Given the continued rise in the development of websites such a business can be quite lucrative. When you look at Zimbabwe there are not that many web hosting service providers. I say so to say that there is room for more players to occupy the market. Bluehost is considered to be the best web hosting service provider for small businesses globally. I would encourage you to check it out and learn some things from it. When it comes to web hosting in Zimbabwe Webdev is the market leader, kindly check them out.

What Is Web Hosting?

Before I digger deeper let me start by looking at what web hosting is. You have often heard me emphasising on the need for a business to have a website. Have you ever wondered where websites actually dwell, i.e. where are they stored? Web hosting entails making available storage space that enables a website to be accessible online. Essentially a web hosting service stores your website so that it can be accessible to anyone at any time. There are 4 different types of web hosting – these basically constitute your packaging of services. These are shared hosting, dedicated hosting, cloud hosting, and virtual private server (VPS). Let us now look at what you need to kick-start a web hosting business.

Let me share with you a very important consideration you should make. Typically, starting a web hosting business is somewhat of an uphill task; so many things (mostly technical) are required. Experts recommend that it is best to start as a reseller web hosting service provider. What is reseller web hosting? You will basically buy hosting services from an established web hosting business and then you, in turn, sell the services to your clients. It is just like how it is with retailing – buying from a supplier then selling to individual clients. Most web hosting businesses solely use the reseller model.

How Reseller Web Hosting Works

It is quite simple and straightforward. You identify a service provider from which you can purchase web hosting services. You will find that reseller providers will have packages from which you can choose. You then choose a particular package that you would want. You then develop your own business website that will be integrated with the reseller provider’s platform. Once that is done you are good to go. In terms of software and hardware requirements, you will notice that not much is needed if you looking to be a reseller web hosting service provider.

Take Note: Alternatively, you can choose to set-up infrastructure to web host yourself. This will mean you will have to part with some considerable amounts of money. You would need at least US$2000 for a brand new server and chassis. You would also need money for electricity, bandwidth, and routine maintenance. All this is at the very least, so this would be for a tiny scale business. Plus this option is too tasking since you will be doing everything virtually on your own.

The other option you can consider is that of data centre co-location. Not quite sure this is possible in Zimbabwe but it is worth knowing. With this option, you get to rent data centre software and hardware and choose how to provide web hosting services to your clients. This means with that option you can end up setting up a private web hosting service or being a reseller web hosting service provider. Ultimately I still recommend starting as a reseller.

Software Requirements

There are several reasons why software is needed for such a business. You will need to do things like the connection of domain names to your hosting service. Configuration of emails and installation of a content management system requires certain types of software. Uploading files to the server and creating back-ups of websites are the other reasons. Checking usage data and managing security settings are the other reasons for which software is needed. All these things can be done through what is called web hosting software.

Let me state some attributes that web hosting software ought to have. Several management functions are involved in web hosting; there must, of course, be automation functions too. I am referring to things like management of domains, databases, bandwidth, mailboxes, files, TSL, SSL, and DNS. When looking to purchase web hosting software those are the core attributes it ought to have. There are several software options to consider that can do this but your reseller provider would best advise you in that respect. Overall you can choose to settle for Unix (Linux) or Windows – those are the two broad choices.

Hardware Requirements

In terms of hardware, the most important component(s) will be the web server(s). You will have to ensure that they have significant amounts of RAM. You will also have to ensure the HDDs have significant storage capacities. You must also pay attention to the processor – several cores are the way to go. Since I have been underscoring reseller web hosting you will be advised on additional requirements by your reseller provider.

Human Resource Requirements

3 extremely important operations should be fully catered for at all times. These 3 are technical services, sales and marketing, and customer support. You must have a dedicated team meant for these 3 key areas. You must appreciate that at any given time the system might go down or experience some glitches. Customers might also encounter the same so technical services and customer support become so important.

The subject of web hosting is a very broad, diverse, and highly technical field. You probably might have noticed that I was trying my best to be as simple as can be. If you choose to start as a reseller web hosting business I am sure you can take off with minimal hurdles. We definitely need more of such businesses in Zimbabwe.