosting?
Web hosting is the practice of supplying storage space, network bandwidth, and all other services relevant to the running of a website. Customers typically rent these services at a set price for a set amount of time from web hosting providers, who host the physical infrastructure that the websites reside on.

Web hosting is a very competitive industry however when done right it can be very profitable. At a minimum before starting a web hosting business you should have some knowledge about HTML, CSS and PHP.

So without further ado we will get into the first type of web hosting business you can setup.

Reseller Hosting
Reseller hosting is perhaps the easiest and most accessible way to get into the web hosting business. Reseller hosting is where you buy or rent wholesale web hosting services from a larger hosting provider, and then ‘resell’ the services on to your customers, at a higher cost. The way you make money with reseller hosting is the higher price that you resell hosting to your customers, compared to the small outgoing cost of renting the server space. Reseller hosting can take several different forms but usually resellers either rent a dedicated server for themselves or rent space in a shared hosting server.

a) Easy to setup, with little technical knowledge required.
b) Less time consuming, so more time can be put into marketing your business
c) Technical support will be provided by the web hosting company

a) No control over the backend of the server, so custom configurations can be tricky
b) Pricing is less competitive than other forms of web hosting, as you must stay profitable
c) Less options you can offer your own customers

How to get started as a Reseller:
1. Choose a reliable web hosting provider and reseller package to suit your needs in terms of resources and support.
2. Build your website and integrate a billing system into it.
3. Promote your business with Search Engine Optimization and paid advertisements.

At-home server
One of the most common and older ways of setting up a web hosting business is by simply purchasing a server and setting it up to be hosted in your own home. While this can be a cheaper method of web hosting, especially if you provide technical support and maintenance in-house, it does require you to have a much higher level of technical expertise and time on your hands. If you know what you’re doing, hosting at home can be a great way of cutting costs. Remember to consider the running costs though- electricity, bandwidth, and hardware costs add up.

The first thing you need to consider is the hardware for your system - this will greatly depend on your requirements. If you need more computational power you might want to choose a blade system, or if you have just a few dozen websites you can host it from your own home computer!

Another big consideration is the software you’re going to use. Are you going to use Linux or Windows? Will you manage your server with a control panel, or not? Again these depend on your exact requirements.

a) Complete control over every aspect of your server
b) More freedom in what you can offer your customers
c) Save money long term compared to reseller hosting

a) Much higher technical knowledge to setup
b) Higher upfront costs for hardware
c) Higher running costs for electricity, bandwidth etc

How to get started with an at-home server:
1. Contact your ISP and negotiate the unblocking of ports required for hosting, and obtain a static IP address.
2. Research and buy a server setup for your hosting.
3. Setup your server and install the necessary operating system and software packages.
4. Link your website to your newly installed server, and decide which services to offer.
5. Promote your business with digital marketing.

Colocation Datacentre
A colocation datacentre is a large commercial style data centre which rents out equipment, rack space, and bandwidth to wholesale clients and businesses. They can then take advantage of the datacentre’s wholesale rates on bandwidth and space while renting (or reselling) server space or racks to their customer base. Think of it as halfway between reseller hosting and an at-home server: you have essentially your own datacentre (albeit shared with other businesses), but it’s not in your own home.

Renting a colocation datacentre will give you the highest level of technical support, uptime, security and scalability possible - as well as complete control over the server and rack setups. This comes at a cost though, as you will need at least some technical expertise to setup and manage this. If you’re not at that level yet, Reseller hosting is a better option for you.

a) Cheaper than setting up your own datacentre at home
b) Professional 24/7 support for any issues
c) Complete control over setup, software, and hardware

a) Can be a larger entry cost - and is usually only for wholesale clients
b) Higher operating costs which might be difficult for smaller businesses
c) If the datacentre is unmanaged, you need your own staff for maintenance and support

Author's Bio: 

Hello, my name is Karen Cole and I live in Philadelphia, United States. I am the founder and editor-in-chief of the HealthBenefitAdmin online magazine and I take pride in publishing content that helps my readers to live a happy, healthy and sustainable life.