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RESELLER Account Information

 
SEE ALSO
Reseller FAQ, Reseller Hosting plans
THE RESELLER PACKAGES


This document is related to the reseller hosting plans listed here.

Reseller package features are not limited besides the hard limits applied to disk space and bandwidth. Many would try to sell this off as "unlimited everything". Right up front we need to tell you that is not true. There is no such thing as "unlimited anything". You cannot buy unlimited electricity for $10 and neither can you get unlimited hosting. If anyone says otherwise, it's simply not true. Here's how the reseller package works in a nutshell:

  • First, we do not provide a domain with the reseller package. Since this package is intended for those who already know what web hosting is and therefore already have a domain. If you need a domain, you can get one here or from any other registrar you fancy.
     

  • Unlike conventional reseller hosting, there are no hard limits to any of the account features except for Disk space, Bandwidth and Resource Usage. Instead of telling you how many MySQL databases you may have or how many mailboxes you may create or how many domains or sub-domains you may have, we limit you only to Disk space, Bandwidth and Resource Usage. This way, you get the most out of your reseller account. So how many accounts will you be able to fit into a single reseller account? Please see the FAQ for more.

BACKGROUND


Being a reseller basically means you run your own web hosting company, setup your own sites, establish your own pricing and are, for all practical purposes, your own boss.

Being a reseller can be a very lucrative business since it has the potential for generating substantial profit whilst freeing up the reseller (you) from all the expense of having to have your own servers and infrastructure; all of which cost a lot of money to maintain.

It is important also to understand, that being a reseller also implies responsibility, since reseller accounts are hosted on shared servers with other resellers, anything one reseller does that impacts negatively upon the service, impacts all. Here are some examples of the kind or reseller no web hosting company wants and no other reseller would like to share servers with:

  • A reseller who does not screen his or her customers carefully can very easily sign up a spammer. Spam email can not only get the server's IP address blocked but cause outgoing email from every other account on the server to get blocked.
     

  • A reseller who does not regularly monitor his or her resource usage (CPU, disk, load etc) to see whether his or her customers are using excessive amounts of server resources. Such negligence severely impacts on the usability of the server for all customers and is not acceptable practice. A Reseller should regularly monitor resource usage and suspend or warn users who overstep the limits. This is responsible behavior.

WHY OR WHY NOT BE A RESELLER?


Good question. Why not just have a regular website with several add-on domains? It's the same thing isn't it?

Well, almost. It is true that with our other packages, you can setup multiple domains just like a reseller. The only difference is you only get one control panel for all. With a reseller account, you get to give each one of your customers their own control panel where they can do things like create mailboxes, setup databases etc. On a regular account, you cannot do this.

This of course, begs the next question - do you really need a reseller account?

If, for example, you want total control over your customers sites  and do not wish to allow them to setup things themselves, you don't. For example, if your customers are people who know nothing about the internet (you are a web designer for example), you may find a reseller account more of a hassle than an asset because you will now have several control panels (and username/passwords) to manage instead of just one. Since your customers cannot do this anyway, you will need to setup mail accounts for them when they need them, install software, update their pages etc.

Here are some guidelines which may help you. You probably need a reseller account when:

  • You plan on having more than 10 customers,

  • You plan on giving your customers control - i.e. their own Control Panels.

The bottom line is, consider carefully what you really need before opting for a reseller account.
 

SOUND BUSINESS SENSE


Luke 14:28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doesn't first sit down and count the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?

Like with any business, over time, you are going to need a lot more than just a reseller account if you want to succeed. Granted, you can probably go a long way without any of the additional costs... but only for a time. The time will come when you will have to invest in some "stuff".

Our FAQ covers this in a lot more detail, but here are some of the things you are probably going to need as your business grows. Most of them cost money so be sure to plan for them:

  • Online tutorials,

  • Some form of accounting or billing software,

  • You may wish to sell domains,

  • You may need a larger reseller package or even an entire server for your business,

  • You may need or want to employ someone to write some proprietary software that only your company provides,

  • You may even need to employ staff at some time!

TERMS OF USE AND SITE CONTENT


Please keep in mind that Webnet77 is a Christian company with Christian morals and standards. We do not allow any form of adult hosting on our servers. Neither do we allow sites that promote racial hatred etc. Please make sure that your customers are made aware of this and feel free to use our Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy in a modified form on your website.
 

LATE PAYMENTS


It is imperative to understand that if you neglect to pay your reseller account on time not only will your website be suspended, but all your customer sites will also be suspended. Please, please make sure that you pay your reseller account well before the due date.
 

RESOURCE USAGE


No single (standard/un-modified) reseller account may use more than 3%, 5% and 10% respectively of an entire server's resources. For the most part, this will not be a problem. However, in certain cases, this does become problematic; for example, a Message Board like ours (10,000+ members and 1,000,000+ messages) does use more than 10% of a server's resources; a lot more in fact. We need an entire server just for our Message board!

If your account needs more than 3%, 5% or 10% respectively, it can be arranged but please be aware that there will be a cost implication.

NOTE: Resource usage is measured over any single 24 hour period. Even if your site peaks at say 5 times total Maximum permissible average resource usage for short periods of time it will not be a problem so long as the average over 24 hours is not exceeded.
 

ACCOUNTING POLICY


We use our own home-grown Billing and Accounting software for managing our customers on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, this software has been so customized to Webnet77 that it would take months to get it to work for someone else. We highly recommend you find accounting software to manage your business as soon as possible. From experience, we know we could not run our business without it.

You probably won't need accounting software right away but it is something we suggest you budget for. There are hundreds of packages available raging in price form under $100.00 to several thousand; it's up to you.
 

HELP AND TUTORIALS


Your customers are going to need direction and guidance. Especially with things like using the Control Panel, setting up mailboxes etc. You are welcome to link directly to our tutorials here or, better still link directly to the cPanel guides here. Over time, you would probably want to get your own. There are dozens of companies that sell pre-packaged tutorials in bundles - make sure you preview them first before you spend your money though.
 

WEBNET77 SUPPORT


Please note that Webnet77 does not support your customers. You provide your customers with technical support, not us. This includes the following:

  • Our Message Board is for the support of Webnet77 customers only. Please do not refer your customer here for support.
     

  • Please do not give your customers our support email address. Once again, this is for Webnet77 customers not your customers. If you have a question specific to your reseller hosting by all means email us and we will always be glad to help.
     

  • If your customers are having difficulty with installing a script (fantastico or otherwise) or getting a script to work and you ask us for assistance, please be aware that there will be a charge levied since installing/repairing scripts is not included in your reseller hosting account.

As a reseller, you are expected to support your own customers.
 

A SPECIAL NOTE ON PASSWORDS AND SECURITY

By far the most common way sites get hacked and defaced is by way of the following two exploits:

The exploitation of know holes in PHP and CGI software

Software is not perfect. Just about every known software application (Message Board, Guest book, CMS software, you name it) goes through several revisions over the course of it's life. During this time, bugs and security holes are very often discovered and rectified (patched) by the developers.

In a nutshell, this means if your customers install any PHP or CGI software on their sites, the have to regularly check the developers site for updates. If they do not, be 100% certain that sooner or later (usually sooner!) the site will be hacked and defaced.

For you as the Web Host, this is very bad news. Often customers have no idea how to fix the problem and it takes you hours of your time to fix. Even worse, the customer paid someone to originally create the site and now has no more budget to get it fixed so s/he cancels instead and you lose a customer.

Bottom line - regularly inform your customers of updates and make sure you emphasize the need for updating on a regular basis.

Brute force attacks on passwords

Please do not allow your customers to use weak passwords (some call them "brain dead" passwords but we will refrain from that terminology here). Again, as with software updates, your reminders to your customers must be relentless.

Passwords must contain at least Upper Case and lower case characters and a digit and be longer than 8 characters and not be any known word (English or otherwise).

For example, even a password like 'rumpelstilskin'  (which is 14 characters long) is absolutely useless against a brute force attack simply because it is a known word. It can be cracked in under 1 minute by most decent password crackers.

Some examples of a good password can be generated here - (set Password Length to 12 or more and Password Makeup to All of the above and you should get good passwords).

OK, so why is a password so important after all? Here's a simple example:

Joe is one of your hosting customers. His password for one one of his email accounts is Joe123 - a particularly bad password. A spammer brute forces it and gains access to the SMTP server on Joes site and sends out 1,555,000 SPAM emails over the next 6 hours. Joe's site and the main shared IP of the server gets blacklisted by just about every ISP on the planet. We shut you down and you lose all your hosting customers and we lose you as a customer. There are no winners here. We all lose.
 

SUPPORTING YOUR CUSTOMERS


We have gone to great lengths to provide a multitude of information for our customers on this site and on our Message Board. This includes FAQ's, HOW-TO tutorials, online Flash movies etc. As a reseller, you should to provide something similar for your customers. If you don't, you may find yourself overwhelmed with questions of a trivial nature that could easily have been avoided by the provision of a simple tutorial. Take the time and do the work, you will not regret it!

Here are some tips you may find helpful:

  • Make sure your site is very clear (and be honest) about what it is you are offering. Be sure never to sell or advertise something you cannot deliver. For example "unlimited email ... hits ... bandwidth" etc are words you should never use if your package does not support it, simply because there is nothing in this world that is unlimited.
     

  • Don't give uptime guarantees for the same reason - no one can guarantee a hurricane will not hit the data center tomorrow and destroy it. We certainly cannot. What you can do instead, is give an uptime record of the past "n" months.
     

  • Make sure your initial welcome email is as comprehensive as possible. The more (clear) information in the welcome email is, the less you are going to have to answer with follow up questions later.
     

  • Be sure never to copy/paste text from other sites into your own without written permission. Remember, as a reseller, you are now a business. As such, you will quickly discover that others do not take kindly to their intellectual property being used illegally (yup, it's illegal if you do not have permission). If we get a complaint from a law enforcement agency that you have copyright information (text or pictures) on your website without permission we may be legally required to suspend or even delete your site. Please take this seriously as copyright infringement is a serious matter.
     

  • If you quote a tech support maximum response time, be sure to meet it. If you cannot consistently meet it, change it or don't give one at all.
     

  • Be prepared for some really basic questions from customers. Remember, not everyone has had a website before. Some folk have difficulty understanding even the most basic concepts.
     

  • Always try to anticipate your customer's next question and answer it before s/he asks. Not only does this save your customer having to ask a follow-up question, but it shows you know your business and customers appreciate this.
     

  • Never give one-liner responses to tech support. This gives the impression you don't care.
     

  • Always be courteous, even with difficult customers.
     

  • By all means put your customers on a mailing list and email them from time to time but don't overdo it. Once per month is more than enough. More than that become a hard sell and no one likes that.
     

  • Get as much information for your website as you can. Especially stuff on how to access WebMail, setup mailboxes, perform functions in the Control Panel etc.
     

  • By all means, link to our Server stats. The link will be in your Personal Control Panel at the bottom. This will help prevent some customers from emailing you every time they have the smallest glitch ... you can simply refer them to the stats page and tell them the server is up.
     

  • Be really selective about where you advertise your hosting. Advertising in the wrong places will attract customers you do not want. (Having 20 loyal customers is far better than 100 who get your account closed because they are spammers). It's up to you of course but we have found that FFA links are generally the worst places to advertise.
     

  • Don't be disillusioned when you see others offering hosting for far less than you do. Remember that hosting is much more than price - it's service too and that costs money. There are many cheap hosts out there, some for as little as $2.00 / month. We have bought from several of them in the past just to see and know for a fact that technical support is often non existent. Even if you are not the cheapest, your customers will advertise you by word of mouth if you give good service. Remember, service is the key.
     

  • Don't be shy to ask your customers in your welcome email for a link on their sites. Many won't mind and you will pick up valuable points in the search engine rankings. (Remember to always tell your customer it is voluntary though).
     

SEE ALSO
Reseller FAQ, Reseller Hosting plans


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