The term Reseller according to the dictionary means to sell again i.e. to sell a product or service to the public or to an end user, especially as an authorized dealer, while making sure that you make a profit on the sale.
Reseller hosting is no different either, a reseller buys a Web hosting package from a hosting company and tries to sell it independently. The profit for the reseller lies in either the discount or in the commission s/he gets from selling an account.
You can get some money by earning commissions from a hosting company. This happens when you refer potential customers to the hosting company. If the customer signs up with the company then you earn a small recurring commission until the customer uses the services.
Most web hosting companies try to outsource their services to resellers as it helps them to extend their business reach without the cost of marketing and sales and also helps them to concentrate on the business side of things.
What can be resold?
As a reseller you can decide what kinds of services you can sell. You can provide shared, dedicated or co-location web hosting or merchant accounts, store fronts etc.
If you go with hosting then it might be useful to offer some other hosting related services like domain names, search engines etc.
Of course, if you have problems selling these value added services in the beginning then you can sell them later.
The cost and resources involved
If you just plan to earn commission by referring people to the hosting company by using the Internet, then you do not have to put up a lot of money, all you need is an Internet ready PC and an Internet connection.
It is advisable to start small if you are very new to the concept of web hosting and reselling. Then you can expand as you go on and start getting more and more customers in which case offering domain registration is also a very good way to make profits.
Tips for marketing yourself
If you are starting out on a small scale then visiting message boards and posting your services there is a good idea. A lot of potential clientele with relatively small hosting needs also frequent message boards and outline their desired services.
Having contests is a great idea for bringing awareness and interest about your services.
Online ad campaigns, signatures, and text links are very helpful techniques.
Once you have gotten a bigger budget then you can go for Google ad words or PPC search engines.
The best strategy is to try out various combinations of these approaches and work out the best one for your needs.