Beginning in cPanel & WHM Version 86, the way we use the term “LTS” or Long Term Support in reference to our software is changing. We’re making this important change for several reasons, and we want to provide you with information to help you keep your servers secure and up to date.
How cPanel’s Versioning and Tiers Work
We’re making a change to our release methodology and update system, which will assist you in keeping your servers up to date automatically, even when you use our Long Term Support tier. At cPanel, we use a 4-segment version number system. This includes the Parent, Major, Minor, and Build values, in that order. The Major value is incremented quarterly, and the Build value is incremented more often, sometimes every night, as we make changes and updates to the product.
In addition to using these version numbers, we also use a tiered system for releases to provide context for our users. As we release versions of cPanel & WHM, we promote them from tier to tier. If you haven’t already set a preferred tier, then your server likely uses the RELEASE tier. This is the default, and therefore most popular tier. We have four public tiers named EDGE, CURRENT, RELEASE, and STABLE. Using these “named release tiers” will instruct your server to update automatically when new versions of cPanel & WHM arrive. By setting your preferred tier in WHM under Update Preferences, you tell the server which tier to retrieve when it does an automatic update.
Generally, the first Major release each year also becomes the LTS release for the year. The LTS tier is special. Because we release new versions approximately every quarter and reset the LTS tier once per year, you can generally expect this major version to be supported for a year plus a quarter, or 15 months. New builds of this Major Version will be distributed for that calendar year, and it will be included in our Targeted Security Releases.
Starting today, servers that use our LTS release tier will automatically attempt to update to the next Major Version without intervention by you. We intend to publish v86 on the LTS tier in March, and it is currently available for your evaluation and testing on our EDGE tier.
Why we’re changing the LTS Tier
We are making this change to ensure that servers stay on supported versions of cPanel & WHM automatically, and to decrease the cost of managing the rollout of the longest supported version of cPanel & WHM if you choose to use it. Additionally, this change will help us to improve the health and security of the entire cPanel & WHM install base by ensuring critical security updates and bug fixes are applied automatically.
What is involved?
- A configuration change arrived enabling this automation for you
- New “LTS” release tier option added in WHM’s “Update Preferences” interface
- This is a change we made retroactively to v78
- Other tiers are unaffected
When should I begin testing the version selected for LTS?
The EDGE tier is the earliest you can get your hands on a version of cPanel & WHM before its general release. If you offer hosting that has specialized integrations, applications, or any customizations that could break between versions, you should be paying attention to our EDGE tier.
We’ve heard feedback from many hosting companies that they have struggled to adopt the next major version on their own and find themselves using versions that are about to fall out of active support. If you have been evaluating a build of cPanel & WHM starting from when it’s reached the LTS tier, you are likely behind the curve, as your competitors have been using it for 3-6 months. For that reason, we created the EDGE and CURRENT tiers. Hence, the earliest you can start evaluating versions of cPanel & WHM destined for Long Term Support is in January by participating in our EDGE tier. You can keep abreast of the most recent EDGE releases by subscribing to our EDGE-Users mailing list, which is a good avenue for reporting issues and learning what issues other users are experiencing.
How do I evaluate an EDGE build?
Follow this easy 3-step process:
- Reserve a non-production system
- Set its release tier to ‘EDGE’ in WHM » Update Preferences
- Perform a manual update at https://go.cpanel.net/edgebuild
Where can I find more information?
Each version is published on the Release site and in our Release Notes documentation. Version 86 has 28 features, which are either new, updated or deprecated, and you can find out all that information in these links. You can also follow us on Social Media for regular updates on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram, or join the conversation on our Community Discord, Slack, or the cPanel Subreddit.