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 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 licencing work previously?
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 days feels drastically less of a partnership, unfortunately).
So, what’s changed? Why all the hype?
OK, so here is my honest opinion…
I genuinely felt as though the cPanel product was underpriced and I have made no attempts to hide this from them, or our account manager. cPanel itself is an impeccable product which may be taken for granted by many – it’s at the forefront of almost 98% of our business, so personally, I would have been happy absorbing a small increase.
However, the changes made by cPanel were to introduce a ‘per user’ pricing model, which clashes with our own business model to an incredible extent.
How? For the past 5 years, UKBSS LTD 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 reseller clients who are then able to provision their own client cPanel accounts. We had no intention on limiting the number of client accounts, so instead chose to limit based on ‘storage allocation’ (for example, unlimited clients with 150GB storage) which is fairly standard in the industry.
For many, this was ideal, as it would allow you to host an ‘infinite’ number of client sites and only need to worry about the ‘size’ of those accounts – of course, account 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 so this made perfect sense in terms of setting our own pricing structure.
Now though, this gives us a scenario of 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 stack to ensure site performance is outstanding whether we run 100 sites or 3000 sites on a single machine.
The implications of the new pricing structure, however, now become even more transparent when we see fewer resellers, with larger quantities of accounts. Lets use ‘3000’ 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…
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.
I am happy to be transparent here also – we are of course cPanel partners so this comes with some small advantages. cPanel Partner NOC Pricing is slightly cheaper, but even at that, it’s still an incredible hike.
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.
However, please rest assured our intention moving forward is to plan a long term solution with minimal impact to you and your businesses. It’s of my opinion that we have been ‘backed into a corner’ in an absolutely absurd way and won’t take this lightly.
Did we see this coming?
Absolutely not. 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 50 – 70% without the 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. The business practices, lack of loyalty and overall ‘greed’ of the situation now shows a lack of moral, which we would prefer have little association with.
With immediate effect, UKBSS LTD will no longer recommend, nor offer cPanel licences for VPS or Dedicated servers until further notice.
What can 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 UKBSS LTD be closing?
No. Whilst its an incredibly intimidating time for all affected by the situation we have no direct plans to close the business, or to cease trading. Our aim is to instead invest further time, money and resource into a solution which still caters for our existing reseller market.
This news has come as a shock – so whilst we continue to explore avenues and development opportunities, we would be grateful for your patience over the next few weeks / months.
I 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.
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!
In terms of VPS servers, you are free to move to cPanel alternatives whenever you wish. In doing so, we would be more than happy to assist with the migration process. If you are unsure of the alternatives, do get in touch with our sales team who would be happy to help.
For our shared / reseller 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.
We know what it’s like though to be backed into a corner to make a decision. It’s not something I personally agree with, therefore for clients who wish to keep the same pricing intact may be offered an alternative moving forward, which will be based on different software. Still, though, this is early planning and would take time to implement so please bear with us whilst we continue to investigate all avenues.
I have a demanding website which needs more power, but I can’t afford the cPanel licencing on a VPS! What’s the best solution?
For this, we would certainly recommend a move to our Elastic Cloud product. As a reseller client, you are entitled to 25% discount off our listed price.
The Elastic Cloud is a high availability solution based on cPanel. In essence, its a shared hosting environment but with larger resources in a more resiliant infrastructure (failover, high availability etc).
I have an Elastic Cloud Reseller, will I be affected?
No. Our intentions at this point are to keep cPanel running on our high availability solution (the Elastic Cloud).
I have a VPS running multiple accounts?
You will be affected by this if you have more than 5 cPanel accounts on your VPS. At present, we do not profit from cPanel licences, and instead, profit from the infrastructure itself. If you want to explore a cPanel alternative talk to our team and we can explore migration options with you.
I am a Shared Hosting Client with just one site. How does this affect me?
It won’t. Our existing pricing model will remain the same for those who have purchased cPanel hosting accounts.
I am a Reseller Hosting client. How does this affect me?
Reseller hosting servers tend to be large in terms of quantity, as outlined in the examples above. Whilst we have not formalised any immediate amendments to our pricing there is a possibility of an increased charge.
However, this is the primary part of our business, so we will, of course, investigate all avenues to ensure we provide a solution.
Whilst not set in stone, our initial intention is to offer two options…
1. Migration to an alternative control panel, without incurring any additional costs or changes to price plans.
2. Continue to offer cPanel as a ‘premium’ solution, chargable per-account.
This isn’t a particularly straight forward process, however. So please bear with us whilst we spend some time reviewing our options.
I am on Reseller Entry, will this affect me?
No, it won’t. This is our only reseller plan which offers an upper limit in terms of ‘number of accounts’ so won’t be affected moving forward.
Can’t we just move from cPanel to Plesk?
No, we don’t see that as a feasible solution, unfortunately. The capital group who now owns cPanel, are also the owners of Plesk. Time will tell if they decide to roll out a similar approach.
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.
Can I speak to you personally about the changes?
Absolutely. I would love to speak to you in regards to our own plans and also to hear your thoughts, opinions and suggestions.
You can book a call with me using the following link…
As I am sure you can appreciate, given the stir this has caused everyone in the industry (certainly not just us) things are busy here. We also completely understand you may have questions, or concerns or of course just an opinion on the matter. As such, I welcome you to speak to us directly by contacting…
With the subject ‘cPanel Pricing Changes’ so its flagged for me to review. Whilst I can’t guarantee I will reply personally to each and every message, the senior team here will be made fully aware of any progress throughout and would be happy to advise.