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Starting a web design business–what type of hosting to use?
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Starting a web design business–what type of hosting to use?

RoboCainRoboCain Member

Hello,

I'm wondering what would be the best approach to build a web design business using Wordpress?

Would you have your client sign up to a hosting company themselves, or would you get some type of hosting service and pool all of your clients into your account and then you bill them additionally?

Can anyone please recommend me some options or ideas so I can move forward.

Comments

  • bruh21bruh21 Member, Host Rep

    If you want to make it easier for the customer, then you may want to consider reseller hosting so you can manage their accounts and stuff more easily

    Thanked by 1Bastion
  • RoboCainRoboCain Member

    @bruh21 said:
    If you want to make it easier for the customer, then you may want to consider reseller hosting so you can manage their accounts and stuff more easily

    That's what I'm thinking. Any recommendations on good services for this?

  • HalfEatenPieHalfEatenPie Member
    edited May 11

    @RoboCain said:
    Hello,

    I'm wondering what would be the best approach to build a web design business using Wordpress?

    Would you have your client sign up to a hosting company themselves, or would you get some type of hosting service and pool all of your clients into your account and then you bill them additionally?

    Can anyone please recommend me some options or ideas so I can move forward.

    I did this through high school.

    Basically, web design is decent but you want added-on-service that you can keep invoicing them over time. Depending on the amount of traffic the site gets and/or how heavy the site is, get either a reseller plan or a VPS and manage their site that way.

    For actual hosting provider you want the host to have the following characteristics:

    • Reliable (has history of being up)
    • Performance (has servers that aren't oversold or at least works properly)
    • Communicative (communicates with their clients effectively, especially during downtimes)

    For your own sanity:

    • Have backups (minimum 2 off-site backup locations, 3 preferred)
    • Practice your client's disaster recovery (trial recovery every few months or something to test backups and make sure everything works. it's good for cases if/when a hosting provider you use goes MIA.)
    • Write in to your client contract that hosting support does not mean you're willing to continue to maintain their site (unless you're charging them to maintain wordpress installation or minor site changes (e.g. minor content change) (this also means you can charge them more on a monthly level to be "on call" for their changes. But make sure it's within reason)

    For actual hosting providers, I'd recommend:

    • BuyVM (they've pretty decent for the value. If you don't want a VPS then go with their BuyShared reseller hosting offering)
    • DigitalOcean
    • Linode

    Personally, I'd avoid providers who are obviously doing high-density hosting, mostly because nosier neighbors means you have higher chance you won't get the resources you need within the right time or it'll just be a fucking headache. Don't try to work too hard to save a dollar. "Basically, "penny rich, dollar poor". Don't be like that one guy on LET who was trying to save 1 dollar a month on CloudLinux and called out/shittalked his provider only to realize he was getting a decent deal. Just get a 5 dollar a month server from DigitalOcean/BuyVM/Linode and call it a day. I'd avoid most "VPS deals" that are below 5 dollars a month that are commonly advertised on this forum (like the 5 dollars a year server or some other stupid priced ones. What's more than likely is that they don't have enough performance or won't be as-reliable).

    Also, at the end of the day your hosting provider is the person you're going into business with. Sure you can always switch, but do you really want to go through the pain in the ass to do it? Do you really want to go with the cheapest guy? Go with someone who's already established and you don't have to be the experimental one to see if they're reliable. You're trying to run a business, not get a headache. Especially work with someone who doesn't really cause a lot of drama on forums like this. They're less likely to become a target and cause you headaches because they said something fucking stupid on a public board and became a target for a script kiddie.

    Again, it's why I'd suggest either Fran at BuyVM, DigitalOcean, or Linode. In my opinion, most of them won't give you a headache and offer great support.

    Best of luck. I'm sure many others will have points of criticism or comments from this post.

  • BlaZeBlaZe Member, Host Rep

    I started out similarly how @HalfEatenPie did.

    At that time, I kept each of the client's website/web assets on a separate VPS from Burst.net $4.95/mo VPS (good ol' days)

    Since I wasn't that good technically in bash/server management, so used to hire PSM to secure/harden the VPS and then I used to install LXAdmin/Kloxo myself, do some small tweaks via MySQLTuner and some more tweaks to Apache, etc.

    So, if a client had more than one website then it would be hosted on the same VPS. This helped me maintain QoS and my clients were happy. Yeah I do admit it took time and became complex to manage when there were more than 50 clients but it gave me good experience.

    This was my method to keep client websites/assets separate, so that even if one client's website gets hacked/compromised it wouldn't create downtime for the rest of them.
    Phishing was so prominent at that time :D

  • RoboCainRoboCain Member

    @HalfEatenPie said:

    @RoboCain said:
    Hello,

    I'm wondering what would be the best approach to build a web design business using Wordpress?

    Would you have your client sign up to a hosting company themselves, or would you get some type of hosting service and pool all of your clients into your account and then you bill them additionally?

    Can anyone please recommend me some options or ideas so I can move forward.

    I did this through high school.

    Basically, web design is decent but you want added-on-service that you can keep invoicing them over time. Depending on the amount of traffic the site gets and/or how heavy the site is, get either a reseller plan or a VPS and manage their site that way.

    For actual hosting provider you want the host to have the following characteristics:

    • Reliable (has history of being up)
    • Performance (has servers that aren't oversold or at least works properly)
    • Communicative (communicates with their clients effectively, especially during downtimes)

    For your own sanity:

    • Have backups (minimum 2 off-site backup locations, 3 preferred)
    • Practice your client's disaster recovery (trial recovery every few months or something to test backups and make sure everything works. it's good for cases if/when a hosting provider you use goes MIA.)
    • Write in to your client contract that hosting support does not mean you're willing to continue to maintain their site (unless you're charging them to maintain wordpress installation or minor site changes (e.g. minor content change) (this also means you can charge them more on a monthly level to be "on call" for their changes. But make sure it's within reason)

    For actual hosting providers, I'd recommend:

    • BuyVM (they've pretty decent for the value. If you don't want a VPS then go with their BuyShared reseller hosting offering)
    • DigitalOcean
    • Linode

    Personally, I'd avoid providers who are obviously doing high-density hosting, mostly because nosier neighbors means you have higher chance you won't get the resources you need within the right time or it'll just be a fucking headache. Don't try to work too hard to save a dollar. "Basically, "penny rich, dollar poor". Don't be like that one guy on LET who was trying to save 1 dollar a month on CloudLinux and called out/shittalked his provider only to realize he was getting a decent deal. Just get a 5 dollar a month server from DigitalOcean/BuyVM/Linode and call it a day. I'd avoid most "VPS deals" that are below 5 dollars a month that are commonly advertised on this forum (like the 5 dollars a year server or some other stupid priced ones. What's more than likely is that they don't have enough performance or won't be as-reliable).

    Also, at the end of the day your hosting provider is the person you're going into business with. Sure you can always switch, but do you really want to go through the pain in the ass to do it? Do you really want to go with the cheapest guy? Go with someone who's already established and you don't have to be the experimental one to see if they're reliable. You're trying to run a business, not get a headache. Especially work with someone who doesn't really cause a lot of drama on forums like this. They're less likely to become a target and cause you headaches because they said something fucking stupid on a public board and became a target for a script kiddie.

    Again, it's why I'd suggest either Fran at BuyVM, DigitalOcean, or Linode. In my opinion, most of them won't give you a headache and offer great support.

    Best of luck. I'm sure many others will have points of criticism or comments from this post.

    Thank you for your response. Sadly BuyVM looks to always be sold out. I have lots to think about on how to best approach this.

  • RoboCainRoboCain Member

    @BlaZe said:
    I started out similarly how @HalfEatenPie did.

    At that time, I kept each of the client's website/web assets on a separate VPS from Burst.net $4.95/mo VPS (good ol' days)

    Since I wasn't that good technically in bash/server management, so used to hire PSM to secure/harden the VPS and then I used to install LXAdmin/Kloxo myself, do some small tweaks via MySQLTuner and some more tweaks to Apache, etc.

    So, if a client had more than one website then it would be hosted on the same VPS. This helped me maintain QoS and my clients were happy. Yeah I do admit it took time and became complex to manage when there were more than 50 clients but it gave me good experience.

    This was my method to keep client websites/assets separate, so that even if one client's website gets hacked/compromised it wouldn't create downtime for the rest of them.
    Phishing was so prominent at that time :D

    Thanks for your post. I need to think about how to best approach this moving forward. I sort of understand why a lot of people seem to use Webflow now in days. The issue with that service is related to cost.

  • LoganoLogano Member

    Check out Ramnode's reseller plan as well (you have to click the cPanel Shared Hosting tab to see it). Honestly I haven't opened a ticket in probably 5 years, but my VPS is still running fine and they used to be a #1 host here when Nick owned the place and was active.

    Racknerd is currently #1, great support and I have 4 services idling fine, only thing with production stuff is that they haven't withstood the test of time yet. I'm hoping they do, though, as Dustin has been very good to a lot of people around here including me. Support response is FAST.

  • SirFoxySirFoxy Member

    @Logano said:
    Check out Ramnode's reseller plan as well (you have to click the cPanel Shared Hosting tab to see it). Honestly I haven't opened a ticket in probably 5 years, but my VPS is still running fine and they used to be a #1 host here when Nick owned the place and was active.

    Racknerd is currently #1, great support and I have 4 services idling fine, only thing with production stuff is that they haven't withstood the test of time yet. I'm hoping they do, though, as Dustin has been very good to a lot of people around here including me. Support response is FAST.

    "they used to be a #1 host here"

    keyword used to be, ramnode's gone down in quality a ton.

    i would just grab a server from linode, upcloud, or vultr and put your clients on it -- no worries that way.

    95% of the hosts here can't be trusted, even the big ones i wouldn't put too much faith in.

    also the halfeatenpie dude is right, build in a recurring revenue aspect.

    Thanked by 3Logano LiliLabs UpCloud
  • eriseris Member

    @HalfEatenPie said: Write in to your client contract that hosting support does not mean you're willing to continue to maintain their site (unless you're charging them to maintain wordpress installation or minor site changes (e.g. minor content change) (this also means you can charge them more on a monthly level to be "on call" for their changes. But make sure it's within reason)

    Don't host only but only sell an "managed" package and add an heavy fee doing so. Wordpress needs regular updates any way

  • ServerServer Member

    @HalfEatenPie said:

    • BuyVM (they've pretty decent for the value. If you don't want a VPS then go with their BuyShared reseller hosting offering)

    I think they have stopped accepting new orders for their BuyShared line of products.

  • umzakumzak Member

    not oversold & reliable vps (vultr,linode,DO,upcloud, or top LET's provider) + hestiacp + backblaze b2 (for automatic backup from hestiacp)

    Thanked by 1UpCloud
  • In my opinion, the best approach would be buying a vps with webhosting management panel and maybe some additional ips and create hosting accounts for your clients. This way you can keep on control all necessary things, backups, updates etc., and ofcource charge your clients for additional services

  • BastionBastion Member

    @Server said:

    @HalfEatenPie said:

    • BuyVM (they've pretty decent for the value. If you don't want a VPS then go with their BuyShared reseller hosting offering)

    I think they have stopped accepting new orders for their BuyShared line of products.

    Yes, that's true. However you can still get DirectAdmin or a similar panel which can replace some of those reseller features. I personally use DA to give my clients access, and I bill them separately.

    As for the stock issue, there are many stock notification systems that will let you know when BuyVM is in stock. On most days there is some new stock.

  • HalfEatenPieHalfEatenPie Member
    edited May 11

    @RoboCain said: Thanks for your post. I need to think about how to best approach this moving forward. I sort of understand why a lot of people seem to use Webflow now in days. The issue with that service is related to cost.

    Webflow is cheap in the grand scheme of things and the value you get is nuts. Again, many on this forum might argue that it's expensive, but it's my opinion that it's a steal for the amount of value it offers. They remove the need for technical knowledge (e.g. maintaining servers, knowing how to navigate around bash, etc.) and handle maintenance (it's their own in-house platform anyways). All for 12-16 dollars a month.

    Again, you're now a business. You should be mindful of your time. By that, I mean you want to manage your risks and policies to avoid unnecessary time sinks because time == $$ and your time should be valued. I'd rather pay someone for a directadmin license and contact them about my problem and get it resolved quickly versus going with an open source solution and relying on their "forum support" for problems. Unless you know the ins-and-outs of that panel and can support yourself on it quickly, I'd recommend avoiding it. However, something like HestiaCP (a fork of VestaCP) is, in my opinion, fairly easy to maintain and fix if you know the ins-and-outs of it. I do think it's a decent alternative for initial bootstrapping.

    @Server said: I think they have stopped accepting new orders for their BuyShared line of products.

    Yeah from my last conversation with Fran I believe so too. But still, worth a check in case it isn't. If not, I'm sure there's some option out there available on the BuyVM platform.

    There's many ways to cut the pie that is "how do you keep clients separate?". You'll be able to find so many different opinions and thoughts on how to cut this pie, especially those on this forum. But this can also be a major time sink and an overhead in costs. Basically, thinking about this is important, but what's more important is making sure your business's actual money-making methodology works and testing that out. It doesn't matter if you buy a new VM For each client if your actual business doesn't make any money. Test out your money making strategy first, then once the time comes, think about what's the best way to keep your customers separate. Also it's not like this is any super secret information or data. Most people and businesses (unless they're specialized or have special requirements) are fine with shared hosting and having backups in place.

    Thanked by 1RoboCain
  • RoboCainRoboCain Member

    @HalfEatenPie said:

    @RoboCain said: Thanks for your post. I need to think about how to best approach this moving forward. I sort of understand why a lot of people seem to use Webflow now in days. The issue with that service is related to cost.

    Webflow is cheap in the grand scheme of things and the value you get is nuts. Again, many on this forum might argue that it's expensive, but it's my opinion that it's a steal for the amount of value it offers. They remove the need for technical knowledge (e.g. maintaining servers, knowing how to navigate around bash, etc.) and handle maintenance (it's their own in-house platform anyways). All for 12-16 dollars a month.

    Again, you're now a business. You should be mindful of your time. By that, I mean you want to manage your risks and policies to avoid unnecessary time sinks because time == $$ and your time should be valued. I'd rather pay someone for a directadmin license and contact them about my problem and get it resolved quickly versus going with an open source solution and relying on their "forum support" for problems. Unless you know the ins-and-outs of that panel and can support yourself on it quickly, I'd recommend avoiding it. However, something like HestiaCP (a fork of VestaCP) is, in my opinion, fairly easy to maintain and fix if you know the ins-and-outs of it. I do think it's a decent alternative for initial bootstrapping.

    @Server said: I think they have stopped accepting new orders for their BuyShared line of products.

    Yeah from my last conversation with Fran I believe so too. But still, worth a check in case it isn't. If not, I'm sure there's some option out there available on the BuyVM platform.

    There's many ways to cut the pie that is "how do you keep clients separate?". You'll be able to find so many different opinions and thoughts on how to cut this pie, especially those on this forum. But this can also be a major time sink and an overhead in costs. Basically, thinking about this is important, but what's more important is making sure your business's actual money-making methodology works and testing that out. It doesn't matter if you buy a new VM For each client if your actual business doesn't make any money. Test out your money making strategy first, then once the time comes, think about what's the best way to keep your customers separate. Also it's not like this is any super secret information or data. Most people and businesses (unless they're specialized or have special requirements) are fine with shared hosting and having backups in place.

    Truth. I understand your perspective. Thank you for the help.

  • JamesFJamesF Member, Host Rep

    My other half does this.

    I setup her up using HostWithLove back in 2018 - works well

    Also worth setting each client up with free cloudflare which you can access so you can easily change IP’s if needed.

    Whmeasybackup runs automatically weekly backups offsite to ftp storage.

    Updraft installed on clients sites allow clients to run their own backups to Dropbox or something.

    You tend to find that with this type of hosting you can charge more ad the clients tend not to understand, so this is the best way for you to make reoccurring revenue.

    Once you have enough sites, get a managed VPS.

  • raviravi Member
    edited May 12

    I will start with a reseller hosting of lowest plan for small websites.

    If any website is big and not suitable in shared hosting, I will move that website to a vps from any reputed provider like DigitalOcean / Vultr.

    When I have enough websites, I will move from reseller hosting to a vps from a reputed provider. I will prefer a provider that offer any free or cheap control panel like DirectAdmin. I will also purchase a backup vps to save backups of websites on another server to be on the safe side.

  • JasonMJasonM Member

    Godaddy Pro, Manage WP will seems better option to manage all clients' wordpress sites under single control panel. Though there can be some alternatives with more features.

    Thanked by 1Ympker
  • emghemgh Member

    @JasonM said: Godaddy

    Nope.

    Thanked by 1AlwaysSkint
  • YmpkerYmpker Member

    While I hosted my web design clients on a reseller account before, a couple of years ago, I decided to stop offer hosting (not maintenance) alongside my services. There were numerous reasons for this. One of the reasons was that I didn't want to be tech support, the other was that I didn't want to be liable for their service to be up and running and for backups to be taken. This was and is mainly the case because I am still studying at university and this is a side business where sleep is something that I still value a lot and I've been getting more of that when I wasn't self-hosting my clients. So far, I had my clients sign up on IONOS whose WordPress Hosting has been solid so far and they have the option for agencies to have their own account and "request" access to their clients' control panel which is great for me. That way the liability for hosting and backups lies with IONOS, however, I can still easily request access to the CP in case it's needed (mostly I only need the WordPress Admin Dashboard, though). I do offer additional services such as plugin/theme maintenance, additional backup setup (e.g. to the client's cloud storage via Updraft etc) or anything WP related on top.

  • armandorgarmandorg Member, Host Rep

    Reseller would be your best choice with a couple of clients at first.

    I mean this depends if you'd like to charge them for the hosting/maintaince aswell or just let them on their own after delivering the website/web design.

    Thanked by 1Ympker
  • Please double my bandwidth

    Order number #5409334892

    Thank you

    Thanked by 2emgh vovler
  • Is a wordpress webdesign business a good idea in 2022?

    Who does not already have a website?

    Webhosting is trending towards free.

  • bikegremlinbikegremlin Member
    edited May 18

    @Ympker said:
    While I hosted my web design clients on a reseller account before, a couple of years ago, I decided to stop offer hosting (not maintenance) alongside my services. There were numerous reasons for this. One of the reasons was that I didn't want to be tech support, the other was that I didn't want to be liable for their service to be up and running and for backups to be taken. This was and is mainly the case because I am still studying at university and this is a side business where sleep is something that I still value a lot and I've been getting more of that when I wasn't self-hosting my clients. So far, I had my clients sign up on IONOS whose WordPress Hosting has been solid so far and they have the option for agencies to have their own account and "request" access to their clients' control panel which is great for me. That way the liability for hosting and backups lies with IONOS, however, I can still easily request access to the CP in case it's needed (mostly I only need the WordPress Admin Dashboard, though). I do offer additional services such as plugin/theme maintenance, additional backup setup (e.g. to the client's cloud storage via Updraft etc) or anything WP related on top.

    In my experience, every hosting provider has its own problems and peculiarities. That's why I prefer using providers I'm familiar with.

    WordPress itself has enough problems. I prefer to have the other problem cause be me, not to bash my head about whether it's something on the provider's end as well.

    Likewise, depending on clients' tech. proficiency, it can be simpler to take care of hosting.

    Reseller hosting lets you communicate with the provider more directly, and gives you more freedom to fix what you can on your own on any created sub-accounts.

    It's also worth noting that WordPress needs maintenance. It's not a set-and-forget thing. It makes a lot of sense to offer website maintenance service - that's good for the client, and for the developer as it provides a steady income stream. If you're offering that, it helps a lot to know that hosting isn't causing any problems.

    Maintenance also helps the developer keep a relationship with the client, and improves the developer's reputation. Without any maintenance, WordPress is likely to have problems, and then it gets to "who built (you) this crappy website?"

    Now, without any maintenance arrangement, you can protect yourself with some contract, removing any responsibility after a website is done, and also clearly explain to the client that the website will have problems without maintenance. In spite of that, when the site crashes, the client will likely not be happy and when asked who built it, they'll probably say your name (as noted in the previous paragraph).

    People aren't always reasonable.

    In the long run, if you charge $0, you might get away with poor quality service/website performance.
    If you charge even only $1, you had better make that site work like a charm, or don't accept the work in the first place. One angry client is louder than a thousand happy ones.

    Edit:
    The same thing as for maintenance goes for backups (and, with many non-tech savvy clients, for passwords as well - yes, I know, it's not fortunate, but that's how it is).

    Thanked by 1Ympker
  • YmpkerYmpker Member
    edited May 18

    @bikegremlin said:

    @Ympker said:
    While I hosted my web design clients on a reseller account before, a couple of years ago, I decided to stop offer hosting (not maintenance) alongside my services. There were numerous reasons for this. One of the reasons was that I didn't want to be tech support, the other was that I didn't want to be liable for their service to be up and running and for backups to be taken. This was and is mainly the case because I am still studying at university and this is a side business where sleep is something that I still value a lot and I've been getting more of that when I wasn't self-hosting my clients. So far, I had my clients sign up on IONOS whose WordPress Hosting has been solid so far and they have the option for agencies to have their own account and "request" access to their clients' control panel which is great for me. That way the liability for hosting and backups lies with IONOS, however, I can still easily request access to the CP in case it's needed (mostly I only need the WordPress Admin Dashboard, though). I do offer additional services such as plugin/theme maintenance, additional backup setup (e.g. to the client's cloud storage via Updraft etc) or anything WP related on top.

    In my experience, every hosting provider has its own problems and peculiarities. That's why I prefer using providers I'm familiar with.

    WordPress itself has enough problems. I prefer to have the other problem cause be me, not to bash my head about whether it's something on the provider's end as well.

    Likewise, depending on clients' tech. proficiency, it can be simpler to take care of hosting.

    Reseller hosting lets you communicate with the provider more directly, and gives you more freedom to fix what you can on your own on any created sub-accounts.

    It's also worth noting that WordPress needs maintenance. It's not a set-and-forget thing. It makes a lot of sense to offer website maintenance service - that's good for the client, and for the developer as it provides a steady income stream. If you're offering that, it helps a lot to know that hosting isn't causing any problems.

    Maintenance also helps the developer keep a relationship with the client, and improves the developer's reputation. Without any maintenance, WordPress is likely to have problems, and then it gets to "who built (you) this crappy website?"

    Now, without any maintenance arrangement, you can protect yourself with some contract, removing any responsibility after a website is done, and also clearly explain to the client that the website will have problems without maintenance. In spite of that, when the site crashes, the client will likely not be happy and when asked who built it, they'll probably say your name (as noted in the previous paragraph).

    People aren't always reasonable.

    In the long run, if you charge $0, you might get away with poor quality service/website performance.
    If you charge even only $1, you had better make that site work like a charm, or don't accept the work in the first place. One angry client is louder than a thousand happy ones.

    Edit:
    The same thing as for maintenance goes for backups (and, with many non-tech savvy clients, for passwords as well - yes, I know, it's not fortunate, but that's how it is).

    Definitely agree with most things you are saying. I also offer Maintenance (plugin updates/small fixes etc) along with the WordPress websites I sell. Just outsourcing the Hosting to IONOS which has been solid so far. I am still very fond of reseller plans, but at this point in time currently don't offer any hosting myself. I still use reseller hosting for my own sites/projects, though. As you said, it can be very convenient ;)

    Of course, you could waive responsibility for hosting in contracts some way, but I just sleep better knowing the hosting is taken care of. As for WP sites crashing, that's what maintenance is for. Additionally, host takes daily backups and Updraft Plus is also setup to do extra backups. Sometimes additional backup measures are taken if requested/required by client.

    Thanks for always commenting on and enriching our WP discussions :P

    Thanked by 1bikegremlin
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