You start with one web site, running in a shared hosting account. Then you add another web site, in another shared hosting account. Soon you add another site, perhaps for a friend or a club you help run. At some point you wonder if there’s a simpler way to handle several sites than all those shared hosting account accounts. Well, there is: reseller hosting.
A reseller hosting account is rather like a large, master hosting account. It has all the features of shared hosting, plus a whole lot of additional features. It also allows you to create multiple shared hosting accounts, under the control of the master or reseller account.
Originally, reseller hosting was created as a way to enable small-scale web hosting businesses. Even a one-person business can, with reseller hosting, create and sell shared hosting. However, I believe that the real value of reseller hosting has nothing to do with reselling.
A reseller hosting account typically provides you with a control panel at a higher level than shared hosting, allowing you to control all the shared accounts below you. I find this enormously convenient for managing my multiple domains and web sites. Think of them not as plans for people reselling web hosting, but as plans for anyone who wants an easier and more powerful way to manage multiple domains, web sites and hosting accounts.
At Webhostingworld, shared hosting accounts use cPanel control panel. Reseller accounts also get WebHost Manager (WHM) to manage administer those shared accounts. The reseller account can, with a single login, make changes to all client accounts and access all the client accounts’ cPanels. This is a real time saver when managing multiple domains and sites, as I do.
Reseller hosting also simplifies the management of your hosting. Instead of managing separate bills and payments for several web hosting accounts, you pay a single monthly fee for your reseller account, no matter how many web sites you host.
Reseller accounts have a wealth of features and functions not available in shared hosting. One of the coolest features is the ability to have personal nameservers. Instead of using nameservers provided by your host, with their name in the domain name, you create nameservers tied to your reseller domain or main domain. If your main reseller domain is example.com, you may create ns1.example.com and ns2.example.com. You can configure all your client accounts to use ns1 and ns2.example.com as their nameservers.
Personal nameservers, when enabled by your web host, are a way of exercising greater control over your domain names. The nameservers, which provide lookup services to direct Internet traffic to your domains, become part of one of your domains (usually your main domain). While they aren’t different servers, as you’ll still be using the physical nameservers provided by your host, they’ll now be identified with your domain name.
More importantly, personal nameservers mean that all your many domain names, and resold client domain names, will all be tied to your main domain. That eases management tasks.
If you’ve ever had to move several domains to a new host or a new server with your existing host, you’ll know how much work it is. You must change the nameserver list for each domain individually at the domain registrar. It can be worse if you have paying hosting clients who maintain control over their own domain names. Before the move, you must inform your clients that you’re moving, asking them to change their nameservers (by editing the list at their domain registrars) by a certain date. Naturally some of them do not, so after the move you’re dealing with client complaints due to failing e-mail and site inaccessibility.
With personal nameservers, you need only register the new IP addresses for your personal nameservers, and all client domains will resolve to the new location automatically based on your nameservers. When I have moved servers all I’ve had to do is to update my nameserver IPs for my reseller domain, the main domain that “contains” the personal nameservers, at my registrar. It takes less than a minute.
Another advantage of reseller hosting is the ability to employ domain redirection on multiple domains. You may use both Park and Redirect. Multiple domains may be pointed to target web sites, according to your needs and what you want your visitors to see.
There really are too many reseller advantages to list in one article. Here are some of my favourite advantages of a reseller account over regular shared hosting:
- Manage all your domains and cPanel accounts from a single login.
- Pay one monthly (or annual) bill, instead of several.
- Greater control. You may set disk space usage and bandwidth limits for each account or for groups of accounts.
- Create your own self-signed SSL certificates.
- Create hosting accounts to resell, as each of your clients will have his/her own cPanel account and login. This can be a great option to provide hosting accounts to friends and family, even if you don’t charge for them.
- Personal nameservers.
- Skeleton directory, to automatically provide consistent setup of files in newly created accounts.
- Domain redirection.
If you currently manage a few domains, or plan to, do yourself a favour and look at a reseller account. Once you enjoy the benefits of a reseller account, you’ll never go back to regular shared hosting.