Of course you can trust me with your website, I'm a proctologist!
March 20, 2010 1:48 PM   Subscribe

I've recently opened a reseller account with a web host and taken over the hosting of a friend's website. There was a lot of trouble transferring accounts and data, and I've realised that I don't really have a clue what I'm doing. Please recommend some good on-line resources to help me learn how to effectively manage the hosting of websites.

The reseller account is with Jumba.
posted by doost to Technology (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not to snark, but have you really thought this through?
posted by dance at 3:33 PM on March 20, 2010


What questions do you have that aren't answered by the support resources on the Jumba site? It's hard to give you any kind of recommendation without knowing exactly what you're having issues with.

I work for a small web hosting company, and to be honest, our users who have reseller accounts are generally some of our most technically savvy customers. We rarely hear from them for support issues. If you're trying to offer your services as a hosting reseller without being very familiar with how web hosting or web sites work, you're in for an uphill battle. You can certainly win the battle, but the learning curve might be pretty steep.
posted by ralan at 6:35 PM on March 20, 2010


What control panel are you using? That would help us to point you to more specific resources to use.
posted by anonop at 7:46 PM on March 20, 2010


Looks like Jumba uses cPanel. Here's a good set of tutorials.
posted by anonop at 7:49 PM on March 20, 2010


Beyond the initial files-and-database transfer, I'm not sure what other problems you anticipate that cannot be handled or assisted by your host's support team.

Then again, you don't give us any background on your experience with...anything. Are you really a proctologist...?

Set up your own website using a portion of your own reseller allocation. Spend half a day going through cpanel, just enough to learn what things do.

I think you probably don't need to think it through as much as you think you do. Reseller hosting really isn't going to cause you support headaches most of the time. You might just have the nerves going because you are picturing this as some big business opportunity that you haven't the right to be a part of.

If you think it may become messy, maybe decide upon a cutoff point where you talk to your friend/client and either suggest a different hosting plan or tell them they'll need to pay for support.
posted by circular at 10:23 PM on March 20, 2010


dance - Heh. Obviously not!

ralan - yes, I realised after the fact about the steep learning curve. Fortunately the client in the question is my love-buddy, and pretty forgiving.

anonop - Thanks for that link. Very useful.

circular - I've been using playing with websites for a few years and have a general lay person's skill with cPanel. I could be overthinking it, thanks for the upbeat response.

I took the reseller account for economic reasons (combining hosting of my partners current and planned websites and my own); plus a number of friends have been asking for websites and I'm the only gay boy in the village web-savvy person in our district with style (there is another web dude but he thinks flashing gifs and rotating pictures of himself on his clients' websites are the epitome of web finesse). I really just want to host other accounts to cover my own and partners' hosting expenses as well as take on the small business websites of neighbours and friends. A lot of them are being ripped off by people who charge a fortune for doing nothing and it annoys me. I don't want to be a big fish in this tiny pond of my disctrict but I do want to make sure my friends aren't eaten by sharks.

So with that information and a definite expression of wanting to learn how the whole hosting thing, WHM, cPanel etc work, I'd appreciate more links to resources.
posted by doost at 3:50 AM on March 21, 2010


You might want to read up on How DNS works.

Other things you could play with:

Install Wordpress somewhere on your hosting. This will make sure you know how to create a database and wire everything up. Pretend you are a customer, give yourself a separate account, make sure the customer can connect to the database, ftp to their account and use their Wordpress install. Can the customer change their own password?

Install Apache on your local machine. Read the manuals and play around with it. On your reseller account you shouldn't have to play with config files, because you have a panel, but if you understand what's going on underneath that will help. Plus, if there's something you can't do with the panel, you will have a clue how to sort it out using a config file.

If you don't have local copies of whois, nslookup and traceroute, find some and learn how to use them. For example, ping your friend's domain to get an IP address, and use nslookup to do a reverse DNS lookup to see who's hosting it. whois your friend's domain and see what its DNS servers are. Use nslookup to examine all the DNS records at those servers. Play this until you fully understand why my browser could find your friend's website on your server, and how I could email them and have my email end up on the correct mail server.

Finally: If your "troubles" were with moving a Wordpress install or something similar, that's not only because you don't know what you're doing, that's also because moving Wordpress is a pain in the arse.
posted by emilyw at 4:01 AM on March 21, 2010


emilyw - bing! yes it was a Wordpress site. It seems sorted now after to-ing and fro-ing with the support folk (who were helpful). Your comment about installing Apache is very interesting as I have absolutely no idea what that is, besides seeing it around attatched to icons or something. Thanks for the other pointers of things to learn. This is very helpful.
posted by doost at 4:30 AM on March 21, 2010


circular - forgot to mention, no I'm not a proctologist (oh if Second Life were only real!) but I thought the analogy apt as I admit to knowing shit-all about web hosting.
posted by doost at 4:47 AM on March 21, 2010


Apache is a web server.

That means, for example, that when someone connects to the server and does a HTTP GET request, like "GET http://doost.com/pics/hippo.gif", it's Apache that says

- hmm, doost.com, yes that's a website I'm supposed to be looking after
- all the files for doost.com are configured to live at the file path /home/doost/doost.com/
- hippo.gif is configured to be served using the mime type image/gif
- so let's send back a response with the right headers (including the mime type one) followed by the contents of /home/doost/doost.com/images/hippo.gif

Another suggestion: go and read about the HTTP protocol, then install putty, connect to port 80 on your server and have a go at speaking HTTP to it.
posted by emilyw at 5:01 AM on March 21, 2010


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