cPanel price hike crisis: time for the web hosting industry to take a new direction
It’s been a couple of weeks since cPanel turned the web hosting world upside down by announcing a sudden, very shocking change to their licensing structure and pricing.
We covered the essentials of those changes and the large-scale impact they’d have across the industry in our blog last week.
This event has caused us to reflect on the status-quo of the market and its heavy dependence on single big players by judging from our own experience as a web hosting provider.
The cPanel price hike – time to re-think the use of monopolies
The recent, sudden change to cPanel’s licensing model and pricing has not only shocked the web hosting industry but it has left thousands of providers at a loss.
This event has also raised a very important question. Namely why has the industry allowed such a heavy dependence on single commercial solutions to develop?
Indeed, there seems to be a growing problem of dominating monopolies which has emerged over the last decade (Google, etc.), and the hosting industry’s big player, cPanel, is just another example.
This is especially true when it comes to the web hosting control panel – a core part of a hosting business.
The majority of hosting providers have been outsourcing this part of their business since the very start for the sake of ease plus cost and effort savings. And also – because everyone has been doing this for years!
Now that the big player has tightened the screws more and more providers are waking up from a long, collective sleep to realize that taking the easy ride does not actually pay off long-term.
Seems like they’ve been waiting for too long. So, what is the right course of action from here on?
The immediate solution for many providers has been to move to another, less popular commercial platform, which sounds like a reasonable decision for now.
But then another big question arises – how do hosts know that the same situation won’t happen again?
What would stop the same scenario from hitting them badly with the smaller alternative solutions if these providers fall to a buyout too? It’s all business after all, isn’t it!?
This is why, a few providers have started to think about long term solutions that will help them secure their independence in the future.
They’ve begun to realize that it is more rewarding to go the not-so-easy route of crafting their own platform instead of relying entirely on out-of-the box, 3rd party solutions.
The idea of web hosts joining forces for an industry-supported, open-source panel done from scratch has been put on the table as well.
Better late than never.
Our story – between the easy way and the hard way
While the industry is trying to find its way out of the chaos wreaked by cPanel, we are looking back at our chosen path over the years which seems quite relevant to the current market situation.
It has been winding between the hard and easy way of starting up and growing as a host.
When we started out as a hosting provider 16 years ago, we had to make the standard “small player” choice.
We had to either go the easy way by choosing a universal 3rd party solution or to pour all of our resources into creating our own free reseller hosting platform that was tailored to our customers’ specific needs.
We knew that outsourcing is good for start-ups – it would save us tons of time, effort and programming resources upfront.
It is a great way to start a web hosting business from scratch and have the time needed to focus on marketing and brand promotion rather than on development that would not in fact bring direct revenue to you.
Why reinvent the wheel at your own expense given somebody else has done that for you and will only charge a fair price!
A very tempting solution but was it a fit for us? After a thorough analysis of the 3rd party solutions available on the market at that time, we found some deficiencies that could compromise our business plan – to offer an affordable web hosting platform for both newbies and advanced users, namely:
- The available solutions were not user-friendly enough to match the beginners needs for simplicity and intuitiveness;
- They were incomplete i.e. requiring tons of 3rd party plugins to install for important jobs like backups, speed optimization, etc.
So we decided to resist the cost-effective 3rd party offers and throw all the necessary amounts of blood, sweat and tears into the development of our own Control Panel platform.
We wanted to focus on an intuitively easy-to-use, all-in-one solution and spare our customers the need to install third-party software and plugins.
We knew this “self-reliant” decision would cost us a lot over the years. We’d have to dedicate millions of hours to development and bug fixing instead of just thinking of marketing as most other providers who had taken the easy path did.
Indeed, it took us much more time to make our small product known on the market. We were lagging behind in terms of brand awareness for the sake of independence.
So, we needed to back our business up with a proven solution to support our Free Program while it was being developed and established on the market. Thus we started offering a cPanel reseller program alongside our Free Reseller Program.
This worked very well, helping us to secure a decent amount of paying customers while moving on with our own, free reseller project.
In view of the current market turbulence and independence “crisis”, the idealistic decision of following our own path seems to have turned out to be a wise decision after all.
Although it has cost us tons of time, effort and lost short-term benefits over the years, it has made us independent of 3rd party vendors and immune to similar critical situations in the long term.
We’ve now reached a time when we can fully rely on our own custom solutions instead of thinking about how to take back control in the future.
The cPanel price crisis – time for independent solutions to shine through
The cPanel price hike crisis has affected the small resellers and web hosting providers the most.
And our custom-made Free Reseller Program is targeted at namely small and medium reseller hosting businesses.
It is meant to be a perfect solution for each startup since it backs your business up with full billing support and an end-customer tech service at no cost.
Besides, over the years we’ve remained true to our vision and have declined a few tempting buyout offers.
Now looks like the right time to step up and give a hand to hosts who are searching for an alternative reseller hosting solution.
At the moment, we are working on simplifying the migration procedure for cPanel hosting clients. We’ll keep you updated on that.
If you haven’t already, join our Free Reseller Program and help us popularize Hepsia as an alternative, easy-to-use Control Panel solution to your customers.
Let the new era of web hosting begin.