On 27th June 2019, the entire web hosting industry heard shocking news from cPanel Inc. It was about their license fee hike. Nope, not just an increase in the price, but the business model has changed dramatically.
cPanel’s Old Pricing Model
cPanel indeed hasn’t increased their prices for very long years. Their pricing was straightforward.
They had two versions for their license; cPanel for VPS at $15 and cPanel for Dedicated at $35. With this license model, there was no restriction on the number of user accounts, email accounts, etc.
Many hosting companies, especially those who offer reseller packages, set the number of cPanel accounts for their resellers to create and manage as unlimited.
cPanel’s New Pricing Model
On 27th, cPanel Inc changed the pricing structure altogether. Instead of two straight forward unlimited options, they are now selling their license per account basis.
That means there are three fixed plans now.
- Admin: Up to 5 Accounts at $20
- Pro: Up to 30 Accounts at $30
- Premier: Up to 100 Accounts at $45
In addition to this fixed slab, there is a dynamic price per account once the server crosses the 100th user account. That is $0.20 per account.
If the server hosts a total number of 200 accounts, then the license cost would be $45 + $20 per month.
For 300 accounts, the cost would be $45 + $40.
Imagine if a reseller subscribed for unlimited accounts and started hosting 1000s of cPanel users? The parent hosting company would shut down in a month.
Hosting companies, including Host My Website Online, can bear the fixed price. Still, the per account price is going to be huge, unpredictable, unfair, and unrealistic.
When cPanel hasn’t introduced any new features to their offering in recent years, including favorably voted feature requests to add official support for the Nginx server, this price hike is unacceptable.
Why This Sudden Change?
These changes happened without prior notice and are in effect immediately. But the reason behind this is nothing other than GREED.
On August 20, 2018, Oakley Capital, a VC firm, bought cPanel Inc.
Oakley Capital is the same parent company that owns Plesk. Plesk is a popular control panel and a substantial alternative to cPanel.
You see, a single company then owns both best in the industry control panels, and that effectively becomes a monopolistic firm. Now they don’t have to worry about the competition, and their greed forced them to put this unrealistic price up.
Who Affected by This Decision?
Well, almost everyone. Any website owner who hosts their website and uses cPanel as their control panel. Any hosting provider who sells shared hosting account and reseller account that uses cPanel. Any Data Center providers who sell VPS and Dedicated Servers along with pre-installed cPanel are affected.
Millions of websites are using cPanel; thousands of businesses are built their business around cPanel. And all of us are affected.
Even bigger companies like RamNode stopped offering cPanel licenses to their customers.
The popular Web Hosting forums like WebHostingTalk and LowEndTalk are flooded with responses from all over the world in a little time.
The situation is worse when cPanel did not inform this decision to their long term licensing partners like BuycPanel and other stakeholders. Professionalism and ethics are missing here.
What Are the Alternatives?
Option 1: Keep using cPanel as a control panel, but increase the pricing to the end-users or bear the cost ourselves.
If we choose Option 1, then we will have to increase our prices by ₹15 per month as an impact.
Option 2: Build our own control panel internally. This option will take a hell of a lot of resources and will become a reinventing-the-same-wheel-once-again situation.
Option 3: Shut down our company. While I am expecting to see many small companies and resellers will be forced to shut down themselves, this is not the path we need to go.
We have thousands of loyal customers who hosted their multiple domains with us since years ago, and we can’t let one company’s GREED let them die.
Option 4: Switch to another control panel. cPanel is indeed feature-rich, but free and paid Hosting Control Panels to have almost everything to run a website smoothly.
Necessary features like SSL Certificates, File and Database Management, PHP options, Emails, DNS settings, etc., are available. Still, you may miss the familiarity that you used to and a few fancy features.
At Host My Website Online, we believe that we are partners of our clients than just a service provider. We are looking for an alternative and considering migrating to Direct Admin.
But we need to hear from our customers who are the stakeholders to us. Because our customers are the one who is going to use cPanel or any other control panel we offer.
If our customers wish to keep using cPanel and are ready to pay an extra ₹15 per month, we can’t force them to any other control panels.
Thus as a data point to take our decision, we have sent an email to all our active customers with a Google Form link. The form contains the options I listed above, and I will wait for a few days to decide based on the votes we will receive.
Update: Based on the votes that we received, we decided to move away from cPanel to DirectAdmin. See, Bye-Bye to cPanel. Hello to DirectAdmin.