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Is a hosting business still viable?

Discussion in 'General Business' started by AliQureshi, May 19, 2019.

  1. #1
    I've been thinking about starting an online hosting business but I'm not sure if it's still viable. Do you guys feel it's a reasonable way to earn money today given the competition? My plan is to differentiate myself from the competition and offer incentives to sign up, but I'm wondering if that is still enough?
    SEMrush
     
    AliQureshi, May 19, 2019 IP
    SEMrush
  2. mmerlinn

    mmerlinn Notable Member

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    #2
    If you can provide something that the competition won't or can't provide at a price your customers are willing to pay, you may have a viable business. If you are trying to go head to head with your competition, you don't have a snowball's chance in hell to make it.

    In other words, if you are the ONLY frog in the frog pond, you will have plenty to eat, but if you are in a frog pond with all of the other frogs, you will be eaten.
     
    mmerlinn, May 19, 2019 IP
  3. giorgioarmani

    giorgioarmani Well-Known Member

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    #3
    Probably depends a lot on your country.

    What sort of incentives?
     
    giorgioarmani, May 19, 2019 IP
  4. NetStar

    NetStar Notable Member

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    #4
    It's too saturated... You will most likely find a dozen or so huge corporations owning the market share then hundreds of quality companies competing for the rest at prices that will never make you successful unless you're able to acquire thousands of customers. It's like deciding to open a 500 square foot odds and ends store sandwiched between Walmart and Target. Can you do it? Sure...but why???

    New companies who are successful offer something different than just general space.... For instance, Wix attempts to be the web based Frontpage of 2019. People buy a service and product that enables them to simply design a web site however it's basically web space and they are a web host... They would have never been successful if they just pitched 250MB of space...

    I think if you really want to get in to this market you need to approach it with a niche mindset. For instance, perhaps you develop a framework that allows hairdressers to start their own web site promoting their work. Then you charge them $xx/month for a business site which happens to be hosted on your servers. Or you specialize in web design for bands and you host and update their site for $xx/month.

    If this business is just you and you don't have the means to hire techy smart people then you shouldn't get in to this space at all. Imagine someone 10 times more smarter and technologically inclined coming to you for assistance because something isn't installed correctly or functioning correctly on the server. This is seriously a headache. Why do you want to do this? Even 10 years ago people were laughing at the idea of starting a web hosting company.
     
    NetStar, May 19, 2019 IP
  5. AugustGarcia

    AugustGarcia Greenhorn

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    #5
    You can relatively easily sell managed hosting (basically web development/setup) by renting out a dedicated server.
     
    AugustGarcia, May 24, 2019 IP
    AliQureshi likes this.
  6. AliQureshi

    AliQureshi Well-Known Member

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    #6
    Thanks for the replies. My differentiating plan was to provide support setting up a website and things of that nature and maybe even offer occasional website updates. I know a thing or two about hosting, but I'm not an expert either. I'm just a designer with some experience with coding, but I've been a webmaster before so I know about SEO, Wordpress, Woocommerce, etc... I don't know if that's enough, but the other plan was to target my country. Most people just go to American providers in Canada, and while we do have a reasonable amount of hosting companies I'm not sure of any notable ones in Canada. My other idea was to provide free 1-2 month hosting. My idea is really to get clients to stay, there's nothing to lose for them if it's free.

    I'm still thinking it over. I want to be able to have a sustained income and work from home. I have money to invest, I have a lot of free time, so I can easily provide support from my home office.
     
    AliQureshi, May 28, 2019 IP
  7. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #7
    That would have me running for the hills.

    I use two small hosting companies in NZ:
    1. don't offer a backend like cpanel which drives me nuts but support is awesome and they know what they're doing. The site is focussed on local traffic.
    2. I'm not so confident of their competence but they haven't let me down and I get a reseller plan for what I'd pay elsewhere for a single site. I don't resell but I love having the flexibility to throw up hobby and test sites when I choose and have it not cost a cent.
    If they can't afford to pay the monthly fee at the beginning when they're excited about a project don't expect them to pay later on when their enthusiasm has worn off.
    Buying local is a strong tactic but you have to have the money to spend backing that up. You'll need staff and advertising. You won't be able to do this as a one-man-band.
     
    sarahk, May 28, 2019 IP
  8. AliQureshi

    AliQureshi Well-Known Member

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    #8
    Thanks for the feedback, I guess It'll be something I'll have to think over. Of course, If I do go through with it I intend to learn the skills necessary before I jump into this endeavor. I'm just really confused, I've never been great at making decisions...
     
    AliQureshi, May 28, 2019 IP
  9. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #9
    • Consider working for a hosting company to get a taste of what's involved.
    • Download a template for a business plan and fill it out. If you don't understand a section then research until you do.
    • Join local business groups like BNI to learn how other business people approach their marketing tasks.
    • If you're offering a hands-on service like plumbing you don't need a unique selling proposition, you just need a good reputation. Web hosting generally doesn't require a face to face interaction. Down in NZ, I can make a local call to GoDaddy, I'm sure it's the same in Canada. You need to work out what is going to be different and home-grown is a start, but still, it isn't quite enough. You don't need to attract thousands of customers, once you have 100 then word of mouth will do it's thing. What's the special something you can offer that will make someone choose you over Wix and GoDaddy? You might be right, it might be enough that you help people get set up - writing your business plan will help you identify the right answer.
     
    sarahk, May 28, 2019 IP
  10. dvduval

    dvduval Notable Member

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    #10
    Have you thought about selling your services with a monthly subscription as part of the offering? And this way you could grow your business by growing the number of monthly subscriptions, but maybe the subscription need not be for hosting. Perhaps it could be for monthly service including updating WordPress and doing audits to make sure everything is running well. I like to tell customers that if you just leave a site sitting there and doing nothing something eventually is going to go wrong with it and it's going to slowly get worse and worse. So it's probably better if they will just pay you to put a couple of hours into the site every month automatically and they will be guaranteed that the site will slowly grow or hopefully they'll want to buy even more than the regular monthly fee.
     
    dvduval, May 29, 2019 IP
  11. dts-net

    dts-net Well-Known Member

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    #11
    If you're still seeing and hearing commercials and seeing ads on a business industry it's still a very viable business
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
    dts-net, Jun 2, 2019 IP
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  12. webbp0int

    webbp0int Peon

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    #12
    sure! In fact my friend has a reseller hosting with hosting24 I think and he is doing quite well by reselling it online for others. Now even thinking about getting his own servers but a start with reseller plan was totally worth it!
     
    webbp0int, Jun 7, 2019 IP
  13. bountysite

    bountysite Member Premium Member

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    #13
    Hosting is indeed very crowded, and quite dominated. Typically, vendors kill the prices to compete, and it mostly works, till site owners have a bad experience and realize old is gold.

    - Having a niche can help. Local business
    - Hosting with development may help.
     
    bountysite, Jun 7, 2019 IP
  14. webbp0int

    webbp0int Peon

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    #14
    lol what an ad inserted without context, I didn't post that link
     
    webbp0int, Jun 12, 2019 IP
  15. malky66

    malky66 Acclaimed Member

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    #15
    Hover over the link and see where it points, it's a Digitalpoint ad, they pick up words and phrases that are posted and automatically turn them into an ad.
     
    malky66, Jun 12, 2019 IP
  16. MechanicWeb-shoss

    MechanicWeb-shoss Active Member

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    #16
    It's all about being passionate about hosting. You even do not need any skill beyond basics like knowing to operate a cPanel account, you can learn your skill over time. There will be sleepless nights and frustrations and users who would expect the earth and the moon and others who have no idea of what they are doing. If you are not passionate and just want to run a business to make money, hosting isn't for you. In that case, stop wasting anymore time than you already have.

    However, if you find it interesting and are honest, willing to learn, it is very much viable.
     
    MechanicWeb-shoss, Jun 12, 2019 IP
  17. ResellBox.Net

    ResellBox.Net Peon

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    #17
    Since you are start up to the hosting business then reseller hosting would be the most perfect solution.As you do not have to fall into the hassle of managing the server.All the technical assistance will also be provided to your clients by the hosting service provider.
    Get your white labeled hosting today, start a risk-free hosting company at an ease.If anyone who has some designing skills can even provide hosting service to the projects .Complete management of the websites hosted with the GUI interface.
     
    ResellBox.Net, Aug 22, 2019 IP
  18. MasterA

    MasterA Active Member

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    #18
    I actually started my own Web Hosting company myself. Its a very very competition market so its a very big challenge but that is what I like about it. There are so many web hosts out there with good reputation but there is always something that can make you stand out. You need to think of something that will set you apart from the competition. Giving people incentives to sign up is a good idea but make sure that quality of the hosting is good as you will need to high quality hosting and support in order to keep them as a loyal customer.
     
    MasterA, Aug 22, 2019 IP
  19. ResellBox.Net

    ResellBox.Net Peon

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    #19
    Yes, it is a viable business were you can get started easily with a reseller program and have an independent white labelled reseller hosting.
     
    ResellBox.Net, Sep 21, 2019 IP
  20. qwikad.com

    qwikad.com Illustrious Member Affiliate Manager

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    #20
    I highly doubt it, considering hundreds of options everyone already has. Invest your time and energy into something else.
     
    qwikad.com, Sep 22, 2019 IP