Before we begin, I’d like to make two things clear. First of all, while I link to various web host affiliate programs below, none of the links are affiliate links themselves. Second, most of my information is second-hand; commissions can vary from month to month, and I haven’t used most of these programs myself. Take the information with a grain of salt – I certainly have – and test before you go all-in recommending any one web host for your primary income.
Web Host Affiliate Programs
Web hosting is a pretty prominent and lucrative affiliate niche, which makes it all the more surprising that it has remained as lucrative for as long as it has. The competition has caused various web hosts to pay some very nice commissions, since getting successful conversions is tough.
As with most affiliate programs, you do need an actual sale to earn a commission, and since web hosting packages are ongoing contracts, it means you have a tough job. People are going to be very careful about the web host they sign up for, because it’s something they’ll be stuck with for a long time, with quite a bit of hassle involved in changing from one to another.
Since web hosting packages at the low level tend to run anywhere from $3 to $10 per month, you might think commissions are pretty low. However, most web hosts assume a certain minimum length of the average contract – since they try to avoid turnover and cancellations at all costs – the “value” of a single customer can be much higher to them. High end packages are even more valuable to them. This means many affiliates are willing to pay commissions ranging from $50 to $200 per sale.
Shockingly good, right? When you’re used to Amazon-level commissions, where you’re getting 4% of a $3 product for your commission, having such a single large payday is impressive. The trick, of course, is getting enough people to sign up each month that you’re able to make a decent wage. $100 per commission is great, but not if you only make one sale per month.
This is why many of the best web hosting affiliate sites are comparison shopping sites. They list a dozen or so different web hosts, compare their vital stats and plans, and allow the user to choose which one they want to buy.
They don’t shill any one specific web host over any others unless there’s a special deal running. They want as many satisfied users as possible, to keep the web hosts happy, and keep the commissions rolling in.
You are, of course, free to set up any kind of affiliate site you want. I recommend doing your research into the offerings of various web hosts, so you can provide accurate information and reasonable reviews, even if you haven’t used the web host yourself. A compelling review is the foundation for a good affiliate sale, so it pays to be able to write something that sounds legitimate.
Well, that all aside, let’s start at the beginning. Here are a bunch of various web hosts, their commissions, and some basic impressions.
Commissions: $85-$140+ per sale.
A2 is not one of the big names in web hosts, but they’re certainly a viable option for affiliate marketers able to send a lot of referrals their way.
A2 runs on a sliding commission scale, based on the number of sales you refer to them each month. If you send in 1-10 sales, you get $85 per sale. If you send in 11-20 sales, it rises to $100 per sale. If you send in 21-30 sales, it’s $120 per sale, and if you send in over 31 sales, each sale is worth $140.
It’s worth noting that this is not a tiered system, it applies to every sale in the month retroactively. If you sell 30 sales in February, all 30 of those will be worth $120 each, for a total of $3,600 that month. If in March you sell 31, all 31 will be worth $140, for a total of $4,340 that month. This means it’s very worthwhile to hit certain higher tiers if you’re close, since it can boost your income significantly.
They also allow you to argue a higher commission with their affiliate manager directly. There are two reasons why I think you might be able to do this.
- You consistently refer high levels of sales, 50+ or 100+ per month. This will be difficult to achieve, but if you’re sending that many sales to them per month, they will probably be happy to increase the cost of your commissions.
- You’re specifically always referring high-end customers. If, for example, your niche is “high end business web hosting” you might expect to be selling mid-high tier packages rather than basic packages. This means the average value of a sale from your traffic is higher, so you may be able to argue a higher payment.
As for some perks of using this particular affiliate, they have real time stats reporting, a 90-day cookie to get you commissions on late sales, monthly payments, and they allow deep linking.
Commissions: $200+ per sale.
WP Engine is also not one of the bigger names in web hosting, but in this case it’s simply because they’re a more narrow, niche sort of web host. As the name implies, they’re specifically focused on WordPress hosting, with managed WP installs you’re still able to completely customize. You’re able to offload the hassle of using WordPress, without inviting disaster with not updating it and keeping security going.
The base level of WP Engine commissions is either $200 or 100% of the customer’s first monthly payment, whichever is higher. Since WP Engine offers enterprise-grade plans with some very, very nice perks, it’s entirely possible for that first commission to be thousands of dollars. The one caveat is they have to be a new customer. An existing customer signing up for a new plan, or a lapsed customer renewing, won’t count for your commission.
To offset this steeper restriction, there are three primary benefits to using WP Engine’s affiliate program.
- Since they’re focused specifically on WordPress hosting, you have a narrower niche and a more focused sell, which can allow you to target and convert customers in a narrowly focused manner.
- They’re based on the ShareASale tracking software, and their cookies last for 180 days, so you have a full six months for the customer to make their purchase after they’ve clicked your link.
- They allow you to refer other people to their affiliate program, at which point you earn $50 for each sale they refer. This means you can set up an affiliate’s affiliate and recommend their program and make money that way. It’s not as lucrative as direct sales – you earn $50 regardless of whether the direct affiliate gets the $200 or the $1,000 – but it’s a nice bonus for when you refer marketers as well as customers.
Overall, WP Engine is one of the potentially best affiliate programs in the world. However, you really need to be able to convert customers, particularly high-end high-price customers, if you want to earn the huge commissions. $200 per commission is nice, but you’ll always feel a little disappointed if it isn’t more, since you know it could be more.
Commissions: $160-$1,000+ per sale.
Liquid Web is a premium-level, high tier web host. Their cheapest basic plan is $60 per month, but that’s not generally what you’re going to be selling. Instead, you’ll be focused on their more premium offerings.
Liquid Web is one of the few web hosts to specifically set up managed hosting in certain categories. Like WP Engine, they have managed WordPress hosting. They have enterprise-level hosting, which is their primary focus, with quality over quantity as their driving force. They also have specific HIPAA hosting for healthcare portals, doctor’s offices, and other medical fields.
Liquid Web has three different partner programs. The first one is their basic affiliate program, which gives you a one-time commission on each sale, residual commissions when someone purchases a dedicated server rack for their site, and the option of working through either CJ Affiliate or Impact Radius to manage everything. If you’re working in multiple affiliate niches with numerous sites, CJ is an excellent option. Impact Radius, meanwhile, is their in-house platform.
The second partner program is a reseller program, where you are able to make yourself a web host and sell “your” web hosting space to customers for a markup, discount, or whatever you want. They offer tiered discounts so you’re not just trying to sell their product for more than they are, which is a tough sell regardless. They do all the server support, you just do the sales. Plus, since you’re a reseller, you get monthly billing and can set prices and discounts on your own, which means residual income.
The third partner relationship is a “solutions partner” which is basically a commissioned salesman role. They do the server support, they do the billing, they serve the clients, and you just sell. This is, however, focused on volume and working with business-class clients, not individual affiliates.
Commissions: $25+10% recurring per sale.
Cloudways is not what you might typically think of as a high paying affiliate, but the reason I list them is specifically because of their recurring commission. Every package has a $25 commission for the month of the sale, and they all have an additional 10% per month of the price of the package the user buys. Given the different plans they have, this ranges from 70 cents per month to $71.50 per month, per customer.
I wouldn’t even consider this a high paying affiliate, but web host customers tend to be somewhat sticky, so you rack up enough commissions and in a few years time you can be pulling in thousands of dollars a month without selling a single new commission. It takes a lot of build-up, but it’s possible.
Commissions: $30-$120 per sale.
DreamHost is one of the more common affiliate programs, and as such there’s a lot of competition, but also a lot of name recognition. You aren’t necessarily going to do well selling nothing but DreamHost unless you have a community to pander to, and all the big communities already have a couple of DH shills already. Their commission structure is a little tricky, too.
First of all, they have different commissions for regular hosting and for managed WordPress hosting. Regular hosting is the mediocre $30 per sale, and managed WordPress hosting gets you $50 per sale. However, if the user pays annually rather than monthly, the commission jumps up. For regular hosting at an annual level, you get a $100 commission, and for managed WordPress hosting you jump up to $120 per sale.
The fact that they give a bonus for annual purchases implies to me that they have a high turnover rate and low customer satisfaction, though nothing really supports that in the web host reviews I’ve seen. They’re pretty standard, all things considered. The primary benefit of using DreamHost over one of these other affiliate programs is that the name recognition will help you sell packages.
Commissions: $105-$150 per sale.
While another small web host, iPage has some pretty decent commissions. The commissions are for new signups and vary depending on the services sold. Shared and VPS hosting earn you a commission of $105.
Managed WordPress hosting gets you a bit more, at $120. Additionally, if you managed to sell the customer on a dedicated server package, the commission is $150. Unfortunately, I don’t know much more, and their help center article on affiliate FAQs is broken. The link on their main page is broken, the actual help center page here lists a variable rather than the brand name, and a few other clues make me question whether or not iPage themselves are a reseller for another web host. If that’s the case, you might be better off tracking down that top-tier seller and using their affiliate program instead.
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