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What is H-Sphere Hosting?
H-Sphere is a multi-server Web hosting automation Control Panel for Windows and Linux. It is designed for Web hosting resellers who wish to efficiently manage their clients’ various hosting plans and payments from one convenient place. It allows for the site controller to spool up Virtual machines and partitioned resources for second level site admins. This is software which allows a website to run as a web host.
Owning a Web reselling company can be a complicated mess of servers, domain registration, email accounts, and payment tracking. H-Sphere aims to offer a solution to such confusion by automating and streamlining nearly all of the tasks which come with being a hosting reseller or provider.
To understand the perks of H-sphere, you must first understand the concept of being a hosting provider. While using a shared hosting service hosts supply you with space on a server to split with several other websites, VPS hosting providers give you total control over your very own virtual server. In short, shared hosting is like renting a hotel room, whereas VPS hosting is like renting out an entire hotel.
Features of H-Sphere
If you choose H-Sphere as your Web control panel, you’ll enjoy features such as load balancing between Web and mail servers, multi-server management from a single node, built-in reseller support, completely automating billing, user-friendly control panels for each of your clients, complete customization of all your mail plans, shopping cart support, subdomains, error document management, and optional affiliate marketing programs.
These features help smooth out and improve not only your experience, but your clients’ as well, here's a summary outlining each functionality point:
- Multiple Payment methods and billing controls are built in. Covers ~30 payment gateyways and 6 payment providers.
- Hosting solutions covers: Linux, Windows, Relational Databases, Load Balancing, Media Servers, MS Exchange, Sharepoint.
- Large-scale E-mail solution for each users, integrated WebMail
- PHP & MySQL Applications - built directly into the platform and deployable
- Integrated support services, and multilingual support for users
As Control Panel software - administrators setup H-sphere on a large server or computing grid - and then users can pay to create sites as needed. Security is assured by keeping a high level user role system for ownership of transactional platforms. Additionally, SSL encryption covers the entire control panel and provides SSL certificate support for each site owner. Additional methods can increase the security even tighter, with third-party consultants available to perform comprehensive server hardening and manual security log review.
The origin of H-Sphere comes from Positive Software in late 2004- which was acquired by Parallels, Inc. in 2007. Positive Software still maintains the software, but support is handled by Parallels, Inc. Since it is propriety software, a strong support structure exists - but a license must be purchased first. Releases over the past few years have kept pace with updates to PHP and SSL, making the software modern and reliable.
Advantages & Disadvantages
The benefits of using H-Sphere include the ability to scale the multi-hosting platform to meet the demands from any resource, this includes scaling to use multiple physical servers, and expanding the number of logical servers - which handle web routing, mail, and DNS. Everything is managed from one control panel, and the ability to add more servers to the platform can be done on the fly.
H-sphere is also overloaded with advanced features - which allows for deep user support but can be intimidating to new users. The strongest element of H-sphere however, is the online community of supporters who have named it one of the preferred control panels on the web. This is partially because of the flexible functionality, but also because of it's detailed online documentation.
Some disadvantages do exist though, H-Sphere licenses are more expensive than most competitors. Also, because of the complexity of the system and all the deep feature support, running H-sphere on single server mode takes up drastically more resources then some of it's lighter-footprint brethren. Other users claim that H-sphere lacks comprehensive backup tools - mainly because of the complexity and number of configuration aspects to each added server. And - H-sphere does not have a browser based editor for source file editing like cPanel. There is an editor for text and HTML files but not for PHP - which limits script editing.
Hosting and Installation
It is recommended that your Web server have a 1,000 MHZ central processing unit (CPU) and 1 GM of random access memory (RAM) in order to install and run H-Sphere successfully. You’ll also need full control of your domain name system (DNS), mail, Web, and other servers, a public Internet protocol (IP) address, a full access account with OpenSRS to allow for automatic domain registration, and gateway access through one of H-Sphere’s supported payment gateways to allow for real-time credit card acceptance.
Once you’ve made sure that you meet those requirements, you’ll just need to find a Web hosting provider that supports the use of H-Sphere. Simply compare a few of your preferred companies and then choose the plan that best suits your needs.
Who should use H-sphere?
Overall, H-sphere is wonderful for accomplished webmasters who need firm control over multiple computing resources, but have less need for Control Panel aesthetics or small logical server server footprint.
How does H-sphere compare against competing Web Hosting platforms?
Competitors in this space include cPanel, Plesk, and HyperVM with Kloxo. H-sphere stands out with a long track record of providing great linux server support, and a ton of control for minutia of detail. The license might be somewhat costly, but is billed per cluster rather than by server - so it's great for web hosting partners who want to be able to scale quickly, but who aren't going to stay very small.