Edit: This became such a popular article, that I decided to create a completely free mini-course, talking about how I do it. You can watch that here, if you’d like, instead of reading.
Edit 2 – 10/25/22: Since this article was written (over 2.5 years ago), this side hustle has increased from $700/mo to $3,700 per month in pure passive income.
My first true love always has been, and most likely always will be IT. My second true love is personal finance, and investing. So why not combine the two of them together?
Over the last three years, I’ve casually begun a web hosting business, hosting website for small to medium-sized businesses all around the country. While it’s not an earth-shattering amount of money, it’s been a great source of mostly-passive income and nets me around $700/month on average. And to tell you the truth, it’s been pretty easy to do.
While you don’t have to be a tech-person, it 100% helps if you have a basic understanding of servers, DNS, and how everything is connected together if you’re wanting to do this.
I often find it frustrating when I read through those articles that say, “21 Ways to Earn Passive Income Today”. Each and every time I scroll through them, I keep hoping and wishing that something new will emerge. Some completely new, different idea that’s never been addressed before that I can finally tap into and make my millions, and retire into the sunset.
Yet every time, I’m disappointed by the constant repetition of ideas saying that all I need to do is begin “writing an e-book” or “start a shopify store.”
This idea of reseller web hosting for clients, I have yet to find on any of the aforementioned blog posts, and so hopefully, you can find this beneficial.
Everyone has heard of the companies like Hostgator or BlueHost, right? If you need a website, these are likely some of the first places you go. How would you like to start your own hosting company, and make the income every month rather than giving it to companies like these?
Here’s the best part. You can charge WHATEVER (I mean, within reason, of course) you want. BlueHost is really cheap. I think they start as low as like…$4/month? But when you’re calling the shots, you can charge people whatever you want.
Let me break this down. I rent a server from a company (I use A2 Hosting and have been really happy with them) for a flat rate. My server costs $35/month. From there, I can host as many websites as I want for other people. I handle all the billing, and I charge most clients anywhere from $15 – $50/month.
With just one single client, I pay for my entire server rental for the month, and then anything above and beyond that is money in my pocket.
This is really just like having a rental property on the internet. But it’s even easier, because you don’t have evictions, nobody can damage your property (your server), you never have to fix a leak at 2am, and there’s never a clogged toilet.
If you don’t believe me, here’s a snapshot of my PayPal for the last month showing all my payments.
I try to get most of my clients to pay through PayPal, but some prefer Venmo, and others like to pay for an entire year at a time, so that won’t show up here.
But like I said, this makes me right around $700/month, completely passively, and it’s growing each and every month.
If you just want to get straight to the point and get started building your own web hosting company, I rent my server from A2 Hosting. You’re going to want to sign up for something called a “Reseller Account”.
Looking behind the scenes at my control panel, you can see that at the time of this writing, I have 48 different websites on my server that I host for people.
I host websites for small businesses, medium businesses, personal blogs, pretty much anyone who needs a website. I’ve got construction companies on here, I’ve got a hair salon, a solar energy company in California, really anyone that needs a website, I’m willing to host it.
From every one of these websites that you see listed here, I get a payment each and every month. It’s automatic, and I really don’t have to do that much work to maintain it.
Can you do this without a technical background?
So let’s say this is something that you want to do. You’re ready to make some easy side income, but you’re not very technical. Can you still do this?
YES! It’s so easy. The reason for that, is because you don’t have to really know anything. You don’t have to be good at building websites.
The reason is because you’re not actually going to be building the sites. All you do is provide the server that the site is run on, and then you put all the hard work on the client.
Let’s say I have someone who wants a website. You log into your server, create a new account, fill out a few forms, and then click on the “Create Account” button.
The account will be created, you then click another three buttons to install WordPress, and then from there, it’s smooth sailing. You turn the username and password over to your client, and they do the rest.
Remember, we’re in the business of hosting, not building websites.
Why would someone come to me over a company like BlueHost or Hostgator?
I think most people don’t realize that there’s even an alternative. They think you HAVE to go to one of these big-name companies. But if you tell people that you can host their website for them, it’s easy money.
How do you find new clients?
My first 20-ish clients, or so, I found all by word-of-mouth. As I was passing people, I’d casually hear them say, “Oh, I just started a new business.” I’d talk to them and ask if they needed a website as well.
Or other times, I’d reach out to small companies and businesses around where I live, who either A) already had a website but it looked awful, or B) didn’t have a website at all.
As time has gone on, I’ve gotten smarter with how I find my clients.
I teamed up with a Digital Marketing company. They build websites for people, manage SEO, ads, the whole shebang. I told them that I would be willing to host ALL of their client websites and split commissions with them 50/50.
And they were happy to do it!
So I’ll get 2-3 calls a month, they’ll say, “Hey, we have a new client.” I take 5 minutes to set up the website, and then they take care of the rest.
How much work is involved to do this?
It’s very minimal.
It takes me about 5-10 minutes to set up a new website for a client.
And then really, truly, I don’t spend anymore than an hour per month managing ALL of my websites. It’s pretty easy.
I think the biggest thing is ensuring that your server is hosted with a good, solid, reputable company that isn’t going to go down very often, if ever. The last thing I want is to have my clients websites go down, and then have 50 of them calling me with issues. I’ve never had a single problem with A2 Hosting, and I’ve been really happy with the speed that their servers provide my clients.
Do you need to have technical background to do this?
Is it required? No. Does it help? Sure.
Most everything you do is using the web interface. And everything is really easy to do.
So, for example, say I want to set up an e-mail account for someone.
I click on “email”. And then create the account.
Say I need to backup someone’s website. You would click on “Backup”. It’s really easy.
And for anything else you don’t want to know how to do, you can talk to support and they’ll walk you through it.
It’s not for everyone. Not everyone wants to be on the hook for providing such a critical service to businesses. That might stress a lot of people out. But for me, it’s easy money. One of my goals over the next year is to really ramp this up, and with the help of the Digital Marketing company, I think that could happen pretty quickly.
I’m currently at $700/month, but I would really love to get this to $3,000-$4,000 to help supplement my other side hustles, and eventually quit my 9-5 job entirely.
If you have questions, feel free to ask them below, and I’ll do my best to answer.
Thanks for reading!