cPanel & WHMCS Partnership to Provide The Most Complete Web Hosting Billing and Control Panel Solution On The Market
cPanel & WHM (WebHost Manager) is a control panel for the Linux operating system, allowing hosts, resellers, and end-users to work with their hosting accounts through a web-based browser. WHMCS (WebHost Manager Complete Solution) is a system that turbo-charges the provisioning of new accounts, client management, billing and support.
But while these two key-players of the web hosting world are often used together by millions of users worldwide, their distinct, separate nature previously forced hosts to use both tools separately to manage a single account. This adds to the administrative workload within a web hosting company, increasing expenses and affects the company’s ability to deliver fast and responsive customer service.
These two web hosting industry leaders are coming together. With the goal of creating a more integrated solution for web hosting providers, cPanel, Inc., and WHMCS Ltd. have recently announced a new partnership to deliver a more cohesive solution that includes both control panel functionality and billing.
What’s behind the decision to introduce an existing billing system into the cPanel & WHM experience rather than building your own?
For some time, a much-needed component for cPanel & WHM was an e-commerce solution to automate billing, account creation, and so on. Aaron Phillips, Vice President of Operations at cPanel, Inc. said, “The company began reviewing options about 18 months ago, discussing the idea of building a new product, pursuing potential acquisitions, or allowing pre-existing products to fill the gap. While cPanel Inc., has the resources and expertise to develop a new billing and support product from the ground-up, the feature set of WHMCS is so exhaustive, cPanel saw no benefit to investing in developing new software.”
Will cPanel & WHM continue to support other billing solutions?
Yes. While WHMCS is now cPanel’s preferred billing solution, cPanel, Inc., is committed to supporting alternative solutions. The cPanel team will continue to work closely with other billing system providers, helping them to deliver the best possible solution for their customers.
Will WHMCS continue to support other automation software?
Absolutely. While cPanel & WHM is now WHMCS’s preferred control panel, the WHMCS team will continue to support integration with a wide range of control panels same as always. And with the help of cPanel's resources and expertise, users of other control panels will benefit from the enhanced input and collaboration of the two companies, regardless of platform.
Give us some background on WHMCS, how it all got started and the benefits to cPanel customers.
Like cPanel, WHMCS was originally developed to fill a specific gap in the tools available to web hosting providers and web hosting resellers.
It was a natural progression from web design and development to hosting. Matt Pugh, CEO at WHMCS, began to look into hosting and, as his business grew, he went from a small reseller hosting plan to a virtual private server (VPS), then to a dedicated server, and then to several servers. He found more and more that he was being limited by the automation software that existed at the time, spending needless hours working with customer accounts. Matt wanted something that combined billing and support, but there seemed to be nothing that met his needs … so he wrote his own. WHMCS was born.
Using hands-on experience with existing automation software, Matt was able to quickly identify the features that would most benefit the web hosting industry. After the initial launch of WHMCS, he also considered the requests of other users to expand the functionality of the software and offer even more value to hosting providers.
With a combination of competitive pricing and very active development based on user requests, the WHMCS user base quickly started growing. WHMCS have kept their company very developer-friendly, so that it’s easy to customize and extend. In addition to the core features the company provides, a thriving community of developers has formed to offer great additional resources for its users.
Today, WHMCS includes automated account provisioning, domain management, email functionality, multi-currency billing, and order management. These features are offered with a full technical support system built-in including ticketed support, service announcements, and a hierarchical knowledge base tool.
WHMCS’s expansion, along with the new partnership with cPanel will help them to deliver more of what hosting companies want, need, and expect from their automation systems.
Will the partnership cause changes to the management at WHMCS?
Matt Pugh will remain the CEO and lead developer at WHMCS. The company will still operate independently and keep the same structure. WHMCS is still expanding its team in the UK, with Matt handling that process.
When will the integration process begin?
The integration process has already begun. cPanel’s integration team has begun working with WHMCS to clearly define the process and timeline. Once more information is available, updates will be communicated on both companies’ websites.
Will the two companies merge development efforts?
Under the new agreement, cPanel, Inc., will now have a financial stake in WHMCS Ltd. This strategy gives WHMCS Ltd. access to cPanel, Inc.’s vast business resources, and allows both companies to benefit from shared expertise under a “brain trust” model.
It’s clear how this relationship will add value and benefit the web hosting providers. How has the business relationship been working out?
Both companies share the same commitment to its product and ongoing, top-notch levels of support. WHMCS is one of the most respected names in the web hosting industry, but what the company didn’t know was just how closely its history mirrored that of cPanel. Both companies have taken this step to create a new partnership between the two brands based on both the quality of the application and the similarities in the goals and motivations of cPanel and WHMCS.
Both companies enjoy healthy market share and loyal relationships with some of the most prominent players in the industry. How does the partnership between WHMCS Ltd. and cPanel, Inc. have an impact on them?
Because of the striking similarities between the histories of these two companies, a partnership between cPanel, Inc., and WHMCS Ltd. enables two individual providers to work collaboratively toward a common goal. Both companies have similar business priorities and ethics, helping to ensure that the strategic partnership works in the interests of both parties and their customers.
With this new agreement, web hosting providers and hosting resellers can benefit from a unified approach, in addition to different resources and areas of expertise.
As a result, customers can enjoy tighter integration and an optimized exchange of information between the two individual platforms. Matt feels that this improved integration will eliminate one of the major challenges faced by his organization.
One of the main challenges WHMCS encounters relates to third parties and integrations. WHMCS is used in conjunction with a wide variety of control panels and other hosting related services, and updates or changes to those can lead to unexpected incompatibilities and problems. While WHMCS remains an independent company from cPanel, Inc., and their integration with other control panels is not changing or becoming any less important, the vast majority of its user base already use WHMCS in conjunction with cPanel & WHM. And those customers will be able to rely & depend on WHMCS more than ever following this new joining of forces.
Once integration is complete, will cPanel customers, including PartnerNOCs and Distributors, be able to leverage the cPanel licensing system to purchase WHMCS licenses via manage2 or the cPanel Store, similar to CloudLinux?
Both license systems have full API's, and both WHMCS and cPanel will be reaching out to Partners and customers to see how they would like this to work. While WHMCS and cPanel are two unique companies, the overall intent of this partnership is to work together to simplify the process and increase efficiencies any way possible.
Does this partnership mean cPanel will provide direct support to WHMCS customers?
No, WHMCS has a dedicated support team and will continue to provide expert sales, business and technical support for their product from the newly setup office in the UK.
Is cPanel looking to purchase any other third-party addons or announce any upcoming partnerships?
Attracta and WHMCS are both large-scale projects for 2012. Rigorous testing is required to ensure that partnerships and integrations meet our standards in programming, security, and testing functionality. cPanel Inc. is highly selective with its product diversification strategy, in order to continue to deliver the highest level of user satisfaction. As a result of these new integrations, cPanel will likely not make resources available for new integrations before 2013.
How will this partnership impact growth for both organizations and the web hosting industry?
The new relationship between cPanel, Inc., and WHMCS Ltd. allows both companies to work collaboratively toward new expansion of the WHMCS platform and its integration with cPanel. Until now, adding new features to WHMCS was largely dependent on how easily data could be sent to and from control panel software. For features to work correctly, WHMCS had to work toward compatibility with control panels, without direct support from their developers.
Now, as cPanel’s preferred billing and support system, WHMCS Ltd. can actively discuss development paths with cPanel, Inc., for additional assistance. This means the WHMCS team can finally realize even their most ambitious goals.
cPanel, Inc., has a strong management team and technical expertise. The company can apply this knowledge to help WHMCS with operations, development efficiencies, and expansion efforts in many areas. For both companies, this is a win-win situation. Together, both companies have the opportunity to build a stronger market share by giving customers the integrated tools they need to maximize their productivity and streamline their workflows.
With its newly setup office in the UK, local staff, and the help of cPanel, Inc., WHMCS hopes to be able to ramp up development. They can expand to cover new features, improve the quality control of its releases, and generally create the all-round most complete solution on the market.