Hosting Options Query

  old&nojob 09:28 23 Sep 2006

I have done a website for a local business and they've asked me to sort out a host. Being new to this not sure where to start (not into reselling - at least right now). There seems to be several options:

1. go for say heart internet, 1&1 home pro package £35/yr upload the prepared website and let the customer manage it (or pay me to do it). This seems to allow additions (e.g. guest book) but do they integrate to a pre prepared set of pages and remain accessible, etc? Also buy a domain name this way.

2. find a local bare bones host say £50/yr. But need to get ones own name.

3. Go for a freebe site somewhere (yahoo?) and potentially get adverts ruining the site presentation. Also domain name is not ideal as is chose by yahoo.

4. Find a reseller (but this is covered by 3 above I suspect).

Has anyone got any advice or suggestions? These would be much appreciated.

  ade.h 16:37 23 Sep 2006

I always use Heart and Webmania, the latter of which works out a bit cheaper for no apparent loss of features or service. They are both superb companies to deal with.

  old&nojob 18:14 23 Sep 2006

I will look at Webmania. But is one option to provide a custromer with hosting services to set the whole thing up oneself (i.e. owning the domain name), paying for the hosting and charging the customer for all costs? Is this method used by onyone? This is avoiding reselling when the number of customers is too small to justify the costs.

  Forum Editor 18:54 23 Sep 2006

I'm one, and I can certainly provide my clients with a fully-featured hosting package at a very reasonable cost. They have their own control panel, and we host their own domain names - there are definitely no ads or anything like that to contend with. You'll find lots of decent resellers if you shop around.

You wouldn't want to become a reseller yourself for just one client, it would be far too expensive, and unless you are fairly knowledgeable about how web servers and scripts etc. work you can get into a few tangles - particularly where support is concerned.

Once you've settled on a host the rest s pretty straightforward - just register the domain name for your client, upload the site, and hand it over. Alternatively you can charge them a fee for handling the whole thing, including updates and hosting renewals, domain registration renewal fees etc. It's a very common practice, and the way you do it very much depends on your client.

I offer my clients a one-stop shop package which includes everything - all they have to do is send me text and images when they want site changes and we do the work for them. We make sure that all the domain name renewals are done on time, and generally relieve the clients of any hassles. In the main my clients are companies for whom we also provide IT consultancy services, but we do host quite a few private clients - it all works pretty well.

Take a look around and you'll find lots of people doing the same thing. My reseller account is with Heart Internet, because in my opinion they're the best around, and I would recommend them if you fancy a single, standalone hosting account.

  ade.h 18:58 23 Sep 2006

Yes, you can do that, then bill them accordingly or absorb it into the overall cost. There are drawbacks to that; they will be more likely to bother you if there are problems and if a consumer issue occurs, the onus is very much on you as the purchaser and domain name registrant to sort it out. Much like a reselller would. The purchaser and registrant would normally be one and the same, but I would guess that it is dictated by company policy rather than Nominet requirements - you might want to check that by contacting Nominet and/or a helpful host such as Heart. Personally, as someone who only designs sites as a sideline/hobby, I would always ask people to purchase their own hosting with my assistance. If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, it's not their problem then!

  Forum Editor 23:42 23 Sep 2006

if the purchaser and registrant are two different people - it's a common scenario. My clients may be the registrants of their domain names, but I am always listed as the administrative contact.

To avoid the 'being hit by a bus' scenario I make sure that clients have the login details for their server space, and that they are provided with regular CD backups of their sites. If the aircraft I'm in plunges into the Atlantic there'll be someone in my office to keep things going anyway.

  old&nojob 08:27 24 Sep 2006

Thanks for that. I will look for a reseller but I suspect this time the best option may be as ade.h says assist them with the process and keep a logon.

One of the customer requirements is to update the site text. The agreement I have with them is to produce a simple brochure site. How do I prevent them from destroying it (although I could charge to fix it!). This needs some sort of 'CMS'. I use dreamweaver 8 but there's no point in constructing templates unless I force Contribute on them. My plan is to set up HTML-Kit for them and somehow clearly identify the areas to change. Is there another way forward for this?

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