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How Web Hosting for Agencies Can Help You Grow Your Business

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Updated on:
February 18, 2024
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If you’re a freelancer or agency specializing in web development, you should consider adding web hosting to your repertoire of services. It’s a lucrative industry that experiences more than 25% year-over-year growth, and you can tap into that growth as an added income.

But hold on, you say, isn’t web hosting a dedicated service for which you need a specialized infrastructure?

In theory, yes. However, you can find many web hosting platforms that offer partner plans with other agencies and “loan” their hosting services to you.

Here’s how it works.

What Is Web Hosting for Agencies?

In traditional web hosting, the hosting service provides you with access to their servers to keep the website running. You pay the hosting service a subscription fee, and they keep your website online. They also provide periodic technical maintenance to ensure it doesn’t have any severe issues that prevent visitors from accessing web pages.

This same concept can be applied to agencies in what is essentially managed web hosting. The web host provider partners with an agency, giving it the ability to create websites hosted by the provider’s servers. Then, the agency can transfer the fully functioning website to the client as a turnkey solution.

This allows you to expand your portfolio and alleviate yet another concern of your clients.

Benefits of Web Hosting for Agencies

Let’s look at some of the benefits that this brings to both you as the agency and your clients.

1. Centralization

Most website hosting platforms that offer an agency solution allow the agency full control of the websites they create, at least before the final result is transferred to the client. Even then, some platforms allow you to access the website for any maintenance or changes remotely.

This centralizes your work portfolio on a single system, giving you a better overview of your current projects and allowing you to import tasks to your project management software. It also makes it easier to train employees and clients on using the hosting software.

Managing multiple websites through a singular platform becomes much easier since you’ll have access to the website provider’s resources, such as customizable control panels. You can provide granular access to key website resources to your team members and ensure that your best talent is available to critical clients anytime.

2. Better Long-Term Business Relationship

Web development is a costly and long-term endeavor. However, once you have built a website for the client and handed over the access keys, they can choose another developer to perform maintenance or later upgrades.

Of course, you’ll still be in the running since you know the website you developed. But what happens if you also provide the hosting service along the way?

If the client subscribes to your hosting services and web development, you have an ironclad relationship, ensuring your services will be needed as soon as something goes wrong.

Additionally, having a background in web hosting gives you a technical edge over the client. If they were to pick a hosting service themselves, you’d have to work with third-party solutions and build a website for a platform you have less experience in. Then, if something goes wrong, they’d have to contact both their hosting provider and you for technical support, creating an ambiguous chain of command and responsibility.

This allows you to keep the entire process from choosing the hosting provider to delivering the final result in-house. You also get better long-term support from your hosting partner to ensure the websites are running flawlessly. If a website goes down, the provider’s support team will be on the case to rectify the issue. You can handle any necessary changes to ensure a seamless customer experience.

By having the hosting option available, you let your clients know you mean business, making your offer much more attractive compared to other agencies.

Finally, the ability to host your clients’ websites creates a long-term income stream from every client you onboard. Unlike traditional web development or marketing, per project or hour required payment to finish the task, web hosting is a permanent requirement to keep the website online.

If your offer is lucrative (and it will be), then your clients are more likely to pay you more for the convenience of full service. This passive income allows you to plan your income and expenses better, which can be a significant challenge for new businesses.

3. Money Savings

There are two avenues for making the most out of partnering with a web host provider:

  • Better plan offers
  • Discounts and free websites

Regardless of which hosting provider you pick (more on that later), the plans usually get much more cost-effective the more technically demanding they are. A single client might not need 100s of gigabytes of data storage and stellar bandwidth, and they are unlikely to want to pay for it.

However, if you’re managing multiple websites, you will need that storage. In addition, your clients will be able to use the advanced features included in your plan that would’ve otherwise cost them more if they purchased them separately.

By comparison, free or shared web hosting services usually offer limited bandwidth options, less overall support, and don’t provide nearly as many additional benefits. While this might be a working solution at the start, the plans quickly ramp up in cost as soon as the client’s website starts gaining traction. If that happens, they’d more likely need to spend much more on an independent hosting option than through you.

Additionally, if you’re purchasing a higher plan through your hosting provider, they might provide a freebie for your own business website. That way, you can save a bit of money by centralizing both your and your clients’ websites with a single provider. It also gives clients more assurance that the hosting provider is an excellent choice for them since they have first-hand experience to rely on.

4. White-Label Hosting

When using independent managed hosting, the hosting provider puts their default templates and plugins to ensure it can adequately provide support if something goes wrong. However, they will look largely the same as templates that any other website that uses the same managed host.

With website hosting for agencies, the provider can turn off the customizations and allow your agency to build websites using your unique branding strategy and look.

Additionally, white labeling removes the provider’s name from your offer. While their services still remain in the background and the support team is available for your convenience, your clients will only see you as their hosting provider. It puts you squarely as an industry expert in full-service web design or marketing agency, creating more visibility for your brand.

Best of all, you don’t have to purchase any server equipment or data center infrastructure to make this happen. The hosting provider has all that covered and allows you to simply put your name behind the services to give both parties the best deal. They get a more reliable, higher-paying customer (you), and you get to make a more compelling offer to the client.

5. Scalability

If you’re a new agency looking to make its mark in the web development and marketing world, you’re up against harsh competition. IBISWorld estimates there were around 190,000 web design service businesses at the end of 2023 in the U.S. alone, with the number likely to rise in the coming years.

When starting out, you’ll likely need a reliable hosting provider to ensure your turnkey solutions give the most bang for your clients’ buck. You can use a mid-tier plan and charge your clients accordingly to give them access to solid performance for the price.

Then, when your agency grows, and you need to manage multiple larger projects, you can easily scale up and upgrade your hosting partnership to include better specs. The same goes if a client’s website starts getting more traffic. You can more readily advise them on an alternative plan with the same provider you’re using. You’re also likely to get a commission out of it if you’re not able to upgrade your plan at the time.

6. Access to More Talent and Support

Finding the right people for the job is hard enough when you’re hiring only web designers and marketers. Add web hosting in the mix, and you also need dedicated engineers to handle both your website and your clients’ needs.

By partnering with a provider specializing in hosting for agencies, you don’t need to know the exact ins and outs of the data management system. Nor do you need to understand how the host allocates resources. You get to use the provider’s expertise and support staff as if they were yours. Meanwhile, you can focus on doing the job you know best and won’t have to diversify your staff to grow.

Hosting providers also typically offer 24/7 support for their premium clients, which you will likely be. You can use that as a bonus selling point to your client. If they experience an issue in the middle of the night and contact you, you can forward it to the provider and get it sorted much quicker.

7. Ensured Uptime

Achieving over 99.9% website uptime is no easy feat. You need to prepare for various contingencies, from internet issues to power outages and natural disasters. You must also distribute your servers in multiple locations or use CDN (Content Delivery Network) to spread the load across multiple servers.

Dedicated website hosting providers have seen all the challenges the industry has to offer and have built solutions that can match each client’s needs while ensuring peak availability. By partnering with a provider, you can use their assurance and infrastructure to offer the best service.

Otherwise, you risk costing your client’s money and reputation. According to Pingdom, even a small business can lose between $137 and $427 per minute of website outage, and those numbers quickly rise to thousands of dollars for larger websites.

How to Choose a Hosting Provider for Agencies

You know how much you can gain from partnering or reselling hosting provider services. So, now it’s time to see if there’s a way to narrow down the provider options from the hundreds on the market.

1. Determine Your Business Goals and Needs

As with all things business, you need to figure out your business goals. Obviously, you want to maximize the ability to help your clients reach their goals by providing a full-service experience. However, you will need to gain a better understanding of your clients and see how a hosting service can help that.

Answer these questions:

  • How much traffic are you expecting from your clients’ websites?
  • What is the long-term goal of a hosting partnership?
  • Are there any core features that you want to provide to the client?
  • What other services do you currently lack that the provider can help you with?
  • What technical support does your potential partner offer?
  • Does the provider assist with website building?

You can get a lot of information by performing an internal audit through your customer relationship management software. It will allow you a clearer overview of your clients and their similarities, enabling you to extrapolate what their hosting needs might be. Additionally, you can engage your potential leads to check how offering hosting as a part of your services would impact your earnings.

2. Be Moderate With Your Budget

It can be tempting to find the cheapest hosting option to start with and test the waters with a few clients. However, this is more likely to backfire and lose trust in your ability to deliver excellent service. This is due to low-cost plans typically offering meager bandwidth and limited support options. Even having performance issues can make it seem like you haven’t built the website well.

On the flip side, don’t go overboard with the most advanced, costliest plan. It may take a while for you to see an adequate return on investment since you’ll likely need to get a lot of clients. Use your bookkeeping software to determine your current income from clients and how much they’d be willing to spend on added hosting. Then, try to calculate how much you can invest without breaking the bank.

3. Compare the Critical Features and the Frills

Now that you know your budget and what your business needs, it’s time to check the most popular provider options and compare them.

Start with the basics:

  • Bandwidth
  • Storage
  • Number of websites available
  • Uptime rate (how much it’s over 99.9%)
  • Customer support availability

Run these numbers and check which provider offers the best balance between the numbers for the price. Then, you can check for any additional services, such as white-labeling, plugin integration, regular automatic backups, and security options.

Use industry leader blogs and customer reviews to see which provider fares best in these categories. If some of your clients already have web hosting, ask them for their experience. You can use the same provider as them, migrate to an upgraded plan, and essentially give them a discount. It’s a win-win for all parties involved.

4. Don’t Forget the Content Management System

There are a few major content management systems (CMS) responsible for most of the websites currently available. The top dog is WordPress, with over 60% of websites that have a CMS using it. Other notable mentions are Wix, Magento, GoDaddy, WooCommerce, and Shopify.

Suppose the majority of your clients are using WordPress (or not using a system at all, which accounts for roughly 30% of all websites). In this case, partnering with a hosting provider that specializes in WordPress hosting can be great. Even if the provider is highly specialized, their general offer should be more than enough for your other clients. However, if your clients are more e-commerce focused, you might need to get a provider that has a more generalist approach or works with WooCommerce and Magento.

5. Check How Easily You Can Migrate

Once you start offering hosting services to your clients, you have to go through migrating their existing websites to the new hosting provider. That’s why you should thoroughly research the migration process with your provider partner.

How much will it cost? Do you need to make additional modifications to the website? Consult the provider’s support team to ensure you’re not putting yourself up for additional work for which you can’t bill the client.

6. Determine Which Program Works Best for You

There are a few different ways you can partner with a provider to get hosting for agencies. The most straightforward way—a direct partnership—can be lucrative for larger agencies but requires more commitment and a larger budget. On the other hand, you can look into referral or affiliate programs that won’t strain your budget as much but will give you less control over the hosting process.

A reselling contract (where you just enter a white-label agreement, and the provider does the rest) can also be a lucrative option due to its low overhead cost. But, it usually doesn’t function well if you want to keep managing the websites after you create them.

The Best Provider for Hosting for Agencies

If you want to narrow your options to the best of the best, there are a few extremely viable options.

Hostinger

Hostinger is one of the premier hosting providers that cater to agencies. It has diverse partnership and reselling programs that allow you to earn commissions for every client that agrees to migrate to its platform. Whether you decide to be a partner developer or a reseller, you get a centralized platform to monitor your clients’ websites.

Hostinger is relatively CMS-agnostic, making it a solid choice regardless of which platforms you’re using for web design. Its Pro agency plan allows you to create up to 300 websites through cloud hosting. This is an excellent option if you have a lot of smaller clients who don’t require a lot of bandwidth.

Nexcess

Nexcess is a WordPress and WooCommerce provider specializing in managed hosting and ease of use. It provides customized plugins and monitoring tools to ensure that the websites you build function flawlessly. It also has generous storage options and highly customizable plans that allow you to plan your budget as you grow.

The more budget-friendly plans have stricter limits on how many clients you can host. However, the dedicated hosting ensures you can work with a few large clients without them eating away at each other’s bandwidth.

Nexcess also has multiple partner plans, making it highly versatile in what it can offer to a growing agency.

Kinsta

Kinsta uses containers to run multiple websites inside a single server while separating their resources. This means that each website has excellent performance, yet they don’t need to take up an entire server, saving costs.

Kinsta almost exclusively focuses on WordPress websites, and its offer is more tailored to mid-sized websites and budget-minded agencies.

Combine All-in-One Project Management With Hosting for Agencies

If you want to minimize how many platforms you use to run your business, a centralized platform that provides hosting for agencies is an excellent choice. But there’s another way to streamline your agency.

Enter Bonsai. With this all-in-one project management, CRM, and bookkeeping software, you can quickly overview your current leads and which ones would be suitable for your new hosting offer. Then, you can create curated invoices directly in Bonsai to send to your client to ensure you properly bill them for every service.

Best of all, you can set up Bonsai with a 7-day free trial to try it out and see how it can benefit your agency. With hosting providing you with a steady source of income and a holistic management tool, your small agency will become a giant in no time.

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