How to Choose Web Hosting to Fit Your Clients’ Needs
Whether you’re an independent web professional, a digital agency, or even an IT service provider, choosing the right type of website hosting on behalf of your clients is the first step towards building a fruitful relationship.
First and foremost, start by listening to your clients’ needs for their website. The type of web hosting they need often depends on their type of business and their goals.
For example, does your client want to:
- Show off their photography portfolio and make their photos downloadable?
- Promote their blog via marketing campaigns that attract huge amounts of traffic?
- Sell their goods via a powerful e-commerce platform?
- Stream or distribute online games?
Whatever their wish, make it your command. In order to take the guesswork out of the options available, let’s delve into the ones that are best suited to fit your clients’ needs.
The Pros & Cons of Shared Hosting
If your client is a small business with a website that either expects or already has low-to-medium traffic, Shared Hosting is a solid option. With Shared Hosting, you can think of it like shared accommodations. Only here you’re sharing server space with your roommates, not your living quarters.
If your client doesn’t have much money to spend, Shared Hosting is by far the most affordable way to get their website online (and fast). Many plans start at just a few dollars a month, like Namecheap’s. For additional features and perks, there’s also the possibility to scale up (for example, Namecheap’s Stellar Business and Stellar Plus).
Another major perk of Shared Hosting? It’s user-friendly. Meaning, it’s great for hosting beginners and clients who aren’t super tech-savvy. Because many Shared Hosting plans come with a hosting control panel like cPanel, this simplifies common tasks like setting up email addresses, adding users, and installing software. If your client prefers to manage their own hosting, once you’ve helped them decide, Shared Hosting works perfectly in these instances when your client agreement doesn’t include hosting support.
Although Shared Hosting is easy on your clients’ wallet, it’s not exactly equipped to handle large amounts of website traffic. The result? A super slow website that can deter your clients’ visitors from returning.
Another downside is the lack of control over the shared server itself. And if you have multiple clients who opt for Shared Hosting and ask that you manage each account for them, things can get overwhelming pretty fast, e.g. handling multiple credentials, performing updates, spending time logging in and out of accounts, etc.
The Pros & Cons of Reseller Hosting
While we’re on the topic of multiple clients, let’s discuss another type of hosting – Reseller Hosting.
Similar to Shared Hosting in that you share server space, Reseller Hosting is about “renting” this server space, only to turn it around and sell it to your clients. In other words, Reseller Hosting lets you sell hosting plans to your existing clients through a third-party hosting provider like Namecheap. This is a great way to generate an added source of income.
Affordable and relatively easy to set up, Reseller Hosting is especially suited to web designers and developers whose clients inevitably need hosting. All that’s required is to pay your respective hosting provider (i.e. Namecheap) a flat monthly fee and you’re free to charge your clients whatever you like. Keep in mind the amount you pay for Reseller Hosting often depends on the type of resources you’re renting.
And, with WHMCS billing software often included, Reseller Hosting lets you invoice your clients with ease. A white-label solution means you don’t have to reveal which hosting provider you use, just in case that’s something you’d prefer your clients not to know. Since Reseller Hosting usually comes with a hosting control panel like cPanel, there are different access levels for you and your clients. This creates a seamless user experience for both.
While there are many benefits to Reseller Hosting, you’ll need to think carefully about the level of service you’ll be providing to your clients and how much you’ll be charging them.
A good rule of thumb? Don’t offer your clients more than you can provide. Let’s say, for example, you know you won’t be handling the technical issues your clients may face with their hosting. Our advice? Tell them this. Overpromising can only backfire, leaving you with disappointed clients.
The Pros & Cons of VPS Hosting
Offering more power than traditional Reseller Hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting gives you flexibility in terms of your control panel choice, how much resources are allocated per user account, and how you customize your server environment.
Whether you prefer to operate things on your own or enlist the help of your hosting provider like Namecheap, a VPS gives you root access, the ability to install and update your own software, run batch files, make backups, and update any software as you see fit.
Although it’s a bit more expensive when compared to Shared Hosting, a VPS is significantly less expensive than a Dedicated Server (more on that in a bit). In other words, it’s a great bridge between Shared Hosting and Dedicated Server Hosting.
While VPS Hosting does give your website its own private “virtual” space, technically you’re still sharing a server, even though its overall performance is more consistent than Shared Hosting.
The Pros & Cons of Dedicated Server Hosting
Hypothetically-speaking, if your client’s website is a high-traffic one, requires certain software or is geared towards content streaming, you’re looking at offering them a Dedicated Server.
As a refresher, a Dedicated Server refers to a physical machine with all the resources (bandwidth, RAM, CPU, etc.) reserved entirely for your usage. Dedicated Servers are a particularly attractive option if you prefer to divvy up the resources available. Here you can select a server that lets you use various resources for business purposes while distributing the remaining resources to your existing (and expected) client projects. You can even distribute resources amongst multiple clients, if you so decide.
If you prefer to have all the control and all the resources as your disposal, a Dedicated Server is your best bet. Here, you call the shots when it comes to installing the type of software you want, which type of monitoring tools you want, the type of control panel you want, and how your users access the server.
While VPS Hosting and Dedicated Servers do share similar qualities in terms of root access, a Dedicated Server provides you with greater customization options, faster page-loading times, uptime, and server security.
If you decide not to purchase server management from your respective Dedicated Server Hosting provider and act instead as the server administrator, keep in mind that configuring it and optimizing it can be very labor-intensive. This might even mean that you have to hire an external developer to help manage things from a technical perspective.
And while the cost can be steep for a Dedicated Server, it’s worth it in terms of its performance. That’s why Namecheap offers Entry, Medium or Advanced category levels for Dedicated Server Hosting to match your clients’ business needs and budget.
When choosing web hosting for your client, make sure you fully understand their needs, e.g. how complex their website is, how much traffic they anticipate, the required software, and the amount of resources needed.
Remember, you’re the pro and your client has hired you to help them understand what they need in a web hosting service.
Adding web hosting to your portfolio is a beneficial move, both business-wise and financial-wise. If your clients trust you and your ability to provide them with proper hosting, they’ll undoubtedly spread the word. Soon, others will turn to you for support and guidance seeing as you’re the one-stop shop for all things online. And, if you play your cards right, this means more money in the bank as ad-hoc projects can often turn into long-term ones.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to web hosting for your clients, it’s all about creating an open dialogue with them. By asking the right questions and what they plan to do with their website(s), you can help them invest in the right offer to suit their needs, without sacrificing on performance or blowing their budget.