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01 Nov 2019

A Farewell to Sitebuilder

RVSiteBuilder Screenshot

RVSiteBuilder Screenshot

Just under eleven years ago we rolled out RVSitebuilder as a new feature to our shared linux web hosting accounts.  At the time we had, of course, high hopes that clients would find it of value.

Over the years, folks have tinkered with it, we’ve seen at best estimate around 2% of all clients ‘poke at it’ to see what it could do for them, or perhaps just to get design inspiration?  But we’ve never actually seen much traction in the way of clients actually utilizing the functionally long term, but as it was a fairly cheap ‘addon’ that we had bundled in with our cPanel licenses via the cPanel licensing provider we use, we never really gave much thought to it beyond over the years from a ‘cost/value’ perspective.

But as regular readers may be aware, there was something of an upheaval with regards to cPanel licensing announced over the summer.

Not quite as widely known was that in the fallout of that pricing model change, one of the larger cPanel licensing vendors, well, they sold their entire operation.  Then, a little while later, the new owners basically announced that that were terminating some partnerships and a bunch of products you could previously license through them would no longer be available.

After a little bit of a scramble, we realized that, on top of the recent tripling of our per server licensing costs due to the cPanel increase, we could be facing a second round of increases for all of the ‘non-cPanel’ items we use alongside of cPanel on each server if the product was one being discontinued from our provider.

Short version?  The per-server cost of RvSiteBuilder would be tripling if we choose to keep it around.  After once again evaluating just how much usage it was getting, this week we’ve disabled it across all our servers, and are retiring the functionality.

We are currently evaluating some other, more modern site builder options for our client’s use, and hope to once again have a easy to use site builder option available in the future.

15 Oct 2019
04 Oct 2019

Upcoming Maintenance Windows

We’ve recently been notified by one of our data center providers that they need to schedule some emergency maintenance windows in order to apply some critical updates to the underlying physical hardware, and that these updates will require taking some of our servers offline while they perform the work.

While we know that these scheduled events are never ideal, we have <knock on wood> been very lucky in terms of infrastructure outages since moving from our own managed hardware into provider-managed cloud servers.

We’ve been collating the scheduled windows and are currently:

  • notifying all impacted clients via email of their scheduled outage window.
  • adding the impacting events into the Network Status / Scheduled Events section of our client portal.
    • This is particularly cool to us, as it allows us to input all future scheduled events, and clients will only see/be bothered by the events that actually impact them personally.  Yes, we’ve had the ability to do the same via email for some time, but this is just another cool feature of the ‘new’ client portal that we’re really getting to utilize for the first time.

We will continue to monitor the situation and should any further windows be scheduled by the provider, we will of course notify additional impacted users and add those events to the client portal as well.

 

 

12 Sep 2019

Node.js support is now live!

man holding a small sign that reads 'node js'This evening we’re taking the covers off our latest feature addition to our Shared Linux Web Hosting plans, everyone please welcome Node.js to our feature list!

The Node.js setups is very similar to the Python support we unveiled earlier his year, in that you can deploy a new Node application into your account by looking for the “Setup Node.js App” icon under the “Software” section in cPanel. You’ll be prompted to select the Node version you wish to use, where the application should live folder wise, and the URL you want to associate with the application, cpanel takes care of all the rest.

At this time the Node.js selector will default to v10, but you can also choose to run your applications under v12 if so desired.

17 Aug 2019

More details on the cPanel price increase

So, the great cPanel Price Increase of 2019people counting coins on a table is scheduled to go into effect in just over two weeks, and, not so shockingly, details are still a bit slow in coming.  Officially the word we’ve seen from our license distributor is “The pricing you saw previously is valid, that’s what we’ll be charging as of September 1.  As for any sort of volume discount or any details beyond what was in the original announcement, we’re still waiting for that information ourselves.

Short version for us is, that as of right now, cPanel licensing goes from approximately 6% of our cost per server, to about 18% of each server.   This does not include CloudLinux, Fantastico, or any other software we license for our server fleet, just cPanel itself.   cPanel by itself will, after September 1, cost us more per server each month by itself than what we pay for all the software we license for a given server today.

The good news for our clients is, we’ll be absorbing that cost directly.  We have no web hosting plan pricing changes scheduled or planned as a result of the cPanel cost increase.

Long term, we’re honestly still a bit worried about what this pricing model change is going to mean for cPanel in relation to the industry as a whole.  cPanel has long maintained a market dominate position simply by virtue of being the “best of the cost effective control panels”…  Starting September 1, they’re kind of moving themselves out of the “cost effective” category for a number of business models, and based on the rumblings we’re hearing inside the industry, we suspect you may see a spike in popularity and/or new Control Panel options entering the market.

For our part, we’re going to keep an eye on the situation as it evolves and see how it all shakes out.  But in the meantime we’re maintaining course for our clients.

18 Jul 2019

PHP 7.3 now available

Screenshot of PHP code in a text editor

PHP 7.3 has been rolled out across all of our Linux servers, and now available for general use.

To select PHP 7.3, you will need to change your selection using the “MultiPHP Manager” which can be found inside your cPanel interface under the “Software” section.

The PHP 7.3 Migration Guide may prove useful and provide a quick reference of what has changed within the language.

29 Jun 2019

cPanel Increases Pricing, Potential Chaos Ensues

Yesterday the folks @ cPanel lobbed something of a grenade into the middle of the web hosting industry with a blog post entitled Announcing Account Based Pricing.

Long story short, they are increasing the cost of cPanel for pretty much every situation under the sun effective September 1st. The old pricing model was a flat monthly fee per licensed hosting server, while the new pricing is directly tied to the number of web hosting accounts on the server.

Now, this announcement has sparked a number of reactions, including anger, confusion, and fear from around our industry. We’ve seen reports of providers who believe they will see massive increases in their cPanel costs going forward, with some expressing concern of just how they are going to make the numbers work. These conversations have lead to discussions of providers moving to other platforms, cutting ancillary features out of their offerings to lower costs, or simply closing up shop as they will no longer be able to financially stay above water given the new pricing model.

Some of those reactions and discussions have filtered out from the industry watering holes and into the webmaster forums and chat rooms, to the point we have had more than a couple clients reach out in the last 24 hours asking for information on the topic from our perspective.

With that in mind, even though we don’t yet have 100% of the picture (the pricing being bandied around so far is ‘retail’, we’re not yet sure exactly where our final pricing will land), I wanted to take a moment to discuss both the big picture, as well as what it means for us here at Pure Energy.

In the big picture, things could get dicey for some of the lower cost hosting providers over the next couple months. The lower end market is run on razor thin margins, and, well, I’ll be blunt, it’s hard to stay afloat selling $5/year hosting if your control panel alone is costing you $4/year per account.

For our own environment and business model, we’ll see around a 3x increase in our monthly cPanel license costs, at the retail pricing we’ve seen so far. While not ideal for us, especially coming so closely on the heels of the cost increase we absorbed just a few months ago with the addition of CloudLinux to our servers, at this time I believe we can make the numbers work for our existing Shared Linux Web Hosting plans without a price increase, and without any other substantial changes to our service, plans, or features.

We won’t have 100% of the picture until we get firm pricing from our provider, but to be honest, the bigger concern for us is the uncertainty this injects into the idea of cPanel as a stable platform for our future:

  • Our biggest, as of yet unannounced, project for 2019 was a ‘scratch our own itch’ service that we were hoping to integrate into cPanel pretty tightly and offer to our users as a value added feature of hosting with us, as well as to market the service to other hosting providers as a way to scratch their itch as well. This is on hold (the integration, not the service!) while we see how the cPanel landscape shakes out.
  • A smaller project we had been looking at involved clients who find themselves needing much larger resource allocations than any of our current plans offer. The idea here was larger servers, larger plans, fewer clients per server. We have to re-run the numbers there to see if cPanel still makes sense once we have the finalized pricing.
  • cPanel’s immense popularity has long made it the de-facto ‘go to’ for any provider/service/platform that had a product of interest to the hosting industry. The fallout from this price increase, if it serves to fracture the landscape of providers, could very well jeopardize the dominance that cPanel currently enjoys in the market. If that happens, what happens to the 3rd party interest/support for cPanel?

Some of these are obviously questions that wont be answered for some time, for right now however, things, for us, are status quo. We’ll keep doing the best we can for our clients, keep our eyes on the industry landscape, and keep moving forward.

(c) 2019 Pure Energy Systems LLC - All rights reserved.

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