A recent client of mine sent me a link to this article.
Best Blog Hosting Solutions from ProBlogger
While I believe many of the poins made by Darren were really excellent, I think he left out a hosting option, which, from my viewpoint, is unfortunate, & that is to obtain hosting from a reseller.
So, in this article, I’ll discuss who might most benefit by purchasing hosting from a reseller, the advantages & disadvantages of doing so, as well as some things to look for when choosing a reseller of web hosting services. Please note that Bright Stars Web is in fact a hosting reseller. I’ll do my utmost to eliminate bias, but be aware it likely still exists.
Advantages of Purchasing Hosting from a Reseller
The first, & likely foremost advantage of buying hosting from a reseller is the very personalized service. Indeed, many of our clients are refugees from the major hosting companies.
Perhaps a few examples illustrate why.
In this first example, a student who took my WordPress class wrote that he was having problems w/getting his permalink settings to save. I responded by asking him for his .htaccess file–& was shocked to see what was from all appearances a backdoor into the site. I informed him immediately about what I saw & suggested he contact his hosting company. The good news was that he received an immediate reply. The bad news was that it was automated & contained no reference to the code in the .htaccess file, or how to fix it. He now happily hosts w/us & has for quite a few years.
A second example is of a client who used a large hosting provider’s virtual private server (VPS) option as she was routinely surpassing resource limits on her shared hosting plan. The problem was that the hosting provider didn’t inform her of how much technical knowledge was actually required to use a VPS. Predictably, the site broke, & she was left on her own to fix it. While I understand that her previous hosting provider’s solution was indeed necessary, the client should’ve been informed regarding precisely how much technical expertise was needed to adequately administer a VPS. We put her on a managed VPS plan until she foun someone to help her administer the server properly. The moral of the story here is that resellers are often better able to help clients come up w/a hosting solution that would best meet their needs, as opposed to merely suggesting something they offer without regard to the client’s requirements & abilities.
A last example is of a recent client who suddenly began experiencing difficulties editing posts on her website. Disabling plugins & activating a default theme did not solve the problem. The hosting provider’s response basically boiled down to the fact that no one else was experiencing difficulties, so hers must be a result of misconfiguration or ineptitude. The very same site now works fine on Bright Stars Web’s server. Truthfully, I see a lot of this sort of difficulty on the
WordPress Support Forum
where I sometimes volunteer my time.
Another advantage of using reseller services is closely akin to the first, but nonetheless differs slightly. In most cases where a website breaks, a larger hosting provider will state it’s the site owner’s responsibility to get it repaired. Reputable resellers, however, will often help their clients, with or without a fee, even if the reseller isn’t in any way responsible.
A last advantage is that the reseller can often educate site owners regarding security aspects of having a site on the worldwide web (I call it the worldlwide war zone, & w/good reason). W/the advent of content management systems (CMS’s) like WordPress, Drupal, & Joomla! the web has been democratized considerably. No longer does one need to know HTML, CSS, PHP, & other alphabet soup in order to have a website. W/the lowering of these barriers, however, often comes a lack of understanding of the dangers surrounding the worldwide web. Most folks who have a website believe, for example, that hackers are only after big sites & have no interest in smaller ones. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A reseller committed to client service can teach their clients about the importance of strong passwords, updating their sites, using well-maintained 3rd-party software, etc, & therefore can make a real diference when it comes to keping a site secure.
Disadvantages of Using a Reseller
Interestingly enough, the sheer number of disadvantages may at first glance appear to outweigh the disadvantages. They are, in no particular order:
- Price. Hosting resellers tend to charge more for their services than traditional hosting providers. We attempt to more than make up for it by the personalized service we provide.
- Support isn’t usually 24×7.
- Difficulty in determining a seller’s reputability. It’s always a good idea to find out from a reseller who hosts their data center & where the data center(s) is/are. Clearly, if the reseller is hosting your website on a basement computer, that’s a really bad idea.
Questions you may wish to ask a reseller are:
- From whom do you rent services? In the case of Bright Stars Web, we currently use Greengeeks. They have data centers in several locations throughout the United States, & they also operate 300% green, ie, by using renewable energy, they replace 3 times more energy than they take from the grid. Please read
Going Green with Greengeeks
What are your policies regarding site backups?
- What are your policies regarding website repair if required?
- Do you provide references?
So Who Might Benefit from a Reseller’s Services?
The client most likely to benefit from the services of a reseller is one who either does not have, or wish to obtain, the technical proficiency to put together the well-oiled machine that constitutes a website. The advent of CMS’s has, as mentioned earlier, made the entry point to website ownership quite low, &, in my opinion, that’s a good thing, as mom-&-pop business owners don’t have to pay thousands to a web designer/developer to put their business website online. Unfortunately, though, if the site breaks for any of a number of reasons, their site is taken offline, & they have to scramble to find someone–& hopefully a trustworthy someone–who can repair the site & get it online again. The net abounds w/horror stories. If services are secured from a reseller committed to their clients, however, those clients know beyond the shadow of a doubt that their reseller is their go-to person for anything pertaining to their site. It’s very much like having a family doctor, dentist, or lawyer.
As with choosing any professional, du diligence is your friend. If you choose a reseller, interview them. Find out precisely which services they provide with your hosting fee & which are extra. Ask your friends if they’ve ever had a website crash or compromise, &, if so, how did they handle that? If you’re thinking about a reseller, what are his/her qualifications? Since website professionals don’t necessarily have to go through licensure qualifications like medical & legal professionals, what makes them qualified to be doing this? What guarantees do they offer? At Bright Stars Web, we offer a 60-day money-back guarantee. You aren’t happy? Fine. We’ll give you your money back–no questions asked, though we would appreciate it if you’d tell us why you’re dissatisfied so we can do better in the future.
We hope you’ll take the time to leave any questions or comments you may have regarding this article. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you think we can serve you.