Every now and then, people ask us on our live chat if our free reseller program comes with WHMCS. The short answer is – no. As a response to these inquiries, however, we decided to compare WHMCS to the ICDSoft Account Panel that we provide to our resellers and their customers. We will show you that our in-house platform can be a great alternative to the popular billing and support application. You will see that the tools you will find in the Account Panel will allow you to resell our services and manage your reseller account just as good as you can do it with WHMCS.
- What exactly is WHMCS?
- What is the ICDSoft Account Panel?
- WHMCS vs. Our Account Panel
- 1. Fees
- 2. Service orders
- 3. Account provision/management
- 4. Domain provision/management
- 5. SSL provision/management
- 6. Selling custom services
- 7. Customer support tickets
- 8. Application support
- 9. Website integration
- 10. Additional modules
- Wrap Up
What exactly is WHMCS?
If you want to start reselling hosting services, but have not used WHMCS in the past, you may wonder what that is. The abbreviation stands for Web Host Manager Complete Solution. This is billing, management and support software that allows you to sell and manage web hosting accounts, domain names and SSL certificates, to process payments, and to answer support tickets. Your customers will have their own account to manage their services. The application will generate reports that will help you to keep track of clients, orders, suspensions, etc. Very often, WHMCS is used to resell web hosting accounts that use the cPanel hosting control panel, but the platform can be used with other control panels as well.
What is the ICDSoft Account Panel?
This is the in-house software that we provide to all our customers to order and manage their services – hosting plans, domain names, SSL certificates and upgrades. A ticketing system is integrated as well. The Account Panel has two versions. The more restricted one is for the end customers of our resellers, while the more powerful one is for our resellers and direct customers.
If you are a reseller or a direct customer, the Account Panel gives you access not only to the management options we have mentioned above, but also to a number of other services – productivity tools such as a logo maker and video conferencing software, automatic service renewals, ownership management, etc.
Here, we will point out one of the sections called Online Stores. This is the place where you can create a store and manage things such as the services you want to offer and their prices, the payment processors you want to offer on your site, the storefront you want to use, etc. As you will see below, these options and the other functions that you will find in your Account Panel can match all the options you will find in WHMCS.
The second level of the Account Panel is the end customer one. This is the tool that your end customers will get when they order a hosting plan through your store. They will have all basic options that the WHMCS customer panel offers as well – ordering and managing hosting services, domain names and SSL certificates, opening support tickets, etc. In essence, the end customer Account Panel looks like the one you will have as a reseller, but it lacks the advanced management options, the reseller section and the productivity tools that only you will have access to. It is important to note here that your end customers will not know about ICDSoft. If you use your own domain name for the store front, their Account Panel URL will be the one you choose (usually billing.your_business_domain_name.com).
WHMCS vs. Our Account Panel
The purpose of both WHMCS and our Account Panel is to allow you to resell services and manage payments, customers, tickets, etc. We decided to compare ten features that will help you to make an informed decision about which platform will suit your needs. As you will see, our Account Panel will allow you to do everything you can do with WHMCS. It is a great alternative to the popular billing and support software.
WHMCS is licensed software, so if you want to use it, you will have to pay a monthly fee. That fee depends on the number of clients you have. The more clients you have, the more you will have to pay, and for a larger number of clients your monthly expenses can be costly. WHMCS offers branded licenses that display the software name for all your customers, and unbranded ones that are white-labeled. Naturally, the latter cost even more.
In comparison, our Account Panel is free – both for you as a reseller, and for your customers. Any new features we have added through the years have also been free. Whether your customers have a hosting plan, a domain name or an SSL certificate, they will be able to manage them through their Account Panel and you will not have to pay anything for that. There is no limit how many customers you can have – the Account Panel will always be free.
2. Service orders
If you use WHMCS, you can enable different payment options for your customers. This way, you can increase your client base as people will be able to use their preferred payment method, or at least one that is available in their region. Note that some payment processors are not available in certain countries, or people from some areas prefer a certain payment method.
The order process is straightforward – choose a domain, select a plan and possibly options such as a datacenter location or some upgrade, then pay the unpaid invoice that will be created in your new billing account. Many companies use WHMCS, so if you have a hosting account, it is very likely that you have already gone through the entire order process. When a service is due for a renewal, an unpaid invoice will be created for the new period. If needed, you can easily edit or create an invoice for a certain service manually. The invoice will be visible in the customer’s account.
Our Account Panel allows you to add a large number of payment methods as well. As you will see, some are popular in North America, and others in Asia or South America, for example, so you can target different regions. You can also add a custom payment method, so your potential customers can contact you about a custom arrangement. The order process is pretty simple – clients can select a domain name and a plan on the first step, and the payment method and the account contact information on the second step. Renewals take a couple of clicks in the Account Panel.
The alternative of the custom invoices in WHMCS is our Payment requests tool. You can easily select any service from your store for a new order or a renewal, and even add a custom discount for any period of your choice. This is a useful feature you can use to attract new customers or to reward existing ones. A number of additional currencies will be available to your customers in addition to the main currency of your store.
If you check the store settings, you will notice that you can enable the automatic processing of all orders. If you have enough funds in your balance, or if you are eligible to use our overdraft program, you will not have to do anything from the moment a potential customer lands on your website until the moment their account is created (or renewed for the next period). Similar to WHMCS, service renewal reminders are sent automatically with a direct payment link, but you can also send one manually.
If you wonder why you have to pay for a customer’s account, check out how our free reseller program works. With WHMCS, you pay a monthly fee no matter if you have customers or not – both for the reseller package, and for the billing/support software. With our program, a customer pays you the price you have set for a particular plan, and you pay us our price for that plan. Considering the huge discounts you can have, you can never be at a loss. On the contrary, you can actually make decent money without paying anything in advance.
3. Account provision/management
Once you receive a payment for a hosting account in WHMCS, you can decide whether to provision the account, or to cancel the order. If your WHMCS is connected to your WHM or another reseller tool you use, the account will be created automatically, and the login details will be sent to the customer. You can also modify, suspend or terminate an account, if needed. Password resets and upgrades are among the other account-related options that are available in WHMCS. More specific options may or may not be available in the server/account management tool that you have from your hosting provider.
If you use our reseller program, a customer can order and pay online, or you can add a payment manually if you have a custom arrangement with that customer. Once you submit the order to us, the account will be opened within minutes. While the provision on our end is not automatic for new customers, our fraud prevention system will minimize as much as possible the risk of any fraudulent accounts being opened under your reseller account. You can easily customize and brand the template that will be sent on account creation.
Our Account Panel will give you more control over your clients’ account compared to WHMCS. If needed, you will be able to enable or disable services individually – web, FTP, emails, databases, DNS, etc. You can also enable or disable our Website builder or the Support section of the hosting control panel per account. Moving an account from one customer to another, or adding an upgrade takes just a couple of clicks. Of course, some industry-standard options like a control panel auto-login and an account password reset are available both to you and to your customers.
4. Domain provision/management
You can search for and register a domain name in WHMCS with ease. Depending on the registrar company you would like to use for a particular extension, you can use a different registrar-specific module. You can set the price for each TLD, add WHOIS protection, etc. Managing your domain in WHMCS is limited, though. You can update the contact information and nameservers, but you cannot create or edit specific DNS records. These can be managed only in the hosting control panel. You may also not notice if your domain has expired some time ago and is in Redemption status, so you have to pay a significantly higher fee to renew it.
Using our Account Panel, you can resell all TLDs that we offer. Our system is very flexible, so you can set a specific price depending on the TLD and the registration period. Your customers will also be able to manage the DNS records of any domain name that is not added to a hosting account. Similar to WHMCS, you can renew a domain manually for a customer. If needed, you can send a renewal reminder to a customer with a couple of clicks, or you can create a custom payment request and offer a discount for a new registration or a renewal.
You can manage the DNS records of your domain names through the hosting control panel as well. Find out more about it and how it compares to cPanel in our article: https://www.icdsoft.com/blog/cpanel-vs-icdsoft-control-panel/
5. SSL provision/management
If you use WHMCS, you can offer SSL certificates to your customers. They can order directly through their billing panel, but they have to provide a CSR code they have generated in advance through their cPanel. They can sometimes select the SSL approval method – to create a DNS record, to receive an email or to upload a file. You can add a module for a particular SSL vendor, depending on which provider you want to work with (or which provider your hosting provider has selected). For any SSL-related questions, clients will usually contact you, and you have to talk to the SSL vendor. The installation is manual, so your clients will have to secure their site, or you will have to do that for them.
With our Account Panel, your customers will be able to order a certificate with ease. We offer two RapidSSL certificates and two Sectigo certificates they can choose from. One of them is a wildcard SSL to cover all subdomains for a particular domain name. Your clients will have to enter the details for the Certificate Signing Request code during the order, so our system will save them one step compared to using WHMCS. By default, we will use email validation, but our support team will assist you and your clients with changing the approval method if needed. Our team will also install the certificate as soon as it has been issued. A list of all installed SSL certificates, including free Let's Encrypt ones, is available in the Account Panel.
6. Selling custom services
WHMCS allows you to sell custom services. If you offer a website maintenance service, for example, you can add it as a product in the application catalog and your customers will be able to order it or renew it along with the hosting plan and/or domain name they have. Alternatively, if you don’t want to add a particular service as a product, but you still want to charge a customer for it, you can simply create a new invoice for that customer or edit an existing one. There, you can add the service in question along with its price and period.
If you use our reseller program, you can offer and charge for custom services as well. Using our Payment request generator, you can add any service you would like, along with any price you want to charge. The payment request can be only for that service, or it can include other new or existing services (hosting plans, domains, etc.), so our system is very flexible in this regard. This way, you can offer web design, maintenance or any other service you would like.
7. Customer support tickets
WHMCS allows your customers to open support tickets to you about any issue they may have. Similar to any other platform, people can select a department/category and contact you. If you cannot answer their query, you will have to contact your hosting provider and wait for their reply before you can assist your customer. This can be an inconvenience as some hosting providers may reply once every 24 hours, or they may not want to get involved with the problems of your customers. WHMCS offers an API that you can use, so you can integrate the hosting support into a larger support portal you may already have.
Our Account Panel comes with an integrated ticketing system as well. If your customers have any questions, they can open a support ticket from their billing account, or from their hosting control panel. Unlike WHMCS, however, all tickets will come to our tech support department. The advantage here is that your customers will have 24/7 experienced support that will answer all their questions professionally and in a timely manner. This way, you can focus on developing your business and finding new customers instead of answering various hosting-related questions.
8. Application support
This is something people rarely consider when they choose their billing and support software. They usually think about the hosting provider support team and most issues are indeed hosting related. What happens if something goes wrong with your billing software, though? Trouble with the setup, a failed update or a module not working are just a few examples. In it very likely for the hosting provider to help only with the initial installation, and then let you deal with anything unexpected that comes up.
WHMCS offers 24/7 support, which is great, but they usually reply within 24 hours. While you will usually wait less for a response to a support query, it may still take a while to receive a response to an issue that may require further investigation. In the meantime, your client portal will not function properly, which can have a negative impact on your business. If you want to have prompt support, you will have to pay extra.
Our Account Panel comes with 24/7 support as well, but the average response and resolution time of our outstanding support team is just 15 minutes. We will assist you right away with any questions or problems you may have with the software, the site setup, or anything related to the Account Panel that concerns your reseller business or your customers. If needed, our developers can help as well – with setting up a payment processor in the Stores section of the Account Panel or integrating it on your website, for instance. This is something you will most certainly not have with WHMCS or similar commercial software.
9. Website integration
WHMCS comes with a basic store front, but you will find lots of templates for it as well. You can customize them to match the design of your existing website, or use them as a standalone website. In essence, it is easy to tell if a particular company uses WHMCS. The templates usually include a number of pre-made pages that you can customize depending on the plans and prices you would like to offer. If you have more advanced skills or you hire a developer, you can also use a custom-made website that will be linked to your WHMCS using their API.
We offer several options for the store front, so you can use a ready solution, or build a website of your own. When you create a store, our system will create a fully functional website for you. You can add your own CSS code to customize it, add different languages or choose the currencies that will be available to your customers. You can easily add your own domain name and a Google Analytics ID for better tracking. If you want to offer our hosting services on an existing website, you can install our WordPress plugin for a WordPress website or use our widget for a custom-made website. We have a reseller API as well, so if you are tech-savvy, you can use it to offer our services and manage clients, tickets, and payments through your own system.
10. Additional modules
One advantage WHMCS has over similar software is the number of modules you can find. If some feature is not available, you may find a module for it, or you can ask a developer to create one for you. Due to the popularity of WHMCS, it is more likely to find developers who are willing to create custom modules. If you want to offer services from another company along with the hosting plans of your provider, it is also more likely for that company to offer a module for WHMCS than for any other similar application.
While our Account Panel does not support adding third-party modules, we consider every request from our resellers. If we consider that a particular feature or function is worth adding, and if it will be useful to our partners or their customers, we usually add it. This way, you won’t have to look for a developer or spend money for some function to be added, as you would have to do with WHMCS. Of course, we cannot guarantee that every request will be fulfilled, but we do consider the reasons behind it. If you have any questions about that, you can contact us at any time.
WHMCS is a popular application that comes with lots of features. It allows you to resell hosting plans, domain names, SSL certificates and even custom services. As it is commercial software, however, you will have to pay a monthly fee on top of the fee for your reseller package, no matter if you have customers or not.
If you join our free reseller program, you and your customers will use our in-house Account Panel. As you can see above, the tool allows you to do more or less everything you can do with WHMCS. The order process for your customers will be hassle-free – both in the Account Panel, and on your website. They will be able to manage their services with ease and will have more options to choose from compared to WHMCS. The integrated ticketing system will allow them to contact an outstanding support team that will answer all their questions. Our Account Panel is a great alternative to WHMCS that you can use without spending a dime.