Saturday, August 3, 2019

cPanel Price Increases – September 2019

You may or may not have heard the news regarding the surprise price hike introduced by cPanel – this has come as a shock to the entire industry, so we wanted to contact you to make you aware of our current position, views and aims moving forward as a business with full transparency.

You may, or may not be aware that some months ago cPanel was acquired by a Venture Capitalist group called Oakley Capital. It was clear for us and many others in the industry that we were to expect an increase in pricing following the announcement in order to help them recuperate the money spent acquiring cPanel. 

The surprising result was that cPanel has now chosen to introduce ‘per user’ based pricing models throughout, for both VPS and dedicated solutions. This change has hit the entire industry to an incredible extent, causing a huge number of hosting businesses to essentially ‘shut down’ with immediate effect.

We understand many of you are already aware of the news – many of you have reached out to see how this would impact us as a business, and of course the service we provide to you as our clients. If you haven’t yet read anything in relation to the increase, the following articles make for a great read…

How did cPanel licensing work up until now?

Previously, cPanel licences were incredibly simple. They offered VPS licencing at $20 per month and Dedicated licencing for $45 per month. From a licencing perspective, there were no limitations on the number of accounts that could be hosted on those machines. 

For the primary part of our business, we would run Dedicated licences on all of our core servers purchased through the cPanel partnership program (which following the past few weeks feels drastically less of a partnership, unfortunately).

So, what’s changed? Why all the hype? 

OK, so here is our honest opinion…

We genuinely felt as though the cPanel product is THE head and shoulders best panel and most popular available - but, was underpriced (for years).   We have made no attempts to hide this from them, or our account manager.  cPanel itself is an impeccable product which has been taken for granted by many – it’s at the forefront of almost 98% of our business, so we would have been happy absorbing a small increase.

However, the changes made by cPanel were to introduce a ‘per user’ pricing model, clashes with our and many hosting company's business models to an incredible extent. 

How? For the past 20 years, GodsWeb has prided itself in offering one of the industries fastest growing solutions specifically tailored for the reseller market (a concept, in my opinion, which was made ‘possible’ through the likes of platforms such as WHM, a cPanel product).

But let’s look at the reason the new cPanel pricing structure doesn’t work on our existing business model…

On an individual physical server, we will allocate clients with their own client cPanel accounts. We have no limits on the number of client accounts per licence, so instead we chose to limit based on ‘storage allocation',  which is fairly standard in the industry.

Storage size is something that impacts us financially as a business because of the cost of ‘storing’ that data, providing a reliable RAID array for redundancy and of course, backups etc so this made perfect sense in terms of setting our own pricing structure.

Now though, this gives us a scenario where we have larger specification servers running a larger number of cPanel accounts than you would on ‘standard’ hosting models.  To mitigate the risk of negated performance, we have invested heavily in a bespoke infrastructure and software stacks to ensure site performance is outstanding whether we run 100 sites or 3000 sites on a single machine.   Mirroring your hosting account across multiple servers to create full redundancy is one of our key selling points for the high end service we aim to provide.

The implications of the new pricing structure from cPanel, however, now become even more transparent. Lets use ‘3000’ hosting accounts as a realistic example…

Previous: cPanel Server / Dedicated Hardware – $45

Thats it,  It would be $45 for the entire server. 

Current: cPanel Server / Bare Metal – 100 account limit – $45

Here is the catch – each additional account over the ‘100’ limit is now chargeable at $0.20 per individual cPanel account, per month

2900 x $0.20 = $580 (+ $45 licence fee) = $625

Yes, that’s right. $625 instead of the original $45, which gives us an increase of around 1288% per server.    Sobering for us - but some incredible new profit for the venture capital firm running cPanel.

Given the fact that licencing is not the sole running cost of any hosting business, we also have to account for hardware costs, staff, training, certifications, accountancy fees, additional licences its clear from the above figures that our existing business model is no longer ‘viable’ without some key changes to ensure we can continue to provide you with the fantastic service we have thrived to provide over the years.

The bottom line for GodsWeb (and most other hosting companies using cPanel) is that our costs have just increased exponentially by thousands of pounds per year.

As part of our core values which underline our unique business model, this is one of those times where the uniqueness of our model and structure should help all of us.  We are in discussion with key benefactors and those who donate to support GodsWeb re how / if they can assist financially to help with our decision processes and solutions.

However, please rest assured (in any situation), our intention moving forward is to plan a long term solution with minimal impact to you and your businesses/websites. It’s of our opinion that we have been ‘backed into a corner’ in an absolutely absurd way.    

Did we see this coming?

Absolutely not. No-one in the global web hosting industry saw this one coming.  As mentioned here, we expected to see a price increase as part of the acquisition but not nearly to this extent. The expectation was that we would see an approximate 20% increase, but had planned to take a hit for around 40 – 60% without any need for ‘restructuring’.

We have been proudly recommending the cPanel product and solutions to our clients and partners for years and can honestly say its come as a shock to not only ourselves but to the entire industry.   This is evidently clear when viewing any industry forums or blogs at present.  

What can I do?   What should I do?

Nothing, to be completely honest. cPanel are the industry leader and seemingly have used this to their advantage whilst making this decision. 

What you can do however, is voice any concerns you have in regards to cPanel overall to them directly via Twitter (@cPanel).

So, will GodsWeb be closing?

Absolutely not.   Whilst it's an incredibly intimidating time for all affected by the situation we have absolutely no plans to close the business, or to cease trading. Our team has been busy investing further time, money and resource into a solution which still caters for our existing clients and future clients.     We will make this known to you in the coming weeks.  

I absolutely want to continue using cPanel!

We completely understand that cPanel is now the control panel of preference for the majority. It’s a product we have been proud to work with over the years, and have ourselves developed an extensive level of knowledge in their platforms.   A lot of our infrastructure in our billing and automated platforms are built to communicate with cPanel.  Our website builders / and other plugins are all built using cPanel APIs.

Each member of staff here has gone through full cPanel certifications, so we know the product better than most. With that in mind, rest assured this will taken into account when narrowing down our options moving forward. 

I am open to using a cPanel alternative!

For our clients, we completely understand cost is a major implication in the decision-making process when purchasing a hosting account. It is to be expected that, cPanel providers across the board will be increasing their pricing in line with the changes, likely with us included - IF we continue with cPanel as a product option.  We are investigating all options in depth.

Can’t we just move from cPanel to Plesk?

No, we don’t see that as a feasible solution, unfortunately.   Why?  The venture capital group who now owns cPanel, are also the owners of Plesk. Time will tell if they decide to roll out a similar approach.   We want to resolve this situation once and not find we face it again in a few months/years time.

When will this all take place?

This will be taking place over the next few months. No immediate changes will be taking place. We will keep you informed with full transparency of any decisions made throughout this process.   Nothing will change via your hosting account without prior warning/notice.

We will be announcing full details on the way forward during August - there is nothing for any individual customer to do at this stage.  We would certainly not be recommending a move to any hosting platform anywhere using cPanel or Plesk at this time, unless you know specifically what the longer term plans are for that hosting company based on their business model.

This announcement is simply our way of being fully transparent with our customers.  We do not wish to spook or scare anyone into any knee-jerk reactions.  That is not necessary.  We have this fully in hand and will let you know our plans in the coming days.  Thank you for your continued support.

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