Blog

All The Latest Release News, Insider Insights, Guest Posts and more from the team here at WHMCS

WHMCS Automatic Updater Q&A

version7-launch-banner.png

Since the announcement of WHMCS 7.0 Beta 1 on Friday, we've received lots of questions about one of the biggest new features - Automatic Updates. So yesterday, I sat down with Nate from the development team to ask him some of your questions:

Q: First of all, can you tell us what the Automatic Updater feature in WHMCS 7.0 is, and why people need it?

A: The Automatic Updater feature is all about making updating your WHMCS installation, and keeping it up-to-date, faster and easier. With the Automatic Updater, updates are now just a click away, making them faster, easier and more convenient for you. We want updating WHMCS to be something you look forward to.

Q: Is this like Wordpress Updates? Will I wake up one day to find my site updated?

A: No. Not today. Right now, updates will only occur when you click the button to trigger the update. So if you don't want to update, we won't ever make changes to your installation without your express permission.

In the future, we want to make it possible for updates to be automatically applied without you having to be present, at least for maintenance updates which don't involve template changes, but for now it's all about making it easy for you when you are ready to perform the update.

Q: How will this effect my customizations such as templates, third-party add-ons and language files?

A: The updater will only alter files that are shipped as part of WHMCS. So any custom template directories you create, or modules you upload, will not be lost by updating.

For files that are commonly edited, we provide override methods that ensure your customizations can be safely preserved through upgrades. A number of these are new to Version 7.0, learn more about them in the documentation pages: Language File Overrides, Additional Domain Field Overrides, Countries Overrides and WHOIS Server Overrides.

Finally, to further protect users from having their customizations overwritten we check the most frequently modified files prior to performing an update, and will warn you during the update process if the update will overwrite any files in which customizations are detected. But of course, you always create a custom template directory and use the override methods described above, right? In which case you won't be affected.

Q: If I install the beta release, will I be able to upgrade to the stable version when it's released?

A: Yes. The automatic updater will always allow you to upgrade to the most recent version of WHMCS that meets your selected update channel's criteria. Update Channels are simply the way you tell the Updater what updates you want to receive, which in most cases, would be Stable releases.

Q: What about security, does this expose me to new risks? What if your update server is compromised?

A: We've put a lot of effort into ensuring the infrastructure is secure. In technical terms, each of our releases is signed with a cryptographic key. The signing key's public certificate, and the intermediates to validate it are stored on a different server on totally different infrastructure. That means if someone was able to compromise the update server, or perform a man-in-the-middle attack, their file would be rejected when the updater unpacks it. Put simply, we have multiple layers of protection in place that ensure what you receive is the file we shipped, and that it came from us.

Q: If I don't want to use the automatic update system, will I still be able to upgrade manually?

A: Yes, we will provide file downloads for manual updating for the foreseable future.

Q: How long will the updates take to apply?

A: The time to upgrade depends on a number of factors: disk I/O speeds, the rate of the download from our update servers, the amount of data in your database and the amount of schema updates that need to be performed. In our testing we saw updates take between 15 and 45 seconds. We expect that even on busy servers, most updates will run between thirty seconds to a few minutes.

Q: Is it possible to downgrade or rollback?

A: No. We've never supported downgrading WHMCS and the Automatic Updater doesn't change that. Reversing an update is complex to say the least. Even just considering the database aspect, to reverse data migrations, factoring in moving between multiple versions, is often not straightforward. For that reason, as ever, we continue to recommend you take a full backup before updating just in case of problems.

Thank you to Nate for taking time out to answer these questions today and we invite users to submit any further questions in the comments below.

about-nate-custer.png


Posted by WHMCS Robert on Thursday, July 28th, 2016







Version 7.0 Beta Released

version7-launch-banner.png

We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of WHMCS 7.0 Beta 1.

What's New in WHMCS 7.0?

WHMCS Auto Updater - In WHMCS 7.0, updates are just a click away. A subtle new update notification will let you know whenever an update is available, wherever you are in the admin area, and when clicked will take you to the all new Automatic Update interface that lets you update WHMCS without ever leaving the WHMCS admin interface.

Coupled with the updater are new, easier ways to customise WHOIS Servers, countries and additional domain fields in a way that can be safely maintained through automatic updates.

Spotlight TLDs - Highlight your best selling TLDs and extensions. Proven to increase sales and conversions, now you can select up to 8 of your top selling extensions for display at the top of a new domain lookup experience for customers. Sale groups also allow you to highlight extensions that are New, Hot and on Sale, giving them increased visibility and prominence.

A new, improved and streamlined interface for initiating domain transfers rounds out the domain lookup and purchase area improvements.

PayPal Integration Optimisations - Reducing the number of steps required by end users to complete checkout, now users email addresses will be pre-filled in the PayPal login form along with itemised purchase details being displayed in the PayPal Checkout Experience to minimise buyer uncertainty and increase confidence.

Simple Product Configuration - The new, simpler way to configure products. Supporting cPanel, DirectAdmin and Plesk, and open to module developers to begin implementing today, simple product configuration allows module developers to provide a simpler and more streamlined user experience for users configuring module parameters by offering a simple mode with support for dynamic fetching of values from a remote service. Now configuring a package is as simple as choosing the desired package name from a dropdown of choices.

Quick Start Setup Wizard - For new users, there's a brand new wizard based experience the first time they login that makes getting up and running with WHMCS simpler, more intuitive, and quicker than ever before. Be ready to begin selling and making money in minutes with WHMCS 7.0.

PHP 7.0 Compatibility - With PHP 5.6 and 7.0 compatibility, WHMCS 7.0 can be run on the latest versions of PHP to deliver maximum performance. As announced previously, WHMCS 7.0 will require PHP 5.6 as a minimum and we are working closely with some of our leading hosting partners to ensure that their systems are ready for WHMCS 7.0. In addition, while Ioncube loaders for PHP 7 remain in beta at this time, we do have open dialog ongoing with Ioncube and are working with them testing and reporting our findings. We join everyone in the PHP community in looking forward to seeing stable loaders for PHP 7.0 as soon as is feasible.

How to get involved

Beta 1 is available to download today.

Beta testers play an invaluable role in our development process and we rely on their work to ensure we release the best possible product. We encourage as many people as possible to take part in the beta process. Signup today to be one of the first to get your hands on Version 7.0.

To find out more or to get started, visit http://preview.whmcs.com/

As always please remember this is a pre-production release and as such is not recommended for production use.


Posted by Matt on Saturday, July 23rd, 2016







Increase Customer Confidence with an SSL Certificate

ssl-header.jpg

In the e-commerce business, customer confidence is essential to increasing conversion rates. According to Symantec's 2016 Internet Security Threat Report, web-based attacks increased by 36 percent from 2014 to 2015, with a fourfold rise in malware attacking Linux - the most widely used operating system on web servers. With new malware, phishing scams, and other cyber-threats appearing on the web every day, customers need to know whether or not your website can be trusted. That is where Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates come in.

SSL: A Visible Sign of Security
SSL is the standard security protocol used by millions of websites to encrypt their online transactions with their customers. By creating a secure link between an Internet browser and a web server, SSL ensures that all information transmitted between the browser and the server remains private.

The SSL certificate is an essential tool for anyone conducting transactions online. Not only does adding an SSL certificate to your e-commerce site help protect your business, but it also reassures your customers that your online store is a safe, secure e-commerce site. An SSL certificate is a clear, visual confirmation that your business has taken the necessary steps to ensure your online store is a trustworthy place to conduct business.

Trust You Can See
An SSL certificate ensures the secure communication of sensitive information as it's transferred from the web browser to the web server. The SSL certificate encrypts data at the time it is submitted to a website, thereby preventing hackers from reading the information as it travels across the information superhighway. Once the information has reached the intended recipient, the data is decrypted into its original, usable form.

Since Netscape first began offering the SSL protocol as a security technology in 1996, online customers have been instructed to look for a padlock symbol in the address bar of their browsers before providing sensitive personal information over the Internet. Today, customers associate the padlock symbol with integrity and trust. The padlock represents an encrypted link between you and the customer and shows that your online store is a legitimate business or an accountable legal entity.

Your website visitors can check the authenticity of an SSL certificate and verify the ownership of your website. The ability to validate the ownership of your web domain and other details concerning the legitimacy of your organization gives customers added peace of mind when doing business with you online. Your web visitors will gain the reassurance of knowing your website is secure -- and this translates into an increase in conversions for you, the website owner.

Not just for credit cards
A common misconception is that an SSL Certificate is only needed if you accept credit card payments through your website. However an SSL certificate is just as important if you accept payments via third party payment gateways such as PayPal or 2CheckOut since an SSL certificate protects not only payment information, but all data communication between a customer and your website, ensuring personal information such as name & addresses, support requests and more are kept private.

Boost Customer Confidence With an SSL Certificate from WHMCS
You spend a lot of time, energy, and money driving traffic to your online store. To keep visitors on your site and give them the confidence to buy from you, you need to show them that their transaction is safe with your site. Secure your website's good reputation - and your customers' confidence - with an SSL certificate.

WHMCS offers three dynamic SSL options RapidSSL, QuickSSL Premium, and True BusinessID with EV. RapidSSL is the simplest of the three, while True BusinessID comes with Extended Validation which gives you the green address bar providing the maximum visual assurance to customers that your site is secure and giving them the confidence to complete their transaction.
ssl-white-bar.gif

Securing your WHMCS installation with an SSL Certificate couldn't be easier, once both WHMCS and the SSL are installed (SSL must be installed server side) then simply navigate to Setup > General Settings within the WHMCS admin area and enter your secure https:// URL into the WHMCS SSL System URL field and click Save! Now when visitors place an order or existing clients update their billing details they'll see you care about their security.
ssl-secure-your-whmcs.png


Posted by WHMCS Robert on Tuesday, June 28th, 2016







Live Chat Update Released

whmcs-live-chat-embedded.png

We are pleased to announce the release of an update to the WHMCS Live Chat & Visitor Tracking Addon.

This update is being made available to all existing WHMCS live chat customers. To upgrade, simply login to our Members Area to download the update. Jump to upgrade instructions >>

What's new?

This release features a new embedded chat design that enables customers to chat with you without switching between your website and a popup window, making chat a more streamlined and engaging experience for your customers.

The update also introduces a new color themes option, allowing you to customise the live chat popover style to easily fit your branding.

Other notable updates and enhancements include:

- Major core updates
- Improved Initiate/Proactive Chat
- Updated Web App UI
- SMTP Support for Email
- Performance and stability updates

Don't have the Live Chat Addon?

If you haven't tried the WHMCS Live Chat & Visitor Tracking Addon before, now is the perfect time.

Starting from just $6.95/month, this add-on enables you to see who is browsing your website in real-time and offer immediate customer support. Chat with your existing clients as-well-as engage new potential customers proactively and get quick and convenient access to their products, billing and more directly from the chat window.

To find out more, visit the WHMCS Marketplace.
available_on_marketplace.png


Posted by Matt on Tuesday, June 7th, 2016







Upcoming PHP Requirement Changes

minimum-php-version-increase-56.jpg

Our next major update of WHMCS will require PHP 5.6 or later.

While this will be the minimum requirement, we strongly recommend using the latest available, stable releases of all software and extensions.

Why are we changing the minimum requirement?

PHP 5.5 reaches end of life next month. This means it will no longer be supported by PHP and perhaps more importantly, will not receive any further security updates. For that reason, we are encouraging all our users to upgrade as soon as possible.

In addition to that, raising the minimum requirement allows us to take advantage of advancements in the PHP language, as well as newer third party libraries and functionality that make developing and maintaining the product easier and more performant.

What do I do if I am running a version of PHP older than 5.6?

We recommend that you upgrade as soon as possible. If you are using a web hosting provider and not on a dedicated server for your WHMCS installation, you will want to contact your hosting provider and ask them how you can upgrade to PHP 5.6. Future versions of WHMCS will require PHP 5.6 as a minimum meaning you will be unable to upgrade until the server is upgraded to PHP 5.6 or later.

What about PHP 7.0?

We're already developing, running and testing WHMCS internally in PHP 7 environments. Within the last few weeks, Ioncube has released loaders that support PHP 7.0 under beta status. We continue to monitor and watch with interest the progress of Ioncube's loader development for PHP 7.0 and are committed to delivering WHMCS with support for PHP 7.0 as soon as the necessary Ioncube loaders are made available.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to our support team.


Posted by Matt on Thursday, June 2nd, 2016







« Previous Posts