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4.0 What’s Left February 2, 2011

Posted by ismywebsite in general.

I plan to have a launch date published very soon. Here are the only remaining 25 things that have to be done for 4.0 to launch. At the beginning there were hundreds, but thankfully it’s finally coming together.

1) Some minor changes on account settings pages. (John/Jcubed)

2) Looks like there are some minor changes to make on the feedback form, so it gives credits and displays properly. (Me/Azoundria)

3) Account deletion page. (John/Jcubed)

4) It needs to work to create a new advertising box in your account. (John/Jcubed)

5) Finishing up the final testing/implementation of the advertising system. (Me/Azoundria once John is finished above.)

6) Finish domain name ordering system. (Me/Azoundria)

7) Finish credit purchasing system. (Me/Azoundria)

8) Full frontend web hosting functionality, including Activate (creates an inactive account), Change Password, Change Domain, Transfer (does not move files, just creates your website on another server), Reset (start over with your website). (Me/Azoundria)

9) Full backend functionality to accept new websites and upgrade to the improving stage. (Me/Azoundria)

10) Go through the tutorials and fix the headers and make sure all the information is still correct and relevant. Also, possible make improvements/corrections so we have the best possible tutorials. (Nick/NickoCp & Stefan/Gatz)

11) Fix the chat so it’s not so MySQL-intensive (see the email from HostGator) (Chris/Cblair91)

12) Finish migrating the forum content and setting up forum sections. (Brendan/Cobrastrike)

13) Finish the log system, so that we can see a list of logs and undo or redo on a mass scale certain items. Get everything working flawlessly with logs, which are really a bit of a bottleneck at the moment since who knows what will break once they are implemented. (Kevin/Bass5098)

14) Finish a tool to handle feedback on the volunteer panel. (Me/Azoundria)

15) Finish volunteer panel tools to do various upgrades – storage, bandwidth, addon domains, parked domains, subdomains, webmail accounts, set inactive, suspend, and transfer. (Me/Azoundria)

16) Rather important – people need to be able to request hosting to be set up, as well as make edits to an existing website. (John/Jcubed)

17) A registration system so new clients can sign up. (John/Jcubed)

18) Figure out our full backup strategy, which involves comparing more than one competitor to the existing recommended service, and of course determining exactly how this will happen for the typical client. (Tamas/S3ri0us)

19) A system to handle cPanel/WHM access. (Nick/Deltik)

20) Unique visitor tracking and a list of top websites based on this. (Me/Azoundria)

21) Hosting calculates costs, and automatically deducts credits each month. More intelligent email, with opt out options for clients with a positive credit balance. (Me/Azoundria)

22) FAQ system still needs to be finished. (Me/Azoundria)

23) A proper system for handling abuse. This includes a dynamic suspension page which acts like a blog to record updates on the particular issue and the webmail system for communicating with clients. (Me/Azoundria)

24) Add a hosting summary, with server status and quick login links to the overview page. (Me/Azoundria)

25) Migrate over the DNS system, and add a faster update method so new clients can get started more quickly – their subdomain will work faster. (Me/Azoundria)

26) Search an account for prohibited files. This would locate suspicious files that may be copyright and illegally distributed. A list of such files would be generated and made handy for abuse. The search terms could be refined in the future to make this more effective. (Me/Azoundria)

27) Add a tracker, and optimize the site load time so it loads more efficiently in less time. Also ensure W3C standards are followed throughout the site. (Me/Azoundria)

28) A backup system, so accounts can be regularly scheduled to be backed up. Backups are stored off-site. Enabling regular backups will incur an additional credit cost per backup taken. (Me/Azoundria)

Other things I am looking at doing (before/after the launch):

1) I would really love to have our own advertising network, so clients can get their own websites advertised and out there (advertise on each other’s websites).

2) Finish the Advisor system so Advisors can actually help clients, more than just acting to provide advice and similar, they could actually do minimal upgrades, check progress of sites, etc… from a scaled-down version of our own volunteer panel.

3) Allowing clients to start and maintain their own web host, under their own brand. This I feel would be a lot more effective than simply building a monolithic volunteer pyramid and hoping it all stays functional. Each host is allowed to set up their own servers, or even use simple resellers widely available. Any server which uses cPanel/WHM is compatible and can join our network. (Though I plan to add support in the future for other panels such as DirectAdmin.)

As a client, you can sign up at any of their sites directly, which will simply be mirrors of our own site, populated with a custom layout, and custom content which the web host admin would set up. The other way is through our site, by signing up for their server under Client-Run Hosting, if they choose to allow sign ups this way. Clients who sign up through their website will see their servers under the standard tabs, as well as Partner Servers, which will display additional servers of ours.

As a web host admin, you would have access to a very fast, very powerful hybrid of our own admin panel which I’ve used for years, plus the volunteer panel, designed for ease of use, mixed with a few panels to ensure similarity with other panels available in the marketplace. As a result, you can do the same tasks across multiple servers more quickly than you can across one. And you can set up your own team to perform these tasks for you, or handle them all yourself for a more personal service.

You can choose to accept payment for your hosting, or provide it free using an invite-based, description-based, or hybrid system featuring one or more. You would then pay in credits at a rate slightly cheaper than the rate available to clients at our services, which you can either purchase or earn through advertising placed on yours or client’s websites. This provides the complete flexibility to run as a advertising-supported free host, post-to-host, paid host, or you can even be extremely generous and try providing truly free hosting to your friends.

Our 4.0 site (you can log in with your existing details to see how it’s coming – it’s almost finished):


CosmicHost – our first ‘partner’ host. When finished, you’ll be able to sign up with them, just as you can with us. Note that most of the information has not been customized on their site yet.




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4. Nick - February 2, 2011

Looking good. 🙂

5. NickoCP - February 3, 2011

Where it says “Nick?” would that mean me or someone else?

6. Deltik - February 3, 2011

I’m Nick.

NickoCP - February 4, 2011

Oh ok. Coz I’m Nick too 😛

7. daglock - February 4, 2011

Will A VPS be offered in the marketplace?

8. ismywebsite - February 4, 2011

Not with 4.0’s launch, but soon afterwards. I have launched VPS with customers in the past with mixed results. Initially, it would only be launched on a private basis while I determine if it’s feasible publicly.

9. daglock - February 5, 2011

I hope to see VPS’s available 🙂
BTW How soon before we can order domains?

10. J,R,D, Ltd - February 9, 2011

“I plan to have a launch date published very soon.”

How soon is “very soon”?

11. ismywebsite - February 9, 2011

Well my part I am doing one item per day, plus give a few days for last minute testing. So 8 days = Feb 17th.

However, I’m not so certain on the others.

12. J,R,D, Ltd - February 9, 2011

That seems reasonable, If what you have to do can be completed one per day. It should also encourage the other staff members to work on their tasks.

Here is the remainder of tasks per person as of this writing for anyone interested:
7 Matt/Azoundria
4 John/Jcubed
1 Chris/Cblair91
1 Brendan/Cobrastrike
1 Kevin/Bass5098
1 Tamas/S3ri0us
1 Nick/Deltik
0.5 Nick/NickoCp
0.5 Stefan/Gatz

NickoCP - February 10, 2011

Myself and Stefan (Gatz) are working on our bit as fast as we can, but some of the tutorials need some serious re-construction. Also some files are missing such as diagrams so that makes our job harder.

J,R,D, Ltd - February 10, 2011

I can see how you guys can’t really be done until 3, 4, 5, 16, and maybe 23 are done depending on what tutorials there are.

I’m sure you guys are doing your best as fast as you can.

13. J,R,D, Ltd - February 10, 2011

Nick/Deltik, I don’t know how far you are in your project “19) A system to handle cPanel/WHM access. (Nick/Deltik)” but I got this PHP Class in my inbox today called WHM API and I was thinking, you may be able use it or learn from it, id not that’s fine too but heres the link: http://www.phpclasses.org/package/6767.html

14. ismywebsite - February 11, 2011

We already have built those functions into our class system.

We are using the JSON API. It’s faster than the XML one.

You can see how it works in the ‘Hosting’ section of your account on 4.0. Play around with your sites by transferring them to Node 7 or 8 (Under Reset) and then you can control them in much the same way as if you were managing a reseller.

15. J,R,D, Ltd - February 11, 2011

Ahh, Ok.

Does 4.0 Alpha actually change websites or just work on a copy?
And what do you mean by “then you can control them in much the same way as if you were managing a reseller.”? Are we given a reseller account on Nodes 7 & 8 or is it because we can move them back and forth?

16. Joseph Pisani - February 12, 2011

Hey Just want to thank everyone for all the hard work that is being put into the completion of 4.0 means alot to everyone.

17. ismywebsite - February 12, 2011

“Does 4.0 Alpha actually change websites or just work on a copy?”

I don’t know what you mean by ‘a copy’? If you change the domain, your cPanel domain changes. If you change the password, it’s your cPanel password that you’re changing. If you reset it, yes your files are gone in cPanel and not on a copy of it.

You can literally change all the aspects of your hosting from the panel. Your Advisor (once that system is working) will also be able to adjust things to a limited degree, such as providing temporary upgrades and you can grant them temporary access to your cPanel without revealing your password. Most upgrades are handled through a functional upgrade system, so as your websites grow you can use that.

There is no longer any limit on the number of websites you can run, and once your first website makes it to Improving, you can create additional ones instantly through your account.

For people planning to run full fledged hosting companies (not just manage a few websites for themselves and close friends) I would recommend checking into becoming a partner with us. Partners gain access to a more comprehensive panel, the same panel we use to run this host. And yes you can hook an existing server or even a simple reseller up to this panel, and take advantage of an expanded network and a better panel.

18. J,R,D, Ltd - February 13, 2011

Basically I wanted to know if changes made in 4 affected my current sites and the answer is yes.

So when will upgrade requests/new sites be accepted? After 4 launches or anytime through the new panel?

19. Nick - February 14, 2011

You could use DropBox for number 28?

20. lyudmil - February 14, 2011

The suggestion to move sites in 4.0 seems to work. I transferred my site from Node 7 to Node 8 and the CPanel miraculously started to work. I was able to populate the site with the updated files through FTP (the old files on Node 7 were gone). The site still can’t be accessed from the web but I am waiting the 24h period recommended.

21. ismywebsite - February 14, 2011

Upgrade requests and new websites will be accepted after 4.0 launches, for accounts as they migrate to the new version. (It doesn’t make any sense to do them sooner, since the information in the database would then be wrong when we do the final database wipe.)

I’ll consider DropBox, though not everyone has it.

If you transfer your site to the node it was on originally, that will recreate the cPanel account that was destroyed. (All cPanel accounts were destroyed due to a breach of security partially assisted by a member of our own team.) The domain will still point to it’s original server unless updated in 3.0. You might be able to find someone to do that for you, though it’s easier just to ‘transfer’ to node 7.

Nick - February 15, 2011

About DropBox – You could have them on your account, but have different folders for each client who needs it. Although you would eventually run out of space, so clients should have to pay credits to use them.

22. lyudmil - February 15, 2011

I transferred my site back to Node 7 but then CPanel was blocked for me. It didn’t work both in 4.0 and in 3.0. Only when I transferred again to Node 8 in 4.0 it worked in 4.0. In 3.0, the site remained on Node 7 and CPanel not working through all of this.

23. lyudmil - February 15, 2011

Nothing that reads DropBox in my account

24. Cblair91 - February 15, 2011

A care to send me the email matt?

25. J,R,D, Ltd - February 16, 2011

How is 4.0 looking for a release tomorrow the 17th? I noticed the blog post has not been updated recently.

26. lyudmil - February 17, 2011

15/28 items still unfinished. Not very optimistic.

27. ismywebsite - February 17, 2011

The important thing is that it’s getting done, and we are close. A matter of how close, is only a matter of patience.

The developers are working hard in a new and unfamiliar environment, one which is completely freshly coded. Everything is organized nicely now, though it is new, previously helpful development tools and functions are gone, many due to security holes and simply not having been ported over.

As for my not completing one feature per day I ran into significant difficulty with the cryptic way in which cPanel hides what is actually happening. For the invoicing system, I had overlooked the fact I need to spread clients out over ‘pages’. I can’t update everyone at once, or it just times out. PHP runs into limits, and just stops. We need everyone accounted for, and not just the first X many people, so at the end of a month Y number of pages need to be run.

I had to build a system to dynamically generate the cron entries, one per page. It schedules this dynamic generation for near the end of the month. In order to do this, it needs to parse from a table of cron entries to extract the data about each. This is prone to failure if cPanel changes, so I need a warning system to handle that case.

There are two stages of cron entries. A calculator which computes the used storage and bandwidth, and a summary email which gets sent out at the start of the new month. In addition, the storage/bandwidth calculator can fail in a number of ways, for example a server may be down at that moment, WHM may decide not to respond, etc… So it has to run that a second time just in case. It also has to work around the situation of a client trying to exploit the system by deleting all their files right before they get counted, and restoring them afterwards.

For the abuse system, I can’t even submit to the WHMCS since there’s a captcha on Node 7. This means, a workaround needs to be created involving the one manual submission. (Unless we can send via email to create/update the ticket, which will probably verify and realize ‘hey this isn’t really coming from your email account’.)

I’m also running into a problem detecting which suspended URL the visitor is visiting, since the suspension runs a redirect. Though this may be easily solvable with the HTTP_REFERER (that a ton of browsers do not store). I’m still searching for a workaround.

Aside from the, the webmail was again dependent on deciphering the cPanel inner workings. There’s a secret undocumented JSON API that everything connects to (separate from the WHM JSON API). So by accessing that, I can control the webmail. That’s the only way.

The really frustrating part is I need systems that require zero human intervention, that literally operate on their own without anyone doing anything. I need to be in 15,000 places at once, just for this project, so I can’t also be running anything which is best automated.

lyudmil - February 17, 2011

Seems like tremendous amount of work which is appreciated on my part. The most important is to work smoothly in the long run.

28. J,R,D, Ltd - February 17, 2011

Well I appreciate all the work you and the other Devs are doing.

1. Are you going to keep updating the blog when something gets completed?

2. How does a March 1st release look?

29. J,R,D, Ltd - February 23, 2011

It’s been almost another week how goes the work?

30. NickoCP - February 24, 2011

Be patient, asking will only make it longer 😉

31. J,R,D, Ltd - February 24, 2011

I’m trying, that’s why I waited almost a week before asking, It’s just hard when it looks like nothing is being done because nothing new is being checked off and there are no updates.

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