Hostgator is the first program on the Internet, which offers completely free reseller hosting solutions. With its network of thousands of web hosting resellers, Hostgator ranks among the top players in the reseller hosting segment. Just over a year ago, the concept of “free reseller hosting” was something completely unknown and sounded more like a good wish than something that you could really put to work. In spite of the past year, Hostgator still does not have a serious competitor in the free reseller hosting segment. There is just one more company in this segment called Bulix Reseller. Bulix Reseller is a comparatively small company with just over 300 web hosting resellers.
Hostgator is currently one of the two programs on the Internet, which allows you to start your own web hosting service with 24/7 customer support without the need any web hosting software, dedicated or co-located servers, special knowledge of administration or programming, complex settings of credit card processors, web design knowledge and even without knowledge of HTML. Furthermore, your hosting customers will not even notice that you are not a web hosting company. The anonymity of web hosting resellers is guaranteed and adequately protected. According to the latest information directly from Hostgator, the new version of the program, which is still under development, will have many new features compared to the currently offered program.
The programs offering free reseller hosting solutions are still not popular enough among the people in the web hosting business. The people and companies in this segment have prejudices against free reseller hosting, because all of them without any exception have been using ready-made software solutions like CPanel, Plesk, Ensim, H-Sphere, Alabanza and so on up to the present. These hosting systems are unsuitable for free reseller hosting solutions, simply because this concept exists since Hostgator has started its program. This is why people have doubts, but they realize that these doubts were groundless and unjustifiable after testing the free program.
Hostgator has developed its own web hosting software and because of its flexibility, terms such as “free reseller hosting” and “free web hosting reseller” have gained meaning and value.
Hostgator gives to small and medium-sized companies, organizations and people, who deal with web design, Internet marketing, domain name registration and search engine optimization, as well as to webmasters and Internet service providers (ISPs) the opportunity to start a web hosting business of their own without the need of any investments. They are able to offer web hosting services and support (provided by Hostgator) under their own brand.
The Hostgator program was officially started on April 2, 2003 . Initially the program gains popularity unevenly depending on the success of each marketing campaign. Marketing campaigns have variable success due to novelty and innovativeness of the offered service.
For less than one year, Hostgator is already constantly on Google AdWords for more than 95% of all keywords and search terms related to reselling web hosting such as “reseller hosting”, “web hosting reseller”, “hosting reseller”, etc. This is unquestionable proof for the reliability and safety of the free reseller hosting program of Hostgator as a whole. The recent addition of PayPal payments option for resellers’ commissions is a large plus for the program. Everybody who has a PayPal account knows the security requirements for opening such an account. The acceptance of PayPal payments for purchasing of web hosting plans, as well as the payment of the web hosting resellers’ monthly commissions through PayPal is a guarantee of the reliability of the free reseller hosting solutions of Hostgator.
Advantages and disadvantages:
The Hostgator program has its advantages and disadvantages like any other human activity. We will try to describe the pros and cons with a few sentences. It is possible that we might miss some minor positive or negative detail, but the major advantages and disadvantages are listed below.
- The opportunity to start a web hosting business of your own, without the need of any investments. In fact, if you want to look professional you will have to buy a single domain name. This is the whole investment needed. About $8-15.00, depending on the prices of the domain registrar of your choice.
However, even this investment is not absolutely necessary.
- Completely automated customer sign-up (including all PayPal payments), domain registration, credit card processing, eCheck and e-mail payments through PayPal.com.
- Extremely fast and efficient 24/7 customer support. The official response time is up to 1 hour. In the real monthly statistics, response time ranges between 12 and 18 minutes. The same efficiency applies to resellers’ support, but the response times are within about 1 hour. 4. Intuitive web hosting control panel. Very similar to CPanel, but a little bit more functional from user’s point of view.
- Very low domain name registration price – just $4.00/year. Of course, Hostgator is losing money with this price, but this loss is compensated by the price of the hosting plans. However, if you think about it, the low domain name registration price makes their web hosting plans cheaper by some $3.00 a year. In other words, the $3.00 that Hostgator is losing by selling domain names below their market value turn into a $3.00 profit for every hosting reseller that joins their program.
- Resellers set the prices for web hosting plans and domain name registration that they will offer on their own.
- No minimum amount of sales or deposits of any kind are required.
- No programming or administrative skills are required. 9. A very simple turnkey solution with 15 templates, extremely easy to set up from the resellers control panel.
- An opportunity to use your own design (different from the 15 provided templates) by adding a few forms for domain search/registration and a web hosting order form.
- Free hosting for the web hosting stores of all resellers (only when templates from the provided turnkey solution are used). 12. Monthly payment of resellers’ commissions through PayPal. An opportunity to choose among three methods of payment: bank wire, check or PayPal. 13. Attractive pricing of the offered web hosting plans: $3.33/month for 400MB of disk space and 5GB of traffic, $6.66/month for 600MB of disk space and 10GB of traffic.
- Hostgator takes care of all billing expenses, which usually range between 7-10%. This means that the price of each plan is 7-10% lower than the price of a similar paid reseller hosting plan, where resellers have to take care about billing expenses themselves.
- A stable program. Hostgator is in this business for over a year now and they have been constantly advertising it through Google for the last 300 days. The acceptance of web hosting fees and payment of resellers’ monthly commissions through PayPal provides an additional guarantee.
- Although it is completely free, Hostgator reseller hosting solution does not provide the same freedom of usage as its paid alternatives. However, if resellers choose a paid reseller program, they have to take care for customer and web hosting system support themselves. 2. The lack of a phone number for customer is a serious disadvantage, which Hostgator strives to compensate through it extremely fast customer support and short problem resolution times. However, the lack of a support phone number is its primary disadvantage.
- The offered turnkey solution is innovative, but the templates are below the average level in terms of design. It also should be noted that the text of the templates is not optimized for search engines and cannot be edited by the resellers. On some pages of the templates, some texts seem out of place. 4. All resellers’ commissions are paid 30 days after the end of the billing period, which is one month. This payment delay is reasonable from a certain point of view, because we have been told by Hostgator that the reason for the delay is fraud protection.
- The price of the web hosting plans is very affordable, but the problem is that you have to prepay an account for 12 months. Monthly prices are advertised, but billing is done on an annual basis. There are no web hosting plans beside the yearly ones. We have been told by Hostgator that the new version of the program will have monthly billing. 6. Resellers cannot add DNSes of their own.
- Only two hosting plans are offered: 400MB of disk space with 5GB of traffic and 600MB of disk space with 10GB of traffic. There are no bigger or smaller plans to match the varying needs of potential web hosting customers. On one hand, this is a serious disadvantage, but on the other, it is a well-known fact that the smaller the choice offered on the index page, the more targeted market is reached and larger sales are generated. For instance, iPowerWeb is a proof of this fact. Hostgator told us that more plans will be added with the release of the new version of their free reseller system.