WHMCS (Web Host Managers Complete Solution) is the leading automation and client management platform for web hosts, resellers, and other web professionals. Originally developed as a platform for managing WHM, which is the leading reseller server management software (like a web hosts’ version of cPanel), WHMCS has evolved into an all-in-one tool for practically anyone in the web services ecosystem.
Automating simple tasks for a more streamlined and efficient workflow is part of the appeal of WHMCS for resellers and web professionals, but the platform’s sophisticated capabilities can do a lot more than that. It combines several different software suites and applications, such as for eCommerce, billing, and support, in a centralized system. It integrates with a wide range of the leading control panels, payment platforms, domain registrars and other service providers your business may need. The company says it has 45,000 users, which is not surprising given the breadth of its application.
Resellers and other web service providers can use WHMCS to design product display, automate server provisioning and management, and build upgrade offers into accounts. cPanel accounts are created for each customer through an API from WHMCS, which sits one layer above them. The platform is used to manage clients’ products, with higher-level server functions, such as PHP and Apache controlled server-wide with WHM. Many features of individual cPanel accounts, such as adding email aliases and DNS zones, meanwhile, can be managed from their individual WHMCS accounts. This extensive front-end interface functionality extends the value of WHMCS from crafting client accounts to crafting client interactions, so let’s explore that functionality a little further.
While WHMCS is best known for its back-end functions, it also provides a full set of tools resellers need to interact with their clients.
Building Products and Packages
Rather than building the point of online sale and customer interface, and provisioning all of the resources and features for each new cPanel account individually, WHMCS allows resellers to build and present WHM packages to customers. Once they are ordered, WHMCS automatically sets up the cPanel account and communicates with WHM to provision the package to the server as specified.
An API for automated provisioning of Shared cPanel Hosting is built into WHMCS out of the box, but the platform can also accommodate different kinds of environments, such as the Cloud VPS and Cloud Dedicated environments that Liquid Web provides APIs for. Environments can then be further divided into different products, with the details of the product package specified using the package creating and editing tool included in WHMCS. The package specifications can then be used in the easy mode of the automatic provisioning function to provision each new cPanel account as ordered.
The core of reseller hosting product design is deciding on the resources allocated to different packages to create service tiers, and this is one of the management function strengths of WHMCS. The “Products/Services” page lays out the offerings you create so you can quickly and conveniently compare them to make sure there are gaps or overlap.
The product editing tool includes an HTML product description field, to present each product on-brand, as well as to give certain products priority placement in marketing materials. WHMCS bakes in a lot of different product-creation functions, but the set-up wizard makes it easy to launch your products without knowing every one of them in detail.
WHMCS also makes it easy to add common product offerings, like a free domain offered to customers who order a certain package.
In addition to the product details, payment structure options can also be set through WHMCS. WHMCS works alongside popular payment gateways, such as PayPal, Authorize.net, or Stripe, which have modules built into WHMCS, simplifying the process of connecting the APIs. The reseller is given a full range of granular billing options, and payments can be set for monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, annual, and other kinds of cycles supported by the payment gateway. Certain gateways also offer options for subscription services. Tying the payment gateway in with the full spectrum of services WHMCS offers enables you to set up products so that the system will provision them automatically when payment is received, or after a manual order approval process for added security.
Build in Growth
As your customers’ needs change, WHMCS makes it easy for them to upgrade to meet increased resource demands. Just as importantly, it also automates the process so you do not have to make any of the provisioning changes. All packages are connected via the API, so when a client orders an upgrade from its back-end portal, a cronjob runs in the background, WHMCS notifies WHM and collects payment from the customer, and WHM updates the cPanel package. For VPS offerings, the only difference is that it goes through the plugin, by sending an API call to the backend.
Once products are created, they can be quickly and easily combined to form bundled offerings as well. These can have manually set prices, percentage discounts, or be set as conditional promotional offers.
While your customers will manage their products through their hosting control panel, WHMCS provides a robust client portal for them to manage their account with. The portal gives customers a unified view of the services they have, and also allows them to manage invoices and support tickets. The WHMCS client area also provides a convenient upgrade path, which customers starting the process from cPanel can be routed to.
In this way, WHMCS can also reduce the workload for resellers by enabling clients to perform certain account-management functions and begin automated processes themselves, while the reseller retains the ability to perform the same functions for others.
The WHMCS client portal is also a great tool for resellers who do not want to give their end users cPanel access, giving those end users an interface to provide visibility and accessing support or upgrade their products.
WHMCS is Free to Liquid Web Partners
WHMCS is provided free of charge to Liquid Web Partners to help them scale their business efficiently. Additionally, Liquid Web has developed proprietary technologies to help resellers running WHMCS manage customer accounts, and works directly with Partners to ensure their customers’ success.
Although it is intuitive and user-friendly, the number of features and tools in WHMCS make it valuable for professionals adding it to their technology stack to have documents to help sort out the ones they need to know and use them effectively. Liquid Web provides a huge and growing knowledge base and a content hub filled with documentation to help Partners empower themselves and grow their businesses by leveraging all the tools at their disposal in the most effective way possible.