Starting your own web hosting business or offering web services to clients is a great way to deliver value added services to clients. For web designers and developers, it can be a way to bundle additional services with a client and maintain an ongoing relationship after development has completed.
A client management panel such as WHMCS can be used to automate the creation and management of web hosting services for clients. In this article, we'll outline what WHMCS is and how it can be used for your business.
What does WHMCS stand for?
You may be wondering if WHMCS is an acronym and if so, what does it stand for? WHMCS stands for Web Host Manager Complete Solution. That's because WHMCS was initially developed as a control panel which allowed the automated provisioning of cPanel web hosting accounts using the Web Host Manager control panel.
What is WHMCS used for?
WHMCS is a full-featured web hosting client management panel. It's primary purpose is to provide web hosting businesses with a cart system that can be integrated into their websites so that visitors can purchase web hosting services.
Unlike a traditional cart, WHMCS integrates with a wide variety of web hosting servers and related applications so that when a client purchases a service on your site, WHMCS will collect payment, create a user account for the client to manage their service, and automatically provision the web hosting account on the hosting server.
This process can save web hosting providers hours of manual work and makes customer onboarding very simple. WHMCS contains all of the tools needed to make customer creation and management happen, including:
- Customer support
- Billing management
- Fraud Management
- Order Management
- Domain Registration
WHMCS is not just used for setting up cPanel accounts. It can also be used to automate provisioning on:
- VPN Accounts
- Game Servers
- VPS Hosting
- Email Accounts
And a wide variety of other web service related products.
How much does WHMCS cost?
WHMCS is billed based on the number of clients you have as well as branding options. It starts at $15.95/month for 250 clients, all the way up to $39.95/month for unlimited clients. Here is the current pricing for WHMCS as of 2020:
Number of Clients
Includes "WHMCS" branded link
WHMCS is self-hosted which means that it is hosted on your own servers, so you will need to factor in the cost of setting up a server which will house the control panel for clients.
How do I use WHMCS?
Getting started with WHMCS is easy. Simply follow these steps:
Step by Step:
Purchase a license for WHMCS on their website. You can select a plan based on the number of clients you expect to have and you can upgrade at any time.
Purchase a server and install WHMCS on it using the WHMCS installation guide. We recommend a server using cPanel / WHM so that WHMCS can be easily installed. WHMCS is also available using Softaculous if you have that available with your web hosting provider.
Once WHMCS installation is complete, you can begin configuring the software. This includes creating products, setting up the design of the panel on your website, etc.
You can now integrate WHMCS into your main company website or use it as a stand-alone interface for users to purchase domains and other hosting services from your company.
What is a WHMCS module?
A WHMCS module is a third-party addon which can be integrated into WHMCS in order to add additional functionality to the panel or to integrate with another service. For example, ServerMania could develop a WHMCS module so that resellers of our servers can automate the order process of a server, or allow resellers to add server management functions into their client area.
WHMCS modules are a great way to expand upon the already extensive functionality of the panel.
What are the alternatives to WHMCS?
WHMCS isn't the only game in town when it comes to web host management. While it is certainly the most popular, other options include Clientexec and Blesta. These options are worth considering, but you should double check that the specific application you are looking to automate has a module for the specific control panel you are wanting to use.
Once you have WHMCS installed, you need a dedicated server hosting partner who you can trust to deploy servers that your clients will be hosted on. We recommend booking a server consultation so we can listen to your needs and find a server that meets your needs and budget.