cPanel Reseller Hosting
The cPanel reseller hosting model works by slicing cPanel-based server(s) into predefined reseller packages, which are later sold as individual reseller accounts. Each single cPanel-based reseller hosting account is powered by the WebHost Manager (WHM) admin tool. WHM is the place where the reseller creates the shared web hosting packages sold under his own brand. Here are the usual steps a regular cPanel hosting reseller has to go through:
1. Choose a billing/invoicing software platform
In order to collect money from their customers, the resellers need to add a billing system connected with the cPanel/WHM module. The most popular billing solutions for cPanel and WHM are ModernBill, WHMCS, ClientExec and AWBS.
2. Open a merchant account
A merchant account for credit/debit card payments is required. Preferably issued by a bank (Bank of America, HSBC, Barclays, etc.) or some kind of a billing processor (PayPal, WorldPay, 2CheckOut, etc.). Without the merchant account, the reseller will not be able to collect any credit/debit card payments from his hosting customers. This merchant account needs to be set up inside the chosen billing system by the enthusiastic reseller.
3. Open a domain reseller account
If you are about to offer domain name registration and transfer services to your customers, you have to open a domain reseller account with some domain registrar and to link it inside the billing software.
4. Create the shared hosting packages
The cPanel-based reseller hosting business model allows the reseller to resell shared web hosting accounts only. Using the WHM tool, the wholesale hosting resources have to be sliced into smaller packages.
5. Set the prices for the shared hosting accounts
Now is the time for the reseller to set the prices for the offered shared web hosting packages. While doing this, it's good to pay good attention to the fact that inside the billing system (which is separate from cPanel and WHM, i.e. a third login location for the reseller so far and second for the customers) the customers will be able to view their invoices (due or paid) and the previous transactions made, i.e. this is the Billing Manager for the ecstatic cPanel hosting customers as well. cPanel has about 150 sections inside (the customer has to learn quick), but does not offer any Billing or Invoice Manager. Can you imagine that?
6. Set the prices for the domain names
The client interface offered by cPanel also does not support very important domain manipulations, such as registrations, transfers, renewals, parking, DNS registrations, DNS record changes, etc. So, this billing system is also offering a place for the enthusiastic cPanel hosting customers where they can perform some (yet, not all) of the aforementioned vital domain management and manipulation activities. So, now is the time for the reseller to choose which Top-Level Domains (TLDs) are going to be offered and to set their respectful registration, transfer and renewal prices.
7. Add a trouble ticket system
Another thing that lacks in the client interface offered by cPanel is a customer support section (a trouble ticket system). Based on the billing software the reseller has picked already, a ticket system is either present or not. If it is not included, the reseller has to find a trouble ticket system and to install it somewhere. Somehow the shared hosting customers should be aware of its existence.
8. Connect the order wizard with the website
Finally, now is the time for the reseller hosting website itself. There the shared hosting packages and domain names can be purchased by the potential customers. The whole site must work in perfect harmony with the billing software. This means, within the website, the order wizards and the order pages have to be linked properly.
Let's summarize the login locations available with the cPanel-based hosting reseller solutions. There are minimum two and maximum four places to log in to, which can be very confusing for the resellers and especially for the customers.
For the reseller the login locations are:
(1) cPanel (for the reseller website); (2) WHM; (3) the billing system; (4) the support system (this is in case the billing system does not already include it - some do, others don't).
Login places for the ecstatic cPanel hosting customers:
(1) cPanel; (2) the billing system; (3) eventually the customer support system.