cPanel® Blog

How and Why to Build an EDGE Server

In a recent post about our LTS tier changes coming in 2017, I talked a bit about our different tiers and how they’re used. Today I want to explain why now is the perfect time to build a test server on the cPanel & WHM 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 your blog and your uncle’s quilting shop on. Many members of the leadership here at cPanel run one or more servers on the EDGE tier. In fact, we are so confident in our product that cpanel.com and our email servers (including about a million-trillion mailman mailing lists, if my inbox is any indication) are all cPanel-powered as well, and running on EDGE.

What do you get on EDGE?

The most obvious benefit is that you get an early look at all of our new features as they are being built, and you get to provide feedback very early in the development cycle. For example, in version 60 we’re adding DNSSEC support with PowerDNS, SNI support to cpsrvd, PHP-FPM support for Apache, and a ton of new icons for WHM, just to name a few. If you had an EDGE server, you’d be able to preview all of those features before they come 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 58 to 59.9999.149(the most recent release of our development build for version 60) on EDGE, you won’t be able to downgrade that server to version 58 again.

update1

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 normal, and it will install the EDGE version for you.

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 right, 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 Portland, Oregon from October 3rd through the 5th. There you’ll find 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 Manager 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 me an email.

 

benny Vasquez

scripter, crafter, cPanel's Community Manager. Facilitating communication between cPanel's amazing development team, and cPanel's amazing community. Find me on twitter: @cpaneldev

  • Spork Schivago

    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?

    • cPanelbenny

      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?

      • Spork Schivago

        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.

        • cPanelbenny

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

          • Spork Schivago

            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.

          • cPanelbenny

            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!

  • Jose Antonio Nobile Rendon

    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.

    • cPanelbenny

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

  • jyoti