5 "Shared vs. Reseller Hosting" Differences: Which is Better?

Shared Vs Reseller Hosting

Shared vs. reseller hosting services can look surprisingly similar at first, as you’ve got one server being shared by multiple customers. However, reseller hosting enables you to take ownership of a larger slice of the computing resources and share the wealth with friends, family, or clients.

For those who always seem to get recruited to help folks start a website, make a little extra money on the side, or those looking to start a web hosting business, reseller is the way to go. Shared hosting, on the other hand, roughly follows a “one account, one site” approach with much more limited resources.

Rather than signing up friends and clients for shared hosting accounts billed by a plethora of providers, consider becoming a hosting reseller and managing each of the accounts yourself. More money for you, less headache for them — everybody wins! Deciding between shared or reseller hosting can get confusing, though, so let’s go over the key differences.

Shared Hosting vs. Reseller Hosting – Top Hosts for Each

Before diving into the nitty-gritty details of how shared and reseller hosting differ, let’s take a 30,000-foot view at the best hosting providers for each configuration. You can quickly notice some major differences right off the bat, such as cost and prominent features.

3 Best Shared Hosting Services

We’ve reviewed tons of shared hosting providers, both personally and in our day jobs at HostingAdvice.com. We advise prospective shared hosting customers to look for free domains, easy site-building options, and marketing incentives. And don’t underestimate the significance of support ratings and uptime guarantees! Without further ado, check out the top shared hosts:

1. Bluehost.com

Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price $2.95

  • Known for high-performance, low-cost hosting
  • FREE website builder with 1,000s of templates
  • Endorsed by the WordPress.org team as a top host
  • FREE SSL certificate and CDN acceleration
  • Usually $7.99/mo, but our visitors pay $2.95/mo
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

5.0 ★★★★★ Our Review

Bluehost: Our Expert's Review

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): Bluehost pricing is about as competitive as the industry offers. Sign up for a shared hosting plan for as little as $2.95 per month, and WordPress hosting packages are consistently priced; a VPS plan starts at around $18.99 per month; and the dedicated hosting rates are as little as $79.99 per month. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 50 GB SSD - unlimited FREE (1 year) 5 minutes

2. iPage.com

iPage review

Monthly Starting Price $1.99

  • An industry-leading host with competitive pricing
  • Attract visitors with FREE marketing credits
  • Lots of extras like SiteLock security
  • Start selling with FREE ecommerce tools
  • Get more than 75% off today! (usually $7.99/mo)
  • Get started on iPage now.

4.8 ★★★★★ Our Review

iPage: Our Expert's Review

PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): Whether you're a first-time website owner or a web veteran, iPage’s excellent hosting services and a fantastic list of extras make the brand one of the best values in web hosting. Unlimited disk space, scalable bandwidth, and emails are just a part of what makes iPage’s shared hosting plan a great deal. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days Unlimited FREE (1 year) 5 minutes

3. InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $2.29

  • High-quality hosting, no matter the format
  • FREE SSD storage packs 20x the performance
  • FREE SSL certificate and 24/7 support
  • 1-click installs for WordPress and popular CMSes
  • Get started with FREE website transfer service
  • Get started on InMotion Hosting now.

4.8 ★★★★★ Our Review

InMotion: Our Expert's Review

PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): InMotion Hosting offers an excellent business-class shared hosting plan. While carrying a higher price tag than some other cheap hosts, it has a very nice list of features to help justify the extra cost. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
90 days 100 GB SSD - unlimited FREE (1 year) 5 minutes

See more shared hosting plans »

3 Best Reseller Hosting Services

As we move along to the top reseller hosting providers, you may notice some familiar faces. We’ve found the best hosts overall boast a myriad of services, included shared, reseller, managed, and application-specific hosting.

As we conducted our comprehensive reviews, we assessed pricing, storage, management options, and monitoring features, as well as the reliability factor we emphasized for shared hosting customers. You can trust the hosts below to help you launch your own web hosting biz:

1. InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $15.99

  • SSD reseller hosting with FREE cPanel/WHM
  • Keep your reseller business organized with WHMCS
  • FREE dedicated IP and site backups
  • Tons of email features with IMAP and POP3 support
  • Manage your domains with a FREE Enom license
  • Get started on InMotion Hosting now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

InMotion: Our Expert's Review

PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): InMotion Hosting offers cPanel reseller hosting that’s affordable, easy to manage, and includes free SSDs. Become a domain reseller for popular gTLDs and TLDs with a free Enom license and WHMCS to manage your accounts. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
90 days 80 GB SSD - 260 GB SSD FREE (1 year) 5 minutes

2. A2Hosting.com

A2 Hosting review

Monthly Starting Price $24.99

  • Affordable reseller plans with luxury features
  • FREE Enom account to manage unlimited domains
  • Turbo Server configuration loads pages 20x faster
  • FREE SSDs, CDN, and choice of server location
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee and 24/7 monitoring
  • Get started on A2 Hosting now.

4.8 ★★★★★ Our Review

A2 Hosting: Our Expert's Review

Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): A2 Hosting provides some of the most appealing reseller hosting deals on the market. Enjoy free Enom, cPanel, and WHMCS accounts to get your business started, then leverage A2 Hosting’s impressive speed to impress your customers. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
30 days 60 GB SSD - 270 GB SSD New or Transfer 4 minutes

3. HostGator.com

HostGator review

Monthly Starting Price $19.95

  • Start a company with cPanel reseller hosting
  • Unlimited domains, emails, and MySQL databases
  • 99.9% uptime guarantee and 400+ tutorials
  • All web hosting reseller plans include WHMCS
  • FREE ResellerClub account for domains
  • Get started on HostGator now.

4.7 ★★★★★ Our Review

HostGator: Our Expert's Review

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): HostGator offers some of the industry’s best reseller hosting plans, with WHMCS included for your management purposes, as well as cPanel for your customers. You specify your reseller hosting customers’ packages, disk space, and bandwidth. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Setup Time
45 days 60 GB - 140 GB New or Transfer 4 minutes

See more reseller hosting plans »

Shared vs. Reseller Hosting: Who Uses Each

Shared hosting is ideal for individuals and business owners who simply need a means of getting their website online. Your host is in control of what resources are allocated to you, and you focus on your site design, email setup, and domain management.

Reseller hosting is great for freelance developers who want to host multiple client sites, serial startup owners who anticipate launching various projects, and/or technical entrepreneurs who want to take on web hosting as their next business venture. Once you purchase a select amount of bandwidth and server resources from a host, you can reallocate those resources to other clients or websites as you see fit. You get greater control over server settings and domains, and you get the added benefits of billing tools since you’re essentially running your own hosting business by reselling your host’s services.

Shared vs. Reseller Hosting: cPanel / WHM Control

Both shared and reseller hosting customers are typically given some sort of management panel. Typically, end users get cPanel (shared hosting), and resellers get WHM (reseller hosting).

cPanel dashboard screenshot

Most reputable web hosting providers will include a cPanel license in shared hosting plans.

A web hosting control panel, like cPanel, gives users access to management options for domains, email, FTP, SSH users/keys, databases, and backups, as well as some sort of application that lets you download and install other software such as WordPress or Magento.

The majority of hosts will offer a free cPanel license with shared hosting accounts, and this is more than enough to satisfy the typical shared hosting customer. Other popular control panels include Plesk, Webmin, and ISPmanager.

WHM dashboard screenshot

Reseller hosting customers can use cPanel & WHM to manage multiple accounts from one console.

Reseller hosting users get an upgraded flavor of cPanel: cPanel & WHM. The latter part of the name is short for Web Host Manager, and it functions as the billing and hosting account management portal for your hosting business. You can create, change, and manage reseller accounts and admin permissions; set up server alerts; assign custom features to or upgrade or downgrade specific hosting accounts; park domain names; generate and install SSL certificates; and limit bandwidth usage by your clients, among other capabilities.

Shared vs. Reseller Hosting: Number of Sites

For the most part, shared hosting users can host one website on a basic plan. Some hosts, such as InMotion, will allow you to host unlimited websites on a single account. Others will allow it, but at a premium rate, and some limit one website per account.

In case it wasn’t obvious, reseller hosting users can host more than one site. For the most part, you can reallocate resources however you see fit, so long as you don’t cause issues for your host such as I/O or CPU bottlenecking.

Resellers get the added perks of personal nameservers, which streamline the management intricacies of hosting multiple websites. A nameserver is a computer that translates domain names into IP addresses and vice versa. Without nameservers, you’d have to type in a 10-digit code to reach your favorite website. Domain names are much more memorable, and nameservers allow us to use them to navigate the web. Personal nameservers give you greater control over your domain and your clients’ domain names, which can become associated with your main domain, simplifying management a whole bunch.

Shared vs. Reseller Hosting: Performance / Security

Shared hosting comes with a central risk and reward. You’re sharing server resources, including bandwidth, storage, RAM — and the responsibility of all of your server neighbors’ sites. If one of their sites becomes compromised, your site is susceptible to the same fate.

That being said, shared hosting means there is a finite number of resources available to be dispersed between customers. Although shared hosts often promise unlimited or unmetered resources, that’s not technically true. Those hosts know, however, that most shared server customers won’t come anywhere near those limits, so it’s a nice marketing ploy. When you do start to outgrow the shared hosting environment, the best hosts are great about welcoming you into the worlds of VPS and dedicated hosting options.

Although shared hosting provides more than enough performance for the average site owner, and it is inherently safe, folks looking to host multiple websites would probably do better with a reseller hosting plan.

Shared vs. Reseller Hosting: Price

It should come as no surprise that the added server resources, control, and business opportunities that come with reseller hosting bump the price up a notch or two from the shared hosting ballpark. Shared hosting typically costs $2 to $5 per month — an impressively affordable rate given the number of features and amount of resources you can use for your site.

Because reseller hosting comes with the power to house and manage several websites on an upgraded server, it’s understandably more expensive. Reseller plans typically start around $15 to $20 per month. That being said, don’t forget that you can likely offset that cost by your monthly profits as a reseller of hosting services.

Is Shared or Reseller Web Hosting the Better Call for Your Project?

As is the case when purchasing any other hosting type, the decision to sign up for shared or reseller hosting entirely depends on how you intend to use it and how much control you require.

If it’s just you, your website, and your business, shared hosting will more than suffice. If you’re planning on running multiple sites, or if you have the fate of multiple businesses in your hands as a freelancer, reseller hosting is a worthwhile route to explore. Whichever path you choose, I hope it’s laden with growth and revenue opportunities — because no one takes the time to build an online business to be paid in hugs and happy thoughts, right?

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