When it comes to offline client websites do you...

by Dexx
22 replies
When it comes to offline client websites do you prefer to host them yourself on your own reseller account or do you prefer to get the $100+ affiliate commission and refer them to their own hosting account instead.

Why or Why Not? (for the reason you do what you do)

I'm starting debate whether it's more practical to just have the clients deal with someone else for hosting rather than hosting them on my reseller account (dedicated server).

PROS of Hosting Clients:
+ Monthly income from clients to pay you for hosting AND managing their website needs
+ Helps keep clients retained since moving to a new server might be more hassle than its worth

CONS of Hosting Clients:
- Technical issues and/or server downtimes could come back on YOU to be responsible for (i.e. if your hosting server crashes...they blame YOU for any financial impact this might have vs. the hosting company itself)


I'd just hate to be in the middle of a vacation, away from my phone, and come back to find that server problems popped up and nobody was able to deal with it (short of hiring an outsourced staff member that I could hope is capable of really handling such an issue...which seems like an uneccary expense for a couple extra bucks in hosting)

I think I'll just stick to generating revenue from the additional services provided (outside of hosting) and then charge them for the passive revenue in that regards (such as autoresponder service etc.)

Then again, it IS nice packaging hosting together WITH solutions for $300+/mo (including management fees), so who knows maybe I'll keep doing the hosting thang...

What do you guys do / think?

~Dexx
#client #offline #websites
  • Profile picture of the author Qamar
    I also have this dilemma. I was contemplating whether to charge a monthly hosting fees or just get them to sign for their hosting via my affiliate link and just worry about creating their website.

    I was planning to give away a free website (basic 3-5 pages without content) to local business owners provided they get their hosting via my link. Then I will charge them on monthly basis for email capturing service or content creation or maintanance.

    Qamar
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    I actually ended up getting a great idea from one of the members on my forum!

    Basically what I've decided to do is offer FREE hosting (and server management) as a bonus for my regular monthly marketing maintenance stuff.

    Makes it a more appealing deal for the business (especially since I can then handle the server side of things without having to try and relay stuff through them to the website hosting company), and they can't hammer me for constant server related requests (or get mad about responding to server issues within seconds due to being away on vacation if a glitch came up) since they aren't paying for it directly.

    Should they decide that they no longer wish to be clients--or just would rather be able to access 24/7 support themselves--then I can refer them via an affiliate link to a website hosting company.

    A win-win for everyone, and a much more appealing solution that landed my forum member a $2,500 deal.

    ~Dexx
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  • Profile picture of the author redcell1
    I have to say though that with a good hosting company, you should never really come across that. I mean I pay for offsite daily backups so in case that my host goes down I can switch over hosts in less then a few hours.
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    Just here to see the shenanigans.

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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    Oh agreed, definitely!

    That's why I've been hosting clients on my own server, but in May (I think) there was a massive storm where my host provider is located (we're talking one of the top Dedicated server providers), that had their server go down for about 3-4 hours.

    Now keep in mind even HOSTGATOR has gone done for several hours before as a result of server problems...rare...but does happen.

    So I had a mild "scare" about what my clients might do if the server stayed down for much more than 3-4 hours (this happened in the evening...but what if it had happened during business hours during a critical event)

    But, yes, other than that I've never had a problem with my host...so I'm thinking this "free hosting" perk might make everyone happy in the end.

    ~Dexx
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    • Profile picture of the author qu4rk
      Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

      Oh agreed, definitely!

      That's why I've been hosting clients on my own server, but in May (I think) there was a massive storm where my host provider is located (we're talking one of the top Dedicated server providers), that had their server go down for about 3-4 hours.

      Now keep in mind even HOSTGATOR has gone done for several hours before as a result of server problems...rare...but does happen.

      So I had a mild "scare" about what my clients might do if the server stayed down for much more than 3-4 hours (this happened in the evening...but what if it had happened during business hours during a critical event)

      But, yes, other than that I've never had a problem with my host...so I'm thinking this "free hosting" perk might make everyone happy in the end.

      ~Dexx
      Let me make sure I understand correctly. You give them free hosting & sell them email marketing or a website or something?
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      • Profile picture of the author Dexx
        Originally Posted by qu4rk View Post

        Let me make sure I understand correctly. You give them free hosting & sell them email marketing or a website or something?
        You got it

        ~Dexx
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        • Profile picture of the author carmack
          Interesting discussion, Dexx, I'm glad you brought it up. Even if they have their own hosting, as someone pointed out, anyone's hosting company can go out at one time or another.
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  • I go the route of just obtaining the affiliate commission. Although hosting on your own server does have merit.

    James
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  • Profile picture of the author dancorkill
    Yeah just depends on the client. If they are already happy with existing hosting I never move them. I agree the best way to do it is offer as a value ad as part of a larger deal. Differentiate from the people trying to make a few extra bucks from charging for hosting.
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  • Profile picture of the author sherylmartin
    I rent the majority of my sites, so I host them myself. As far as hosting goes, outages are a part of the hosting business, so it is only a matter of time before you have some sort of outage. In many cases, I build sites on WP multisite, so as I maintain one site, I am really maintaining them all. With 500+ sites, this is clearly a time-saver for both me and my team.
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  • Profile picture of the author O0o0O
    Affiliate commission hosting is more appealing to me because there is a faster turnaround time for your money and you will be able to reinvest it more quickly for faster returns.
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  • Profile picture of the author Timaay
    I'll describe what my company does, and this is after a lot of trial and error and it works in our target market.

    We highly, highly discourage anyone from hosting anywhere else but us. We give them alot of disclaimers and let them know they are on their own if they do this.

    Actually we try to not even go down that road of giving them a choice. We offer SaaS products custom tailored to a specific industry and charge for them... hosting comes complementary with the SaaS products.

    These software products "extend" the functionality of their website and again the positioning is that "hosting" is complementary with purchase of our SaaS.

    Reason for this is that a client (in our experience/market) is MUCH LESS LIKELY to muster up the energy to leave you if you control their primary asset (the website). So you give them more than any other hosting company can offer and control their online "home base".

    After that anything they look to do online has to go through you. Has to.

    Works great.
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    • Profile picture of the author J R Halchak
      My company's ideas were along the lines of Timaay.

      Although we still do it occasionally, after doing it a few times I wouldn't recommend it (we don't do much web design except for ourselves anymore).

      Between clients not understanding that we host our product even after multiple "warnings" and calling it a "Hosted CMS Package" and the added accounting and troubleshooting, it's not worth it.

      Time is money. Even if that spare time doesn't make me a lot, I'd rather have it to put towards something else.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    I should clarify something:

    I only take clients on for hosting when they either do NOT already have a website OR their current website hosts do not offer cPanel (and/or MySQL) to allow for daily installing Wordpress and other software scripts.

    If they have a host that allows for Wordpress then I do NOT want to touch their hosting since this means they will need to update/change their email configurations in the email programs--and this can lead to more work / bigger headache than its worth.

    Cheers,

    ~Dexx
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    • Profile picture of the author Timaay
      Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

      I should clarify something:

      I only take clients on for hosting when they either do NOT already have a website OR their current website hosts do not offer cPanel (and/or MySQL) to allow for daily installing Wordpress and other software scripts.

      If they have a host that allows for Wordpress then I do NOT want to touch their hosting since this means they will need to update/change their email configurations in the email programs--and this can lead to more work / bigger headache than its worth.

      Cheers,

      ~Dexx
      hey Dexx,

      i definitely hear what you are saying here and it is a HUGE headache but we push to transfer them to us each and everytime, including their email.

      Again it is all about control. Once you have control and things are going smoothly there are not many business owners that will transfer away from you. And again when you control these assets you now have business coming to you.

      You just sit and wait and let technology sell itself over time. they come to you for everything... a facebook marketing plan, email marketing (because they want it to interface with their contact forms), obviously SEO, online store/ecommerce, blog, etc, etc...

      It all has to come through you. Of course we are ethical, if they want to leave they can but as long as they host with us (and see the value) we control the hosting account. We do not allow ftp or control panel access... we have to do that. Limited amount of monthly web corrections are included per month but anything out of scope is quoted, etc...

      AGain they can leave at anytime but after awhile there is just too much there and too much value that you offer for them to effectively start over.

      It's definitely an "upfront hassle" but after you have the people (outsourced or in house) to take care of it, it's easy and it provides you stability with your clients.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dexx
    J R what kind of issues were you having with clients not understanding you hosted their website and the software used?

    Were they complaining? If so, what were they have issues with?

    I'm sure we could all benefit from seeing the problems with hosting client websites from those that have experienced some!

    ~Dexx
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  • Profile picture of the author Voasi
    If a new client of mine does not have hosting, I typically tell them to go sign-up to Godaddy.

    My reason: As you said Dexx, God forbid I'm out of town or for whatever reason, can't get to their host, I don't want to be responsible for it. Just adds another element.

    What I like to do is tell new clients that "I would never want to HOLD YOU HOSTAGE with your account, as I known other marketing companies have done to previous clients of mine". They LOVE the sincerity and honesty of what I say. Just another level of trust and indicator that I've been around the block and know what I'm doing. They always agree with me and then get hosting somewhere.

    I usually like to tie clients into other hooks, like call-tracking and such.
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  • Profile picture of the author ShawnSells
    To this point I host all of them on my reseller account. I charge a monthly fee and have yet to have any of the problems mentioned above. Even if they were hosted by someone else, what's to say they (the other host) will get to them quickly?
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    • Profile picture of the author Dexx
      Originally Posted by ShawnSells View Post

      Even if they were hosted by someone else, what's to say they (the other host) will get to them quickly?
      That's kind of the point though. If the OTHER host does indeed mess up--and as a result cause the business to lose thousands of dollars in lost sales--then the business can take up their legal concerns with that host...not us.

      ~Dexx
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      • Profile picture of the author JToneyUK
        Surely since you're dependant on the hosting company also, then the legal action needs to be taken up against the hosting company, no?

        Originally Posted by Dexx View Post

        That's kind of the point though. If the OTHER host does indeed mess up--and as a result cause the business to lose thousands of dollars in lost sales--then the business can take up their legal concerns with that host...not us.

        ~Dexx
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        • Profile picture of the author NikkiBlue
          People can sue for anything . At the end of the day it comes down to the SLA (service-level agreement).
          I work with data centers in my regular job . Service goes down all the time .Customers request credits according to their contract or SLA . The most they do is refuse to pay an invoice.
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  • Profile picture of the author NikkiBlue
    Dexx ,
    Thanks for posting this . I was just about to post a similar thread.

    My clients are small business owners and individuals on a budget. I recently had to
    delete two accounts for non-payment. I felt so guilty because I knew the amount
    of work that went into the sites.

    I think Id rather get the affiliate commissions and focus on my core business, which isn't web hosting. Oh- and my clients can take advantage of the "Unlimited Web Hosting " packages which I would never offer . lol
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