Reseller hosting is a form of web hosting wherein the account owner has the ability to use his/her allotted hard drive space and bandwidth to host websites on behalf of third parties. The reseller purchases the host's services wholesale and then sells them to customers for a profit. A certain portion of hard drive and bandwidth is allocated to the reseller account. The reseller may rent a dedicated server from a hosting company, or resell shared hosting services. In the latter case, the reseller is simply given the permission to sell a certain amount of disk space and bandwidth to his own customers without renting a server from a web hosting company he signed for a reseller account with.
The typical web hosting reseller might be a web design firm, web developer or systems integrator who offers web hosting as an add-on service. Reseller hosting is also an inexpensive way for web hosting entrepreneurs to start a company. Most reseller hosting plans allow resellers to create their own service plans and choose their own pricing structure. In many cases, resellers are able to establish their own branding via customized control panels and name servers.
Reseller hosting does not require extensive knowledge of the technical aspects of web hosting. Usually, the data center operator is responsible for maintaining network infrastructure and hardware, and the dedicated server owner configures, secures, and updates the server. A reseller is responsible for interfacing with his/her own customer base, but any hardware, software and connectivity problems are typically forwarded to the server provider from whom the reseller plan was purchased. It should be noted that being a profitable reseller firm usually involves extensive advertising to get customers. While the monthly fees with major hosts are only a few dollars a month, it's a low margin business, and resellers must devote large advertising budgets to compete with established competitors. However, web hosting is one of the biggest online businesses, because every website needs hosting.
Resellers can set up and manage customer accounts via a web interface, usually point and click "Control Panels."