Is A Reseller Host A Good Choice

Oct 13, 2009

I noticed a trend - I don't know if it's very new, but it can't be very old either - that quite a few people are looking for hosting and specifically ask that the host is not a reseller. Obviously they have somehow decided that a reseller is not a good choice for them.

A host that rents servers from a datacenter and then sells shared hosting and/or reseller hosting accounts or whatever other types of packages, is in fact reselling what it has bought from its provider. Despite that, it is generally regarded as a full-fledged host. Sure, they do take care that the servers are managed properly, that they are secure, they provide customer support, so they add to the original product that they have bought, but in essence they are resellers.

The first one is that the reliability, the uptime and server performance depend almost entirely on the upstream provider (the host behind the reseller). Considering that the reseller did a good job in finding a great upstream host, these things should be fine, but, unfortunately, in their search to get the best deal out there, many hosting resellers (if not most of them) end up being hosted for just a few bucks a month on highly overcrowded servers with stability and performance problems, frequent downtime etc. which will in turn translate into poor service for the end user.

The other major concern is the knowledgeability of the reseller. The very ease of becoming a reseller and the fact that almost anyone, or, as a WebHostingTalk user said it once, "anybody and his dog", can be a reseller, makes it very hard for some to trust a hosting reseller.

I would never say a reseller is a bad choice, but some things are not to be expected from a reseller. For example most resellers are a one man show and thus 24/7 365 days a year support can not be achieved without outsourcing some of it. This however is not a very cost effective solution for low volumes and this is why most resellers provide all the support themselves, which will obviously not be 24/7.

Also a reseller has only so much freedom on the server. A reseller cannot do some things and has to ask his own host to do them for him. That means it will take longer for those things to get solved.

On the plus side, a reseller often gets to know his customers and their needs and the client-reseller relationship often gets quite close. A friendly tone is worth for some people more than a 99.99% uptime statistic. If you're one of those people a reseller could very well be the right choice.

I am running some blogs on JustHost, a WordPress Web Hosting recommended by WordPress. You can visit my JustHost Review for reference.

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