As you may have heard cPanel announced a huge increase
in the pricing for their software. This announcement came completely without warning and applies to all providers using their control panel.
In August 2018 cPanel was sold to an investment group called Oakley Capital, at the time they said that prices would remain the same. We knew this wasn't true and did expect a price increase, investment groups have an obligation to pay back their investors in the shortest times after all. What we did not expect was an increase of this size.
cPanel licenses were previously provided at a flat fee of $32 for dedicated servers and $12 for VPS with no limitations on the number of accounts that can be hosted on each server. The new pricing structure is $45 but with a 100 account limit, each account over that is charged at $0.20 each! This doesn't only apply to dedicated servers too, the changes also apply to VPS.
To put this into perspective let's take one of our VPS customers as an example. They are currently hosting 1300 accounts on powerful hardware, paying $152 per year for their license
Under this new pricing they will pay $45 + ($0.20 x 1200) = $240 per month. An increase from $152 per year to $2880, a 1794% increase in costs!
Many companies simply cannot survive an increase of that magnitude so need to look for alternatives.
What are the options?
There are really only three options in this case:
- Migrate to another control panel
- Absorb the increased pricing
- Pass it on to the end user
Changing to another control panel may seem like a huge task however depending on the control panel the process can often be automated and customers transferred to a new server fairly easily.
In our opinion there are three main cPanel competitors, each has their pros and cons.
While this is often seen as the main alternative to cPanel it is actually owned by the same company, Oakley Capital. For this reason we strongly recommend not using Plesk. After all the time spent migrating from cPanel you may well see increases with Plesk in the next few months too.
This is the control panel we recommend switching to in most cases. They operate a flat fee pricing with protection against price increases starting from $29/month. As a DirectAdmin partner (we have been for years) we can also provide much lower pricing to VPS and dedicated server customers.
DirectAdmin also supports addons such as Litespeed, Softaculous and CloudLinux allowing you to offer very similar features to your customers.
Over the weekend they also released the first version of their new template, a massive improvement over their original design.
Interworx is a great panel and provides clustering as standard. Overall it does provide less feature than cPanel and doesn't integrate with CloudLinux however it is one of the most mature panels and offers a very simple way of migrating from cPanel.
Functionality is fairly similar to cPanel, with an admin side named nodeworx and a customer facing side named siteworx. The integration with WHMCS also works very well however the drastically different UI may be too much for some customers.
What about a custom panel?
Some providers do offer a custom in-house control panel however this has major disadvantages that are often overlooked.
The first being that you are now locked in to their panel, moving to another control panel with ease is now impossible. You can transfer website files via FTP and move databases through an SQL backup however passwords and emails are impossible to move.
The second being the new control panel is not white label. A customer can easily find out the name of the control panel and see you're a reseller of that company - a non-issue with cPanel or another popular hosting panel.
How does this affect shared and reseller hosting?
As a company that has provided master reseller and low cost hosting for over 16 years this affects us in a big way.
cPanel and Oakley are getting a lot of "negative feedback" (to put it nicely) from a lot of hosts following this announcement so we are all hoping they either revise the pricing or cancel the change altogether. Is this likely? Probably not but there is still a little time before the changes come in to effect.
We are still working on a plan but we do expect changes to our reseller packages, it simply isn't possible for us to continue providing unlimited cPanel accounts under the new cPanel pricing.
There are still several weeks before the changes come in to effect and we're investigating all possibilities.