How and Why to Build an EDGE Server

* This post was originally posted on September 27, 2016, and has been updated for accuracy. 

The Tiered Release System

The tiered release system was introduced early in the development of cPanel & WHM. We knew it would be important to appeal to all types of users, from the risk-taking early adopters to the stability-seeking delayers. Each tier represents a different risk vs reward ratio, and today we’re here to talk about the EDGE tier.

What is the EDGE tier?

The EDGE tier is always the most recent build of the newest version of cPanel & WHM. During our development process for any new version, our ~40-person development team writes and submits code that is merged into the product and then automatically tested. Once cleared by that automated testing and our ~25-person QA team, a new version is released for public consumption on the EDGE tier.

That means the EDGE tier is just that: bleeding-edge. It’s likely that there are bugs and rough edges, but it’s still solid enough to run on your blog and your uncle’s quilting shop. Many members of leadership here at cPanel run one or more servers on the EDGE tier. In fact, we are so confident in our product that and our email servers (including about 300 mailman mailing lists) are all cPanel-powered and running on the EDGE tier.

What do you get on EDGE?

The most obvious benefit is that you get an early look at all of our newest features as they are being built, and you get to provide feedback early on in the development cycle. For example, if you had an EDGE server, you’d be able to preview all new features or updates to features like AutoSSL and WordPress before they are made available to your customers. If your feedback is reasonable and actionable, you could even influence the product before it goes to one of our Production tiers.

Getting started!

To get started, you can either upgrade an existing server to EDGE or build a new one on the EDGE tier. To upgrade an existing server: log in to WHM, navigate to update preferences, and adjust your tier to EDGE. Note the warning indicating that you cannot downgrade between major versions. That means if you upgrade from cPanel & WHM Version 68 to 70.0.23 (the most recent release of our development build for version 70) on EDGE, you won’t be able to downgrade that server to version 68 again.

Building a new server on the EDGE tier is just as simple. You can just download the installer and then upgrade after you install, but I recommend installing the EDGE version. To do so, just create the update preferences file on the server ( /etc/cpupdate.conf ) before you run the installer, and define the tier. You can accomplish all of that with this command:

echo "CPANEL=edge" > /etc/cpupdate.conf

Once that’s done, you can run the installer like below, and it will install the EDGE version for you.

cd /home && curl -o latest -L && sh latest

Where to go for help?

Many of the features that you’ll find in the EDGE tier are still being actively developed, so they are not yet publicly documented. The good news is that you aren’t on your own! There’s a mailing list specifically for folks on the EDGE tier, which is monitored directly by our development department. If there’s a feature that you think isn’t working correctly, or that you have questions about, you can email us on that list and we’ll get you answers.

You can also attend the annual cPanel conference. This year the cPanel conference is in Houston, Texas from October 1st through 3rd. There you can hear talks from many of the people who make cPanel & WHM for you, and you’ll get direct access to developers, Quality Assurance, Product Owners, and Support Analysts. Even the Community Team will be there.

Still not convinced? Comment below to tell me why. Or if you’d rather, you can always find me on Twitter, or send us an email.



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9 responses to “How and Why to Build an EDGE Server”

  1. cPanelbenny says:

    It’s something to consider, for sure, but isn’t something we’re currently able to do. We’re definitely thinking of a couple options, though. We want to make it easier for (new and existing) users to test out new features or improvements and give us feedback!

  2. Spork Schivago says:

    So, with that EDGE, are you guys still thinking about Jose Antonio Nobile Rendon’s suggestion? I’d love to personally test cPanel EDGE on maybe a home server while I ran a more stable version on my VPS for my domain. I just don’t want to spend the extra cash because it’s a bit expensive for us. And I don’t really want to trust running EDGE on a production server, I think that’d be a bad idea.

    It’d be nice for people who had a cPanel license to be able to download and install a free EDGE version on a personal PC or something.

  3. cPanelbenny says:

    No problem at all! We could certainly use more obvious language, I think.

  4. Spork Schivago says:

    To me, it just makes more since that RELEASE would be the version that is being considered for release (the release candidate) and current would be the current version of cPanel. More features than stable, but more stable than the release candidate. I’ve always felt it was kinda backwards. But maybe that’s just me. Maybe to everyone else, it makes more sense. Thanks for taking the time to explain why it’s this way.

  5. cPanelbenny says:

    CURRENT is the version that is being considered for RELEASE, which is why it’s defined as the “RELEASE candidate” Does that make more sense?

  6. Spork Schivago says:

    A little off topic, but why does the tier RELEASE show the description of General Availability but the tire CURRENT shows Release Candidate? To me, it’d make more sense if RELEASE was the Release Candidate and CURRENT was the stable version. Does it seem backwards to anyone else?

  7. cPanelbenny says:

    That’d be pretty neat, indeed! It’s not something we’re doing yet, but we’ve definitely talked about it before.

  8. Jose Antonio Nobile Rendon says:

    Would be good if we can have a EDGE server for free to test pretty well everything before use in production. As return, report bugs and improvements.

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