To Offer Web Hosting or Not, That Is The Question

It’s no secret that here at Anchor Hosting we resell web hosting services. We use other managed WordPress providers like Kinsta and and focus our efforts on making the WordPress experience hassle-free. While there are plenty examples of resellers that offer a poor experience, I’m still optimistic and see reselling web hosting as something more folks should do. Reselling web hosting has the ability to solve many of WordPress’ rough edges in ways that many individual host providers cannot. Resellers can be hosting agonistic and focus on solutions that are truly in the best interest of the customer. And resellers can also offer other services that are finely tuned and bundled for a certain type of customer.

Anchor Hosting resells web hosting for all of the same reasons agencies find themselves reselling web hosting.

Let say you’re a web agency offering web development and design services for hundreds of customers. You most likely find yourself in the position of offering WordPress hosting out of necessity, not because it’s your specialty. These might be a few of your reasoning for doing so:

  • If we let the customer host their own website, they’re not going to run WordPress updates and will have problems which we’ll need to fix for them.
  • Our reputation as an agency will look bad if our customer’s websites run slow or have errors due to poor web hosting choices.
  • Customers will not run PHP updates as that might require code changes and will just use outdated software which might be less secure. This might lead to a security incident due to known vulnerabilities.
  • Customers do not understand what web hosting is. By taking care of web hosting we can decreased questions regarding renewals for domains and/or web hosting plans. Costs can be bundled into our current services contract.

So it’s decided, “we” as an web agency need to provide web hosting to solve all of these potential issues. I totally get it. It is better if you, the web agency, takes care of your customers web hosting as they aren’t going to take care it themselves.

But here is the reality.

Let’s say your agency consists of 20 team members. Maybe 15 are designers, 2 project leads, 2 developers and 1 person handling money/ops/IT and various roles. Tell me, who on your team is going to take care of managing the web hosting and the longterm care of WordPress? It’s the developers. The developers which should be working on new client projects.

A web agency provides web hosting for the same reason Anchor Hosting does. The only difference is scale and focus. My argument is that many agencies should not offer web hosting to customers unless they plan on scaling that up as a separate focus. Otherwise they’re just draining their already busy developers to do something that isn’t their main focus. Offering web hosting as a service is not a great way to make additional money as so many in the WordPress space tend to believe.

Web hosting is primarily customer support.

No one reaches out to a web host unless there is a problem. If something is broke then something needs fixed. That’s true whether you’re providing web hosting directly or reselling. The whole point of this rant is to challenge the idea that selling web hosting is always a good idea. It’s not.

Yes it’s true, in the WordPress ecosystem web host providers are some are largest companies out there. Yes it’s true that every customer needs a web host. However the question is, should I as a web developer or agency provider hosting services? I only recommend offering web hosting as a service if you love technical customer support. If that doesn’t sounds like your business model, then don’t get into web hosting. Instead find a hosting partner and defer web hosting elsewhere. Web hosting is not for everyone. Do it because it’s something you want to do not because you feel you have to.