This is my first post since joining this message board. I realize that I have yet to contribute anything to this forum, but I'm hoping some of you will take the time to answer my question regardless.
The hosting company that I work for is looking to increase the rate of new clients. Looking around at competitors I notice most offer Control Panels for clients to use allowing them to essentially run their own hosting company from their dedicated server.
My question to the veterans is how much of a difference can the addition of Control Panels make? We used to offer one but it was proprietary and wasn't very decent. Most of our clients never used it. If we were to add this onto our standard service offerings, can we expect immediate results? If not immediate, what might we expect to see?
It depends on what niche you are catering yourself to. If you market to the locals who just need an ftp address and user/pass, then a control panel isn't needed. However, if you want to survive in the online markets competing against the other thousands of hosts, a control panel is a definate plus.
When looking at a control panel, you need to ask the question of which one do you want to offer your clients, and which one will be most beneficial to you.
Since you do not have a control panel currently, you most likely already have a billing system etc in place. Then you might want to take a look at cpanel to provide just control panel features.
However, if you are looking for total system automation, you will want to take a look at H-Sphere, which will not only provide a control panel for your customers, but also provide billing, and support systems, with hosting automation (account creation, automated billing etc). It also allows you to cluster your servers under one control panel server.
I myself use H-Sphere and I love it. I wouldnt imagine using anything else.
Thanks for the quick and helpful reply, amish_geek.
I'll look into H-Sphere for sure.
One question I have about a full on system (such as H-Sphere) is whether or not our clients will come to us for assistance with the application. Do you find that your customers come directly to you for help with this or are they usually informed enough to go to the vendour?
We don't really want to be spending countless hours supporting our clients on a 3rd party application. Is it realistic to assume we won't/shouldn't need to?