26 October 2017

Hosting business: how to start with selling domains and SSL certificates

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  1. What do I need for starters?
  2. Install and set up software
  3. Integration with distributors of domains and SSLs
  4. Add payment systems
  5. Set up document templates
  6. Website integration
  7. Draft-messages and mailing configuration
  8. Check your software

 

Start small. For the beginning, you can focus on reselling domains and SSL certificates. In this case, your goal is to find customers for the existing distributors and get your discounts and margins, i.e. to become a reseller. Use ISPsystem software to set up reselling of domains and SSLs swiftly and easily.

Please note: We recommend starting with developing your business model and solving legal matters as opposed to starting with the technical side. Estimate your primary audience and ways to bring them in and develop the pricing policy that would work for you and your clients. Learn more about the legal and accounting base. Once you feel versed with it, go to the technical realization.

What do I need for starters?

In order to become a reseller of domains and SSL certificates, you would need:

  1. a virtual server (VPS),

  2. agreements with distributors of domains and SSLs,

  3. agreements with payment systems,

  4. software to receive payments (billing),

  5. website to sell your services.

Rent your first VPS/VDS server from a hosting provider. The recommended specs and information about server preparation are described in documentation.

Then, sign agreements with a domain registrar (e.g. Enom or Tucows) and a payment system (PayPal would be enough for starters).

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Install and set up software

Install BILLmanager on your virtual server to resell domains and SSLs.

BILLmanager is the program for selling services and receiving payments. It has the free version which allows having up to 50 customers. Later, once your business has grown enough, you can upgrade to the commercial version. The free version includes all BILLmanager features. Upgrade to the commercial one can be done with one click right from the control panel.

Please find more details about the installation process in our documentation:

Read the license agreement after the installation and make the initial setup of the system: choose the interface language, fill in the company information, add your logo, etc.

Integration with distributors of domains and SSLs

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Use the credentials received from the domain and SSL distributors you have signed the agreements with to set up integrations. Normally, you need the URL for the access to API, the reseller code, and the API authorization key. Credentials can vary depending on the company.

After that, you can set up reselling in BILLmanager in menu “Integration” — “Processing modules”.

Read more in documentation:

Also, you can resell SSL certificates from ISPsystem. In this case, there is no need to deal with the registrar directly. Just choose BILLmanager 5 in section “Processing modules” and enter your credentials from my.ispsystem.com.

Add payment systems

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You need to add a few payment methods to BILLmanager so that your customers could pay for your services. The billing platform contains over 30 different payment modules: PayPal, wire transfer, credit cards and many others.

In order to be able to use the specific payment system, you and your customers would need to have accounts in this system. Therefore, we recommend choosing the most popular payment services. For integration, you’d need to enter data from the payment system, such as the wallet ID and the private key.

Clients will transfer money from their accounts to yours. Once received, the funds will be displayed in BILLmanager in your account area, as well as in account areas of your customers.

Systems like PayPal would be enough to receive payments from individuals. However, legal entities normally use wire transfer with invoices, so for them you would need to add the Wire Transfer method. Add your bank details in order to do it.

Set up document templates

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BILLmanager has the preinstalled document templates, such as invoices, agreements, appendixes, etc. You can edit them in accordance with your services.

You can create specific Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and publish them on your website in order to meet the applicable law requirements. Add links to these documents in “Settings” — “Brand settings” — “Copyright”. 

Draft-messages and mailing configuration

In order to receive emails from clients and be able to answer them, send notifications and mass emails from BILLmanager you need to configure your mail. The whole process is described in the following article:

BILLmanager has more than 60 templates for creating mass emails. A client receives emails after registration, ordering a service, generating an invoice. The billing will notify him when a paid period for the service ordered is about to end. It is also possible to configure templates for SMS and mass emails.

Website integration

Integration

You need to add public information about your services to be able to sell them. If you already have the website, represent your services there. Prepare images and tariff plan descriptions and generate links to tariff plans in BILLmanager with any required payment method. Once a user utilizes this link, he or she will get to the order page of the selected product.

Product and service cards

You can use Shop-window to add your tariffs to the website quickly. This tool allows you to add cards with your services to your website so that your customers could choose and order them. Prices in these cards will be updated automatically.

You need to add the special script to where you would like to have your card. You can find the script in our article: Integration of Shop-window in the existing website.

Branding

Customers might notice mismatches when going from your website to their BILLmanager account area: Website and billing have different UI, billing address has the IP-address of the server and differs from the website address.

In order to eliminate such discrepancies, set up your branding: add your logo, change colors, publish links to your website. Set up BILLmanager address so that its URL would correspond to the website address. E.g. CloudLite uses cloudlite.ru/en, while billing is myvds.cloudlite.ru.

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CloudLite website

 

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CloudLite account area based on BILLmanager

SSL certificate for website and account area

Add the SSL certificate so that web browsers and search engines would recognize your website as secure. The certificate protects connection between users and your website. You can add a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt or buy SSL from one of the certification authorities. Read about how to add a certificate to control panel address in our documentation.

Draft-messages and mailing configuration

In order to receive emails from clients and be able to answer them, send notifications and mass emails from BILLmanager you need to configure your mail. The whole process is described in the following article:

BILLmanager has more than 60 templates for creating mass emails. A client receives emails after registration, ordering a service, generating an invoice. The billing will notify him when a paid period for the service ordered is about to end. It is also possible to configure templates for SMS and mass emails.

Check your software

Try to register yourself from the website, enter the account area, order and buy any service as a client. If you have any questions, use our documentation or send the request to ISPsystem customer care.

Sell!

Think over how you would like to attract new customers. Tell your friends about your services and start advertising in the web. Read our article about Marketing automation in BILLmanager.

Advice: you can get materials for promos from your registrar. Normally, registrars provide images and texts in their partner program sections. For example, Reg.ru has such materials prepared here.

What’s next?

Once you have your domain and SSL reselling business up and running, you can continue with reseller hosting. E.g. you can join the reselling program of any hosting provider, like HostGator or GoDaddy. Later you can start your own shared or VPS hosting.