When starting out with reseller hosting, it's common to encounter confusion about the differences between WHM, cPanel, DirectAdmin, and WHMCS. Each of these products plays a unique role in selling hosting packages to your clients. This guide will help clarify what these products are and how they function.
WHM (WebHost Manager)
WebHost Manager, or WHM, is part of the cPanel and WHM product suite. WHM serves as the reseller interface, providing centralized access to your and your clients' cPanel accounts. With WHM, you can:
- Create 'Packages' for your clients
- Create 'cPanel Accounts' for your clients
- List and log in to your clients' 'cPanel Accounts'
- Access advanced features such as suspending and terminating cPanel accounts, centralized DNS management, and cPanel branding controls
In essence, WHM is your reseller interface, giving you the ability to control, create, and manage hosting accounts and packages for your clients.
cPanel is the industry-standard control panel, providing a clean, intuitive interface that allows you and your clients to manage their hosting accounts, email addresses, FTP access, and more. With cPanel, you and your clients can manage:
- File Management
- FTP Access
- Backups and Restores
- Database / MySQL Management
- Domain Management
- Email Address Management and Creation
- Webmail Access
- SPAM Protection
- Website Statistics
- Resource Usage
- SSH Access
- SSL Certificate Management
- One-Click Installations (powered by Softaculous)
- Website Builder (powered by SitePro)
- Cron Job Management
cPanel is essentially the product that allows your clients to manage their own hosting account with ease.
DirectAdmin is an alternative to the cPanel software interface. It offers a similar feature set to cPanel and boasts an extremely user-friendly interface. DirectAdmin takes an approach of hosting two environments - 'Reseller' and 'User'. These two environments provide you with the ability to manage the users under your Reseller Package, while also having a separate interface specifically designed towards a user perspective, to control their own account, domains, files, etc.
WHMCS, standing for 'Web Host Manager Complete Solution', is a solution designed for WHM and cPanel that allows reseller hosting providers to automate much of the workflow required when running a hosting business, such as billing, invoicing, support, and more. WHMCS is a two-part product featuring both a 'client area' for you and your clients and an 'administrative area'.
The 'client area' of WHMCS is designed to give your clients the ability to 'self-service' their hosting and to improve the relationship with you as a hosting provider. It allows your clients to manage:
- Support Tickets
- Knowledgebase Articles
- Order products
The 'administrative' side of WHMCS includes all of the tools required to automate and grow a hosting business, including:
- Support Ticket Management
- Order Processing and Management
- Billing and Invoice Management
- Payment Gateway Integration
- Domain Registration Automation
- Advanced Reporting
WHM and cPanel provide the interfaces to access and manage the website hosting itself. WHMCS, on the other hand, is an optional solution that you can purchase to add a layer of 'automation' to your reseller hosting business. DirectAdmin is an alternative to cPanel for those who prefer a different interface.
This guide is designed to be a comprehensive resource for understanding WHM, cPanel, DirectAdmin, and WHMCS. However, if you have any further questions or need additional assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to our support team.