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What is WHM?

Web Hosting Manager, or WHM®, is a Linux-based administrative control panel application used behind-the-scenes by webmasters and site administrators to maintain, upgrade and repair servers. Hosting resellers can use it to create and manage cPanel user accounts for their hosting customers.

A successful online presence requires solid website design, effective marketing, and reliable hosting, among others. But if you’re a hosting reseller, you also need an effective way to manage the accounts and server access for your customers.

Web Hosting Manager (WHM) is one of the most popular options for managing hosting accounts, for hosts and resellers alike. WHM gives owners and webmasters complete and flexible control over all aspects of server management.

Why You Should Consider WHM Hosting

If you provide any kind of service or products for website owners, adding hosting to your offered services can be a low-maintenance source of guaranteed monthly income in addition to your other client work. With a WHM reseller account, you can offer hosting to your clients without having to invest in and maintain your own servers and data centers.

You should consider host reselling if you already offer services like:

  • Web design and/or development
  • WordPress installation
  • Website or blog maintenance
  • SEO services
  • Web content writing
  • ...or other online services.

Even if you aren’t reselling website hosting at the moment, consider going with a host that has WHM enabled in case you decide to go that route in the future, since switching web hosts later on can be a hassle.

WHM vs. cPanel: What’s the Difference?

WHM and cPanel work together to provide a secure way to manage website hosting accounts.

If you’re a webmaster who has experience managing your hosting account “behind the scenes," you’re likely already familiar with cPanel. cPanel is a popular control panel interface used by many hosts to give their customers access to file, application and database management for their hosted sites.

WHM is the complement to cPanel. Just as cPanel allows resellers control over their particular server or partition, WHM provides total, root-level control over the server as a whole. Although, unless you have a dedicated server or are purchasing your own hardware, you’ll most likely receive a version of WHM limited to your particular partition of your host’s server, rather than root access to the hosting server itself.

Using WHM, you can set up and manage cPanel access for your own hosting clients. You can completely control what features your hosting clients can access, and even customize the look and feel of your clients’ cPanel with your own logos and branding.

What Else Can WHM Do?

Server admins use WHM to add new applications, copy, delete and create cPanel accounts, and manage security (including SSH keys, PHP scripts, and Traceroute data tracking).

WHM is also used to set up basic server configuration, and to perform server upgrades, maintenance, and troubleshooting. With WHM, you can choose settings like available cPanel features, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, and Domain Name Server (DNS) information.

Beyond basic maintenance and administration, you can also use WHM to fine-tune components of each reseller account and add or remove features on the fly.

WHM can also be used to add the necessary extensions to allow users of Microsoft FrontPage to upload their websites and other content using that software. Although FrontPage was discontinued in 2003, it still remains popular among Microsoft users who want to build a website without learning how to code. Setting up FrontPage server extensions with WHM is useful if you have customers who rely on FrontPage for their design, but also have a need for a non-Windows (i.e., Linux-driven) hosting solution for other apps.

WHM Hosting Costs

As one of the most popular web management consoles for Linux servers, cPanel is most likely provided as part of your host’s basic consumer hosting packages. WHM is common as well, but not always provided. Check the details of your hosting package and contact the hosting service provider to be sure you’re getting WHM in addition to cPanel.

Hosting service companies that provide a WHM option will often charge more than they do for just cPanel. That’s because WHM hosting is often used by host resellers, who require many more resources and much more bandwidth than a typical customer with only their own website.

Depending on your bandwidth and storage needs, you can expect to pay between $20 and $100 each month for reseller hosting that includes WHM.

WHM Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is WHM?

    WebHost Manager (WHM) is a control panel designed to help manage a web server.

  • Who makes WHM?

    WHM is made by cPanel, Inc., the makers of the cPanel control panel. cPanel is a web-based control panel, also used for website management.

  • What is the difference between cPanel and WHM?

    cPanel is the control panel for the end-user. It covers such functionality as adding and administering email accounts, setting up domains, subdomains and add-on domains, as well as managing databases and web applications. In spite of all of its features, however, cPanel is still designed primarily around the concept of managing a single website. That’s where WHM comes in.

  • What kind of management does WHM provide?

    Depending on the configuration, WHM gives root-level access to the server and its operating system (OS). Or, if configured differently, WHM can have a more restricted subset of features.

  • Who is WHM designed for?

    Whereas cPanel is a control panel for the end-user, WHM is the control panel for the administrator. WHM is designed for anyone who manages an entire server, complete with multiple websites hosted on that server.

    WHM’s functionality goes beyond just the technical aspects of server management, however. The control panel allows you to manage all aspects of user accounts, setting permissions and setting different price tiers. Users can be given control over their own individual site management. WHM is also designed to give you important statistical and analytical information on your server, ensuring you’re armed with the information you need to keep your server secure and running smoothly.

    WHM includes backup features that allow you to create automatic backups and transfer websites from one cPanel-enabled server to another. The control panel can be branded to match your company’s logo, color schemes and branding.

    For companies or individuals looking for a custom experience, there are over 500 applications and plugins for WHM, making it possible to customize virtually every aspect of the control panel.

  • What are WHM’s system requirements?

    WHM’s hardware requirements are relatively light. It requires a 226 MHz processor and 512MB of RAM, with at least 1GB being recommended.

    On the software side, WHM natively supports CentOS, a Linux distribution that aims to provide enterprise-level functionality and is widely used in the web hosting industry. WHM also supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CloudLinux natively.

    Supported virtual environments include KVM, Linux-VServer, Microsoft Server 2008, Microsoft Server 2012 Hyper-V, OpenVZ, Oracle VM VirtualBox, VirtualBox OSE, Virtuozzo, VMWare Server, VMWare ESX Server, Xen, XenEnterprise, XenExpress and XenServer, as well as SmartOS. Each of the supported virtual environments may have specific requirements that may need to be met for WHM to work properly.

  • How much does WHM cost?

    The cost of WHM depends on how you use it and how you purchase it. If you buy directly, to use with your own server, the cost ranges from $20 to $40 per month.

    In most cases, however, if you are using a web hosting company that provides VPS or dedicated hosting, WHM may be included as part of the package. When bundled this way, its cost is factored into the monthly bill that you pay the hosting company.

  • What alternatives are there to WHM?

    The most common alternative to cPanel/WHM is the Plesk control panel. These two panels are two of the most commonly used and widely supported panels in the web hosting industry.

  • cPanel/WHM vs. Plesk: Which is better?

    While cPanel/WHM and Plesk share a significant degree of overlap, there are also significant differences between the two.

    cPanel/WHM has been designed primarily with Linux in mind. Therefore, it has a number of features designed exclusively for Linux hosts. cPanel/WHM also offers integration with a large number of add-on packages and applications, including Fantastico. Fantastico offers one-click installation of hundreds of popular web applications, including project management apps, image galleries, blogs, forums, e-commerce solutions, games, database tools and more.

    cPanel/WHM also excels at reseller functionality. Thanks to its relatively simple design, cPanel/WHM is both easy to use for new users and offers superior performance compared to Plesk.

    In contrast, Plesk is available for both Linux and Windows. In addition to being available for Windows, Plesk features tight integration with some Windows services, such as MS SQL, making it a good choice for organizations that rely on Microsoft software. Plesk is also a good choice for server clusters, as it allows you to manage multiple servers from a single interface.

    In spite of these advantages, however, Plesk does not integrate with as many third-party applications as WHM. Plesk also suffers from inferior performance compared to WHM, especially when running on Linux. In addition, Plesk is usually more expensive than cPanel/WHM, although its pricing structure is more flexible. Whereas cPanel/WHM is only available as an unlimited option, Plesk is available in different versions and prices.

  • Is WHM right for you?

    That largely depends on the kind of hosting you do. If you are running a single website, using a hosting company’s service or are highly dependent on a Microsoft-based workflow, WHM is not the kind of software you need.

    If, however, you have a reseller or dedicated hosting account, manage several different websites on a single server and use Linux web servers to host your website and web applications, then WHM may be exactly the control panel you need.

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