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An Open Letter to cPanel : Re: Announcing Account Based Pricing


Dear cPanel Management,

I would like to think that I am on good terms with you but that may change after reading this later. I have been an outspoken fan and evangelist of your product for years as well as a customer. I have also had the pleasure of meeting many cPanel staff members in person on a few occasions. I am also a very outspoken and respected voice in the web hosting community on sites such as WebHostingTalk. I am not only writing this letter to criticize your decision to introduce a new pricing structure that will cripple the web hosting industry but to also offer a compromise.

The raw costs of developing a quality produce has been increasing over the years as you work to recruit some of the best talent in the industry. cPanel has to your credit not increased prices in years so I completely understand cPanel’s need to increase prices on order to further grow and improve on the product. I just feel that the new pricing scheme is a disaster and will hurt your customers and in many cases either cause them to close up shop or migrate to competing products which would decrease cPanel’s revenue as a result.

Many web hosting providers are freaking out at the moment worried about the backlash of announcing the impending and sharp price increases to their customers. Many web hosts are understandably concerned that this announcement will cause outrage and possibly cause many of them to loose customers as a result. Some other providers are already exploring the options to move to a competing product to avoid this increase – which is an insane amount of work. Many web hosting companies that offer reseller hosting are even contemplating closing shop as this business model is unsustainable. These changes will also impact many budget hosts that service impoverished communities by offering affordable hosting to small businesses who are struggling.

Hosting providers are understandably outraged and have lost trust in cPanel due to these changes.These changes are clearly disastrous to the industry as a whole and I cannot see any new web hosting companies running cPanel being able to revitalize the industry. It is really hard to rebuild on the corpses of larger hosts who have folded.

I would like you to re-consider these changes and come up with a compromise that will both allow you to raise your rates by a nominal amount. Instead of a “Per Account’ licensing structure, why not consider a “Per Core” licensing structure. I can honestly see a $5.00-$10.00 per CPU core being a sustainable option for most web hosting providers an still increase your revenue. This will create a nominal increase of ~5.00 to those on a typical VPS and potentially an increase of $300+ on providers who densely pack a 32 core server with thousands of accounts. Of course there should be a maximum cap.

If you would agree to re-consider, I will even offer to help with damage control and talk companies out of jumping ship.

Keith Myers