With more and more businesses moving online, companies are finding that one domain name is no longer adequate. You may very well want an individual domain name for each product line you offer. Online marketers will definitely find themselves constructing separate web sites to be fine tuned for each type of product sold or even each demographic group being targeted. The problem then becomes how to host all those domains.
The traditional difficult and expensive hosting solution is to buy a separate hosting service for each domain you register. Even at $5 to $10 per month each, that can get expensive for smaller businesses and independent marketing people. If all you have is a few domain names and that’s all you ever expect to need, then go ahead and add hosting services at the same time you buy your domains. For only a few domains it won't get that pricey and you'll avoid paying for a large hosting account that you’ll never need.
So how can you host a dozen or more domains without breaking the bank? One approach that is often touted for this purpose is to start with a single hosting account and then purchase “add on” domain hosting. Usually for a couple of bucks a month each, the hosting service will program their servers to allow you to have an additional domain on your shared hosting service. The way this works is that a separate folder is created within your public HTML hosting space where you put the files for this extra site. It’s just like any other folder, except that the system knows to direct the visitor to those files for the “add on” domain. As you add more domains, you add more and more folders.
I’ve used this approach and, while it works, you still have only one control panel and one htaccess file to cover all domains. Frankly, I much prefer the flexibility and independence of giving each domain its own cPanel and being able to allocate storage and bandwidth quotas depending on the size and traffic for each site. You’ll really appreciate this if you need to do some experimenting during development of a brand new site and don’t want to risk affecting the operation of your existing sites.
Does this mean you need to stick with individual hosting plans for each domain to decouple them? No, not at all. The solution you want is called reseller hosting. It was intended for Internet development businesses that support many clients and want to give each of them their own separate account. With a reseller account, you can create web sites for many businesses and then let them make their own updates, confident that one customer can’t do anything to damage the site of another customer. You can also use reseller hosting to rebrand the hosting plan so you can sell hosting accounts to your customers.
The name “reseller” pretty much describes a service that is intended to be split into smaller accounts and resold at a profit. You can also keep all of the accounts for yourself and treat each web site you construct as if it were for a separate customer. The difference is that you personally maintain all the sites by logging into a separate control panel for each site. You also get a master control panel called the WHM or Web Host Manager to create, upgrade and delete all those individual sites.
Why would you want to buy something for your own use that is designed to be resold? Simple. The price is right. For instance, You can get a HostGator reseller web hosting account for $24.95 a month. That gives you 50 GB of disk space and 500 GB of bandwidth to host unlimited domains.
You read that correctly. You can host all the domains that will fit into your reseller account for $24.95 a month. Let’s say that you want to host 25 sites on your account. You can assign each site 2 GB of storage and 20 GB of monthly bandwidth. The cost spread across all sites comes to $1 per site for hosting. Just where are you going to get professional grade web hosting with free website templates, free site builder software, unlimited MySQL Databases, unlimited sub domains, and unlimited POP 3 email accounts for a buck a month per site?
With the $24.95 per month reseller hosting account, you may find that you can host dozens and dozens of small “mini sites” or affiliate marketing customized sites to support Internet sales. One beauty of this approach is that you can always add another site at a whim when a bright idea occurs. Just buy a domain name, set the name servers for that domain to the ones for your reseller hosting, and create an account for your new domain. In a matter of hours or less you can have a completely new site up and running, even in the middle the night. I know, I’ve done it many times to capture a new business opportunity that suddenly emerged.
By the way, you are not limited to 50GB disk & 500 GB bandwidth. If you need more, order a larger reseller account up to 200 GB disk & 1400 GB bandwidth for $99.95 per month. Beyond that, you may ready to move up to virtual private hosting or a completely dedicated server. All of these are available and fully explained at HostGator.
Note: Photo of server rack courtesy of William Viker on Wikimedia Commons.