Do I need to file a DBA or other business form to offer web services and sell web space?
Question Details: I live in MI but recently I have acquired some servers at datacenters in NY and TX. I would like to rent out server usage and web space for others to host their content and websites while complying with local, state and federal law. Am I required to file as a DBA or other entity through my state or county clerk in order to do this? Would this allow me to do business with people living in other states and possibly another country?
You want to set up an LLC or limited liability company to protect yourself, your personal assets (e.g. house, car, money in the bank) and any income you get from other sources in the event there is a lawsuit or debt against the business (such as if you lose someone's valuable data; or violate terms of service or a contact; or sign a lease, IT service contract, etc. or take out a loan and can't pay what you are supposed to). An LLC provides strong protection (not perfect--no protection is perfect) for you from business-related debts and obligations.)
If you set up an LLC, you can provide services not just in your own state but also to other states and even countries. Depending on how much business you do with other locations, you might have to also register the LLC as a "foreign" LLC doing business in that place, but that is easy and straightforward: you'd check the rules of any jurisdictions in which you are doing signfican business.