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Hosting Discussion > Operating a Web Hosting Business > Billing and Accounting > Requirements for a new billing client?
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  Post #1 (permalink)   05-24-2016, 10:24 PM
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Every few years, a new 'monster' app comes along that just obliterates everything else in the past, including traditional leaders. It happened with modernbill, it happened with perlbill, and (eventually) it will happen with WHMCS (not that I want it to, by any means). Without naming, or discussing current products, which features are those that you'd absolutely need to see in a billing app to switch to it?

For me:
  1. cPanel integration (better than the current leader)
  2. Paypal integration
  3. CDG Commerce integration
  4. Month to month pricing
  5. PHP / MySQL based
  6. Top notch support
  7. A well developed API
  8. Plugin capabilities
  9. Smarty

I don't care if it's open, or closed source. In fact, closed is better, as long as it's fully audited and thoroughly examined by industry professionals in that area (and no I don't mean me ).

Why is closed better?
Closed means you can't touch the core, you can't change jack about it, and that's good. This means fewer people skipping upgrades, as long as the app utilizes quality development standards, and developers for it rely on quality standards themselves.
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  Post #2 (permalink)   05-25-2016, 03:22 AM
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On top of what you mention add
Code stability. No one is shifting to a buggy app.

Price - Stay realistic to the industry.

Community - Grow an active community to supliment support.

More server support than cPanel - Yes they are the biggest BUT I sale shoutcast for example instead of their whmsonic. I also offer Plesk servers etc.

But most importantly offer stability and number of payment getaways. We are here to make money not so? Be on top of security in that area, number and stability.
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  Post #3 (permalink)   05-25-2016, 07:29 AM
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I would say security focused better integration with emerging hosting markets.
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  Post #4 (permalink)   05-25-2016, 11:04 AM
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Stability is kind of a given, though yeah, you're right
Community, well, that's going to come with time. WHMCS didn't have a huge community at the beginning.

Gateways, absolutely. However, one of the things to keep in mind is that everyone's got a different 'must have gateway'.

Not that I'm looking to put something together here (I'm happy with WHMCS, I can support it (duh), and use it just fine). I'm just getting feedback. Maybe someone will stumble across the thread and say 'hey, I can do all this' . Doubtful, but maybe!!
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  Post #5 (permalink)   05-26-2016, 01:49 PM
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Other than Smarty, I'd say any billing control panel would have those features at it's core. They are just standard features.

For anyone looking to start in this market I think they should focus not only on those core features, but the underserved areas/market in this industry:

*Dedicated servers, Colo, DC management etc
*VoIP/Phone integration systems
*Support
*Affiliate program

These in current platforms are all very basic or non-existant.
Want a multi-tier affiliate program? Get iDevAffiliate.
Want a help desk with SLA, premium support packages etc? Kayako, Zendesk or another alternative

Point being, I can get a cPanel and PayPal integrations with any web hosting billing app. One would have to differ and offer something that is really needed, entice people to go through the pain of migrating platforms.
 
 


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  Post #6 (permalink)   08-15-2016, 04:35 AM
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A big thing for me would be a good quality and documented API to allow developers to develop quality addons/hooks into the billing system.
 
 
 


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  Post #7 (permalink)   08-17-2016, 04:05 AM
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cPanel

PayPal and 2checkout

the ability to create plugins

a very stable and secure code
 
 
 


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  Post #8 (permalink)   08-19-2016, 01:19 AM
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I remember Modernbill, but not Perlbill.

Modernbill was left to die after it was purchased. This is not uncommon with mergers or companies that buy the competition. In the case of Modernbill it was actually a good product for its time but if I remember correctly Sw Soft wanted to promote their own billing solution instead so Modernbill never received any update again.

Strangely it was still used for years as outdated as it was. Another product which was decent was AWBS which also never received updates again.

As for WHMCS, of course this may happen. If they get purchased maybe, but so far lets check facts. WHMCS is one of the oldest and most stable billing system.

Speculation about one or another system taking over them is something that just didn't happen in so many years. They said Modernbill (stay away from that...) but it didn't happen. Now its seems Blesta, which is quite decent in stability and features as well but yet they are not really eating into WHMCS market share.

The important aspect about WHMCS is that they are making money as a company and that is important for any software. If the developers are not making money, chances are they are going to leave the software to die eventually.

WHMCS had its share of troubles in the past, particularly regarding security. But they made improvements in that regards in the past years.

About features. I think that for any billing & automation software the biggest features should always be security and stability.

Its preferred to have something with less features but that works that something buggy that is missing invoices or double billing customers (ouch!). Security should be the top concern in any software that manages sensitive data like payment information or passwords.
 
 
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  Post #9 (permalink)   08-19-2016, 03:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by netz0 View Post
I remember Modernbill, but not Perlbill.

Modernbill was left to die after it was purchased. This is not uncommon with mergers or companies that buy the competition. In the case of Modernbill it was actually a good product for its time but if I remember correctly Sw Soft wanted to promote their own billing solution instead so Modernbill never received any update again.

Strangely it was still used for years as outdated as it was. Another product which was decent was AWBS which also never received updates again.

As for WHMCS, of course this may happen. If they get purchased maybe, but so far lets check facts. WHMCS is one of the oldest and most stable billing system.

Speculation about one or another system taking over them is something that just didn't happen in so many years. They said Modernbill (stay away from that...) but it didn't happen. Now its seems Blesta, which is quite decent in stability and features as well but yet they are not really eating into WHMCS market share.

The important aspect about WHMCS is that they are making money as a company and that is important for any software. If the developers are not making money, chances are they are going to leave the software to die eventually.

WHMCS had its share of troubles in the past, particularly regarding security. But they made improvements in that regards in the past years.

About features. I think that for any billing & automation software the biggest features should always be security and stability.

Its preferred to have something with less features but that works that something buggy that is missing invoices or double billing customers (ouch!). Security should be the top concern in any software that manages sensitive data like payment information or passwords.
I would rather have billing software where the developers concentrate on security etc. rather than adding loads of features and addons, that 9/10 wont all be used.

look at WHMCS their own backup system will only allow you to backup 20MB, but they constantly add extra features and addons, which wont be used, but take up more space so eventually their own backup system wont allow you to backup your installation.
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  Post #10 (permalink)   08-19-2016, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by netz0 View Post
Modernbill was left to die after it was purchased. This is not uncommon with mergers or companies that buy the competition. In the case of Modernbill it was actually a good product for its time but if I remember correctly Sw Soft wanted to promote their own billing solution instead so Modernbill never received any update again.
This is partially true.
The reason it was purchased is because Moldernbill v5 was not well received at all by clients. Plesk then swooped in and picked it up.


Quote:
Originally Posted by netz0 View Post
As for WHMCS, of course this may happen. If they get purchased maybe, but so far lets check facts. WHMCS is one of the oldest and most stable billing system.
Stable is really relative. There's a good bit about WHMCS that isn't exactly 'stable'. Support, for example. Or their initial releases. The staff @ WHMCS have a hell of a time trying to get people to really test releases, which is why they've had to resort to bribery.

Over the past few years, WHMCS has started to ignore user feedback, which is one of the sure signs that any company is dying off.
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  Post #11 (permalink)   08-19-2016, 11:52 AM
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Our main issue with WHMCS is that the billing system is, like all other billing systems based on invoices that have to be paid. We would need to have a system that only send's invoices once the renewal has been paid and that let's users renew multiple products at the same time.

We tested most of the most known billing and automation software and came to the conclusion that none of them would easily work the way we wanted them do so we are now building our own in house system.
 
 
 


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  Post #12 (permalink)   08-20-2016, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex - A2hosting View Post
Other than Smarty, I'd say any billing control panel would have those features at it's core. They are just standard features.

For anyone looking to start in this market I think they should focus not only on those core features, but the underserved areas/market in this industry:

*Dedicated servers, Colo, DC management etc
*VoIP/Phone integration systems
*Support
*Affiliate program

These in current platforms are all very basic or non-existant.
Want a multi-tier affiliate program? Get iDevAffiliate.
Want a help desk with SLA, premium support packages etc? Kayako, Zendesk or another alternative

Point being, I can get a cPanel and PayPal integrations with any web hosting billing app. One would have to differ and offer something that is really needed, entice people to go through the pain of migrating platforms.
I agree, these points have been neglected by companies
 
 
 


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  Post #13 (permalink)   08-20-2016, 11:22 AM
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It would need to support more than cPanel, support virtualization systems such as SolusVM, Virtualizor, OnApp, etc. and have better direct management integration. If someone ever comes along and does management for servers/hardware, IP's, DNS, etc they could probably do well.
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  Post #14 (permalink)   09-03-2016, 11:11 PM
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Security
Well developed API
Dedicated Server, Colo management.

Frankly, something as powerful as Ubersmith but with more affordable Monthly Pricing is what I feel is powerful App.
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  Post #15 (permalink)   09-04-2016, 04:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serverbundle View Post
Security
Well developed API
Dedicated Server, Colo management.

Frankly, something as powerful as Ubersmith but with more affordable Monthly Pricing is what I feel is powerful App.
Ubersmith is very powerful as a data centre manager and for server/colo providers, but it too lacks many features.

I'm pretty sure that cPanel purchased WHMCS a few years back, but Matt still runs the show. Though I could be wrong on this point.

I think a mix of WHMCS' core features with Ubersmith's more advanced features for data centre management would be much better. I also want to see a way to manage servers in a 'virtual' environment to physically see where gaps exist in cabinets and there's capacity on the floor to put more servers.

With Kayako ditching customers for their SaaS platform too, I think there's a solid demand for a really good support and client engagement platform to be built in too.
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