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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    My Review of Hosting Accelerator 2.1 (HACL)

    We currently use Hosting Accelerator control panel for one of our Windows machine since Oct, 2004. So it is due time to review it and let people know what I've seen.

    Hosting Accelerator is probably a new player on the block for Windows control panels. We decided to go with them after lengthy research and test of different control panels (I've another post on why we didn't select the other panels).

    So here is my review:

    1) Installation / Platform:

    - We found the installation package is very simple and straight forward on a Windows 2003 Server Ent (without Active Directory). The software installs the main control panel, configure it for IIS and ready to go.

    - The application is written in ASP.NET which is great and not so great. I'm the type of person who likes to edit the source codes!

    - Even the demo from HACL installation went fine smoothly. It installs all the packages, softwares, AWSTATS and configure them by default

    - After install, you'll need to install your favourite Mail program / FTP program / Stats / SQL / ColdFusion / Tomcat

    - They support most major softwares. Including Perl,mySQL,PHP,.NET, application pooling....etc

    2) Interface / Usability / Features:

    One thing I didn't like about other control panels such as Helm is the interface. I hated those huge icons in the middle of the screen. HACL provides three types of interfaces: tab, menu, something else.

    But the tab is very annoying, so we edit the login page to only allow a single interface for everyone.

    Something I hated about Windows control panels is the need to click different links just to get to what you want. For example with HACL, if I want to add new email user I have to do this:

    Click on Service Settings -> Manage Mail -> Search the domain -> click Manage Users -> Click Add New Mail User icon

    In cPanel, this whole process is only two clicks away. On Windows it takes 4 or 5 clicks....

    Other than that, when you get used to the interface, it is very easy to navigate. The interface is clean, organized and all icons have pop-up explaining what they do

    - For HACL you definitely need Internet Explorer 6. Anything else will not work properly with HACL.

    3) Compatibility:

    AWSTATS work, there is disk quotas and bandwidth transfer. There is even an application to access and work with SQL databases.

    HACL also comes with pre-installed free softwares like oscommerce, snitz forum, poll mentor, mambo...etc

    ColdFusion is enabled, but you can't add/remove DSNs through the control panel.

    (nice thing if you delete a user, it deletes everything associated with that user automatically)

    However, when adding new account, you still have to create a user first, then there is a little Site Wizard that creates IIS/Mail..etc

    - There are alot of features in HACL like remote desktop from web, update, they are coming up with integration for ModernBill, domain registration.....etc

    4) Stability:

    Mainly the panel works fine for most of the time as long as you don't change something. Everytime we do a change (e.g. once we changed the clock time and the license became invalid, some features stopped working on the panel and everything had to be reset!)

    Most options work without problems, we had issues with bandwidth calculations and sometimes awstats used to stop working. I believe this was fixed in their latest release, but you have to disable all domains AWSTATS and then re-create them again.

    We have never had a crash with HACL. But we did experience startup problems with the service when they first came out with v.2, but since it all worked fine. Surprisingly, HACL seems to work better with W2K3 SP1 than without it!

    For stability, there are for some reasons things that stop working every now and then like the bandwidth quotas I mentioned above. Also we once had the domain deletion wouldn't work, and it queued all delete requests somewhere. But HACL staff helped us to fix it.

    5) Licensing:

    Oh, this is the worst thing about HACL. I definitely don't like the licensing system. It is too interfering with your Windows. We had to re-genrate the license after installing SP1, re-generate if change time, re-generate if server hardware changed. Very very strict licensing system.

    Additionally, the license contact HACL server everytime someone login to the control panel.

    6) Support:

    Staff have always been courteous. Some of them know more than others. However, if I have a problem, the only person that I did appreciate working with was Chirag. Without him I probably wouldn't have choosen HACL. He has been professional and looking into problems right away.

    sometimes tickets sit for a day or two in the support queue until I speak to him and he gets it moving right away.

    Fred is another person at HACL who seems to know well about the system.

    In general, very nice people to deal with.

    Conclusion: As I said earlier, HACL is the new kid on the block. Their application is impressive, but it is still lacking in the area of bugs. Support is good and have been always helpful with us. Licensing system is a b#$#$.

    Lets not forget this is HACL with v.2 and they already have more features than Plesk, but they still need to get the stability of a Helm control panel.

    I think HACL with their new releases will be the best control panel out there. It will need sometime, and their clients need to be a bit more patient while they grow into a great and powerful contorl panel.
    Reliability • Performance • Integrity

  2. #2
    I used to use HACL and it was good... but not stable. I switched to CPanel.. anyway thats my 2cents

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Lets not forget this is HACL with v.2 and they already have more features than Plesk, but they still need to get the stability of a Helm control panel.
    Interesting that you mention Helm. Hosting Accelerator seems to be going out of their way to copy whatever Webhost Automation do. I noticed a couple of, shall we say, "similarities" in an article on Webhosting Info, and posted them on the HACL forum asking what the deal was with simply plagiarising the press releases of other control panels...and they got deleted. So I posted them again, asking why they didn't want to answer...and they got deleted. Fair enough, it's their forum. They could have PM'd me an answer though. Now, I use Helm, so you could say that I'm biased - so I've posted below what I put on their forum so you can judge for yourself.


    I have to say I'm speechless. You guys have really outdone yourselves this time. I've just read your post on

    As I was flicking through it, I got an incredible sense of déjà vu. Then it hit me. I had read pretty much the exact same article on The WHIR four months ago, by WebHost Automation:

    It's not like you even made an effort to hide the fact that you ripped off their article and products. On the contrary, you blatantly copied huge chunks of their article's text and inserted a similar product name. Does your marketing department have no originality? Or are you so threatened by the competition that you're going with the old adage of "imitation being the most sincere form of flattery?". Let's compare shall we.
    Firstly (discounting the similarity between a.) price and b.) product names), we have this paragraph from WHA:

    "It also includes the installation and configuration of Microsoft FTP Server, Microsoft DNS Server, Microsoft IIS Web Server, PHP, Perl, ASP and ASP.NET"

    Then we have yours:

    "The packages also come with installation and configuration of Microsoft FTP Server, Microsoft DNS Server, Microsoft IIS Web Server, PHP, Perl, ASP and ASP.NET"

    Hmm, what are the chances of picking the products in the exact same order? Ok, let's give you the benefit of the doubt and move on.

    Next snippet from the original WHA article:

    "Helm Security Audits is a new service offered by WebHost Automation that ensures a Web host's servers have any significant security issues checked and fixed. In addition to a 20-point check, the Audit is guaranteed to be complete within 48 hours and a report is sent to alert the user of other security holes that may need further work."

    And your "new" article:

    "According to the company, the Security Audit is a new service offering from the company that ensures a webhost's servers have been checked and fixed for any security issues, and is guaranteed to be complete within 48 hours after which a report is sent out to alert the user of other security holes that may need further work."

    Wow, that's original. I can imagine the high-powered business meetings where you all sat round a table to discuss the marketing for the new security service you were thinking of offering.

    "Hmm, so what's going to be in this service then?"
    "I don't know, what have the competition done?"
    "Well WHA have a Security Audit, that gets completed within 48 hours."
    "Ooooh, that sounds good - how long ago did they release that?"
    "Four months."
    "Great, let's copy them - people will have forgotten by now that they released it first."
    "Ok great - how do we market it?"
    "Ahhh- since people will have forgotten about theirs, we'll just rip off their entire press release and publish it as our own. Don't forget to insert some generic "Gold" and "Platinum" taglines, so that our customers are aware of the quality of our products...."


    Of course, the plagiarism wouldn't be complete without an endorsement from your company's CEO. But WAIT! Even the CEO appears to have tendencies to lift quotes from other company directors!

    Quote from WHA:

    "With the new Helm Starter Bundles, it's now even easier for hosts to get up and running," says Mark Hall, COO of WebHost Automation. "We'll install and configure everything for them, so they don't need to do anything at all - and the Security Audit will ensure they have the peace of mind that their server is less vulnerable to being hacked. It takes almost all of the work out of starting up a new Web hosting business."

    The "new" quote from HACL's CEO:

    "Powerful Starter Bundles helps hosting companies to get up and running in one business day" say Samir Jhaveri, CEO of SoftWhizo Inc. "We install & configure each application bundled and also harden the server after we run the Security Audits to ensure that hosting company have a the peace of mind that their server is less vulnerable to being hacked."

    It's quite shocking that Hosting Accelerator has to stoop to such low tactics to try and win back a customer base that has been flocking in droves to other control panels (one look at your forums' posts over the last 12 months shows the growing dissatisfaction). If your CEO is watching these forums, let me say that I can only hope WHA takes note of this and lets people see exactly what kind of company Hosting Accelerator really is.

  4. #4
    We are using Hosting Accelerator 2.1 from the Version 1.x and I am not impressed with the new version with the version 2.x we found so many bugs even now at this time also we are having issues with the DNS creation , Java enabling etc.. Bandwidth calculation never worked.

    All I can say is Version 1 is great version 2 is way to hell. ( I am sorry we lost many of clients due to the CP issues.)

    also support is OK but they take more than 24-48 hrs to reply.
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