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10 Steps to Starting a Web Hosting Company

No matter who you are, it's time to start a web hosting company of your own. Starting your own web hosting company can prove to be a very good business decision. Go through the following steps if you wish to start one.

Step 1. Choosing the platform Unix is an open source program that makes it less expensive than Windows and is more stable environment. Most programs run on both operating systems like perl/cgi, PHP, and Flash. But only Windows can support ASP, .NET, MS SQL etc. UNIX or even Linux.

Step 2. Choose your web hosting provider. This could very well be the most important decision you can make in starting your web hosting company. Make sure your hosting provider qualifies with the following criteria:

Customer Support: Do they have live 24/7 phone support? Or do they have email support with no way of getting a direct one-on-one contact person? This will give you some indication of how well the company can respond to time sensitive issues.

The platform and control panel: Does the web hosting provider offer powerful and simple control panel features?

The company"s reputation: See if the company has a customer forum and signup so you may ask other clients what their experience has been like with the company.

Years of experience in providing hosting: The longer the better in this case. Incompetent web hosting companies will fail within the first year; many come and go in even less time.

Step 3. Set up your web hosting plans and decide on monthly pricing. You will want to offer a range of plans from simple smaller plans, to medium plans, and high end web hosting plans. You can offer between three and four different plans.

Step 4. Choose the control panel you want to use. Control panels vary from very simple and user friendly to complex systems. Chose one that is simple to use but at the same time is rich in features.

Step 5. Develop a business website If you want people to buy web hosting from you, in the first place your site should be of top quality. Spend a lot of time on this. Make it simple, easy to navigate but filled with all necessary information. If you are not comfortable in designing your own site, hire a professional. It"s worth spending some money here. Avoid using a template. Have a unique design.

Step 6. Make your site e-commerce ready to be able to accept payments for web hosting accounts; you"ll want to set up the following: An SSL certificate, a merchant account, and a payment gateway.

Step 7. Set up a support helpdesk. This is simply a way for your clients to communicate with you about the support they need. Preferably find a control panel or platform that has this feature built in. Also, A FAQ section on your web site or knowledgebase will be useful. You can also consider allowing your customers to call you for live phone support.

Step 8. Set up your client billing. You will need to select some kind of billing software and/or Merchant Gateway, preferably one that is integrated into your control panel system.

Step 9. Create a business plan. Before you start marketing your web hosting site, prepare a proper business plan and write email messages, welcome letters etc...

Step 10. Market your website. While time consuming and sometimes costly, effectively marketing your website is an invaluable tool that will keep visitors coming to your site and improving your chance of sales. You may consider the following ideas: Current business contacts, friends and family. Search engine optimization. Paid advertising. Affiliate programs. Newsletters, etc...

These are the initial 10 steps to start a web hosting company.

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