Starting a White-Label Hosting Service
The capital cost of setting up a reseller infrastructure is high. As a result, the larger existing Managed Service Providers, (“MSPs”) are seeing an opportunity to provide managed services to resellers.
For new resellers, it is important that they are able to sell hosting services under their own branding and as far as is possible, to have control of their own business. Many MSPs use the concept of White Label Reseller Hosting, (“WLRH”) which in effect is a hands-off hosting service where the second-tier reseller has control of their own marketing, sets their own pricing and hosting plans, and uses their own branding.
For some, White Label Hosting is sufficient, and for some, it is a stepping-stone on the way to creating their own MSP infrastructure.
There are two sides to starting White Label Reseller Hosting:
- The creation of a White Label environment by the top-level MSP; and
- The standard process of business planning and execution of the business plan by a prospective second-tier reseller.
The White Label Reseller Hosting Provider
An MSP considering establishing a White Label reseller Hosting Service has several things to consider:
Will the new WLRH program need dedicated architecture, or can it be hosted using the existing architecture? Bear in mind Security considerations as noted below. How is the program to be managed?
The WLRH environment is best delivered in the MSP VPS hosting environment, Tools will be needed for the MSP to manage the overall WLRH environment and provide the downstream reseller with the ability to create and manage their own VPS environment for their customers.
It is a given that establishing a WLRH programme should not compromise the security of existing MSP customers. Again, this points towards a VPS environment, where each customer can be segregated from all others. VPS will also insulate a WLRH reseller.
In some environments where sensitive information is processed or stored, a separate physical infrastructure might be needed for WLRH customers.
Existing and new customers and downstream reseller will need reassurance that the systems and data are secure.
It is in the interests of the MSP to ensure that the reseller is competent and is managing their WLRH environment properly. The agreement with the reseller could include providing the reseller with technical support on request.
It should also include a provision to unilaterally deal with the reseller environment should it compromise the MSP environment or business in any way.
Marketing, Pricing and other business considerations
The MSP WLRH service needs to be marketed as are other services and priced in such a way as to cover the costs of providing the service. It should also have a price point that allows the reseller to make a profit.
The White Label Reseller Hosting
Using the White Label Reseller service from an MSP will, as already noted, ease the costs of entry to the market for the new reseller. The process of establishing a reseller business is pretty much the same as establishing any business, but with some added activities around selecting an appropriate MSP to supply the WLRH infrastructure, such as defining what is needed from the MSP:
The level of support needed from the MSP will depend on the skills available to the reseller. The MSP will also need to know the skill levels of the reseller to gauge the support needs of the reseller.
The MSP will provide several WLRH plans for consideration. The reseller needs to match one with the infrastructure they expect to need, both initially and with potential growth. Perhaps they should compare several plans from several potential providers.
Some MSPs, including HostSailor, will tailor a WLRH plan to meet the needs of a reseller.
The MSP will need to manage the overall WLRH environment, especially if they support more than one reseller. The reseller will also need to manage the VPS environment he creates for his customers. The SolusVM software package provides management tools for both the MSP and the WLRH reseller.
HostSailor has a range of comprehensive basic WLRH packages for potential resellers, each of which can be enhanced with costed upgrades and add-ons.
Please don’t hesitate to talk to us if you are considering becoming a reseller, or if you have any queries or concerns about the WLRH environment.