As we see more and more companies establish or grow their online presence, there has been a proliferation of hosting providers vying to capture this growing demand. With so many providers advertising themselves as the “best,” it is important to know how to choose and recommend the right hosting provider to your clients.
While the temptation may be strong to recommend the same host in every scenario, the truth is that one size truly does not fit all when it comes to web infrastructure. A good hosting provider for one client may not be a fit for another.
Furthermore, hosting providers may improve or degrade over time, so regular evaluation of your hosting partners and how you decide which to recommend is essential.
Establish Your Clients’ Needs
A hosting provider can have a strong offering for one product but a weak offering for another. Find out what products your client will need, and evaluate the hosting providers on these specific products.
Here are some popular or commonly used products that your clients may be looking for in a hosting provider:
Depending on your clients’ size, you can choose between Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, Dedicated Hosting, and Cloud Hosting. Make sure to select a cost-effective solution that performs well enough for your clients. Each of these offerings includes features and benefits that may fit your client’s needs.
For example, many shared hosting plans offer a reasonable price to go with features like email and the ability to host many websites. The downside is that the memory, storage allowances, and security inherent to shared hosting are not as strong as it is with VPS or dedicated hosting. On the other hand, VPS and dedicated hosting offer more horsepower for complex and high traffic sites at a higher cost to the client.
Managed WordPress Hosting
WordPress is a great turnkey solution if your clients want to build a corporate website or a blog. WordPress, the most popular CMS in the world, provides lots of powerful core functionality, can be extended via thousands of plugins, and supports full theming. WordPress is also very easy for beginners to learn and operate.
In this case, the right hosting provider should likely cover all the administrative and maintenance tasks that WordPress requires to run well. You should never have to think about updating the platform or its plugins. Your WordPress hosting provider should have in-depth knowledge about WordPress and be ready to assist you with any issues (bugs, performance issues, and security events).
Liquid Web offers all these features and more in our Managed WordPress offering. We automatically create daily backups, secure your clients’ websites with SSL, and optimize our data centers to improve WordPress speed and performance.
Managed eCommerce Online Store
Your clients may need to sell their own products or services. This means setting up an online store with secure payments, configurable shipping options, and a dashboard with key metrics.
Managed WooCommerce from Liquid Web provides many of the same features and benefits as Managed WordPress but with a greater focus on WooCommerce itself. Partnerships with complementary providers and infrastructure fine-tuned for WooCommerce itself mean that your clients are in good hands with Managed WooCommerce from Liquid Web.
When selling online, every millisecond counts. Make sure that the hosting providers you are considering offer high-performance and scalable infrastructure to handle traffic spikes during flash sales or events like Black Friday. Your hosting provider should also guarantee high uptime; your clients would hate to lose sales because their website went down at the worst possible moment.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS)
In more advanced scenarios, you may need to build and deploy complex applications on your client’s infrastructure. IaaS is a computing infrastructure that is provisioned and managed automatically. This includes virtual machines, storage, and networking hardware. On top of this raw infrastructure, you may benefit from utilizing a PaaS that will provide ready-to-use, fully managed business intelligence (BI) services, database management systems, and more.
Email, Storage, and More
On top of the hosting solutions that we have already covered, your clients will likely need a business email solution. It can be a simple webmail account or a more complex Microsoft Exchange setup. They may also have a lot of files to store or backup. Or, they may need some security features like a VPN. Your clients may also be in specific industries that require regulatory compliance like HIPAA Compliant Hosting.
As more and more businesses move to email options provided by companies like Microsoft and Google, it is important to remember that other options are available that might indeed be a better fit for their needs. Liquid Web offers two types of business-class email to help businesses the world over communicate reliably and securely. Additionally, Liquid Web offers VPNs and other specific services for even the most niche requirements.
The Hosting Provider Should be Right for You as Well
Whether you are a freelancer, a digital agency, or IT service provider, you want a hosting provider that will handle the infrastructure and let you focus on helping your clients grow.
Many hosting providers offer a referral program that rewards you for each recommendation. It is as simple as putting affiliate links on your website or contacting their sales team when you have a client that needs web hosting.
Additionally, many hosting providers offer a reseller program if you prefer to maintain the infrastructure billing relationship with your clients. This is an easy way to start and grow your own web hosting business without investing heavily in building your own datacenter.
Once you have ensured that your potential hosting partners offer all the services that your client needs, you should evaluate the quality of these services. A hosting provider can promise a lot of features, but you need to make sure that they work well. Make sure to test these services according to your clients’ needs, including peak performance to load web pages as quickly as possible, scalability to handle traffic spikes, and reliability so that client websites are always online.
You should also evaluate their customer support and online presence. Ideally, your hosting partner should be available 24/7 to handle any potential issues that may arise. Don’t hesitate to contact them with your questions and see how well and how quickly they answer.
Note that there is only so much time that you can take to evaluate each hosting provider, so take advantage of online reviews written by professionals. You can also search social media platforms to read the comments from their past and current clients. This is a great way to get an idea of their online reputation and how they will ultimately serve and support your clients.
Get Started on the Right Foot
Choosing the right hosting provider for your clients is the first step towards a successful and fulfilling business relationship. You want to focus on adding value to your clients, not worry about infrastructure. Take the time to validate each client’s needs, then take into account how you would work with the hosting provider to serve this client.
If you’re looking for a new hosting partner to serve your clients, Liquid Web would enjoy the chance to work with you. The Most Helpful Humans in Hosting have been serving web and IT professionals worldwide for almost 20 years. Contact us now to learn more about our available options for partnership and the services we offer.
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Adam Williams was the former CRO for Liquid Web and Nexcess brand. Adam has also worked for large multi-national companies like WorldCom and Rackspace and start-ups like Plesk and Webmail.us. He started his career as a high school history teacher and wrestling coach. Adam and his family reside in Virginia.
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