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Ugly "Trial Version" Banner

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by markb14391, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. markb14391

    markb14391 Well-Known Member

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    For people using trial versions, is it really necessary for that ugly "Trial Version" warning banner to appear in WHM and in all users' cPanel screens? I happen to be at a VPS data center that offers preconfigured cPanel images that come with a trial license. So of course I'm going to take advantage of that. Is it really necessary to let my hosting customers know that I'm running a trial license? cPanel is supposed to help hosting companies, not hurt them. And this definitely hurts our image by making customers think we're trying to pull something.

    Please remove this ugly banner that doesn't do anyone any good.
     
  2. madaboutlinux

    madaboutlinux Well-Known Member

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    Well, I would second "markb14391" here. If the trial version is eventually going to expire in 15 (or 45 days) and the control panel stops working, the "Trail Version" banner is not necessary. It doesn't look good from a hosting company point of view.
     
  3. markb14391

    markb14391 Well-Known Member

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    The banner also confuses end users. They are just paying for web hosting, yet the banner tells them, "You will need to upgrade to a paid copy of cPanel / WHM to continue using the software after that term."

    Since the end users aren't the ones who license the software for the web server, why are they being shown this? I already have clients asking why they are going to have to pay for software in addition to hosting.

    This is a very bad thing.
     
  4. Infopro

    Infopro cPanel Sr. Product Evangelist
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    Silly question time, why are you hosting customers on a trial version of cPanel in the first place?
     
    cPanelDon likes this.
  5. verdon

    verdon Well-Known Member

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    That's what I was trying to make sense of too.. maybe it's a joke?
     
  6. GrahamM

    GrahamM Registered

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    Well,

    If you get a second server, it is always cool to have the 45 days free. A server is already a few bucks, and a month's free cP won't hurt. :)

    I hate the banner too :P
     
  7. markb14391

    markb14391 Well-Known Member

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    I explained that in my original post. I have switched to a VPS provider that offers preconfigured cPanel images that include a trial license (45 days). Of course I'm going to take advantage of it.

    The banner is absurd. As long as my license is obtained legitimately, which it is, my customers should not be bothered with any details about the license status...especially details which make them think that they are responsible for licensing software.
     
  8. Mario-cPanel

    Mario-cPanel Administrator
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    cPanel provides trial based licenses to test the utilization of our software.
    Software trial provide customers with the ability to try before they buy.

    The system was not designed to provide "free" periods of software usage for those that are deploying production based hosting solution. Server owners, Partner NOC's, and VPS License holders that are utilizing this incorrectly should be aware that they are potentially violating agreements and should be in direct contact with cPanel.
     
  9. markb14391

    markb14391 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Mario,

    Valid point. However, I think there are some gray areas here, and some other valid points:

    First, there has to be a reason that some data centers offer 45-day trials instead of the usual 15-day test license. I'm assuming that these data centers have paid more to cPanel for this privilege.

    Second, I don't think the data centers are deliberately skirting any license requirements. I think the intent is for them to offer people a test drive of their whole VPS environment, including cPanel, for long enough to see if it is reliable.

    Third, I don't think that a test period necessarily ends when a server goes into live production. It's not always possible to test properly without live sites and real-world situations. So we usually do preliminary testing, then go live with clients...but watch everything like a hawk and address any issues. In our current case, we have live clients on a VPS, and we have their sites mirrored on a VPS with another provider, with synchronized DNS servers in both locations in case we need to send traffic to the other side. So this is a case in which we are still in test mode but with live clients (and the appropriate safeguards).

    Fourth (and not meaning to sound rude here, but...) cPanel has not been the most reliable solution for us lately. Each new update seems to break something, for example we have multiple servers suffering from broken httpd with 11.25, which I've just been told is a known issue. So, if you're going to enforce test licenses strictly with no gray area (e.g., if you have live sites at all, you can't use a test license), then you should start issuing refunds for downtime caused by known cPanel issues. Frankly, even with the Release tree, we often feel as if we're cPanel beta testers.

    Fifth, no matter what, end users should not be bothered with these details, IMHO. They especially shouldn't be shown a message saying that they need to license software.

    Those are my thoughts, right or wrong.
     
  10. Infopro

    Infopro cPanel Sr. Product Evangelist
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    What's the VPS license cost savings to you, about $15.00?

    With that paid license is support by a top notch team for Apache failing issues on your cPanel server. AFAIK, they incourage opening tickets these days.

    I'm not sure what those known issues you've mentioned are about, but the fastest way to get them solved if you need a hand is to contact cPanel.

    Can't answer this one, but then I can't correctly answer why they offer unlimited packages with limits on them either. :p
     
  11. markb14391

    markb14391 Well-Known Member

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    There is a known issue with Apache breaking in 11.25. cPanel told me that when I opened a ticket with them. (Yes, I know they encourage tickets, and we have used their support repeatedly...more often than we would like to. These trial licenses aren't the only cPanel servers we run.)

    It's not as if we've been deliberately structuring anything to avoid paying for cPanel licenses. We've been evaluating VPS providers, and each offered a 45-day license with the image. Again, there is no fine line defining when testing is over. Even with live accounts, we are still testing (to the point that we have a backup VPS on another provider, mirroring live accounts in case of failure). We wouldn't do that if we were just trying to pinch pennies. But, when we launch a VPS that comes with a built-in 45-day license, are you saying that we should start paying anyway? Even though we're still in live testing mode? Again, the data centers presumably paid extra to offer longer licenses, so even during our 45-day period, I think it's a safe assumption that cPanel is getting paid. I guess they're looking to get paid twice?

    But I reiterate, there is no reason that end users should see any of this, or be shown a message making it sound as if they are responsible for licensing software.

    Look at the way WHMCS handles trials. The end user never sees anything saying that it's a trial. And, even if the license expires (e.g., goes unpaid), the end user is never alerted to this fact. Of course, access to the admin area is blocked, but clients can continue to access the client area with no indication that anything is amiss. I'm not saying that cPanel should allow end users to access their control panels on an unpaid license, I'm just saying that the end users shouldn't be bothered with a big notice that confuses them. I'm pointing out that WHMCS handles trials with discretion.

    The cPanel "Trial" banner doesn't accomplish anything other than annoying clients (like us) who've been cPanel customers for years, and confusing our end users.

    Mark
     
  12. Infopro

    Infopro cPanel Sr. Product Evangelist
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    Maybe someone from cPanel can elaborate on this one for us a bit more, I'm unaware of this issue myself.

    Clearly I should avoid this thread and let cPanel answer your concerns, but I have to ask you one more question out of curiosity. What's to stop you from setting the VPS to STABLE, and then rebranding it with a new logo? Surely there are no Apache Breaking issues there.

    Wouldn't that solve your problem of the "Trial" banner?
     
  13. markb14391

    markb14391 Well-Known Member

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    About the Apache issue (from my ticket):

    About the rebranding, I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't think that would remove the trial banner. I am sure the banner appears as long as the license is in test mode.
     
  14. cPanelCory

    cPanelCory Developer - cPanel Security Team
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    I just wanted to clarify the Apache issue as it is a known issue and being worked on but it only occurs in a very limited and specific way that most users will not encounter.

    On a fresh install of cPanel if you enable the Apache mod_userdir Tweak in WHM *BEFORE* adding any accounts there is a problem with blank UserDir directives being placed in the httpd.conf file which will keep Apache from starting.

    In most cases clients will never run into this situation and it is being reviewed at this time to be fixed.

    We do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

    Thank you,
     
  15. markb14391

    markb14391 Well-Known Member

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    Cory,

    Thanks for that information. Even with the info I had, I didn't realize the exact cause and the order of things that trigger this issue. (I wish I had known that before I spent hours troubleshooting and rebuilding.) ;-) But, now that I know, I'll just create an account before activating the mod_userdir tweak. In each of my cases, I had activated that as part of security setup before creating or importing any accounts.

    Thanks again,

    Mark
     
  16. cPanelCory

    cPanelCory Developer - cPanel Security Team
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    Hi Mark,

    Indeed the scenario you described was the only people I could think of this would really affect, and had imagined that was how you were getting to the issue.

    Again, we apologize for the inconvenience and hope to have a fix out shortly to fix this issue for you.

    Thanks again,
     
  17. cPanelAP

    cPanelAP cPanel Chief Business Officer
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    Mark:

    The trial license was never intended for more than allowing "new" users of cPanel/WHM the ability to test drive our software. In allowing this to happen we built systems that would allow this trial and in many cases ran into "IP Hopping" resulting in a significant use of this trial license on production servers.

    The use of this license for anything more than testing out our software product (except in a few rare exceptions) is not the intention of this license. In all cases that you have explained you should be purchasing a paid license if you are using it for anything more than testing/evaluation.

    cPanel has not authorized our Partner NOCs to utilize this license model.
     
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