It may sound like you’re planning your funeral the day you’re born. Well, that’s not a bad analogy.

Let’s keep it simple. Let’s just talk about hosting for your WordPress website consulting business. You’re gung-ho to start your website design business. Your clients have absolutely no idea about hosting. You think to yourself, “Ooh, this is a great way to earn passive income by reselling hosting packages to my clients!”

It’s an excellent idea and is a fantastic way to make thousands of dollars in (usually-effortless) passive income. But keep in mind that those times that are not quite effortless are full of effort. In reality, effort isn’t really the problem. The problem is stickier, yuckier and might involve attorneys (see: sticky, yucky references).

Let’s just say, for kicks, and because you’re potentially new to this, naive and full of energy and world-changing ideas, that you think it’s a good idea to run a reseller server and then “sublet” space on that server for your clients. You pay, for example, $50/month for the entire server and your clients pay $10. Five clients and you’re breaking even. Six and you’re already in the black. It’s like a money printing machine.

Until the server goes down.

Oh, are you hosting their email, too? Yeah, you shouldn’t have done that. Here are three words I wish I had heard 10 years ago:

Never host email.

Forget, “Don’t walk with an umbrella on a golf course in a thunderstorm.” Don’t worry about, “Don’t swim after you’ve had a full meal.” and certainly don’t even have a second thought about, “Don’t stick your hand into the bear’s cage after you finished a glazed donut.” Don’t worry about those, just Never Host Email and you’ll be safe.

If you survive the barrage of phone calls (because their email is down, remember?) from irate clients, just wait to see if their sites are down too. Do they have e-commerce? They’re probably losing tens of thousands of dollars every hour that their site is down. Let’s see, multiply that by attorney fees (per hour) and you might as well get in your car and head to the nearest border.

Or, don’t host their email or their websites.

That’s the secret. In the words of Nancy Reagan’s IT dude, Just Don’t Do It.

What are your options for hosting client sites?

  1. Just Not You. Anyone else but you. Do your homework, hosting companies are not created equal. There are some excellent ones and some very good and less costly ones.
  2. Select Few. You did your homework and you have your favorites that you recommend. BONUS: you charge a premium to clients who don’t use these.
  3. Kinda-sorta-but-not-really you. There are reseller services out there where it’s a little bit you, but just in that you get a recurring commission.

For the record, I’m now doing #3. My logo is on the page of a reseller service so clients of mine recognize my brand. There’s a U.S.-based help desk number that clients call where they pick up 24/7. If you’d like to know more about how to host your clients and offer them excellent WordPress hosting (and domain and email) services in one solution, let me know. If you’d like to see my page, it’s here: Managed WordPress Hosting.

I’d keep going on and on, but I think I’m getting a call because a client’s site is down …