As online business becomes more and more competitive, many customers expect to squeeze the best from their web hosting provider. From wanting Unlimited Disk Space to Unlimited Bandwidth, to free website setup and maintenance of the account, the story doesn't end there. Web Hosting companies have also unleashed their resellers to penetrate the markets and sell web hosting to the smallest of clients. Some web hosting companies offer "white label" hosting so that their resellers can rebrand the services under their own name. The end-customer sees only the reseller's branding and name. Who is really behind the management of the server is hidden from the end-user and known only to the reseller.
Buying web hosting from a reseller can have many advantages but could land you in a terrible mess as well. Resellers are often located locally and run some similar or parallel business along with reselling web hosting. Many web designers take up reseller accounts so that they can bundle the web hosting and domain name along with their design services. This helps them get recurring business from the client and establishes a long term relationship. Many hardware vendors and IT Hardware servicing outlets also take up reselling web hosting to their existing client base, thereby making a quick extra buck.
Resellers do not own the server or have a say in the management of the service which they are reselling. They usually just buy a large hosting package and break it up into smaller packages, which they resell to their clients. Eg: Resellers may buy a 10 GB package and sell multiple accounts of 50 MB to their customers. Some resellers don't provide a control panel to their clients and only allow them a separate FTP login to upload and download website files.
Resellers are often allowed to oversell the resources allocated in their package. i.e. If the reseller has a 10 GB hosting account, he is allowed to allocate any amount of space to his clients, even greater than 10 GB as long as the sum total of the actual usage of all his client's accounts does not exceed the 10 GB limit he was allocated. The problem may arise, when one or more of the reseller's clients uses up a lot of space, preventing the other clients of the reseller from uploading any more files or receiving more emails.
However, the support and personal attention a reseller can provide, maybe difficult or impossible for a large web hosting company to match. Due to physical proximity and geographic location, the reseller can offer better technical support for minor issues and solve trivial problems promptly. As mentioned earlier, resellers may already have trained staff for their other businesses whom they can train for the web hosting side of their business too. Even payment collection and personal credit may be offered to clients as part of a resellers Public Relations strategy. Resellers can micro-manage a large number of aspects and may also offer customized hosting plans based on your need.
Like all other businesses, buying from an unscrupulous web hosting reseller may also cause a headache. Especially when a fly-by-night reseller shuts down his business overnight, the client can only hope that his data is returned to him safely. Similarly, when a reseller cuts costs to make ends meet, the client may suffer alot in terms of promptness of service and technical assistance. A trustworthy web hosting reseller who has a well established setup is a pleasure to work with and can often become a valuable partner to serve the needs of your business. However, the buyer must beware and do the necessary checks before giving their business to a reseller. Checking online reviews of the reseller in question may be a good idea, but online reviews can also be rigged. It maybe a better idea to ask the reseller for some references of his existing clients.
The reseller's relationship with the main web hosting company is also essential in establishing how reliable and trustworthy he is. A reseller who doesnt pay the main web hosting company in time and often gets his account suspended, should be avoided. A reseller who has a good rapport with the web host who owns the server or manages the server, can get your work done and solve your problems quickly. You never know when you will need advanced assistance in solving issue related to your website.
In conclusion it maybe said that buying web hosting from reseller's may work out to be cheaper but the trustworthiness and reliability of the reseller is the key. Buying a hosting package directly from a web hosting company will assure you reliability and stability , but personalized support and caring for your specific needs may not be possible.