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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Norway
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    * WHMCS vs HostBill - a comparison

    First, a little introduction. I have been in the web hosting business since 1996. My company is one of the oldest, still existing domain registrars in Norway. From 1998 to 2011 we have been using a billing and automation system developed by me and my business partner. In 2003, I started a seperate company selling my own CMS and webshop systems. In 2007, I bought my business partner's share of the original company, and in 2011 I decided to start two new web hosting companies, one for the international market, and one for the scandinavian market.

    With four companies to run, I had to find a simpler solution for our hosting businesses than to keep maintaining our own billing system. We bought an owned WHMCS license (version 4 something), but found it to be lacking a lot of the features we wanted, and that the order form templates was old fashioned and just plain ugly. We put the whole WHMCS-thing on hold, and continued using our own system. We knew that WHMCS had a lot of customers, and thought that eventually they had to come up with something better working, better looking. Naturally, when version 5 was announced, we were super excited. I was absolutely certain, without a doubt, that version 5 had to be a lot better, and that the order forms in particular had to be greatly improved, having been the biggest drawback with WHMCS v4.x. Man, was I wrong. WHMCS 5 had a new client area, based on a rather basic Twitter Bootstrap theme. The order form was mostly the same old.

    At this point, we couldn't afford waiting any more, so we updated our WHMCS installation and started configuring it to fit our needs. Our original, Norway based hosting service was first out, so naturally we had to make sure the Norwegian translation was perfect. Which it wasn't, far from it. So we decided to translate the whole application ourselves, only to find out that WHMCS had left a lot of English text hard-coded in the templates, making the translation a three day job. Only to get the text right.

    On January 5th 2012, we replaced our old billing system with WHMCS. We were sceptical, since the order forms didn't look nice, and the ordering process in WHMCS was quite illogical compared to our old one. And unfortunately, sales dropped by a whopping 70 % almost over night! Clients started mailing and phoning in orders instead of ordering them on our webpage, and even today - more than a year later, most orders are processed this way. Before WHMCS, close to 100 % of the orders was done by the customer on our web page.

    So, for our other companies, we started looking for other alternatives. One of them were HostBill, which we had looked at before without being particularly impressed. This time though, we were truly impressed. Not only did it come with most of the features we needed, but it was packed with beautiful and functional order forms. Time hadn't stood still in HostBill country!

    We bought a HostBill license, installed it, integrated it with our design, translated it using HostBills amazing translation plugin and put it into production. Wham! The customers loved it. Sales improved immediately (I can't say by how much, since this company had a small client base to begin with).

    On our third site, we started using WHMCS at the same time as our first WHMCS site. It was never a success, so we decided to cancel our WHMCS license and bought a HostBill license instead. Once again, it had a huge effect on sales!

    We have a fourth site, the one for our international customers. Unfortunately, we also use WHMCS on this one, because we got a great deal on a really nice WHMCS template. Originally, we were planning on publishing this site in November 2012, but all the WHMCS downsides made us stop and reconsider. I put a question in the WHMCS forums, asking if we could expect a new version of WHMCS with decent looking order form templates anytime soon, but never received an answer (didn't really expect one either).

    OK, so it's time to make a comparison. This is based on our experiences, and in some respect also my own, perhaps somewhat biased opinion. Also, we don't use all of the functions in WHMCS and HostBill. We only sell domain registrations (mainly .no and most generic domains), web hosting (Plesk for Windows and cPanel for Linux), VPS (OpenVZ, KVM, Xen) and dedicated servers.

    Installation
    ==================================================
    Both WHMCS and HostBill is quick and easy to install. An extra point to HostBill for cPanel auto-installation.

    Security and development
    ==================================================
    WHMCS has had some issues lately, but they have been solved quickly and professionally. However, as a professional developer myself, some small issues like the lack of routines to avoid hard-coded text MAY be an indication of poor developing practices in general. Also, I truly believe that most of WHMCS could really be developed by any mediocre PHP developer.

    HostBill, as I have understood, has a better security record. That may also be due to the fact that it's not as widely used as WHMCS yet. There are a lot of things in HostBill that indicates that the developers are much more skilled than the WHMCS team, such as the use of AJAX in places where you really shouldn't use traditional full page refresh (like WHMCS does for the most part).

    Also, HostBill publishes new subversions every month - often packed with new functions. The WHMCS team found the v5 upgrade so comprehensive that they just had to publish it as a new major version, whilst HostBill's subversion updates often feels much more comprehensive.

    HostBill: 1
    WHMCS: 0

    Admin panel
    ==================================================
    WHMCS clearly has a nicer admin panel, and it is disappointed that Hostbill hasn't made an effort to improve the layout of their admin panel. I'm quite sure this is the deal breaker for many customers. At the same time, I appreciate the fact that they put so much work into the client area, since the customer experience is way more important than the admin experience.

    Another thing to consider here, is what I have mentioned earlier: AJAX. HostBill uses AJAX callbacks extensively, which make the admin panel much more functional.

    HostBill: 1
    WHMCS: 1

    Client Area
    ==================================================
    Oh man, where to start. HostBill is so superior in both layout and functionality. There is really no competition here. Hostbill is packed with beautiful looking order form templates. The client area templates are clean and simple, and a breeze to integrate with your own theme because they have managed to avoid using generic css names for divs and classes, so it shouldn't conflict with your main style sheet.

    WHMCS on the other hand has decided to use a Twitter Bootstrap layout. It's really basic - almost out-of-the-box, using generic names for divs and classes, so it's bound to collide with your exisiting theme.

    But where HostBill really, really shines is with the Simple Hosting module. With this module, my web hosting clients can do most of the day-to-day administration within the client area. They don't have to log on to cPanel to create or manage email accounts, databases, FTP accounts, backups and so forth. This is a huge plus! WHMCS doesn't have anything similar to this. You can do this with third party, commercial plugins in WHMCS (ModulesGarden has a really nice one, by the way), but not within WHMCS itself.

    For more information on HostBill's Simple Hosting module, see: http://hostbillapp.com/features/simple-hosting.php
    cPanel Extended for WHMCS (by ModulesGarden): http://www.modulesgarden.com/product...ended/features

    HostBill: 1
    WHMCS: 0

    Translations
    ==================================================
    For those of us operating non-English sites, translations are important. Both WHMCS and HostBill has some drawbacks here. WHMCS has hard-coded English text all over the place (or at least had in v5.0). HostBill also has some hard-coded English text, although not as much.

    Translations in WHMCS has to done in a text file. When new versions are published, you have to copy your old translations to the new language file. Problem is, even though WHMCS has tried to put all the "new text" in the bottom of the language file, my experience is that they also put some new text in between the old translations, making it a living hillbilly to upgrade the language file.

    HostBill on the other hand, has a built-in language module. When upgrading, all your current variables are kept intact. You just have to find and translate the new ones. If you are installing a new HostBill site, just export your translation and then import it into your new site. Also, you can always see the original English translation to the right of your translated text, which is extremely helpful.

    HostBill: 1
    WHMCS: 0

    Webhosting
    ==================================================
    Both systems integrate well with both cPanel and Plesk. HostBill fethces your package details from your server, so you can select the package you will use. You don't need to know the name of the plan. WHMCS asks for the service plan name, and checks if it exists. If you have entered a wrong name, you receive an error.

    HostBill: 1
    WHMCS: 0

    VPS
    ==================================================
    We offer OpenVZ, KVM and Xen servers with SolusVM. HostBill's integration works really good. I'm sorry to say that I don't know enough about WHMCS' solution since we haven't received many orders on our WHMCS site (even though we have thousands of existing customers on this site, while the other one was launched just recently).

    HostBill's order forms are more fitted for selling VPS packages though, and there are more to choose from, so I have to give HostBill the point here.

    HostBill: 1
    WHMCS: 0

    Colocation and Dedicated Servers
    ==================================================
    HostBill is clearly better than WHMCS for selling and managing Colocation and Dedicated Servers.

    See: http://hostbillapp.com/features/colocation.php

    Support Tickets and Chat
    ==================================================
    The support ticket solutions for WHMCS and HostBill are mostly the same. HostBill has a built-in chat application, which WHMCS lacks. I read that WHMCS introduces chat in 5.1, but I haven't been able to find it. Both lack a WYSIWYG-editor, which I really don't understand. We have used WYSIWYG-editor without problem in our own support system for years. It is a huge advantage, and doesn't affect the security or functionality at all.

    HostBill: 0
    WHMCS: 0

    Adding products and services
    ==================================================
    Again, HostBill clearly has the edge. You can select different order form for each product group, which is an absolute necessity. I can't understand how WHMCS has managed to miss such an important feature. In WHMCS, if you want different order forms for different product groups, you have to set the order form in the URL. First of all, this is not possible if the customer selects product group from the client area. Secondly, WHMCS remembers the order form selection throughout the whole session, so in order for it to work, you have to make a hard link to each and every product group.

    So what does it really mean? Well, you may want a comparison table for your webhosting plans, a slider for your VPS plans and boxes for your dedicated server plans. In HostBill, you just select the order form you would like to use for that particular product group. In WHMCS, you set the order form template under general settings, and that affects all your product groups.

    HostBill: 1
    WHMCS: 0

    Setting prices for products and services
    ==================================================
    We all know how particular WHMCS is in this area. Want to set up a web hosting product with the possibility to select either monthly or anually payments? At a price of 3 dollars/month? And 10 dollars for setup IF the customer selects monthly and no setup costs if he selects anually subscription?

    In WHMCS:
    Set One Time/Monthly Setup Fee to: 10
    Set Quarterly Setup Fee to: 0
    Set Semi-Annually fee to: 0
    Set Anually Setup Fee to: 0
    Set Biennially Setup Fee to: 0
    Set Triennially Setup Fee to: 0
    Set One Time/Monthly Price to: 3
    Set Quarterly Price to: -1
    Set Semi-Annually Price to: -1
    Set Annually Price to: 36
    Set Biennially Price to: -1
    Set Tirennially Price to: -1

    In HostBill:
    Edit Monthly, and set Price: 3 - Setup Fee: 10
    Click Add Pricing Option
    Select Annually, set Price to: 36

    HostBill: 1
    WHMCS: 0

    Domain pricing
    ==================================================
    It is much easier to set the initial prices for _ONE_ TLD in WHMCS, if you want to set prices for MORE than one year. However, if you want to duplicate the prices for several TLDs, that's not possible in WHMCS. You must enter all the prices (register, transfer, renewal) for all the years, for all the TLDs manually. In Hostbill, enter the prices for the intervals you want to offer once, and duplicate as needed.

    If you only want to offer one year registrations, say with a registration price of 15 dollar, a transfer price of 15 dollar and a renewal price of 15 dollar:

    In WHMCS:
    Set 1 Years Register price to: 15
    Set 1 Years Transfer price to: 15
    Set 1 years Renewal price to: 15
    Set 2 through 10 years Register price to: 0
    Set 2 through 10 years Transfer price to: -1
    Set 2 through 10 years Renewal price to: -1

    That's 9 times 0 in Register price, 9 times -1 in Transfer price and 9 times -1 in Renewal price.

    Do this for every TLD.

    In Hostbill:
    Set Period: 1 Years, Register 15, Transfer: 15, Renew: 15.
    Click Save Changes

    HostBill: 1
    WHMCS: 0

    Documentation
    ==================================================
    While both WHMCS and Hostbill has good documentations, I personally feel that WHMCS has the edge here.

    HostBill: 0
    WHMCS: 1

    Updates
    ==================================================
    HostBill can be updated by activating auto-upgrade and clicking "Upgrade Now" within HostBill.

    WHMCS must be upgraded by uploading the new version using FTP.

    HostBill: 1
    WHMCS: 0

    Conclusion
    ==================================================
    The comparisons above is based on our experiences and how the two products function in our companies. Others may come to different conclusions. I have tried to be as objective as I can, and I have also tried to find more "pro WHMCS" arguments, but no matter how I look at it, HostBill comes out best in almost all areas.

    The reason I made this comparison in the first place is that the WHMCS vs HostBill question seem to come up every now and then, and I suspect that many of the WHMCS fanboys haven't actually compared the two thoroughly. I have used both for some time, and have compared their strengths and weaknesses in detail. What strikes me the most, is how incredibly fast Hostbill seems to evolve. WHMCS has fallen so far behind and seems to evolve so slowly that I really, truly doubt they will ever be able to keep up with HostBill. For WHMCS to become _as good_ as HostBill, they'll have to implement AJAX in all admin areas, design a ducking lot of professional order forms, redesign the way of adding products and prices, make a new client area without using generic names for divs and classes, making it possible to select different order forms per product group instead of a general setting - and most importantly - make something like HostBill's simple hosting and DNS management features. I don't see it happening anytime soon, and meanwhile HostBill will keep on evolving, making the gap even bigger.

    Disclaimer:
    Please remember that this is my OPINIONS. Also, even though I have updated to the latest version of WHMCS, there may be minor changes from 5.0 to 5.1 I have not discovered yet, as we kinda gave up on WHMCS after v.5. Also, we're just using parts of WHMCS and HostBill. There may be functions or modules that we don't use at all that are invaluable to others.

    I am absolutely, positively convinced that there will be a lot of WHMCS fans trying to break my arguments apart. I'm okay with that, though. We are all humans, with different opinions and taste. This is merely a summary of MY subjective opinion of the two. I have no personal interest in WHMCS or HostBill. I don't know any of the employees in either of the two companies, I am not a partner or affiliate and I have not been paid or otherwise motivated to write this post. My only objective is to give my personal and honest opinion based on our experience with WHMCS and HostBill.

    The URLs of our WHMCS and HostBill sites will be submitted to the moderator for verification.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Ashburn, VA
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    Thanks for this thorough review! You are absolutely correct that most people are quick to jump on the bandwagon of one or the other without actually trying both. I personally have been using WHMCS for the past 4 years, and used ModernBill for 7 years before that. I agree with just about everything you've said here. There are a lot of longstanding issues with WHMCS that make it very frustrating to deal with.

    I keep looking at HostBill every once and a while, and it's looking better and better. If the WHMCS/Cpanel partnership doesn't produce anything exciting, I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be jumping ship as HostBill continues to up it's game.
    Affordable web hosting, design, & domain registration services since 2001
    www.serve-you.net
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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by serve-you View Post
    You are absolutely correct that most people are quick to jump on the bandwagon of one or the other without actually trying both.
    I'd be willing to try HB, if they had a way to do it without jumping in for an owned license, even a demo on their own server to see how it works in the back end. The only reason I went with WHMCS in the first place was I was able to test it with little risk, and it did what I needed. The lack of demo/trial/monthly and importers at HB that do more than the very basics (which they don't seem to define, except to say they can do more for money) is very off-putting.
    Shame that. I'm currently open to considering change.
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  4. #4
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    Agree. They have a 30-day money back guarantee, but I'm with you.
    Affordable web hosting, design, & domain registration services since 2001
    www.serve-you.net
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  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear View Post
    I'm currently open to considering change.
    I thought WHMCS is better?

    Why the need to change?
    is the place to be.
    .
    JoneSolutions.Com ( Jones.Solutions ) is on the net 24/7 providing stable and reliable web hosting solutions and services since 2001.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
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    WHMCS is nowhere close to better than HB..
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by net View Post
    I thought WHMCS is better?
    How could I possibly know if they are without being able to try an alternative unless I spend $200 or more to "trial" it?
    Why the need to change?
    I didn't say there was a need, I said I was open to it. There are things about WHMCS I don't like, so I keep an open mind about other applications.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    Very nice and helpful comparison. I hope there will be some reactions from others who have used both panels so we can get a general idea if everyone is more positive about Hostbill.

    I was also looking into it, but no demo of their software on their site is at least very weird and holding me back.

    Is there an option to easy transfer WHMCS data intoo hostbill ?
    If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by target View Post
    Is there an option to easy transfer WHMCS data intoo hostbill ?
    I'm pretty sure they have a WHMCS import script in the client area after you purchase a license.
    HostVenom LLC - Premium Dedicated Servers | Chicago, IL
    Solid, Optimized, & DDoS Protected Network | Custom Configurations
    Brandon M. | brandon @ hostvenom . com
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  10. #10
    Join Date
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    I previously used HostBill (and WHMCS and Modernbill) and loved it, however the fact that they have changed the billing structure (quite a few times actually) is very off putting for me. I am currently working on a new venture and have decided to go with WHMCS this time as $199.95 is a steep outlay, especially as still in the planning stages.

    I have previously ranked HostBill as better (sometimes much better) than WHMCS and in parts I still hold that assessment but the high entry point is just a little too much.
    If you need help about anything to do with WHT, check out the Helpdesk
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  11. #11
    Join Date
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    using whmcs but vote for HB
    VMakerHOST.Com Budget Provider since 2010
    Shared Hosting Reseller Hosting Streaming Managed VPS Dedicated Servers
    CloudLinux / R1soft Backup / Master Reseller / CentovaCast / USA,Singapore,EU,UK
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  12. #12
    We are fairly happy with WHMCS. Personally, my biggest gripe is that I end up wasting excessive amounts of time performing certain basic actions in the admin panel. Having to enter multiple years and currencies worth of domain pricing by hand is well... infuriating, to say the least.

    I'm also not overly confident the partnership with CPanel is going to pan out well. The introduction of the corporate philosophy of CPanel is bound to be cause for further delays. On top of that, a number of longstanding issues / functionality improvements are probably not being worked on, in favor of further CPanel integration, both on a software level and a corporate level.

    Hostbill looks very pretty and it appears to do a number of things better. I also have some issues with the way they seem to be running their business. In particular their pricing policies that are as changeable as the weather and lack of any demo are absolute showstoppers.
    Woktron Web Hosting
    Web Hosting Reseller Hosting
    Virtual Private Servers Dedicated Servers
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  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by serve-you View Post
    If the WHMCS/Cpanel partnership doesn't produce anything exciting,
    Agreed... This is all I have been waiting for... WHMCS recently added, http://requests.whmcs.com/ but if it doesn't improve...well.

    Nice review, Thank you!
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  14. #14
    Join Date
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    There is a WHMCS Import, interesting to see how well it works.
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    I completely agree that HostBill should reconsider their current billing model, and we had to think about it for a long time until we decided to give it a go. I don't think the price is expensive for what you get, and it's definitely worth the money, but I see how the lack of a monthly option would keep a lot from trying it. Also, while a one time payment may give HostBill better revenue right now, monthly subscriptions would probably generate more in the long run.

    I also agree that they shoud set up a demo or offer a limited, downloadable demo. If there was a demo, we would have purchased our licenses months earlier.

    I forgot to mention support in my post. I know there has been some issues with HostBill's support earlier. When we bought our first HostBill license, I had to open a ticket due to some hard-coded translations. I received a reply telling me to ask the question on the forum (which I already had), and they would answer it there. They closed the ticket. More than three weeks went by without a reply neither on the forum or in the ticket system, so I had to open a new ticket to remind them before they responded (it was solved by the way).

    When we bought our latest HostBill license, I also had to open a new ticket about missing translations, and this time they responded right away telling me it would be fixed in the next release. So, I was a bit disappointed the first time, but it seems to work better now. As for WHMCS, I haven't been completely satisfied with the quality of their support, but for the most part they have been quick at replying (1-3 days).

    I did mention AJAX several times in my review, and I want to emphasize the importance of this. If you have a lot of clients, orders, invoices, tickets and so forth, it is really annoying waiting for the page to refresh every time you do something - and then start looking for where you were. For instance, if you have several pages of support tickets, and you want to delete one of them. In WHMCS, I check the one I want to delete and press the delete button. The form is submitted and the whole page is reloaded. In HostBill you do the same (check the ticket and press delete), but the form is submitted in the background and only part of the page is reloaded. This makes HostBill much faster to work with than WHMCS. If you have a lot of records in your database, it's really a huge difference!
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipsta View Post
    There is a WHMCS Import, interesting to see how well it works.
    I used it for one of my sites, and it imported all my clients, products, tickets, orders, domains, invoices and transactions without any major problems. I'm not sure if the passwords was imported, and according to the HostBill forum, they're not. Perhaps someone else knows for sure. We had to send our clients new passwords anyway, because we used different charsets in WHMCS and HostBill, so any passwords with Norwegian characters would've come out wrong after the import.

    According to the HostBill forum, any credit cards you have on file won't be imported either. We don't keep credit card information though, so I can't verify this.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by UENO View Post
    I also agree that they shoud set up a demo or offer a limited, downloadable demo. If there was a demo, we would have purchased our licenses months earlier.
    This, at the least, would be appreciated.
    I saw a recent post for a fairly new help desk, and went to look. They had a demo, and within a few minutes I could pretty much tell it would not suit my needs. Simple.

    if HB were to set up a demo, even a severely limited access one, I'd at least be able to consider if I'd like to go further with it. It feels (with nothing but instinct to base this on) like they're trying to get people to buy a full license since it's less likely to test fully before 30 days are up and they may miss out on the refund window.
    No monthly and no demo fits that scenario.
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  18. #18
    Join Date
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    Great review very detailed.
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  19. #19
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    There are a lot of free WHMCS licences through host providers.
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  20. #20
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    I would presume the reason that they do not want to offer trials etc anymore is because soon as they did a free trial, someone decrypted the files and nulled it.

    Look at WHMCS, they allow monthly Licenses, and _every_ single version they release gets nulled..
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  21. #21
    Join Date
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    Since there is nog demo .. how is the invoicing in Hostbill compared to WHMCS ? I really don't understand why there is no demo ?
    If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 198HOST View Post
    I would presume the reason that they do not want to offer trials etc anymore is because soon as they did a free trial, someone decrypted the files and nulled it.

    Look at WHMCS, they allow monthly Licenses, and _every_ single version they release gets nulled..
    And what would stop someone from buying HB, then immediately getting a refund after decrypting? I'd be willing to bet there's nulled copies already. Happens to every encoded script.

    [a quick Google just now confirms that]
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by target View Post
    Since there is nog demo .. how is the invoicing in Hostbill compared to WHMCS ? I really don't understand why there is no demo ?
    Invoicing in HostBill and WHMCS is much the same. I find HostBill a little simpler to use, because you can select from your predefined products and set quantity per invoice line directly in the invoice, without having to make a quote first.

    I prefer the default invoice design (both HTML and PDF) in HostBill over the one that's included with WHMCS, and HostBill also has a built-in WYSIWYG invoice designer, so you don't have to make manual changes to the invoice template file like you have to in WHMCS. I never was satisfied with WHMCS' invoice designs, so I had to create my own. I had to make some changes to HostBills design as well, but with the built-in designer, it took just a few minutes.
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  24. #24
    Join Date
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    On January 5th 2012, we replaced our old billing system with WHMCS. We were sceptical, since the order forms didn't look nice, and the ordering process in WHMCS was quite illogical compared to our old one. And unfortunately, sales dropped by a whopping 70 % almost over night! Clients started mailing and phoning in orders instead of ordering them on our webpage, and even today - more than a year later, most orders are processed this way. Before WHMCS, close to 100 % of the orders was done by the customer on our web page.
    I'm particularly interested on this as we are going to rework the whmcs order process on it's whole, i'm interested to know if whmcs order form is THAT bad for sales and if it's really worth it to give priority and money to the redesign of order process.

    We use "modern" order form, that one: http://demo.whmcs.com/cart.php?gid=1...carttpl=modern

    This is what you tested? in our case the product come preselected from website so you won't see first step, and we removed unnecessary fields.

    Thanks for sharing that information.

    Regards,
    www.FactoriaDigital.com - Application web hosting & specialized wordpress hosting, in spanish
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  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Norway
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    Quote Originally Posted by Factor View Post
    I'm particularly interested on this as we are going to rework the whmcs order process on it's whole, i'm interested to know if whmcs order form is THAT bad for sales and if it's really worth it to give priority and money to the redesign of order process.

    We use "modern" order form, that one: http://demo.whmcs.com/cart.php?gid=1...carttpl=modern

    This is what you tested? in our case the product come preselected from website so you won't see first step, and we removed unnecessary fields.
    For VPS we use the slider form: http://demo.whmcs.com/cart.php?gid=1...carttpl=slider

    For most other services, we've gone back to using the old, custom comparison tables we used before since we believe they look better than what WHMCS has to offer anyway. When customers click on "Order", the product is preselected and they're redirected directly to the next step. The problem seems to be the logic of the next step(s), though. Addons and options are displayed in a messy way, and there is no way to add additional information in a popup bubble or dialog box like we used before, so any additional information must be shown together with the addon description, which makes it even messier. I don't think you can add bubbles or dialogs in HostBill either, but we had it on this particular site before we started using WHMCS, hence my reason for mentioning it.

    Also, I feel that both the shopping cart and the order summary in WHMCS is messier than in HostBill. An important reason for this is that WHMCS lists all the available addons in the cart/summary even when they're not selected, while HostBill just list the addons you've actually selected.

    There was really nothing particular with our old order forms compared to most order forms out there. Personally, I do believe the problem is the messy cart and summary. There's no reason to show addons the customer didn't select in the cart and summary. We're stuck with WHMCS on this particular site for now, so when I get the time, I will see if there's a way we can modify the order form templates in WHMCS and make them function more like our old ones.
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  26. #26
    As a consumer of VPS services Ive got very used to dealing with WHMCS, cant say Ive seen any HostBill services yet.

    One very important factor is the trust that occurs when a customer is greeted by an interface they previously had a good experience with. Its something Ive also noted running a custom solution for my site, occasionally I get users who say "I cant do XYZ why dont you run WHMCS?". While these people are generally not well informed about technical aspects it proves a point.
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  27. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Hanoi
    Posts
    4,306
    I would like to try Hostbill but they don't support for Kayako helpdesk, so...
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  28. #28
    I also dont understand why hostbill does not at least have an online demo.

    Even if it just refreshed itself every 1/2 hour or something...

    ie: The concern is probably that having an online demo might get messed up unless there were all kinds of controls put into place to stop people from changing settings, etc. OK... so why not just reload the database every 15 minutes or 30 minutes or whatever? It's just a simple online demo, not a fully functional product evaluation. The idea of an online demo is to see if the product might work for you, and *then* you can decide more accurately if it's worth spending the $$ to get the software and install for evaluation.

    It always amazes me when a company has a nice product, but then acts like they don't want people to find out about it or use it.

    It's a very European mindset, since pretty much every store over here (I live in France) is the same. You walk in the door, and it's like you're bothering them because you want to buy something.

    (And yes, I realize I just made a huge sweeping generalization...)
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  29. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    258
    WHMCS is doing a lot of changes in the next versions i think after they launched the request feature, i am not sure but i think thats why they do that.

    Hostbill looks good but why change if you are satisfied with the system you already have?

    Also Hostbill do not offer either 30 days trial to test it or leased lisences so if you dont want to hassle with refund you have lost your money if you dont want to use it.

    The last one refer to people like me who dont bather with asking refund and answering a bunch of questions before getting money back. (Infact i have never asked a refund)

    A few weeks ago i visited hostbill to get a 30 days trial and test them but they didnt offer it, ok for me i then stay with whmcs wick i already know. Maybe hostbill is better but i never tried it so better safe than sorry.
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  30. #30
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrzippy View Post
    It always amazes me when a company has a nice product, but then acts like they don't want people to find out about it or use it.
    That's perhaps the best way to put it. They have a really good product, and must put an awful lot of time into developing it, but they don't seem to do anything to aquire new business.
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  31. #31
    This was a really well thought out post/review/comparison

    really though, these products cant be compared. I think Hostbill has done a poor job at differentiating itself and really promoting what they are.

    WHMCS is a billing platform - I would say its more stable and mature today as a billing platform vs Hostbill

    BUT

    Hostbill is an automation and integration platform - and WHMCS cant compete with this - it would need to be rebuilt from the ground up to play in this ballpark

    I've said it before and Ill keep saying it - hostbill should dramatically raise their pricing and change their model - and service a smaller customer set better. I would easily pay their license fee monthly in exchange for their integration engine, combined with less native feature that are better supported.

    Anyway, I cant complain personally, Kris over at hostbill has done a fantastic job at stepping up and supporting us on their platform. But, I still wish they had less natively supported platforms and a greater focus on making sure all supported platforms are seamless. Combine this with a larger focus on their API and their modular design to allow people to build their own integrations (which is clearly their advantage). Rather then focus on adding more integration platforms, maybe focus on things like metered billing and core competencies to make sure they are prime time ready - and let people build their own integrations.

    Its an interesting position - as sometimes, its better for everyone if hostbill takes over certain modules and includes it in their core (ie NOC PS provisioning). But, I think they shoot themselves in the foot by taking on integrations they shouldnt.

    Maybe a strategy would be to only take on new modules and integration once the base module (from a 3rd party) is mature enough to integrate into core supported code, and only include such modules when someone else has met certain minimal objectives and requirements

    eitherway, Hostbill is a revolutionary product in this industry - its only real competition is PBA Enterprise - and even though PBA is a much more mature product, you are a) dealing with Parallels and b) dealing with a pricing model that simply isnt reasonable, even for large providers. Hostbill has a real opportunity to do something no one else has been able to do, and honestly, comparing them with WHMCS isnt even a fair comparison, as they arent the same thing
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  32. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by EksoKen View Post
    WHMCS is doing a lot of changes in the next versions i think after they launched the request feature, i am not sure but i think thats why they do that.
    Well, maybe they do and maybe they don't. One of my issues with WHMCS is that that it just takes too much time for them to launch new versions, and when they finally do, there's usually nothing to get really excited about. When WHMCS 5 was launched, there were a lot of issues with WHMCS 4 that wasn't solved - and they had mostly focused on less important things (that's my opinion anyway). With HostBill, there's new features every month. They are already way ahead of WHMCS in many areas, and even if WHMCS are trying hard to keep up, they have a really long way to go until WHMCS is "as good" as HostBill.

    Also, as long as WHMCS don't want to say anything about what we should expect when there finally is a new version, I for one don't want to sit on the fence waiting for something that may just be too little too late anyways. We did exactly that when we first started out with WHMCS 4. WHMCS 4 wasn't good enough to replace our own system, so we waited.. Then WHMCS 5 came and offered nothing really new, other than a new, very basic Bootstrap theme for the client area and some other minor "improvements". Both WHMCS 5 and later subversions has had a lot of issues, WHMCS 5.1 was so bad that it kept their support team busy for weeks, and had a huge impact on support response times. Meanwhile, I update my HostBill every week, and still haven't experienced any big issues.

    Another problem with WHMCS waiting so long to release updates, is that you have to wait a long time for important problems to be fixed. For instance, I reported a problem with late fees in WHMCS, namely the fact that you can't disable tax for late fees as long as the product is taxable. The problem is that in Norway and a lot of other countries, the law specifically forbids you to add tax to the late fee, no matter if the product is taxable or not. The response I received from WHMCS was that I had to remove the late fee tax manually, and that they would consider a way to adjust this in later versions, basically meaning that they PERHAPS will fix this in a later version, and that we could have to wait months or even years for it to happen since WHMCS isn't updated very frequent. It took some time until we realized that WHMCS actually added taxes to the late fee, and that did eventually cost quite a deal of problems with our accountant. Oh, and by the way, HostBill lets me choose whether or not to add tax to the late fee.

    So for us, there was little to lose and a lot to gain from switching to HostBill. That said, I really understand why people think twice about purchasing HostBill licenses when there's no demo around. I was so happy with my switch though, that I just felt I had to write this review, since a lot of newcomers here on WHT is told time and time again that WHMCS is the best and that there's no real alternative, which there most definitely is. Based on some of the feedback in this thread, I also actually considered purchasing a HostBill license just to set up a demo for others to see what I mean. In the end though, I came to my senses and realized that it's not really my problem and HostBill should figure out how to market their products themselves. For all I know, publishing a HostBill demo may be against the terms as well.

    I know I come off as really anti-WHMCS, so I want to add that WHMCS is a great product. It has some nice features, and it certainly make running a hosting company a lot easier. I wish there was something like WHMCS around when we first started out 15-16 years ago. But for me, HostBill was definitely a better alternative. More importantly, it is the best option for us TODAY. Perhaps WHMCS will be a better option in the future, but I can't base my business decisions on what may or may not happen tomorrow.
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  33. #33
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by cartika-andrew View Post
    Hostbill has a real opportunity to do something no one else has been able to do, and honestly, comparing them with WHMCS isnt even a fair comparison, as they arent the same thing
    I'm sure you're right. For the record, I've used them both for billing and automation, but only using features that they both have. The way I've been using them, they're directly comparable. HostBill certainly has a lot of features that WHMCS doesn't have, and that makes it a different product altogether, but I haven't been focusing on those in my comparison since I don't use them myself. We are an "average" hosting company in the sense that we sell all the usual products (domain registrations, web hosting, reseller hosting, VPS, dedis and colo) but not the more uncommon ones. I've found HostBill superior in all of these. I also find HostBill better at the billing part, with one exception: billing of domain names that requires manual renewal because the registrar lacks a working API or uses an unsupported API that is difficult to integrate with any billing system.

    Quote Originally Posted by cartika-andrew View Post
    even though PBA is a much more mature product, you are a) dealing with Parallels
    Parallels sends me an invoice every month which looks something like this:
    Web Presence Builder: Web Presence Builder for Windows (100 Sites) - Period: 1/30/13 - 3/2/13 - Qty: 1 - Price: $9.99 - Disc.: $0.00 - Tax: $0.00 - Total: $9.99

    Subtotal: $64.97

    I sure as doll won't be looking for neither billing or automation products from a company that for several months has stated that 1 x $9.99 = $64.97.
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  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by UENO View Post
    I'm sure you're right. For the record, I've used them both for billing and automation, but only using features that they both have. The way I've been using them, they're directly comparable. HostBill certainly has a lot of features that WHMCS doesn't have, and that makes it a different product altogether, but I haven't been focusing on those in my comparison since I don't use them myself. We are an "average" hosting company in the sense that we sell all the usual products (domain registrations, web hosting, reseller hosting, VPS, dedis and colo) but not the more uncommon ones. I've found HostBill superior in all of these. I also find HostBill better at the billing part, with one exception: billing of domain names that requires manual renewal because the registrar lacks a working API or uses an unsupported API that is difficult to integrate with any billing system.
    I understand what you are saying. Individual base features aside, hostbill is a complete, modular integration system - built from the ground up. Take a look at their API and integration options. WHMCS is more of a billing platform for a set number of products and services. Dont get me wrong, we use both as well - and I like them both. I honestly think hostbill has made a mistake trying to compete with WHMCS, and that draws these sorts of comparisons. They, in my opinion, should really focus on their integration platform - which simply doesnt exist in this form anyplace else



    Parallels sends me an invoice every month which looks something like this:
    Web Presence Builder: Web Presence Builder for Windows (100 Sites) - Period: 1/30/13 - 3/2/13 - Qty: 1 - Price: $9.99 - Disc.: $0.00 - Tax: $0.00 - Total: $9.99

    Subtotal: $64.97

    I sure as doll won't be looking for neither billing or automation products from a company that for several months has stated that 1 x $9.99 = $64.97.
    LOL - well, for their PBA enterprise product, it would cost you several $100,000 to get setup and integrated the way you want, each additional integration would cost you the same, and then they also want 10% of gross sales billed through their system. hostbill offers you the ability to do all the same things PBA enterprise does at a fraction of the cost and in a self service manner (and our devs cost less then parallels devs - and they understand our business and needs better !)
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  35. #35
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    5
    import script from whmcs 5.1 to hostbill 4.2.2/4.2.4/4.2.6 don't work at this moment..for now it's impossible import all
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  36. #36
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,013
    I am not a big fan that you cant send them a sales question without registering and then when you try to register, their site redirects you back to the support page. Lack of demo or trial is pretty off putting as well. Seems the company is more ran by a developer than a smart businessman. Obviously there are plus and minuses to that. There are way to many illogical steps in WHMCS and the lack of real progress over the past 2 years has been very discouraging. I am definitely open to options, but unfortunately there are few.
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  37. #37
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    128
    Quote Originally Posted by UENO View Post
    Parallels sends me an invoice every month which looks something like this:
    Web Presence Builder: Web Presence Builder for Windows (100 Sites) - Period: 1/30/13 - 3/2/13 - Qty: 1 - Price: $9.99 - Disc.: $0.00 - Tax: $0.00 - Total: $9.99

    Subtotal: $64.97

    I sure as doll won't be looking for neither billing or automation products from a company that for several months has stated that 1 x $9.99 = $64.97.
    Looks like there is a bug in the invoice e-mail template in our online store. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Note that, of course, your total services do add up to $64.97, there are simply line items missing in the invoice e-mail. You can view your "hard copy" invoices by logging into the online store as well.

    We will fix the bug in the e-mail template shortly.
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  38. #38
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    128
    Oh, and the PDF invoices that were attached to each of your above mentioned order e-mails included all line items also.

    As for the e-mail template bug, it is now fixed (looks like I fat-fingered a bit of Smarty code when I last modified them). Your future e-mails should be correct. Thanks again for bringing it to our attention.
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  39. #39
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    352
    Quote Originally Posted by Parallels || Blake View Post
    Looks like there is a bug in the invoice e-mail template in our online store. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Note that, of course, your total services do add up to $64.97, there are simply line items missing in the invoice e-mail.
    Well, just goes to show that there is really absolutely no such thing as quality control at Parallels. What else is new? As a professional developer myself, I must say I really don't understand how it's even possible for a company like Parallels to keep publishing software with mind blowingly stupid bugs that should have been discovered in early beta. The biggest problem though, is that the company with the poorest quality control also is the company with the planet's poorest suppport team. And with the most expensive products. I'm not impressed...
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  40. #40
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
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    This is a great review! I am becoming more and more disappointing with WHMCS.. If their were host bill mobile products I would certainly switch. Really the high entry point and no demo is what is holding me back as it is.
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