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benneth

Unique Hosting Setup is Creating WHMCS Infrastructure Challenges

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Hello WHMCS'ers!

Recently, I subscribed to WHMCS (and for obvious reasons -- amazing automation features to help my hosting biz scale). They benefits are staggering.

 

Unique Hosting Setup Explained

What's makes my hosting setup unique is that I don't allow cpanel access to my clients. They pay for hosting and email, and I take care of the rest (all the cpanel admin)... so my desire/perception is to eliminate the need for client cpanel access.

However, this has created some challenges with how my business sets up customer accounts -- and creates challenges for how my business can leverage WHMCS' automation power. Customers simply provide their CC info over the phone, and I do the rest of the setup for them. This means my clients don't use/see the WHMCS front end or client area at all (they don't order products through my system).

 

Integrations/Software I Use

Here's a little insight into what kind of systems I use

  • WHM
  • WHMCS
  • Stripe

 

Problem 1 - If clients aren't registering via WHMCS, where should I be creating the client?

In WHMCS?

In WHM?

 

Problem 2 - Realtime Sync (Back-and-fourth) between WHM and WHMCS

Let's say Problem 1 is solved, and a client is created (whether in WHMCS or WHM). How does WHM or WHMCS handle new account creation sync? 

FYI, I've used the Server Sync Tool to create the seed client account import from WHM to WHMCS. But, I notice this tool doesn't run continuously (only manually,  one-time).

Ideally, I can sync the newly created client instantly between WHM/WHMCS.

 

Problem 3 - Unique Emails Required for Each WHMCS Client Account

My understanding is that this requirement of unique email addresses for client account creation prevents key features like auto reminder emails (overdue payments, expiring credit card). If I continue using my email address, then all auto reminders go to my admin email (not useful at all).

For context's sake, my current customer creation process is done in WHM. I create the account in WHM using their domain info, but my email address.

  • The reason why I do this is so my clients don't receive the "Your cpanel account has been created" email, with their cpanel info attached. 
  • I don't want clients seeing anything about their cpanel at all -- I just want clients to pay, receive servers, and allow me to administer everything for them.

 

Any solutions or insights are greatly appreciated. I'm excited to "turn on the sales taps", and this is the key barrier for me right now. TIA.

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21 hours ago, benneth said:

What's makes my hosting setup unique is that I don't allow cpanel access to my clients. They pay for hosting and email, and I take care of the rest (all the cpanel admin)... so my desire/perception is to eliminate the need for client cpanel access.

I don't think it's a unique situation - in some circumstances, it would be less hassle than letting some users loose on cPanel and the "ooh what does this button do" attitude... 😱

21 hours ago, benneth said:

However, this has created some challenges with how my business sets up customer accounts -- and creates challenges for how my business can leverage WHMCS' automation power. Customers simply provide their CC info over the phone, and I do the rest of the setup for them. This means my clients don't use/see the WHMCS front end or client area at all (they don't order products through my system).

are you anticipating using WHMCS to send invoices and/or invoice / domain reminder emails to the end user?

20 hours ago, benneth said:

Problem 1 - If clients aren't registering via WHMCS, where should I be creating the client?

  • In WHMCS?
  • In WHM?

in WHMCS - no point having a horse and pulling the cart yourself. 🐎

20 hours ago, benneth said:

Problem 2 - Realtime Sync (Back-and-fourth) between WHM and WHMCS

Let's say Problem 1 is solved, and a client is created (whether in WHMCS or WHM). How does WHM or WHMCS handle new account creation sync?

in WHMCS, you (as an admin) could add an order...

https://docs.whmcs.com/Order_Management#Placing_an_Order

21 hours ago, benneth said:

FYI, I've used the Server Sync Tool to create the seed client account import from WHM to WHMCS. But, I notice this tool doesn't run continuously (only manually,  one-time).

Ideally, I can sync the newly created client instantly between WHM/WHMCS.

I don't think that you really need to think about syncing from this point on - the SST has imported your existing accounts into WHMCS, and if in the future you create your cPanel accounts via WHMCS, there should be no need to sync the two.

21 hours ago, benneth said:

Problem 3 - Unique Emails Required for Each WHMCS Client Account

My understanding is that this requirement of unique email addresses for client account creation prevents key features like auto reminder emails (overdue payments, expiring credit card). If I continue using my email address, then all auto reminders go to my admin email (not useful at all).

all WHMCS accounts need to use a unique email address - there are workarounds, but you shouldn't need to overcomplicate the account creation process that way.

in your situation, if you don't want the users to know about WHMCS, then for account creation purposes, you could use your own domain and a wildcard email address, e.g client1@domain.com, client2@domain.com or whatever - that way, you should get any emails generated by WHMCS... though individual email templates can be disabled, so you could ensure that most emails to clients never got sent anyway.

21 hours ago, benneth said:

For context's sake, my current customer creation process is done in WHM. I create the account in WHM using their domain info, but my email address.

  • The reason why I do this is so my clients don't receive the "Your cpanel account has been created" email, with their cpanel info attached. 
  • I don't want clients seeing anything about their cpanel at all -- I just want clients to pay, receive servers, and allow me to administer everything for them.

if you create their account in WHMCS, then you can choose not to send WHMCS account creation emails during setup - the user wouldn't receive a cPanel account creation email when a cPanel account setup via WHMCS... they could optionally receive a product welcome email, but these can be disabled in the product setup and/or email templates setup.

21 hours ago, benneth said:

Any solutions or insights are greatly appreciated.

it might be useful for you to go through the admin ordering workflow, e.g if you have a test client account within your WHMCS, add an order for a cPanel product from WHMCS and use it to create an account on the WHM server.

https://docs.whmcs.com/Order_Management#Accepting_Pending_Orders

you will be able to delete the account either via WHMCS or WHM - though ideally do it through WHMCS, otherwise if you delete via WHM, WHMCS won't know.

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Brian, thank you for your quick and detailed response.

Quote

are you anticipating using WHMCS to send invoices and/or invoice / domain reminder emails to the end user?

Yes, but I'm curious how this would work since I'm using Stripe. I want to centralize my efforts via WHMCS... so basically, all setup and reminder emails (new hosting package setup email, your payment has been received email, your credit card is expiring email) should run through WHMCS. Especially the credit card expiry email. 

WHMCS visibility to clients

Are most hosting companies in my position giving clients access to the client portal on WHMCS? Perhaps I'm afraid of giving customers too much control over their services in WHMCS. Trying to wrap my head around this.

  • What are the benefits of giving WHMCS portal access?
  • What could go wrong if clients have WHMCS portal access?

My ideal setup:

  • Customer signs agreement + provides credit card info to me.
  • Stripe payment is accepted, order is created in WHMCS. Order is now pending, customer is now a client.
  • Client receives their receipt from WHMCS and hosting setup confirmation email from WHMCS (and not Stripe).
  • Client receives occasional reminder emails (service renewal, overdue payments, credit card expired).

WHMCS subdomain:

Is it too late to switch my WHMCS subdomain from "whmcs." to "my." or "account."?

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On 14/02/2020 at 19:23, benneth said:

so basically, all setup and reminder emails (new hosting package setup email, your payment has been received email, your credit card is expiring email) should run through WHMCS. Especially the credit card expiry email. 

if they're not going to have WHMCS access, then you'll need to remove all links back to your WHMCS install from the email templates.

On 14/02/2020 at 19:23, benneth said:

are most hosting companies in my position giving clients access to the client portal on WHMCS?

I would suspect that most are.

On 14/02/2020 at 19:23, benneth said:

Perhaps I'm afraid of giving customers too much control over their services in WHMCS. Trying to wrap my head around this.

there's really no right/wrong way with this - i've previously done both with separate brands.

if you put a gun to my head and asked me to choose one, I preferred not giving them access as then it takes a lot of the client area bugs out of the equation and you only have to worry about the admin side and the automation.

maybe in your case, start off with not giving them access and then as you get more familiar with WHMCS and its features (e.g play with the client area), you can let them know about the portal and how they can use it... there's little point in letting them have access until you are more familiar and confident in what they can do.

On 14/02/2020 at 19:23, benneth said:

What are the benefits of giving WHMCS portal access?

  • the ability for the client to find information themselves rather than contacting you elsewhere, e.g invoices, tickets, knowledgebase, announcements etc.
  • increased selling / promotion options.
  • less time for you to spend on administration tasks.
On 14/02/2020 at 19:23, benneth said:

Is it too late to switch my WHMCS subdomain from "whmcs." to "my." or "account."?

it's never too late, but if you're going to let your clients have access, then change it before any emails are sent to them that include your WHMCS URL.

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