“This is pain. The website is starting to slow down. Is it the server? Is the universe telling me to switch to a better server? Can my website (and my business) survive?”

A friend of mine who runs a growing website mulled over when he’d noticed that his website was acting weird. This happens to a lot of business owners with growing websites. It’s gratifying to see the business flourish online, and traffic increasing on a daily basis. But when it starts wanting more server resources to function properly, there will be panic.

In some cases, the web hosting provider will be so good that they won’t let their clients panic. They will let you know that you need to upgrade to a better plan (which they offer, of course).

Most growing businesses usually go for VPS hosting (a cheaper alternative to dedicated hosting) when they take their first step into the digital realm. Once the business starts booming or when their sites start to get a boatload of traffic, their best bet is to migrate to a better hosting plan – specifically, a dedicated hosting solution.

If, for the sake of your growing website, you are thinking about switching to a better hosting plan, you need to do it the right way. That said, here are a few things to help you migrate from VPS to a dedicated hosting package….the right way.
 

Wait….what is this ‘right way’?

 
Just go left and turn around. That is the ‘right’ way.

Alright. Sorry. Couldn’t help it.

The right way of migrating to a different hosting plan is something that pretty much makes sure that:

  • Nothing bad happens during the migration
  • Your website functions better than ever, post migration
  • Downtimes will be kept to a minimum

The ‘not right’ way can give rise to problems that only exist in a website owner’s worst hosting nightmare.

To go the right way, follow the guidelines mentioned below. Trust me. They are worth it.

1. Do not cancel your VPN plan as soon as you buy a dedicated server package

The first step to migrating to a dedicated server is to buy a dedicated server package obviously. Once that’s done, people tend to cancel their old hosting package (VPN, in this case). That’s a big No No.

Just to be on the safe side, you should wait till the migration is complete to say goodbye to your old VPN server. If you don’t, you may have to say goodbye to your website data instead.

2. Make sure the new hosting provider didn’t just troll you with a blacklisted IP

Your new hosting provider might give you a blacklisted IP with your dedicated server package. Blacklisted IPs will eventually prove to be a curse on your website affecting its operations and even the emails.

You have two options here, and getting the IP delisted from the blacklist is not one of them:

  • Check the IP address provided to you to see if it’s blacklisted
  • Don’t check the IP address. If it’s blacklisted, you and your business can go down in a blaze of glory.

3. Stop yourself from making any changes in the website during migration

Why? Because there’s no guarantee that they will be there after the migration. You might lose them. ‘Nuff said.

4. Backup the databases and every last file

This is a healthy practice website owners generally follow while running their websites. It’s equally important when you are ready to switch to a dedicated hosting solution.

Back up every last bit, pun intended, of data and store them (in more than one location, just to be safe) before migrating to the new hosting plan. The control panel of your current hosting plan should be offering a backup feature. All it takes is some time off your schedule.

5. Before uploading files to the new dedicated server, install the old apps

Do not ever forget the bond between your website and its apps. Once you are ready to transfer your files to the new server, make sure to install the apps you were using in the soon-to-be forgotten VPS server, in the new dedicated server.

Those files you are going to move to the new server will need those apps to accommodate them. This will also ensure that your website will start functioning in all its glory, like it used to in the VPS server, as soon as you are done uploading the files.

6. Feed your new email IDs to the dedicated server before switching DNS records

Every single email IDs hosted on your website address should be present in the dedicated server. And you should do this before switching DNS records.

For this, you can make use of the temporary login credentials that your new host will provide. Just login with the temporary ID and feed the email IDs to the server. There’s a chance that you could miss a few email addresses during the process. As a precaution, just create a ‘catchall’ address so you won’t lose emails that way during the migration.

7. Test the website with all your might

Once you are done transferring all the files and emails, it’s time to see if the website is alive. Test the website on the new server and see if everything’s functioning the way they are supposed to. You should also check every single image and links in the website are working properly. Not kidding.

8. Do the DNS update

Well? Are you satisfied with your website’s performance after testing it? If you are, it’s time to seal the deal. The domain registrar will have given you control by now. Domain registrars never fail. Now you should change the DNS records to the one you received in the welcome mail from your new hosting provider.

After the DNS records update, prepare to say farewell to your old VPS account. It’s time is up.
 

End-note

 
You have now successfully migrated ‘the right way’. Rejoice! And good luck to your business.

Written by: Shibu Kumar

Getting an online business off the ground takes the right mix of research, planning and execution. Of course, not every business will make it. And there is a lesson to be learned from it.

Regardless of the business you do, you need the right host for your domain.

Just like websites are important for online businesses, a good domain and a better hosting service are important for websites as well. The key to conquering the internet lies in the brand name, and maybe a few other things. But let’s talk about brand name for now.

To show the digital world that you are a leader in a particular niche, you have to dedicate a lot of time thinking about every aspect that concerns your brand. Considering the fact that you are entering a hypercompetitive business world, you have to think out of the box to stay relevant or even stand out from the rest of them. For this, even the smallest, seemingly irrelevant things can give you a positive surprise.

Let’s start with the reason how online businesses exist – the website.
 

Every Company needs a Website

 
Even if the company doesn’t directly make money from its website, it still needs a website. Reason? Web presence, of course. The website can be a key tool to market the business and expand the customer base. Most business people know about the aspect of marketing with a website. And this could be the reason why they put more focus on marketing rather than establishing the foundation for the website.
 

The foundation for the Website

 
The foundation for any website includes:

  • An apt domain name
  • A perfect host

Search engines like Google considers a myriad of factors before ranking a website. Domain is one of those factors. You need to do a bit of thinking to come up with the right domain name for your website, and more research to identify the right web hosting solution for it.

To figure out the right domain name, you need to take a few factors into account.

Focus on the following for starters.

  • How long is the domain name you have in mind?
  • Is it memorable?
  • Is it easy to spell?
  • Does it conform to what your website is about?

You do know that Google regularly updates their ranking algorithms, right? So the questions mentioned above can help you come up with the right domain name that will have a positive effect on your search engine optimization.
 

Why domain is important for businesses

 
It establishes credibility – Your own domain name adds to your professional caliber. Visitors actually check the domain name when they are visiting a website they haven’t visited before. Your domain name gives them a good impression conveying that it’s an established business.

It boosts your brand value – The name of your brand or company in your domain name increases brand awareness.

It gives you portability on the internet – With your own domain name and website, you can also port it to the web host you prefer. Sharing someone else’s domain name doesn’t give you the same advantage. You will have to create a new domain name for your website in such a scenario, and in turn lose your visitors, forcing you to work to build traffic again.

It strengthens your SEO strategy – Search engines reward unique domain names rather than subdomains. With your own website and domain name, your business will get the limelight from search engines. Though this isn’t much, it can still be an asset to your SEO efforts.
 

Domain Registration and Hosting

 
Once you have a domain, domain registration comes next. The registered domain requires something to keep it alive; the something being the right hosting solution.

The right hosting package makes sure that your online business keeps progressing without hitches.

How? Just imagine this scenario for one.

Your online business has been growing over the years, and you are happy with the success. You have a strong customer base, and new ones coming in on a daily basis. And just when you thought that you’d just become a leader in your niche, your domain expires. You, on the other hand, are on cloud nine, and completely forget to renew it. A competitor grabs your domain, and when you realize what’s happening, you try to buy it back but to no avail.

What then? You will have to settle for a new domain. Years of hard work down the drain, and you start all over again.

A right hosting solution ensures you never have to face that situation.

Hopefully, by now, you have a good idea of the potential of the right domain name and hosting service. Though it requires you to spend a lot of time thinking and researching, it’s an investment that can enhance your online market presence. If it gives your business a good head start, why not give it a go?

Written by: Prashant Thomas

So how do you define a reseller?

According to Wikipedia:

“A reseller is a company or individual (merchant) that purchases goods or services with the intention of selling them rather than consuming or using them. This is usually done for profit (but could be resold at a loss).”

That is pretty much what a reseller does when it comes to web hosting. It’s basically a service provision strategy where a company purchases a hosting package from a web hosting company (let’s call it a ‘parent hosting company’) and then sells it to third party customers independently.
 

Where does profit come in?

 
Sow less. Reap more.

With a little investment, the reseller can make good profit.

Generally, the profit for resellers can come in 3 ways.

  • From the data and server management services they provide to businesses with limited resources to do this on their own
  • Get a cut of the profit from the parent company for procuring new customers who’ll make purchases from the parent firm through the reseller
  • Selling services at a price higher than the parent host’s price

For a reseller, the more the customers, the more the revenue.
 

Relationship between Host and Reseller

 
The reseller essentially purchases a large hosting package from the host and then divides and sells it to third party clients based on their requirements. The reseller, normally, will also be contacting the parent host for technical support when a third party client requests assistance. Consequently, it may take some time for the client to get the required assistance (depending on the parent host).

In some cases, there would be a contract between the host and reseller, stating they will be charging the reseller on a per-client basis. Each time a new client purchases a hosting account from the reseller, the parent host charges the reseller. Rates may vary depending on the parent host.

The reseller will also be able to upgrade his hosting account so as to accommodate more clients. The parent host also takes up the server maintenance costs.
 

Common Features of Reseller Hosting Solutions

 
Parent hosting company is also a factor that influences the features of a reseller hosting service. A reseller can start web hosting business by choosing the appropriate package from the parent host. Generally, the packages resellers can purchase from the parent host may include the following features.

  • Manage plans and configure accounts based on client needs
  • Brand the reseller web hosting company with the parent host invisible to clients
  • Disk size and bandwidth
  • Host domains
  • Configure/Provide control panel, email, scripts, monitoring tools and other features to third party clients

 

Advantages of Reseller Hosting for Clients

 
By choosing a reseller hosting solution, third party clients get benefits similar to that of dedicated hosting package at a low price.

Let’s get into details.

Low cost alternative – As mentioned above, reseller hosting is a low-cost alternative to dedicated hosting, while providing benefits similar to that of the latter. To run multiple websites in a server, the client will normally have to purchase several hosting packages. With reseller hosting, this isn’t necessary. The client can make a single payment (low cost of course) to accommodate multiple websites rather than pay for individual hosting packages to run each website.

More features than basic plans – Because it’s a reseller service, the service provider (reseller) will try to make the deal as attractive as possible. Because of this, typical reseller packages tend to have more features than a basic hosting plan, though this depends on the reseller’s deal with the parent host.

For starters, reseller hosting solutions generally tend to have more effective control panels for easier website management. If the client goes for a basic solution, he may have to work with a control panel of limited effectiveness. In addition to a powerful control panel, many resellers also offer unlimited SSL with each reseller account.

Micromanage – Resellers typically offer a variety of packages that allows clients to micromanage their websites. They will be able to manage their disk space utilization, bandwidth usage, and many other aspects of the hosted website.

No maintenance – A typical dedicated server requires the client to deal with complicated server issues should they arise (except for managed dedicated hosting). But with a reselling solution, they won’t have to bother with technical issues. They will be getting technical assistance from the provider. The provider will also be responsible for maintaining the website with updates and security audits.

Ideal for large websitesReseller hosting solutions are ideal of clients with large websites or those who want to run multiple websites. Standard reseller packages come with enough space and network capabilities, supporting the growth of the clients’ websites. They can also host multiple websites without having to purchase additional hosting plans, but allocate space for the sites.
 

Starting a Reseller Hosting Business

 
Being a reseller host is a quick and affordable way to start a web hosting company. For those companies that provide web services, reseller hosting is a lucrative addition to the repertoire.

Here’s what you need to know before you start the business.

  • Thorough research on reputed and reliable web hosting firms to shortlist the ones that offer reseller hosting packages
  • Estimate the number of customers you can immediately procure after starting the business, as it will help you determine the hosting package you will need.
  • Determine the types of packages to offer to customers
  • Put a price tag on each type of packages, work on detailing the benefits of each OR see how you can use it as a value added service for one of your other web services
  • Compare the hosting plans to determine which one fits your needs and budget
  • Carefully go through the instructions of the parent host before you sign the deal. This could help set up packages you can sell to your customers
  • Start the business, support the customers and watch it grow
Written by: Shibu Kumar

With the internet being the biggest and one of the most profitable markets in the world, internet marketing is crucial for online businesses, regardless of what they do. Investing in enhancing your website’s online presence is basically ‘internet marketing 101’.

Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not. But doable of course. Your internet marketing journey starts from the creation of your website and ends when you don’t want to continue with your business online anymore.

Before you gecar up to find the right host for your website, make sure you are armed with these.

  • Basic technical know-hows
  • An idea of how the website should look
  • An idea of the content you will be publishing on the website
  • A list of targeted markets
  • An idea of who potential customers could be
  • An idea of the services you are planning to offer

Now ask yourself if you just want the website for your business or if you want to educate people.

Honestly, there are many more questions that you will want answers for. Let’s just assume this whole thing as a layered sandwich. Web hosting is just one of the ingredients in the sandwich. We will cover that first.
 

Your Hosting Package

 
The nature of your business, the targeted markets and the desired audience – these are critical factors that you should consider before choosing a hosting package for your website.

The ideal hosting package can get you everything you need to keep the website up and running without any hitch. This will include the right tools, adequate bandwidth, storage, technical support etc.

Here are a few questions I asked myself when I was introduced to web hosting.

Why is it so hard to find one?

Because there are a lot of companies offering various packages, it’s not going to be easy to find one that fits all your requirements.

Let’s just go for a free hosting service

You could be jeopardizing your whole business with a free service.

Why?

Every hosting package will have some kind of limitation. In rare cases, it can have everything you need but will cost you a lot (See? Limitation). However, there are still a few gems that you can easily miss.

Okay then, what’s the best approach?

Take it step by step.
 

Step by step

 
These steps are part of practical and tactical approach to finding the right web host. Each step should get you closer to the answer.

Step 1: Size of the hosting package you are going to need

To get an answer, you will have to write down what your website does. Is it a blog hub? Or an eCommerce portal? Web magazine maybe? Is it a place of business?

Once you are sure about what you are going to do with the website, you can start looking for a hosting package that fits.

Step 2: Growth of the website

The potential growth of your business is a huge factor. Do you intend to grow your business? If so, then you will be getting a lot of visitors every day. This calls for more powerful hosting packages. The package should make sure that your website doesn’t go down when the traffic increases.

Step 3: Server – Linux or Windows

You can find hosting offers with Linux/Unix and Windows servers. This could get confusing when you start thinking about which of the two is the best. That debate has been going on for a long time. Technically, both of them are fine. But if you have plans for the server, then it can affect your choice. If you don’t have any plans for the server, simply choose one.

Step 4: The types of hosting

Paid hosting comes in four types – Shared hosting, VPS hosting, Dedicated hosting, Co-location hosting.

  • Shared hosting – The most popular type of hosting, shared hosting is also the cheapest. You share a single server with multiple other websites. This means you will be sharing the server resources as well. Ideal for small audiences. But if your neighbors start using more resources, you will be left with a little (bad neighbor effect).
  • VPS hosting – Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting is where you purchase a virtual machine (which of course will be running in a physical server) with its own copy of OS. You can install any software in the machine as long as it’s compatible with the OS.
  • Dedicated hosting – You can buy an entire server for yourself, with complete access to all its resources. You can host multiple sites in the dedicated hosting server. Ideal for websites with large traffic. It is comparatively more expensive, and generally comes with regular maintenance and around-the-clock technical support.
    If you want to do it all yourself, you can opt for self-managed hosting. If you don’t want to spend time maintaining your website on top of running your business, you can go for managed hosting. Everything will be taken care of by the provider.
  • Co-location hosting – Here you can have your server hardware maintained by the provider. They will be keeping it physically secure. The provider will also give a dedicated internet connection on top of technical support and regulated power.

Step 5: Research

With all your questions answered, you will now have to find the right provider. This is where you are going to spend time researching. You don’t want to do business with a provider who has a history of bad service. You need the package to be dependable at all times. So your best bet is to seek out previous customers of the provider and get feedbacks.

Check third party reviews, and surf through customer support forums. However keep in mind that some bad reviews were posted just out of spite. Make sure every positive or negative review you go through are backed by facts. You can even reach out to the provider to get answers.

By the end of step 5, you will have a clear idea of who you can depend on, and what hosting package will be ideal for your website.

Written by: Shibu Kumar

Brand Reputation – It takes years to build it. It takes minutes to ruin it.

With the internet providing a platform for businesses to operate on a global scale, it also became easier to establish a brand reputation. However, the internet has always been a double-edged sword. Without adequate defensive measures, internet can just as easily break a business, that too in a matter of minutes.

Although reputation is important for every kind of business, online businesses especially web hosting brands will be the ones benefitting (or suffering) the most from it. For a web hosting brand, a solid reputation depends on even the smallest of things associated with the business.
 

The context

 
Your business involves selling web hosting services. Just like in any other business, you will be facing a good challenge in the form of competition, making it harder for you to retain existing customers and attract new ones.

This is where you need some momentum. Reputation provides just that. It is important because of a lot of reasons. For now, let’s just assess it with some facts.

  • Existing customers will choose to end the deal
  • Sales figures go down
  • Discredits the quality of your service
  • Market value drops
  • Easier for competitors to take over while you become obsolete

I chose the 3 facts above just to keep it simple. Here’s the assessment.

#1 – Reputation is volatile. So are your customers’ minds. The trust they place on your business should be safeguarded. That will keep your good reputation alive.

#2 – Online source is the most trusted source of information for more than 65% of the Internet users. See the impact of trust there. Online search now has that kind of reputation because of this trust.

Now, check the second half of that fact. Potential customers search about people and companies before making a purchasing decision.

With that said, see what you can understand from the third fact.

#3 – Consumers research a lot now thanks to the Internet, and what they find influences their purchasing decision. Imagine if your business has been consistently getting negative reviews from customers. Or imagine that the customer rating is below 4 on a scale of 5. The business you could’ve got is as good as gone, because they can find similar businesses without negative reviews and with a 4+ rating out of 5.

This is what a web hosting business will be dealing with. Some make it after a long run. Some don’t. It’s a battle of wits and patience….a struggle.

What bad reputation can do to a web hosting firm

  • Sales figures go down
  • Discredits the quality of your service
  • Market value drops
  • Easier for competitors to take over while you become obsolete

 

The Struggle

 
The struggle is to keep the business going by keeping customers happy. Keeping customers happy means positive feedbacks. Positive feedbacks indicate good reputation. Good reputation in turn means more business.

But why is there a struggle to keep customers happy? Not just because there are others doing what you do. The struggle is basically because you can’t earn trust that easily. People don’t want to just share their business data and information to a web hosting provider they know from a search engine results page.

They consider it a risk that could break their business in so many ways. What if they provide the data, and then the hosting provider messes up losing that data as a result? That spells doom for their business in most cases. Customers tend to get paranoid when they are dealing with something new.

So they rely on search engines to learn more about the technology, the company, their service history etc. This makes it important for your business to earn their trust first.
 

The Leverage

 
Owning a business in a very competitive market, and establishing online brand visibility are just one half of the real challenge. You are wrong if you think the other half of the challenge involves what your business does or what you are selling.

No. The other half is about what customers will find about you when they search your business online. That is why search engine optimization is relevant. But in addition to that, you would want everyone saying good things about your business. They wonder about even a single negative review, and seek answers to their questions probably from your previous customers.

The most useful tool in the internet that you can leverage to clear this confusion is content.

That is why companies started investing a lot on content marketing. The material they publish are meant to reach potential customers, answer their questions, and assure them that you are good at what you do (web hosting in this case).
 

Reputation Management

 
You should be realizing by now why it’s important. However, no matter how careful you are, there will still be….always be…unsatisfied customers. You can’t please everyone. You may even come across negative reviews on your business, regardless of whether the one who wrote it had a just cause.

Not responding to it can do more harm than good. Instead of ignoring it, you should respond and attempt to win over the one who wrote that review.
 

How?

 
Show them that you care – Most web hosting companies make it a habit of ignoring negative reviews and comments. They normally won’t contact the people that publically posted their negative opinions. Even if the companies do respond, it will only end up antagonizing those people.

The best approach is to fix the problem rather than defending your business. Reach out to those people who had bad experiences with your business, let them know that you genuinely care in a respectable way. Throw in some discounts or gifts, and then make things right for them.

Create more websites and domains – This is plan B. If they are still adamant enough to not take down the negative review, you will have to spend some money on buying a few websites and domains for your business (with your brand name of course).

They will find their way in to the first page of the search results along with your social media pages, Wikipedia page etc. when someone searches for your business, and also effectively pushes back the negative reviews to third or fourth pages. It’s unlikely that people will check everything in those pages.

Get customer testimonials/references – Make sure to get testimonials and references from satisfied customers so that you can use them to show off your service quality. If this is what potential customers first notice about your web hosting company, they will be impressed with the positive reviews, and might move on to look into the services you offer rather than scan everything for negative feedbacks.

Harness SEO and start blogging – Online reputation includes appearing in the first pages of search engine results. You achieve that through SEO and a lot of patience. You will need backlinks and a boatload of good quality contents, especially blogs. Optimize the blogs to be ranked higher by search engines, tag blogs with backlinks, interconnect the content and share them to get them before potential customers.
 

When You are Done

 
Once you have done everything above, you will start noticing some good changes like search engines rewarding your website, traffic increasing, more people visiting your social media accounts etc.

These are signs of momentum. You will have to capitalize on this by providing services in such a way that it impresses the hell out of your customers. Respond to their queries, and focus on building an online community of followers. If you notice anything that could potentially tarnish your hard earned reputation, find ways to mend the relationship so that people will know that you have been watching and that you still care.

Written by: Shibu Kumar
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