Working with WHMCS & the Liquid Web Reseller Plugin

Working with WHMCS & the Liquid Web Reseller Plugin

What is WHMCS & how it can optimize your business

The WHMCS software suite is an all-in-one client management, billing & support interface for web hosting businesses. WHMCS can be used to automate the billing and provision of Web Hosting Services. Most often utilized by resellers, WHMCS can simplify and streamline the process of providing hosting service. To learn more, read our “What is WHMCS” article here.

What does Liquid Web’s WHMCS Plugin do?

WHMCS has a lot of useful features right out of the box, however most of these features are based on control panels such as cPanel or Plesk. This is perfectly fine if you just want to sell shared hosting but if you’re looking to resell cloud based VPS / VMs you will need to install additional plugins / addon modules that contain this additional functionality.

Liquid Web’s WHMCS plugin talks to our Storm API, and exposes this to WHMCS, allowing you to:

  • Create cloud based products using our Cloud VPS, Private Cloud, and Cloud Dedicated product lines. Don’t pay for anything until you’ve sold it!
  • Automatically provision these products when your client places an order.
  • Automatically bill and invoice for these products based on your preferences.
  • Expose cloud like features to your clients via WHMCS client area!

If you’re looking to expand your current shared hosting product line, or start up a brand new, 100% cloud based hosting company, you should definitely be using our plugin!

Step #1: Installing the Liquid Web WHMCS plugin

Note:
Liquid Web’s plugin is compatible with Version 6.x and Version 7.x of WHMCS.

Installing our WHMCS plugin is a rather simple process, simply download the latest version of the plugin, extract it in your WHMCS install directory, then move the files to the modules and includes directories. This can be done via SSH, FTP or even the cPanel File Manager! Here we’ll use the SSH method, however you can use any method you’d like.

Our WHMCS plugin can now be found on a publicly available GitHub-based repository. Or a direct download link to the latest installation Zip: Liquid Web for WHMCS.

The directory may not be the same for everyone, so make sure you update the $WHMCSUSER part bellow. Here’s an example of how it’s done:

Via SSH (command line) on the server…
cd /home/$WHMCSUSER/public_html/WHMCS/
wget https://github.com/liquidweb/LiquidWeb-WHMCS-Plugin/archive/master.zip
unzip master.zip
cd LiquidWeb-WHMCS-Plugin-master/
rsync -avH includes/ ../includes/
rsync -avH modules/ ../modules/

Of course you can always ask our support team to assist with the plugin install, simply contact our support team and we’ll get you all set up.

Step #2: Activate the LiquidWeb WHMCS plugin

With the Liquid Web WHMCS plugin now installed all that’s left is to activate it. To complete the activation, login to the WHMCS admin page.

  1. Click on the “Setup” tab near the top of the page. Then select the “Addon Modules” option.
  2. Once the page loads, find the ‘Liquid Web Storm Servers Billing’ and ‘Liquid Web Widget for WHMCS’, then click “Activate” for both items.
  3. After activation you will see a grey ‘configure’ button next to each module. Click “Configure” and then ensure that “Full Administrator” is checked in each item. Once checked, click “Save Changes” for each module.
  4. The final thing we need to do is enable the Liquid Web Cloud Server Widget, which is displayed in the main dash of WHMCS.
    1. To do this, click on the “Setup” tab; then find the “Staff Management” area and select “Administrator Roles”.
    2. Click on the edit icon for “Full Administrator”.
    3. Near the bottom of the page you will see an unchecked box in the Widgets area called “Liquid Web Cloud Servers”, check this box then click “Save Changes”.

At this point the Liquid Web WHMCS plugin should now be active and you should be able to start setting up packages and products within WHMCS.

If you’d like to report issues, or provide feedback of any kind, regarding this plugin you can feel free to do so byutilizing the project’s GitHub Issues page.

Step #3: Party Time

Congratulations! You’ve just installed and activated Liquid Web’s WHMCS Plugin. You are now equipped with the Cloud, not just any Cloud, Liquid Web’s Cloud.

I suggest you reward yourself somehow, take a break even. Then come back and learn how to create cloud products with Liquid Web’s WHMCS Plugin!

Why have a Private Cloud?

Private Cloud solutions are an excellent option for businesses and organizations that require: complete physical isolation for security, customizable server instances, and/or a high level of flexibility in their hosting infrastructure. On a Private Cloud server you will have the entire physical server is dedicated for your use. Allowing you to utilize and partition the server in any way you require. Continue reading “Why have a Private Cloud?”

WHMCS with Private Cloud Servers and Advanced Product Setup

Working with WHMCS & the Liquid Web Reseller Plugin

With the steps of the previous articles complete, we now have the WHMCS Liquid Web plugin setup and enabled. If you followed the previous directions, you’ve successfully created the first product based on VPS offerings. We will now cover some more advanced product creation options.

Step #1: Create a Liquid Web Private Cloud Product

To create your first Private Cloud product you will first need to open the Product Setup Wizard page within the WHMCS interface:

    1. Click on the ‘Addons’ tab at the top of the page.
    2. Select the ‘Liquid Web Storm Servers Billing’ option.
    3. From the sidebar on the left, click ‘Product Setup Wizard’.
    4. Once loaded, select only ‘Liquid Web Private Cloud’ then click ‘Next’.
At this point the process will vary depending on if you already have a Private Cloud server connected to your Liquid Web account.
    1. If you already have a Private Cloud server continue to F, otherwise you will need to create a new Private Cloud server:
      Add Private Cloud

      1. You will see a ‘Add New Server’ dialog box come up, once the page loads.
      2. Select the Zone you’d like the server to be in.
      3. Review the available Private Cloud servers and select the one you’d like.
      4. Provide a hostname for the server in the ‘Host Name’ text input.
      5. Click ‘Add Server’.
    2. You may now create the Private Cloud based product.

Create Private Cloud Product

You may want to adjust most, if not all, of the fields on this configuration page to customize the product based on your current needs.
  1. After adjusting the options as needed, click the ‘Save & Continue’ button.

Step #2: Advanced Product Configuration Settings

While the initial settings in the Product Setup Wizard are generally enough to accommodate most product creations, there are more advanced settings which might be useful when creating more complex product configurations.

There will be small differences between the advanced settings found within the Private Cloud settings and the VPS based settings, though generally they both have most of the same options.

To access the advanced product configuration settings you can either: click ‘Save & go to Advanced mode’ button when creating a new product, or by opening a current product and selecting the ‘Module Settings’ tab.

Vps Advanced
Private Cloud Advanced

Above you see the VPS advanced configuration page (left) and the Private Cloud advanced configuration page (right).

As seen above the advanced configuration pages are fairly similar in nature, this should make using these pretty simple once you’ve worked with either one. To further simplify understanding the options available, you will only find the following options on the VPS page:

  • Default Configurable Options
    • Used to generate a handful of customer customizable server options, such as: VPS type, Backup settings, IP address quantity, and bandwidth quotas
  • Zone
    • Determines the ‘data center zone’ that the server can be created in
  • Config
    • Defines the specific server that will be used to create the product; e.g. 1G SSD vs 2G non-SSD

The following options are only on the Private Cloud page:

  • Configurable Options
    • Similar to ‘Default Configurable Options’ above, this generates a number of Private Cloud specific options that can be exposed to customers upon checkout.
  • Custom Field
    • Similar to the above point, this generates custom fields to collect data on customer checkout.
  • Parent Server
    • Defines the parent server that this product will use when creating new instances.
  • Available Parents
    • A list of available Private Cloud servers that are usable as a Parent server.
  • Select Parent Automatically
    • When enabled the product should automatically select the parent server based on available resources.

On both Private Cloud & VPS pages you will find:

  • Username & Password
    • These are the credentials used when connected to the Storm API – should be prepopulated with the credentials that were initially created.
  • Template
    • This is the image used to bootstrap the server — this determines the Servers OS, Management Panel type, and Server Management Level.
  • Image
    • Allows the new server to be bootstrapped with a Storm Server Image if the account contains some images.
  • Backup Plan & Backup Quota
    • These options determine if backups are enabled, what type of backup plan is used, and the quota applied to the backups.
  • IPs Number & Maximum Number of IPs
    • Defines the default number of IP addresses to start the server with and the maximum number of IPs a single server can allocate.
  • Bandwidth Quota
    • Allows customization of the Bandwidth quota applied to the server.
  • Monitoring
    • Enables customers to control Monitoring services on the server.
  • Firewall
    • Enables customers to control Firewall services on the server.
  • IPs Management
    • Enables customers to control IP address allocations on the server.

With a multitude of product configuration options available, you can choose exactly how you offer products and services to your customers. By fully utilizing these more advanced settings you can allow customers to select from a very specifically tuned array of products, or to adjust product details as they wish during the checkout process.

Step #3: Working with Configurable Options

To expand further upon the ability for your customers to tweak and adjust services they are ordering you can take advantage of the ‘Configurable Options Groups’ within WHMCS. These ‘Configurable Options’ are additional options that can be presented to a user upon ordering a service.

By utilizing these configurable options with the advanced features discussed above you are able to provide customers a build your own server experience, a variety of products to fit specific needs, or a mixture of both.

To begin working with ‘Configurable Options’ you will need to open WHMCS and go to the ‘Setup -> Products/Services -> Configurable Options’ page. Once there you can see a list of the groups similar to the following screenshot.

WHMCS account setup, the Product Setup Wizard and Storm Servers Billing

Working with WHMCS & the Liquid Web Reseller Plugin
II. WHMCS account setup, the Product Setup Wizard and Storm Servers Billing
III. WHMCS with Private Cloud Servers and Advanced Product Setup

In the previous article we covered the basics of WHMCS, the benefits of using our plugin, and how to enable the plugin and widgets we provide in our plugin package. This article will cover the configuration of the Storm API access and your first product.

With the rebuilt Liquid Web reseller plugin for WHMCS, the initial account and API connection setup has been integrated into the new Product Setup Wizard. So, to configure the plugin to access your Liquid Web account via Storm API, we simply will start the process of creating your first product.

Step #1: Connect the plugin to Storm API

To make the initial connection to the Storm API you will first need to open the Product Setup Wizard page:

  1. Click on the ‘Addons’ tab at the top of the page.
  2. Select the ‘Liquid Web Storm Servers Billing’ option.
  3. From the sidebar on the left, click ‘Product Setup Wizard’.
  4. Once loaded, we will make our connection by starting to set up our first product:
    1. Adjust the checkboxes to your liking, for this example we will only select: ‘Liquid Web SSD VPS’
    2. Click Next.
    3. If this is the first product setup you will be redirected to the Account Authentication page.
  5. On the ‘Liquid Web account authentication’ page you will be prompted for your Liquid Web API authentication; you may either enter Liquid Web API credentials or your Liquid Web Manage credentials, and the wizard will create a new API user.
      1. For using a current API user:

    Api User login

        1. Click the ‘I have Liquid Web API credentials’ heading.
        2. Enter your Liquid Web Storm API user credentials.
        3. Click ‘Continue’.
      1. For creating a new API user:

    Manage Login

      1. Click the ‘Create a NEW Liquid Web API username and password for me’ heading.
      2. Enter your Liquid Web Manage credentials.
      3. Click ‘Create new API account’.
      4. You will now see the new Storm API user that has been created. Write these credentials down for safe keeping.
      5. Click ‘Continue’.

With that completed you have now authorized the plugin to access your Liquid Web account via the Storm APIs. You can now begin to create and setup products to offer your new clients.

Step #2: Create your first VPS product

Having completed all the prior steps we are now ready to create the first product via the Product Setup Wizard. In this tutorial our example product will be based on the Liquid Web SSD VPS, so we are now on the related configuration page, as seen below.

Product Wizard - Add VPS Product

You may want to adjust most, if not all, of the fields on this configuration page to customize the product based on your current needs.

Product Details

  • You need to provide the product name, description, and select a product group.

Module Settings

  • Default values from the database are loaded when you open this page.
  • You need to select the OS template and VPS type when changing the Zone.

Pricing (Monthly)

  • You can set the subscription pricing (monthly) either in percentage or fixed values.
  • When using percentage-based pricing, the module will automatically calculate the pricing of the selected configuration and update the pricing table in WHMCS.

Once you have adjusted the options on this page to your liking you can then proceed with creating the product by clicking ‘Save & Continue’ found on the bottom right of the page.

If you would like to you can verify the product was created by pulling up the ‘Products/Services’ page of WHMCS; found under: Setup > Products/Services > Products/Services, you should find your new product listed there. With this step you will have completed the creation of your first product!

Step #3: Storm Server Billing configuration

Now that we’ve created our first product clients can immediately begin putting in orders via the WHMCS client area. They will be charged based on the price values you configured when working through the Product Setup Wizard.

However with certain products or services you may require that clients pay for various resource usages, such as: bandwidth, disk usage, overall disk space, backups, memory, and/or CPU usage.

In order to control these aspects of a product you can use the ‘Liquid Web Storm Servers Billing’ page:

    1. Click on the ‘Addons’ tab at the top of the page.
    2. Select the ‘Liquid Web Storm Servers Billing’ option.
    3. Once loaded you will see a page similar to:

Enable Billing Page

Note: the paths on your page will be updated to reflect the location of the files needing to be run on cron.
    1. Configure and Enable the cron jobs:
      1. Using your preferred method [cPanel, or Command line], enable each cron job found on this page.
    2. You will see a dropdown under ‘Enable Billing’, open the dropdown and select your new product from the list.
    3. Once the page loads, you will see various resource usage-related categories where you can set extra charges for various metrics. [Bandwidth, Disk, Memory, etc]

Billing Limits page

  1. Adjust these values to your liking and then click ‘Save Changes’ near the bottom of the page

With these new options and limits in place any servers of this type will now be billed based on resource limits defined on the Billing configuration page.

At this point the plugin should be fully configured with WHMCS and you can now continue to use the ‘Product Setup Wizard’ to create even more products and services to offer your clients.

How to Resize a Server

Upgrading your Storm® server is a simple process, and can be done in just a few satisfying clicks. Upgrades are a necessity. You work hard on your blog, or ecommerce store, and the traffic grows! Once you’ve optimized your WordPress site or Magento store, reward yourself with an easy upgrade process and increase the available resources to your Storm® by following the steps below. This process can be followed for Storm® VPS or Storm® Dedicated servers.

Pre-Flight Check
  • These instructions are intended specifically for resizing your Storm® server.

Continue reading “How to Resize a Server”

How to Reboot a Server via Manage

Rebooting a server in Manage has been made incredibly easy, and only takes a few clicks. Further simplifying the process, multiple servers can be rebooted at the same time!

Pre-Flight Check

Continue reading “How to Reboot a Server via Manage”

How to Upgrade Your VPS

Upgrading your Storm® VPS (Virtual Private Server) is a simple process, and can be done in just a few satisfying clicks. Upgrades are a necessity. Let’s face it, you work hard on your blog, or ecommerce store, and the traffic grows! So, once you’ve optimized your WordPress site or Magento store, reward yourself with an easy upgrade process and increase the available resources to your Storm® VPS by following the steps below!

Pre-Flight Check

Continue reading “How to Upgrade Your VPS”

VPS Hosting Overview

The middle tier of hosting options provided by Liquid Web are the Storm VPS packages (Virtual Private Server).  VPS packages are designed for sites with low to medium traffic, small web hosts or designers with a small number of websites, or as a staging or development environment for testing a new application. Continue reading “VPS Hosting Overview”