5 Best Reseller Web Hosting Companies of 2018

A list of the best reseller hosting companies and a guide on how to choose a reseller hosting service suitable for starting your own web hosting business.

Our guide to the best Reseller web hosting

Finding the best reseller web hosting to suit your needs is the crucial foundation for success. Whether you’re a web design and development agency or an aspiring web hosting startup, it is important to choose a reseller provider that offers everything you need to run your own business successfully. In this article, we’ll cover the top 5 reseller web hosting companies we’d recommend, along with a detailed guide on what you should look for in a reseller web host.

The Best Reseller Web Hosts at a Glance

Here's a quick overview of the top choices for reseller web hosting. We've listed the different purposes we would recommend each one for:

Web HostStarts at:Recommended for:Learn more
InMotion Hosting$13.99/moAffordable, high-performance reseller hostingView Plans
A2 Hosting$13.19/moReseller web hosting for both Linux & Windows O/SView Plans
GreenGeeks$19.95/moGreat reseller hosting for web designersView Plans
HostGator$19.95/moPremium reseller hosting for uptime & reliabilityView Plans
SiteGround$18.75/moGlobal reseller web hosting with premium hardwareView Plans

Reseller web hosting features to consider

What to Look for When Purchasing a Reseller Hosting Account

Reseller hosting plans enable web designers, graphic artists, advertising agencies, & online marketing firms to operate a web hosting business under independent branding, making money by pooling client resources onto a single web server and providing domain name registration services to customers. Reseller hosting plans are a good way for small businesses and independent web professionals like freelancers to get started in the industry, gain valuable experience in data center management, and launch their own websites with all of the main products offered by a major web hosting company.

Below are the important factors to consider when making a decision on which reseller hosting plan to order.

Factors to Consider:

  • The pricing for web server resources & discounts available
  • The data center architecture behind the web hosting company
  • The hardware specifications (CPU cores, RAM, & SSD storage)
  • The quality of technical support & customer service
  • The inclusion of a free cPanel license
  • The billing software provided with the plan (WHMCS, ClientExec)
  • The domain reseller accounts (Enom, Reseller Club, GoDaddy)
  • The number of dedicated IP addresses available per tier level

Although reseller hosting plans are not as popular with web developers as they used to be, many small businesses consider them a valuable collection of resources to keep together in a toolkit for clients or to assemble in order to make a web design company more professional online. Paying close attention to the price of the hardware specifications available, the inclusion of free licenses for required software, and the quality of the technical support offered by the web hosting company are some of the best ways to ensure success in managing a long term reseller hosting plan through the provision of “white label” customer services.

Pricing

Reseller plans allow a small business to operate as an independent shared web hosting company under the same format that is used to list unlimited domains on cPanel. Many reseller hosting plans operate on CentOS Enterprise Linux with cPanel, WHMCS, & ClientExec included in the plan as a complete package for sales, customer management, and monthly billing through invoices. Enom, GoDaddy, and Reseller Club are some of the most popular solutions for resellers to offer domain name registration services. Other companies provide bulk-rate pricing on web hosting plans that can be rebranded and sold at whatever margin the reseller chooses, creating extra profit for freelance workers. Each individual customer usually has their own unique login to a cPanel account for domain management and server administration, which can also be rebranded by the reseller. Web hosting resellers receive bulk-rate pricing on the hardware, although the individual account limits are rarely much larger than those found on other shared hosting plans.

Some reseller hosting companies offer a “white label” storefront service which includes an ecommerce shopping cart, credit card processing facilities, and check-out that is integrated with WHMCS for billing. Small business owners can change the theme and logos on the store to quickly launch a complete web hosting company online under an independent brand name with their own sales & marketing campaign. Although a few of the major web hosting brands were able to scale into the industry and become large companies following this model, in the cloud era there is less ability to compete with the IT majors to attract customers. Reseller accounts are primarily useful for web developers who use them with their clients to offer domain services that they would buy anyway from another company, as well as charging any price that they like for the products. Reseller hosting plans are normally priced in tier levels ranging from around $10 to $150 per month, depending on the amount of hardware resources provided, the monthly bandwidth, and storage space requirements.

For domain name resellers, it is important to confirm the pricing on the sale of top-level domain names (TLDs) as this will determine the margin available in the competitive web hosting industry. Unfortunately, many of the domain reseller plans are actually uncompetitive with the prices offered by the largest domain name registrars. The inclusion of a free WHMCS license can save resellers $17.95 per month vs. the cost of purchasing one independently, and an ENOM domain name reseller license is normally priced at $50 to $800 a year. Having these options provided for free can make a big difference between the choice of reseller hosting plans for a small business owner, freelance worker, or independent web professional.

As reseller accounts have many service options available, some questions to consider before signup are:

  • What is the pricing on TLDs when resold to customers through the account?
  • How many TLD extensions are available? (.com, .net, .org, .info vs. new gTLDs)
  • Can VPS and dedicated server options be sold to clients through the service?
  • Does the reseller account have an easy to deploy template for launching a web hosting site?
  • Are the prices offered for resale of products truly competitive with industry standards?

Some reseller frameworks only allow the webmaster to host multiple client domains under a single shared hosting account, making them not very different from unlimited consumer plans. Thus, it is very important to determine exactly what products (VPS, dedicated servers, domain names, etc.) are being made available through the reseller plan and also if these products are priced at a reasonable level. The bulk-rate pricing made available through a reseller plan will determine the profit margin that can be garnered through mark-up of the services to local clients or through an online ecommerce store. The reseller pricing can then be analyzed in comparison to the quality of the web server architecture that is provided by in the hosting company, i.e. the number of CPU cores, RAM, storage, & bandwidth. Most webhosts offer a number of different reseller account tiers with various levels of shared web server resources priced according to these specifications.

Data Centers

The best reseller hosting accounts will have a top-quality data center architecture and service staff behind the product that will support clients through quick turn-around on technical problems. The inclusion of a free Enom domain registration account and the integrated use WHMCS & cPanel can save a lot of money compared to plans without these options. With WHMCS, resellers can set the size limits on disk space for shared hosting products and determine the cost of each plan that is sold to clients. This allows resellers to oversell their account and consolidate customers, upgrading to a new reseller plan with more disk space when required. The inclusion of a free Cloud Linux upgrade option with CentOS and cPanel is also a recommended feature that is available with some reseller plans. However, it is important also to consider that the reseller hosting format began in the “Web 1.0” era when web servers had significantly less RAM, CPU processing power, & storage capabilities available. Reseller Club offers some cloud hosting products under the white label model currently, but entrepreneurs have much more possibility using the major IT cloud providers to re-invent web hosting services. For example, companies such as WPengine, Acquia Cloud, or Pantheon can host their entire businesses on Google Cloud or AWS servers, offering much higher levels of innovation than reseller plans.

Hardware

Not all reseller plans actively advertise the web server hardware offered on their accounts. There can be a wide range of quality of service determined by the make and model of the servers used on reseller accounts in a data center. With Intel's Xeon range of servers, there can also be a large difference between configurations depending on when the CPU was manufactured. Best practice is to confirm the hardware specifications in advance with sales support staff from the web hosting company and then research benchmark tests on the web server's CPU performance through independent reviews. Look for reseller plans with a greater number of dedicated CPU cores and the most installed RAM per account for best performance. Additionally, servers with solid state drives (SSDs) will perform better than traditional hard disks (HDDs), but may be priced at a higher rate. For businesses using reseller hosting plans to operate an independent web hosting company, check the make and model of dedicated server products with the webhost to do a price comparison with similar configurations sold at other companies. This should give a quick and easy method to see if the reseller is offering good prices for the resale of hosting products. Look for reseller plans that offer the ability to re-brand all the best options of a “state of the art” data center, including dedicated servers, VPS, and shared hosting accounts. If the prices and quality are not lower than other companies offering the same products on the web, there will not be a significant margin available for resale to local and online clients in freelance work.

Customer Support

Technical support provided by a knowledgeable staff working on-site at the data center can make a big difference in determining which reseller host to choose. Companies which offer outsourced, off-site customer support facilities to a large client base may underperform small teams of dedicated workers with hands-on experience in systems administration. Research customer reviews of each web hosting company and previous clients' experience with their technical support staff before signing up for a reseller account. New customers can test a web hosting company's helpdesk by opening up a communication channel before committing to a long term contract. Choose the option that will be used most frequently to communicate with staff at the company to see if the customer support is quick, friendly, and able to solve technical problems efficiently. Most web hosting companies offer phone support, browser-based chat, and email support for clients, as well as a knowledgebase with video tutorials, FAQs pages, and user guides. Many webhosts will not offer technical support for the sub-clients of reseller accounts. However, another interesting fact is that if a reseller account expires, existing clients will often be assimilated into the main company for the length of their pre-paid contracts, rather than having their accounts go offline. Some resellers go the extra mile to set up their own helpdesk facilities including a toll-free number for clients to contact or manage customer accounts personally through their own business resources. The freelancer model of reseller hosting often operates on different fundamentals than storefront ecommerce websites, so small business owners are basically responsible to manage their clients in whatever manner they choose using the provided tools for billing, invoicing, & website development. osTicket, Mantis, & Bugzilla are all recommended scripts to use for helpdesk functionality.

cPanel License

There is some range of difference in cPanel account licensing prices due to the “grandfathering” in of accounts which signed up years ago and the availability of bulk-rate discounts to the largest web hosting companies. Because of this, many of the major web hosts can offer a much cheaper price for cPanel & WHMCS than if an individual signs up directly with the company for a license. For example, it currently costs $20 a month or $200 a year for a cPanel license on a single VPS installation with CentOS, and Cloud Linux is an additional $16 a month to use. The price is double for a standalone dedicated web server installation. Consequently, companies that provide the integrated use of cPanel and WHMCS (currently starts at an additional $15.95 per month) with reseller hosting are providing a great deal to clients.

Choose a reseller hosting account with cPanel
cPanel is used by millions of website owners to manage domain settings, server configurations, & access analytics on site performance. Choose a reseller hosting account with integrated cPanel support.

For small businesses, the inclusion of cPanel, WHMCS, and Enom domain registration licensing for free with reseller hosting is one of the main benefits which should determine the webhost to choose for the service plan. The webhost edition of Plesk costs $41.25/mo to run, but will support unlimited domains and account management under reseller frameworks. There are also additional tools provided for WordPress and web development with the Plesk license. Enterprising resellers creating their own web hosting plans from open source tools can use software utilities to build a proprietary AMP interface, although it may be quite difficult for those who are not programmers in practice to build a working system for clients in this manner. For these reasons, most resellers opt to use cPanel with WHMCS as the easiest way to get started and manage client accounts using tested and secure online tools for web server administration.

Billing Software

WHMCS is a billing software for managing web hosting companies that allows for the creation of products like shared hosting accounts and the allocation of disk space or other features to each plan. Many of the largest companies in the web hosting sector have used this platform to manage customer accounts for years. WHMCS is owned by the same company which produces cPanel and also distributes the CloudLinux upgrade for CentOS. Resellers can use this service to create hosting plans (silver, gold, platinum, etc.) with different features and time lengths (monthly, 3 months, annual, etc.).

WHMCS
WHMCS is an advanced platform for managing web hosting companies. Save money on licensing fees by choosing a reseller hosting account that provides integrated use of WHMCS.

WHMCS offers automatic billing services for clients as well as an easy to use administration panel to manage the accounts. When independently purchased, WHMCS costs $15.95 to $39.95 per month, which can be a costly upgrade to a basic reseller account if purchased independently. Look for web hosting companies that include a free WHMCS license with the reseller plan to save money. Small businesses that use WHMCS to manage a complete web hosting platform under the “white label” model will still need to develop an ecommerce solution that allows for new clients to effectively sign up for hosting plans through a website or to register domains online. Setting up the billing and ecommerce facilities for a web hosting company independently can be expensive, so it can also be beneficial to search out reseller plans that offer an “out-of-the-box” template system with many aspects of a web hosting site pre-configured that can then be customized to use for service offerings to customers. ClientExec is a popular ecommerce platform that integrates with WHMCS and is commonly found on reseller plans.

Domain Reseller Accounts

Most reseller hosting accounts use Enom as the domain registrar, and many include a free license for the service with every plan. Reseller Club has become increasingly popular for domain registrations with resellers as well, especially after their assumption into the EIG hosting family. GoDaddy is another recommended choice, however their domain registration services are largely limited to their own reseller customers and not offered by other web hosting companies. Nevertheless, there is still a wide variety of pricing in the industry for the resale of TLDs and gTLDs under service plans. Many resellers will be surprised to discover that their available pricing for .com, .net, and .org domains is actually higher than the prices charged by the leading domain registrar companies on the web. This can be problematic when billing clients or setting up a web hosting sales site, because it will not make sense to customers to pay more for the same service offered cheaper by more respected companies elsewhere. Because of this it is important not just to confirm that a domain reseller license is included with the reseller hosting account, but also that the pricing available is industry competitive. After the bulk-rate pricing has been established for reseller accounts, small businesses and freelancers are able to choose whatever rate they like to bill the services to clients on an annual basis.

QUICK TIP: Enom is a domain name registrar providing reseller accounts with the ability to sell TLDs and gTLDs to clients at competitive rates. Choose a reseller account with an integrated Enom license.

Dedicated IP Addresses

Another aspect that can be very helpful to web designers and developers using a reseller account for client support is the ability to offer dedicated IP addresses and SSL/TLS certificates for web encryption as required by ecommerce applications. Reseller accounts that offer a discounted rate for this can save money when the same services are purchased repeatedly for many clients at a time. Again, it is important to confirm that the service plan not only offers the ability to resell IP addresses and SSL/TLS certificates to clients but that these products are also priced competitively compared to other companies in the sector. Otherwise, not only will the margin be lost on resale to clients, but also the risk of over-billing exists which will discourage potential clients from signing up at all. For resellers that seek to build a wider number of domain service offerings on their websites, there a large number of verified SSL/TLS certificate authorities, of which Symantec, GoDaddy, GlobalSign, DigiCert, StartCom, Entrust, Verizon, Trustwave, & Secom are the most popular. Resellers can contact these companies directly to sign up for a bulk rate pricing scheme and offer the verification services to clients. Although this will make a reseller hosting website appear more professional, in practice, it will take some additional work in web development and ecommerce to accomplish. Most web hosting companies will choose a single certificate authority and specialize in offering those SSL/TLS certificates to clients only.

Conclusion – Final Thoughts on Choosing a Reseller Web Host

In summary, while web server hardware is the main aspect determining reseller webhost performance, most of the major companies in the industry are operating large data centers with the latest equipment on a mutually equivalent basis. Therefore, it is important to consider the price of dedicated servers, VPS plans, and domain name extensions as a primary aspect of choosing between reseller accounts, and to confirm that these are competitive or lower than mainstream industry standards. The other major point to reference when signing up for a reseller hosting plan is whether cPanel, WHMCS, and an Enom domain reseller license is provided free with the account.

In making the final decision between reseller web hosting plans, remember to compare:

  • The CPU speed & processor version of the web servers: Intel Xeon vs. AMD Opteron
  • The number of CPU cores each web server has available for multi-threaded processing
  • Whether the servers use hard disk drives (HDD) or solid state drives (SSD)
  • The account limits on provided storage drives vs. the total price for the reseller plan
  • Whether the accounts include the ability to host unlimited numbers of domains
  • The account limits (if any) on the number of MySQL databases that can be installed
  • Whether the account includes the licensed use of WHMCS or requires a paid upgrade
  • Which company is provided to manage the domain name registration (Enom, Reseller Club, etc.)
  • Whether the account uses cPanel for domain management or other administration software
  • What additional services can be rebranded and resold (VPS, Dedicated, Domains, etc.)

Small businesses, creative professionals, and social media marketers managing many domain names for clients will get the most benefits from these services. Signing up for a reseller hosting plan with the intention of launching a new web hosting company is more difficult in comparison, as the large cloud hosting companies in IT have too much of a head start and competitive advantage in the sector for small resellers to attract many clients outside of their own development contracts or local clients. Nevertheless, many successful web hosting companies do operate on this service model using reseller hosting, but it takes a lot of sales and marketing work to generate new customers. Reseller hosting is still a good way to get started with managing data center resources and web developers can take advantage of bulk price discounting to offer shared hosting plans, dedicated servers, VPS accounts, and domain name registration services to clients.

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