The Art of Reselling Hosting

Financial experts often recommend businesses have 13 weeks of cash flow on hand, yet 57% of agencies report having less than three months’ worth of cash for expenses, according to a Promethean Research study. This makes recurring revenue mission-critical for agencies of any size.

The good news is that adding managed WordPress hosting to your offerings is one of the easiest ways you can create that recurring revenue without a lot of extra work. In this guide, we’ll explain exactly how to do it. Let’s get started!

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Helping your clients choose where to host their sites

There are three main options when it comes to where your client hosts their website, apps, and digital experiences. They can choose to host everything themselves on internal servers, they can manage the third party relationship with a hosting company themselves, or they can decide to let your agency manage their hosting along with their sites.

Depending on the size, industry, regulatory needs, and other complicating factors, this decision may require one specific solution. If they are free to choose, the choice to let your agency manage hosting along with their sites is often the most cost and workflow effective solution. Which means you’ll be reselling hosting to them.

If your client chooses to manage the billing, maintenance, and hosting relationship themselves, they’ll need your input to choose a hosting provider that best meets their needs. In those cases, it’s important to have a list of approved providers ready—and even better if that option pays you a commission for any referrals—like the WP Engine Agency Partner Program.

Why Reselling Hosting Is Often the Best Option.

When your client buys their hosting and website maintenance from you, you’re essentially delivering web experiences as-a-service. They rely on your agency’s creativity and expertise, without having to worry about keeping the right personnel in-house or making the capital expenditures for infrastructure. When you resell web hosting, you could absorb those concerns yourself, but, ideally, you’re leaning on a provider who takes them on for you. Reselling managed WordPress hosting delivers the best possible results for your agency.

Learn more about elevating your agency as a WP Engine Reseller in this on-demand webinar

To be clear, reselling hosting is best described as buying hosting services in bulk at a discounted rate, and then reselling that WordPress hosting to your own clients at a price you determine. This allows you to bundle up your services in ways that’ll give the client everything they need, while also drastically increasing your bottom line.

HERE’S A COMMON APPROACH BY OUR AGENCY PARTNERS:

Buy a dedicated server from WP Engine, which allows up to 100 websites for $725 per month, or $7.25 per website. Offer hosting to clients at $50 per month per site, giving you a profit per month of $42.75 per site. When combined with a care or maintenance package (which is also easier with WP Engine), profits per site can be several hundred dollars.

Why You Should Be a Reseller

Reselling hosting has the obvious perk of adding significant monthly recurring revenue (MRR) to your bottom line. Especially once you start to resell hosting to a multitude of clients, you’re going to start seeing a large increase in profits. But on top of increasing your income, reselling hosting offers a bunch of added benefits for your team.

When you decide to resell web hosting, you’ll want to partner with a hosting provider that you trust. And partnering with a great managed WordPress host allows your agency to easily know the state of each of your clients’ sites. Then, when one of those clients calls on you to update a page, you’ll be well-versed in the standard setup instead of fumbling through a different and unfamiliar hosting panel each time.

People working at different computer screens in an office

By using the same host for all of your client sites, your team won’t have to waste time re-acquainting themselves with different platforms each time they bring on a new customer.

The best part of becoming a web hosting reseller, of course, is that it offers you a straightforward way to earn residual income. Most of your clients, after the initial setup, will need very little work to maintain their account; but that same check keeps coming in, month after month. These add up quickly and can turn into a neat and tidy profit with a short onboarding experience.

A reseller hosting business is incredibly compatible with a bunch of the other services you already offer, such as web design, web development, domain name registration, SEO optimization, or blogging. On top of that, many designers and developers find that becoming a reseller allows them to maintain full control of a client’s web presence and management. We’ve found that a huge variety of people (including database programmers, copywriters, graphic designers, digital marketing consultants, and web designers) find offering web hosting to their clients to be a super-profitable enterprise.

If you’re ready to grow your design/development business, reselling hosting is a natural next step. Now let’s talk about a few tips to make sure you start selling these services without a hitch!

Calculating Your Potential Profit Scenario

How much does it cost to resell web hosting? Picking a plan with multiple sites can sound a little expensive and scary. It might seem more appealing to just buy a new single-site plan every time you add a new client to avoid the upfront costs completely. In most cases, however, it’s way more cost-effective to go for a plan with multiple sites, because of the built-in discounts, and to use a multiplier that will be profitable at scale. Here’s a simple way to calculate the potential profit per plan client and/or plan type.

SELF SERVE CLIENT PROFIT CALCULATOR:

(Number of Clients X ((% multiplier ) X (plan price + price of add-ons)) – (Number of Clients X (plan price + price of add-ons) = Profit

Think of percentage multiplier as how you price your time—don’t undersell yourself! For example, clients with dedicated servers or eComm plans require particularly resource-intensive plans, so charging premium prices will not be deemed out of the ordinary.

Let’s look at a couple of scenarios to better understand your options around buying in bulk vs. buying hosting via individual hosting accounts. Whatever option you choose, marking up our plans puts a healthy profit in your pocket while being part of a larger offering to your clients.

How to Resell WordPress Hosting

Now that you’re primed with all of the money-earning potential, let’s bring you back into the actual implementation! While reselling WordPress hosting is an easy addition to your agency’s existing packaging, there are just a few things you’ll need to do. The first, obviously, is to partner with a WordPress host that you trust.

1. PARTNER WITH THE BEST WORDPRESS HOST FOR YOUR BUSINESS

When you’re reselling hosting, you need to work with a host that you trust. One that understands both the reseller and agency model, and will help you achieve your revenue goals. If you’re offering SEO services, speed becomes crucial. If you’re offering turnkey solutions, better workflows become super important. Or, perhaps you’re hosting high-traffic websites and you’re looking for a host that you can consult with on how to effectively scale your client sites.

Whatever the case is, choosing the right host to partner with will help you optimize your work and provide superior services for your clients.

Choosing the right host to partner with will help you optimize your work and provide superior services for your clients.

Take WP Engine, for example. We were built from the ground up to be the best hosting solution for agencies, designers, and developers. Our easy-to-use dashboard allows agencies to access all of their clients from one location. Our platform comes equipped with blazing-fast performance, top-notch security, and nightly backups for every single site. And if anything ever goes awry, our world-class WordPress support team provides help for both you and your clients.

2. SET GOOD MARGINS

The next step in successfully reselling web hosting is to set good margins for what you’re selling. If you’re going to do it, make it worth your while. If you’re paying $6 per site to your host, don’t just charge your clients a measly $10. Healthy margins will help make reselling a main drive of recurring revenue.

All in all, it’s best if you find a way to walk that fine line, setting the perfect price that’s profitable to you as well as attractive to your clients. Setting a price too high may force your customers to turn to your competition. Make sure you set a stable, clear price without hidden charges, and explain all the benefits your client will receive by hosting their site with you! Revisit the cost section above for a little reminder, or see the next step for an excellent suggestion on packages and pricing!

Woman speaking on the phone with a client.

3. PACKAGE & SCALE YOUR SERVICES

Some clever clients may see that you’re charging $50/month for hosting and seek out a cheaper price on the web. If you’re offering maintenance plans, one option is to just include the hosting services for “free.” This avoids the cost of hosting becoming a discussion point and will discourage your clients from looking elsewhere since the price is attached to multiple services that you’re providing.

Additionally, you could offer a suite of products underneath a plan and package it at a premium price.

Depending on your hosting partner, you may be able to take credit for a lot of the features your host offers. For example, because WP Engine is a managed WordPress host, we provide you with a ton of features that you can advertise on your client packages as a way to showcase the value they’re getting for their money.

For example, you can tell your clients that “you” will:

  • Keep WordPress, PHP, and plugins up to date and patched
  • Migrate their site for free
  • Provide top-notch WordPress security and malware protection (with free malware cleanup off the bat!)
  • Add an SSL certificate to their site
  • Provide them with blazing fast load times
  • Back up their site every night

Of course, in this case, we would be handling all of this in the background for you!

4. HAVE A SUPPORT PLAN

Remember that your client considers you the host of their site, not the actual hosting provider. If their site is down or they’re seeing a “white screen of death,” they’ll be calling you; at which point the quality of support you receive from your host may mean the difference between reselling hosting earning you money, or costing you money.

As a reseller, your main responsibilities are to offer front-of-the-line support for your clients. This means you may need to resolve any day-to-day issues as they come up, or potentially answer any how-to questions. Your clients deal with you directly, adding value to your relationship and allowing you to charge them for hosting and management without seeing that they’re actually on WP Engine or the host of your choice.

So, back to our first point: be sure to find a great partner who understands the agency model and will help you provide stellar support to your clients. While your clients may call you for help, it’s such a relief to know the WP Engine Support Team (staffed with in-house WordPress experts!) is here 24/7/365 to respond to any questions you may have. We supply you with all the resources you need, and we’re here to handle any server-related issues that may arise, whether it’s cleaning up malware (for free!) or pointing DNS.

If you get stuck, just start a support chat on our site, and we’ll respond in minutes!

Woman working at laptop in an office.

Other Value-Added Services You Can Bundle With Reselling

WordPress hosting is a super profitable way to add a recurring revenue stream to your business, but why stop there, right!? There are plenty of other complimentary services you can upsell to your clients, and they pair really well with hosting. Here are two of our favorites:

DOMAIN NAMES

While domains aren’t super expensive, they do have to be renewed every year, and they can also be purchased for multiple years at a time. Because domains are relatively inexpensive, you can also get creative with the way you market your hosting/maintenance plans; for example, you could offer them the first year of the domain for free, or at some kind of “introductory price.” On top of that, many of your larger clients will want to buy up multiple domain names and domain extensions to prevent confusion and protect their brands, so you can give ‘em a nice, packaged deal!

SSL CERTIFICATES

SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a protocol used for secure and encrypted communication between computers. This is especially useful if your client needs to accept sensitive data. Recently, however, Google announced that it would include SSL as a ranking factor in its search algorithm, so it’s also become a best practice for every site to have an SSL certificate. Therefore, upselling SSL to your clients is an easy add, and installing one is pretty straightforward once you’re used to it.

WP Engine makes it easy to install an SSL certificate powered by Let’s Encrypt for free, so anything you charge your clients for is pure profit!

WE SUPPORT YOU ON WEBSITE MAINTENANCE TASKS

  • Daily Backups: To give customers further peace of mind, every plan includes automatic daily backups.
  • Plugin, Theme, Core Updates: On top of automated WordPress theme updates and core patching, our Smart Plugin Manager technology automatically checks your plugins and themes for updates nightly and ensures that when updates happen, your site doesn’t break
  • Proactive Monitoring: We partner with New Relic, leaders in Digital Intelligence, to provide application monitoring. Application Performance provides code-level visibility to help teams troubleshoot faster, optimize their WordPress experiences, and increase development agility.
  • Global Edge Security: Global Edge Security is WP Engine’s enterprise-grade performance and security add-on for every type of plan. With Global Edge Security, you receive several features powered by Cloudflare including managed Web Application Firewall (WAF), advanced DDOS mitigation, Cloudflare CDN, and automatic SSL installation.
  • eCommerce Platform: Our WooCommerce hosting platform is optimized to increase site speed and drive conversions. WP Engine’s hosting platform increases site speeds by up to 40% and sales by up to 18%.
Woman working at computer in office setting, man working at computer in background

Resell WordPress Hosting With WP Engine

WP Engine powers the freedom to create breakthrough digital experiences for businesses of every size, at every stage. We make it a breeze to create, develop, and host WordPress sites while keeping them safe, performant, and poised for growth.

Our Agency Partner Program was designed to help your agency business grow through increased clients, revenue, and margins while enjoying priority, 24/7 expert support, free hosting, and more.

Ready To Get Started?

At the end of the day, if you’re ready to get a steadier paycheck and provide your clients with longer-term solutions, reselling hosting is the perfect solution.

Becoming a WP Engine reseller allows you to package and sell our services under your own brand, at your own price, without bearing any of the infrastructure costs. All that’s left to do is get started!

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR RESELLING OFFERING HERE

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