Archive for August, 2016

Download | How to Get the Best from WHMCS – A Guide for Hosting Resellers

Posted by Adrien Tibi

Our latest download is a cheat sheet that will help you implement WHMCS as your new billing system – guiding you through the installation process and giving you best practice examples of how to effectively use WHMCS.

To successfully run your hosting reseller business, you must devote your attention to sales and marketing activities. However, tracking invoices and managing clients can dominate your workload. The solution is to implement a billing system like WHMCS, via an API on your bare metal cloud.

Give your hosting reseller business all the support it needs by downloading our WHMCS guide here

Implementing a new billing system can be a challenge, but with the right approach, making the change to WHMCS will be well worth it. Luckily, we have created a handy guide highlighting the right approach. The WHMCS guide shows a three step process to successfully implementing WHMCS:

  1. Plan
  2. Communicate
  3. Test

At every stage, the guide provides you with a handy checklist and best practice examples to keep you on the right path to success.

Many companies fail to plan how they will use WHMCS. With the vast community of third-party developers creating numerous add-ons in the WHMCS Marketplace, it’s important that you understand what add-ons your business requires. Make use of WHMCS’s support resources throughout the process, from their FAQs and documentation to tutorial videos. WHMCS prides itself on having the best pre-sales support in their sector, so make sure you utilise this by signing up for free demos and tutorials.

In the communication stage of the process, the guide highlights best practice when it comes to informing your clients of the switch. By notifying your clients well ahead of installation, providing them with details and benefits of WHMCS, there should be no loss in trust.

Once you plan your implementation of WHMCS and communicate this to your clients, it maybe tempting to start using your WHMCS with clients. Although this may work, you run the risk of updates breaking your configuration. To avoid disaster, the guide details the final stage of the process, testing. The guide will suggest you obtain a second licence key for testing and reminds you to run tests after every update.

We know that all hosting resellers companies are different, but our basic framework to successfully implementing WHMCS will lead you down the right path. So don’t hesitate, download our WHMCS guide now.

Google Acquisition Signifies Cloud-Computing Competition

Posted by Adrien Tibi

Google have issued a statement of intent within the cloud-computing industry by acquiring commerce platform Orbitera for an estimated fee in excess of $100 million. This most recent purchase comes just days after a Gartner report saw Amazon Web Services crowned king of the cloud, and unveils Google’s aspirations to challenge for the coveted cloud throne.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud revenue is expected to triple to $43.6 billion by 2020, up from $12.6 billion in 2015, according to research firm IDC. This is good news for the likes of big cloud players such as Google, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon, the latter of which capture over half of all total revenue in the public cloud market.

Stuck for ideas on how to make a profit in SaaS? If so, download our SaaS profitiability guide for hints and tips.

Public Cloud Market

Amazon Web Services (AWS), began its cloud project over a decade ago and is now the leader in an increasingly competitive market. The company raked in $2.66 billion during the second quarter of 2016 – a 58 percent increase on the previous year and the most revenue ever captured in a quarter.

Google also experienced positive second quarter earnings, as their parent company Alphabet announced their ‘Other Revenues’ segment, which includes its cloud services, jumped more than 30 percent, compared with its first quarter, to $2.2 billion. But it is the Orbitera merge that has been grabbing the headlines, as it signifies more than just a challenge to Amazon and current cloud competitors, it also marks a change in strategy – namely a move to a multi-cloud system.

Multi-Cloud Strategy

Multi-cloud strategies have become more common as enterprise organisations attempt to further establish the platform and increase its credibility within the industry. Orbitera is a platform which acts as a marketplace for cloud solutions, simplifying the way consumers search for and purchase products.

Up until now the Google Cloud Platform has not been available for customers to buy through this marketplace system, but all that is set to change as a result of this new deal. A Google spokesperson said: “This acquisition will not only improve support of software vendors on Google Cloud Platform but also provides customers with more choice and flexibility in today’s multi-cloud world.”

Although Google is generally ranked within the top three cloud providers worldwide, the gap between AWS, Microsoft and Google in third place has been widening slightly in recent quarters. Google is moving rapidly to change this, and before announcing the Orbitera acquisition they also reported a 15 percent decrease in power expenditure, from utilising artificial intelligence, across their factories. On top of this, the technology giant has greenlighted plans to develop a further $600 million data centre in Oregon, increasing total spending in this destination to nearly $2 billion.

Cloud-Computing Opportunity

In spite of these plans, Synergy Research Group estimate that AWS is currently three times the size of any of its nearest competitors, meaning that Google has their work cut out to close the gap. However, considering that the tech-giant runs a huge network of sophisticated data centres, has won over a number of high-profile corporate clients and its parent company currently sits on a war chest of $80 billion, there is plenty of opportunity for Google to strengthen its position within the cloud-computing market. In this vein, Forrester’s Dave Bartoletti has said: “No one innovates like Google. They now have to turn that innovation into products and relationships that make enterprise customers comfortable. Enterprise buys from companies they know and like.”

If nothing else, the Orbitera acquisition has strengthened Google’s resolve within the competitive cloud-hosting industry. The multi-cloud strategy may well not prove to be the emphasis needed to close the gap on current market leader AWS, but it does offer a compelling, rivalrous way of thinking about enterprise infrastructure. Still, that’s not to say that either company are faultless in their cloud-computing pursuits, and if the Gartner report is anything to go by, they both have a way to go.

Cloud Competition Criticisms

In spite of AWS’s current dominance in the market, there have been significant criticisms about its functionality. This was echoed within the Gartner research, which cautioned that “optimum use requires expertise” and that the company “is not eager to be the lowest-cost bidder.” In the same vein, the report also noted that Google “is still in the rudimentary stages of learning to engage with enterprise and mid-market customers, especially those that are not technology-centric businesses.”

Whilst AWS and Google were both on the receiving end of Gartner’s judgements, the other big-four competitors Microsoft and IBM were equally critiqued – the report discovered that in the case of Microsoft Azure not all functionality is thoroughly implemented or easy enough to use, whilst, IBM’s SoftLayer “is missing many cloud IaaS capabilities desired by mid-market and enterprise customers.”

In the world of cloud-computing, whether it’s public cloud, a bare metal platform, or a hybrid cloud mix it is important to remember that bigger does not necessarily equal better.

Are Dedicated Servers Still Relevant?

Posted by Adrien Tibi

The hype around cloud technology has cast doubt over the value of dedicated servers, with many debating whether they are still relevant. However, not only are dedicated servers relevant, but they remain a viable option when businesses require real power and control.

Dedicated servers are physical servers, which are owned or rented out to businesses as an entire unit. We call them ‘dedicated’ as they are employed by a single user to serve a specific networking purpose.

Are Dedicated Servers Really Out of Date?

The big players in public cloud hosting have tried to highlight dedicated servers’ drawbacks, such as a lack of scalability, in order to validate the need for cloud hosting. However, modern-day dedicated servers can form a part of a hybrid cloud or bare metal cloud environment, which can be scaled up or down with cloud-like efficiency. Automated provisioning means you can buy bare metal servers online and have them up and running in minutes, as you would with a public cloud provider like AWS.

Benefits of Dedicated Servers Over the Cloud?

Ideal for Horizontal Scaling

The myth that dedicated servers lack scalability has already been busted. But in some cases, dedicated servers can be more scalable than the cloud. Despite public clouds providing rapid vertical scaling, at some point there is a limit. However, dedicated servers are ideal for horizontal scaling, which can be expanded almost infinitely as a part of your bare metal cloud environment.

Ready to deploy on bare metal? Create your free account and start configuring your bare metal servers here.

No “Noisy Neighbours”

If you are hosting on a cloud platform, you will likely be sharing virtual machines. This could have a considerable impact on performance if you’re dealing with heavy workloads. What’s more, you may have to share your IP address. If one of your neighbours is running spam or adult material, it could affect your site’s ranking. With dedicated servers being single-tenant, these drawbacks are eliminated, providing optimal performance with unlimited bandwidth and disk space – all within a private workspace.

Optimal Data Security

Despite public cloud providers constantly improving their security, your data is far safer with dedicated servers, as only you (and data centre staff) can access it. On top of having a unique IP address, dedicated servers deliver the highest level of protection from malware, as well as access to expert technical support. So, if you’re working on highly sensitive work, don’t run the risk of hacking in public clouds – instead secure data within dedicated servers.

Full Control and Customisation

With dedicated servers you have full control of software, upgrades, scripts, applications and the server’s OS. With this administrative power, you are free to customise every element from the infrastructure up. What’s left is a server perfectly suited to your needs.


What really matters is that you get the right hosting solution that fits your needs. Don’t be misled by public cloud providers – if it works for you, consider opting for dedicated servers as a part of a bare metal cloud environment.

Whether you’re using a bare metal cloud, PaaS or IaaS to develop your SaaS product, be sure to read our guide to SaaS profitability for hints and tips on how to optimise your profits.

What is PaaS – Platform as a Service

Posted by Adrien Tibi

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the middle layer of the cloud computing stack, sandwiched between Software as a Service (SaaS) at the top and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) on the bottom. Put simply, the three services determine whether you consume (SaaS), build (PaaS) or host software (IaaS).

What is PaaS Used for?

PaaS is used for application development, testing and deployment over the internet, whilst the majority of hosting infrastructure is managed for you. While the layers of the cloud computing stack have blurred due to providers trying to differentiate their offering, PaaS usually contains the following features for you to develop upon:

Plus, the following features included in IaaS:

Examples of well known PaaS providers include Heroku, Google App Engine, and Red Hat’s OpenShift.

Challenge us to halve your hosting costs

What are the Pros and Cons?

Firstly, PaaS gives you full control of the software. This, among other benefits, such as the added control over application development, enables you to develop and provide SaaS to businesses wanting a finished solution. On the opposite side of the stack, by providing a developing enivronment unlike IaaS, PaaS makes application development possible for infrastructure ‘non-experts’. For example, PaaS can automate your testing and development services for you, whilst frequently updating your operating system.

As a collaborative platform, PaaS also makes sense if you are working with a number of external parties in different locations. As long as they all have internet access, several users in different locations can work together to build the same application.

On the negative side, PaaS isn’t suitable for applications that need to be highly portable in terms of where they are hosted. As PaaS uses proprietary data, certain providers raise concerns over vendor lock-ins – when a proprietary language hinders moving to another provider.

Whilst PaaS enables you to develop customised applications, it doesn’t allow you to customise the underlying hardware and software. This therefore prevents you from fully optimising your application’s performance.

Finally, although scalability is generally regarded as a positive of cloud computing, PaaS is limited if your business is constantly scaling up (or down), as some providers don’t make it easy to increase power or space quickly.

Public, Private or Hybrid PaaS – which is best?

The PaaS public cloud emulates what the cloud is all about – rapid deployment and use of infrastructure on demand. However, as expected, the public cloud isn’t ideal if your working on something that needs to remain private. If this is the case, PaaS on a private cloud might be a better fit.

Private cloud is a viable option, as it delivers better security and can make managing costs easier. Private cloud PaaS also gives you central control over deployment operations and allows you to develop cloud applications that couldn’t exist on the public cloud, either for technical or legal reasons. But what about if you want the scalability of public systems, with the security of a private cloud? Luckily there is a third option.

The hybrid solution is relatively new to PaaS and was introduced to offer the best of both worlds. Hybrid PaaS allows you to develop your own support infrastructure, whilst harnessing the rapid scalability of the public cloud during peak times. In other words, both the public and private cloud is at your disposal, allowing you to allocate one to use based on a project’s needs and security criteria. In reality, all three have their benefits, but which one you choose depends on what you prioritise.

IaaS vs. PaaS – What’s the difference?

As stated in our blog post analysing the similarities between IaaS and Bare Metal Cloud, it really depends on how you define IaaS and how literal you are with the word “infrastructure”. Looking exclusively at the cloud computing stack alone, having the bottom layer labelled as “infrastructure” makes sense, as, unlike SaaS and PaaS, you gain access to servers and choose which OSs to run. However, now that bare metal cloud is a reality, then IaaS and PaaS become rather similar.

Depending on your viewpoint, bare metal cloud can be seen as the true “infrastructure” of cloud computing, as it gives complete control over the system’s architecture. Once open to the opportunities that come with a bare metal cloud, virtual versions of IaaS merge with PaaS. For example, neither gives you single-tenant control like bare metal cloud. Instead, IaaS and PaaS both run on VMs created on the top of hypervisors. The similarities continue as both PaaS and IaaS providers still manage virtualisation, servers, hard drives, storage, and networking. The key differences between the two is that PaaS provides development tools, runtime environments, and ready-made databases for you to run applications on, as well as data security, backup and recovery.

What really matters is that you get the right server hosting to fit your needs. As the middle layer, PaaS is often a compromise. If you want to develop, test and deploy customised applications, then choosing PaaS is recommended. However, if you want to more control to manage applications on your own OSs, then an IaaS solution (virtual or bare metal) will be more suitable.

If developing a SaaS product on PaaS, IaaS or bare metal, check out our SaaS guide to know what it takes to make a profit.

Cloud Hosting Reselling: What You Need To Know

Posted by Adrien Tibi

Today, around 40% of the world’s population has a viable connection to the internet, and, with that number growing rapidly every day, it has never been easier for your cloud hosting reseller business to connect with its customers online.

In theory, with such an increase in accessibility, the services of a middleman would be rendered obsolete. However, in reality cloud hosting reselling can be an extremely effective tool to increase sales and add value for the vendor, the reseller and the customer. Below are some nifty tips and tricks to maximise effective reselling.

Know Your Customer

Reiterated time and time again, the necessity of knowing your customer has become something of a cliché – but with good reason. A surprising number of salespeople tend to ‘mind read’ for a quick sell and don’t take the necessary time getting to know the wants and needs of the customer, for instance, whether they need IaaS or bare metal cloud. The basic rule is if you seem knowledgeable when it comes to your customers problem, they will probably be interested in your solution.

Challenging Preconceptions

Many salespeople see selling as a linear process with only two outcomes – either the prospective customer chooses you or they choose your competitor. However, there is a third option which can happen up to 60% of the time – they don’t choose either. There can be a range of reasons why this can happen from a simple change of heart to a significant change in circumstance, however these instances can invariably be combatted by challenging customer preconceptions of the product – e.g. challenging the idea that dedicated servers are now obsolete.

Give your hosting reseller business all the support it needs by downloading our WHMCS guide here


The Customer is the Hero

You may well have heard the saying ‘the customer is always right’ – a premise that is correct in theory, but remains flawed in practice. Enter the ‘hero assessment’ – every story must have a hero, and as a reseller the objective is to make your customer just that. The entire role of the salesperson is to make this happen, enabling your customers to see what has changed in their world and how they can successfully adapt and thrive is essential to successful reselling.

Not All Clouds Are Equal

Although Cloud Hosting is now recognised as a household term, the mistake that many salespeople make is presuming that the prospective customer has a good understanding of the different types of computing options on offer. Educating your prospects about the three different cloud models: public, private and hybrid cloud, can ensure a level of visibility and demonstrate an interest in meeting their needs, rather than just trying to make a quick sale.

Focus on Your USP

There is bound to be a significant overlap between what you can offer to your prospective customers and what your closest competitors provide. The trick is not to focus on the overlapping provisions but concentrate primarily on your unique selling point- being able to demonstrate that you can offer an extra, useful service, such as the offer of bare metal cloud, that is not readily available from your competition will immediately make you a more attractive option for the customer.

Cloud Server Visibility

No matter the perceived benefits of Cloud Hosting, many prospective customers simply aren’t able to look past the fact they no longer see the flashing lights in their server rooms telling them that everything is okay. This reluctance stems from a lack of control of being able to fix servers manually and lack of visibility on identifying the problem. Transparency when managing these concerns is best practice, opting to demonstrate the support and customisability on offer from the cloud hosting provider will provide reassurement.

Share Success Stories

Another cliché that salespeople love to throw around is that ‘it’s important to believe in your product’ – this  encourages salespeople to be more invested in the product they are selling, and improves sales as a result. A much better rule of thumb is that ‘it’s important that the customer believes in your product’ – by promoting the successes of businesses that have used cloud hosting to its full potential, your product becomes a much more enticing enterprise.

Successful negotiations between you and your customer are dependant on a range of different factors. By adopting these methods as common practice you will not only improve customer satisfaction but also see a measurable increase in cloud hosting resales.

Focusing on improving you customer satisfaction leaves little time for admin tasks. To free up your time, plug into WHMCS from our provisioning platform and let it take care of billing your clients and tracking invoices. If this sounds like the support you need, be sure to download our WHMCS guide for hositing resellers.

The 6 Key Benefits of WHMCS

Posted by Adrien Tibi

As it helpfully spells out in its catchy title, Web Host Manager Complete Solution is an all-in-one client management platform, which employs a high degree of automation. The platform gained swift popularity following its 2005 launch, by combining billing, support and domain registration into one lucrative offering, which has proved particularly appealing and convenient to hosting resellers.


Give your hosting reseller business all the support it needs by downloading our WHMCS guide here

WHMCS provides support and billing solutions, with the aim of easing operational pressures for online businesses. And if you feel like your business is wasting energy on admin then the platform could be a smart choice. Here’s a closer look at some of the benefits:

1. Security

If security is of paramount importance to your organisation, then WHMCS will suit, as it’s widely touted as having a major edge over all others when it comes to security.

With alerts, security support and automatic bans in place for repeated login failure attempts WHMCS has a strong track record for maintaining a secure environment for its users and names security its number one priority.

2. Automation

Why do something manually when it could be done for you? WHMCS enables users to incorporate automation throughout the entire billing process, including: invoice generation, account creation, suspension/termination, payment processing and reminders.

3. Support

Relationships between business and consumer are won and lost over the ability to provide fast, useful and dedicated support, whilst poor customer service is consistently voted the top reason that consumers choose to switch service providers.

WHMCS facilitates social media integration to harness the power of sites such as Twitter and Facebook, whilst an intuitive support ticket system allows for the tracking of client communication, enabling multiple staff to respond to the needs of the consumer. With an array of integrated support tools, maintaining relationships is straightforward.

4. Billing

Ultimately, the billing for goods and services is one of the most important aspects of any business, with transparency a key factor in customer satisfaction levels. WHMCS sends a comprehensive breakdown of goods and services rendered via an invoice, informing clients of exactly what they’ve purchased and maintaining a healthy working relationship.

Does your company trade on a global scale? WHMCS allows you to bill in as many foreign currencies as you want whilst accepting payment in no less than 75 integrated payment methods, so you shouldn’t struggle to find a method of payment that works for your organisation.

5. Personalisation

Any reputable client management platform should understand that your organisation is intrinsically unique, and while a basic template may well work for some, it’s not necessarily the right choice for you. WHMCS gives you the opportunity to take control and customise. With a wide array of templates and widgets as well as multiple language options, it’s never been easier to stand out.

6. Industry-Leading partners

WHMCS has partnered with key players specialising in the various aspects of their product portfolio. For instance WHMCS is partnered with hosting resellers, such as Enom, and security scanning services, such as Comodo, allowing the creation of discounts and offers.

It’s also allied to popular control panels, such as Plesk, DirectAdmin and cPanel. Although WHMCS supports other billing options, cPanel’s financial stake in the company makes it the preferred solution and the partnership has resulted in a cohesive pairing of control panel functionality and billing.

WHMCS has also built a large community of 3rd party developers. The benefit to users is the availability of add-ons and enhanced templates that integrate with the core WHMCS app.

What Are the Alternatives?

As with all market leaders, WHMCS have seen a number of users checking whether the grass is greener by switching to less established billing and invoicing companies – with varying degrees of success. For instance, some move to Harvest and Pancake for their simpler interface, while others feel more secure with Hostbill or Besta due to their frequent updates.

But many users come crying back to WHMCS. Most alternatives suffer from a slimmed down functionality or and lack the community of third-party developers boasted by WHMCS. Additionally, WHMCS offer a cheaper service than their rivals and provides clients with good pre-sales support by offering free trials and demos.

The Verdict

While some alternatives show promise and are worth watching, most fall short. WHMCS is automated, it’s secure, and you can customise to make sure that your business remains how you want it, down to the last detail. We believe it’s the best platform on the market, so Redstation offers an integrated provisioning platform for WHMCS to make things simple for our resellers.

To make the transition to WHMCS even simpler, be sure to download our ‘How to Get the Best from WHMCS’ guide for hosting resellers.

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