cPanel® Blog

What’s Next for cPanel & WHM?

We spend a good portion of our time on the road talking to customers, like you, about what’s coming next for cPanel & WHM, but if you aren’t lucky enough to meet us at a conference, you may not get a chance to find out about what’s coming down the pipeline until these features are released. Hopefully, this post solves that problem.

Getting one thing out of the way…well, two ones

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In 2007, we released version 11 of cPanel & WHM. Eight years later, users are still wondering, “When will 11 become 12?” — and now — we have an answer.

Never.

That’s right. Starting with our next release, we’re eliminating the 11 to simplify the naming convention of our software. While this change will have no effect on functionality, we hope it will cut down on some of the confusion our users have had about which version they’re currently using.

We’ll drop 11 from the version number starting with cPanel & WHM 54, but you still may see traces of it inside the product for a little while.

Saying goodbye to X3

For most of the past eight years, X3 has been our only, though wildly popular, theme. We know change can be difficult, but it’s time that we rip the band-aid off on this one.

The X3 interface will slowly be phased out of the product starting with cPanel & WHM 54; however, users currently enjoying a custom theme still have some time before X3 is fully disbanded. You can find the full deprecation schedule in this post.

A modern experience

We love X3 as much as anyone, but when we introduced Paper Lantern, we knew we were on to something. It wasn’t just about the visual aesthetic of the user interface, it was also about delivering an enhanced experience for hosting providers and their users. So we created a platform that is not only easier to brand, but retains the functionality that users already familiar with cPanel can appreciate.

Forget the name “Paper Lantern” moving forward. Just think of it as the modern cPanel UI.

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We’ll introduce changes and improvements in 54 and beyond, but the interface will maintain the same functionality that you and your customers have come to know and love. We’ll also debut the ability to add “favorites” to the top of the dashboard, giving you more control over the functionality that you need and want to see in cPanel.

And for those of you who just can’t get enough of X3, we’ve built a version into the new interface that we affectionately refer to as the “Retro Style”.

All things access

cPassword

A typical cPanel & WHM server provides some common services, including FTP, Webdisk, and email, but currently, only one of these services allows a user to change their password.

We realize this can be confusing and can cause headaches when it comes time to remember several different usernames and passwords.

Problem solved.

We’re introducing a unified interface to create and manage all of these services from one location. This will not only make it easy for you to manage your users, but in turn, they’ll now be able to change and manage their own passwords for the services they regularly access.

A-Look-Ahead-openid

OpenID Connect

We’re expanding our authentication system to include OpenID Connect.

This is another step to reduce the number of login credential info that users are required to memorize. This system allows users to sign into cPanel with services that many people already use, like Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

We’ll provide an authentication system hosted on cPanel.com to facilitate sign-in across your cPanel & WHM systems. Providers will also have the ability to provide their own authentication systems to customers.

Two-factor authentication

System breaches have become such a typical event in today’s world so we want to increase your confidence when using the cPanel, WHM, and Webmail interfaces. Starting with cPanel & WHM 54, we’ll provide two-factor authentication, a feature that should greatly improve user confidence about secure logins.

This solution will initially be software-based, i.e. Google Authenticator, but in time, we plan to add a hardware-based solution as well.

IPv6 Only

We’ll extend our support for IPv6 to as many services on cPanel & WHM servers as possible over the next few months, with a long-term goal of users being able to use a cPanel & WHM server with only IPv6 addresses.

While we introduced support for hosting web content on IPv6 addresses in late 2013, the limited supply of IPv4 addresses means that you may need access to this feature sooner rather than later. By introducing it now, we aim to reduce your stress when it comes to handling the challenge of using IPv6 addresses.

Site and server performance improvements

nginx caching

Website performance is a reoccurring topic on our Feature Request site. As part of cPanel & WHM 54, we’ll introduce support for nginx as a caching server for Apache.

Because ngingx is one of the most commonly-used servers for caching, we’ve added this support to make increasing website performance easier for you.

Directory syncing

Many of you have created custom configurations for scaling a website across multiple servers, which can be costly and time consuming. In cPanel & WHM 54, we will offer the functionality to sync the contents of a directory across multiple servers.

This, along with nginx caching, will greatly improve site performance, while cutting down on the time and resources that many of you spend creating solutions for this problem.

Some things just keep getting better

EasyApache 4

With the release of cPanel & WHM 11.52, we introduced a preview of EasyApache 4. Starting with version 54, this will become the default means of installing and updating your Apache and PHP stacks.

A-Look-Ahead-EasyApache4

From Courier to Dovecot

Because we believe that our customers deserve better, we’ve deprecated the Courier Mail Transport Agent in cPanel & WHM 11.52, and we’ll remove it completely with the release of version 54.

Dovecot uses less memory and offers better system performance, common requests among our users. If you haven’t already migrated to Dovecot, we’ll migrate you automatically during the upgrade to cPanel & WHM 54.

 

Share your feedback in the comments below!


It’s important to note that the features mentioned can change based on customer feedback, security occurrences, and any number of things that can affect software in active development. As always, if there is a feature that you would like to see in future versions of cPanel & WHM, then please let us know about it on our Feature Request site.

Stephen Brent

cPanel Marketing Product Owner, lover of beautifully designed emails, and music aficionado. The most important thing for me to know is how cPanel can use marketing to help grow your hosting business.

61 responses to “What’s Next for cPanel & WHM?”

  1. cpanelAdamF says:

    As a part of the deprecation schedule, we will be moving accounts found to still be using unbranded x3 to Paper Lantern with this Retro Style applied to it. You can find out more here: http://blog.cpanel.com/its-tim… (Second bullet point under “v54” has more details about this automatic migration). We do have a number of exceptions in place; not all accounts will be moved.

  2. @cpaneladamf:disqus please ask Steve to join the conversation? What about the issue with FTP servers? I think it’s PureFTP that doesn’t support TLS V1.2 Required by June 2016. Liquidweb created an issue for you on this.

  3. cpanelAdamF says:

    Aah, the back buttons! Yes, those aren’t going to be around for too much longer. Newer apps within the product should not follow that design pattern. As we update older apps, we’ll be moving away from back buttons.

  4. ieh says:

    My bad for using the wrong term. I meant like jquery-or-whatever doing stuff without loading a confirmation page and making you go back to the original page. In a desktop browser (or probably most real mobile browsers, but platform isn’t so important).

    I thought I remembered seeing previews from several years ago where this was being worked on.

    No big matter; much as it’s frustrating being on this side of things, I know y’all work hard, and I do see progress. Thank you for all that you all do. 🙂

  5. Christian Taylor says:

    I like the changes!

  6. Mathan says:

    I really like the OpenId Features in Cpanel and looking for more USer interface structure. thanks for these great features.

  7. cpanelAdamF says:

    CGI Center is already unavailable in Paper Lantern. It was removed as far back as 11.42. Entropy Chat is on it’s way out the door already though we’ll be talking more about it’s removal in the v56 timeframe. The others are sticking around for the foreseeable future however we’ll keep your sentiment in mind when we start discussing the next things that should be deprecated to make room for new features.

    When it comes to FTP in general, we intentionally default FTP to off for all new installations so that customers are encouraged to use SFTP, Web Desk or the File Manager instead. Many of our customers do turn it on still so it’s hard for us to outright remove at this point. Maybe in the future, though!

  8. Kenneth Power says:

    Multiple PHP is available as a tech preview in cPanel & WHM version 11.52. It functions quite similarly to the PHP Selector from CloudLinux.

  9. Joe Normal says:

    Thanks. I’m not in a position to do that but I am very glad to hear of the schedule.

  10. Will the update also include the long requested addition of multiple accounts?

    As someone who used to run a website (hiatus at the moment) but with little knowledge of coding/databases etc. I often had to give people access to my cpanel account. It would be great to be able to add sub-accounts that had access to certain stuff e.g. someone who could access everything but couldn’t delete/change the password of the main account etc.

  11. YNWA says:

    Maybe someday Cpanel webmail will be nice. Until then we are stuck with the crappy options that are there now.

  12. Dimitar Krastev says:

    I hope, some day cPanel will be smart enough, to separate email services from web services. It is not a rocket science.

  13. @mariorodriguez  says:

    Or feel free to apply for a developer license here: http://go.cpanel.net/developer

  14. James Tandy says:

    I dont work for cpanel, so how can it be official?

  15. James Tandy says:

    From a quick scan of our (disabled) settings:

    Boxtrapper
    CGIEmail and CGIEcho
    FormMail-clone CGI
    ProFTPd
    Entropy Chat Server

    And preferably FTP in general, instead forcing users to use sFTP, and correctly give the user to secure ports (with an option in cpanel to change SSH port would be awesome, or failing that just by reading /etc/ssh/sshd_config)

  16. James Tandy says:

    I agree with the proper cluster support.
    Currently we can kinda offload mysql, however this fails hard when using multiple servers as each server must have its own mysql instance running.
    First of all we need a way (perhaps as an offshoot of configuration cluster) to have usernames unique across all servers in the cluster.
    With a couple of internal tweaks (The horde databases for example), this would then allow a ‘single’ mysql server to be used for all cpanel servers.
    Mail should work the same way, which with some manual configuration, is already possible with DNSonly, however this only works as backup MX, and needs some heavy work to the anti-spam systems to prevent spammers simply bombarding the backup MX’s with mail, which then totally bypasses spamassassin/mailscanner.
    Once we have unique usernames enforced across multiple frontend cpanel servers, with the directory sync feature it should be trivial to allow the same account to be on multiple servers.
    The only caveat I can see with this is need need either for NFS backed tmp dir for php, or to make clear to users that they must be using database based sessions in PHP.

  17. James Tandy says:

    I didn’t even know this existed, but having had a look for it, we have to set the theme to paper lantern, then login to cpanel, find Preferences > Change Style, and then we can choose ‘Retro’.

    This just needs tweaking then so that from WHM we can set “Paper Lantern (Retro)” as the account theme, and do this for all accounts set to X3 by default.

    If the customer wants to change, then they can do so.

  18. James Tandy says:

    Whether we think it looks good or not is irrelevant (I agree it looks awful), after customers have spent years getting used to a UI, the customers doesn’t want to change.

  19. cpanelAdamF says:

    Which things would you like to see go?

    In general, I agree with this sentiment. There are diminishing returns to adding new features without cleaning up or retiring old ones. Internally we use the term “surface area” when discussing this topic. “Are we covering the right things? Are we covering those things in the right ways? What areas no longer need coverage?”, that kind of thing.

  20. cpanelAdamF says:

    agreed. Nothing dates products more than it’s user interface.

  21. cpanelAdamF says:

    The retro style of Paper Lantern exists for this very reason, @jamestandy:disqus. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

  22. cpanelAdamF says:

    As we encounter interfaces, we are making them more mobile-responsive. This is an on-going process.

  23. Ah! How would welcome the remote mail server! 🙂

  24. cpanelAdamF says:

    v54 is under active development right now. We’ll prepare a public release after the new year. HOWEVER if you’d like to get involved right now, consider requesting a dev license, playing with our EDGE tier and sending us feedback. Contact our customer service team for how to get a dev license.

  25. Ed Barnat says:

    Yes! Stop ignoring this request. Look at the list on your forums!
    We need you to answer this one.

  26. Official reply or whishful thinking?

  27. David McCarthy says:

    Change to a ‘modern’ interface is just fashion … everyone else is doing it, so cPanel doesn’t want to be left behind.

    My experience of these new interfaces (Adobe Acrobat, WordPress, MS Office, Google Maps, to name just a few) is ALWAYS reduced functionality or more difficult access to it, more screen space taken by less information, and (crucially for the UX) very poor contrast between some or all the text and the background.

    I’ve tried Paper Lantern – it’s wider than X3, but is still 25% longer … so more scrolling. The combination of text size/thickness/contrast makes it more difficult to read than X3. That’s just the control panel – looking at the areas I use most, all suffer from too little content in too much space, and poor text size/contrast.

    On top of everything else, there’s an overhead for EVERY user as they have to re-learn how to use the product.

    Just so you know, I’m NOT against improvements in features and functionality … I do object to design change which delivers neither.

  28. Adam H says:

    Finally two factor Auth, really enjoying each release with additional features currently. Nginx and Directory Sync is a step in the right direction. As others have mentioned a Separate mail server cluster would be perfect or indeed SQL. Maybe even the ability to load balance.

    Would love to see an official cpanel Ipad/iphone/andriod app for basic functions, I know ive been caught a number of times when being on the move with no access to my logins and needed to restart or repair SQL service.

  29. Will Melbourne says:

    x3 is an awful looking theme, it was due to be removed ages ago.

  30. lucasrolff says:

    Thanks for bringing nginx cache guys <3

  31. lucasrolff says:

    EasyApache 4 allows you to do multi-PHP setups, which.. basically is like php selector, just better 😀 (IMO)

  32. James Tandy says:

    PHP Selector is a Cloudlinux feature, and you should already be running Cloudlinux on any hosting server.

  33. James Tandy says:

    Ideally an entire cpanel account should be hostable on 2 (or more) different servers in the same cluster, so we can actually have redundancy and basic DNS load balancing.

  34. James Tandy says:

    Well thanks for nothing Cpanel!

    I have a LOT of customers who LIKE x3, having used it for years, they know where everything is, and DO NOT like Paper Lantern, and they do not like change for the sake of it either!
    I can see the forced removal of X3 costing me a lot of customers as they move elsewhere due to how much they seriously dislike Paper lantern.
    If you are going to remove X3 as a theme, at least make a variation of paper lantern which mimics it exactly.

    I also note the lack of DNSSEC.

  35. Ivan Kosak says:

    I agree with that! Copy is also really great cloud storage.

  36. JP Guva says:

    What about the php selector? I thought it would be released with 54?

  37. Brontobytes says:

    I hate reading about future releases… Now I can’t wait until you release 54!

  38. Tapan Bhanot says:

    Please remove all the junk from cpanel and whm completely as it just wastes resources. Keep only things which are really required or are good like you have done with courier and dovecot.

  39. MzBaker says:

    Oh come on! Goodbye to X3 that’s what use and love! I hate change…..

  40. Naurelijs says:

    WOW! Finally cleaner design? Niceee! 🙂

  41. PPNSteve says:

    Looking good so far.,

    I’m quite happy IPv6 is going to get a (much needed) rework and the nginx caching and dir sync is right on point.

    Keep up the great job on this,

  42. Andrew says:

    These are great updates. Very impressed, and while there is always room for more this is a lot of nice things on one checklist.

  43. Kenneth says:

    Totally agree!
    We need seperate mail servers and in some cases mysql.

    But mail servers should be avaliable and standard stand alone servers years ago!

  44. Kenneth says:

    You forgot the most important thing:
    DNSSEC!

  45. asheboro says:

    Yes! The option to back and restore from Drive, Dropbox and other cloud storage providers that aren’t Amazon is greatly needed, and unfortunately, hugely being overlooked.

  46. Pere Vinyeta Obiols says:

    All this news are great! But, what about https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/1507d025dbf4d20e “Backup to Google Drive/Dropbox” ?

  47. David Levey says:

    This looks fantastic. Can’t wait for it!

  48. ieh says:

    Hey, PSM! 🙂 My people. 🙂 Between cPanel and you guys, I survive this crazy world. 🙂

    I always feel bad when I open a ticket and it gets solved and I don’t want to re-open the ticket to mess with the poor tech’s stats, so I’ll take this chance to publicly say a thank you for all that y’all do. Worth every penny.

  49. ieh says:

    Everything here sounds great. It just seems like progress is so glacially slow considering how many people use cPanel. But having allowed myself that complaint: I still use cPanel because I like it and my customers demand it. It is the industry standard.

    One thing I thought was coming in Paper Lantern, though, was more functionality that didn’t load a bunch of extra pages. Like adding mailboxes/forwarders/aliases/etc. I thought that was all going to be responsive? Is that still coming?

  50. Joe Normal says:

    I wonder what the timetable is?

  51. Bettinz says:

    Nothing about mail only version? Market is moving with high availability clusters, and we need different services on different servers, like files/mail/database/dns.

  52. Travis says:

    Why do you not like Google Auth?

  53. tvonthebrain says:

    or they could just directly implement duosecurity like they should have to begin with.

    Google Auth is a joke

  54. Travis says:

    Sorry I misunderstood. You can use the Duo app as it has support for Google Auth style codes.

  55. Travis says:

    Hi. We are actively developing our Google Auth 2FA implementation. I was at the internal demo for it this past week. They are on the right track!

  56. This sounds great, many of those have been requested for a long time and I’m glad to see them finally being implemented (particularly nginx & two-factor auth). Keep up the good work cPanel! 🙂

  57. Saxtus says:

    They only need to implement Universal Second Factor (U2F) then we can use any service we want (e.g. https://gettransakt.com/ )

  58. Monarobase says:

    Does directory syncing mean that you will allow two servers in the same DNS only cluster to have the same apache vhost ?

  59. tvonthebrain says:

    no love for duosecurity 2FA?

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