Blesta, WHMCS, or something else?

alentoalento Hosting ProviderOGServices Provider

So ... I am soon going to be taking the plunge. The paperwork is being submitted next week to form one of the future providers in this and other forums. Wish me luck! :)

Anyways ... we all need good billing and provisioning software and from what I can tell WHMCS is probably the best. But Blesta is darn good as well - just not quite up to speed with everything. So as a new provider I think that I could go with either solution. Except, thanks to @Francisco Blesta will be free to use!

I'd like to go with WHMCS, but I am worried ... worried that they (Oakley or their new owners) are going to pull another cPanel like price increase. And as a very small, new provider that would sink me. As it is the monthly fee is steep for a start up. (Yeah, I am a penny pincher!)

So, what is everyone's thoughts? Would you start new with Blesta, or is there a compelling argument for using WHMCS knowing that one day they will try to bankrupt you (not directly, but you know what I mean)?

Oh, and Billmanager from ISPSystem is not too bad ... but they do not support Direct Admin, so they are not an option.

If you were a new provider, which billing/provisioning system would you use???
  1. If you were a new provider, which billing/provisioning system would you use???32 votes
    1. Blesta
      62.50%
    2. WHMCS
      28.13%
    3. Billmanager
        0.00%
    4. Something else
        9.38%

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Comments

  • seriesnseriesn Hosting ProviderOG
    edited December 2019

    @alento Congrats on the new venture :). If budget is an issue, Free blesta or even a paid license will be the best bang for your buck. You won't need to worry about the increasing bills as your userbase grows. Might not have all the modules/addons as whmcs, including the lack of affiliate program, but it is good bang for the bucks. You can hire a freelancer to code.

    C.E and Billmanagers are okay, but for the price you will pay, might as well stick to blesta :).

    Now if you have the budget, start with HostBillApp. I have been playing with it for a week now and so far, I like what I see. But the migration from our existing billing panel isn't included in the license price and my WHMCS is already paid for. So I might not actually make the jump and spend that money on something else :)
    .
    But, if you have the budget, please go with HostBillApp, it is worth the money, if you are in it for the long haul, you are looking at 4 year ROI (Comparing current billing panel pricing).

    Edit, Also word of advice, don't operate on a super thin margin and use a calculator as much as possible. Price hike will happen with almost every single software that we are using right now. Don't let a 20 cents upgrade force you out of business. When I calculate all the fees, It is a scary number that adds up really quick.

  • ulayerulayer Hosting ProviderOG

    Start with Blesta. We've been using it for a couple years now and it has served us well. What can't be done in Blesta we're doing in our own custom panel though. Blesta is nice to have because the owners aren't jerks, 99% of the code is open source and no insane pricing like WHMCS. It also sets you apart from the rest!

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  • Mr_TomMr_Tom Hosting ProviderOG

    I use Blesta at the minute but looking into Hostbill for a new project.

    I like Blesta. Some of it isn't the most intuitive but it's not hard to figure out what to do.

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  • YmpkerYmpker OGContent Writer

    I think if you are just starting out, Blesta is what I'd opt for. Since you won't need to migrate from any other panel might as well choose the most affordable, yet stable solution.

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  • cybertechcybertech OGBenchmark King

    Most of the nicely themed client area I see are using WHMCS

    Have not seen any nice blesta

    I bench YABS 24/7/365 unless it's a leap year.

  • someshzadesomeshzade Hosting ProviderOG

    Start with Blesta and..... Good Luck mate :)

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  • PureVoltagePureVoltage Hosting ProviderOG

    Haven't used Blesta in years, we started to try and make the switch over to it a long time ago however at that time it lacked way to many major features that I believe they have since added.

    At the time we didn't have mass mail options or knowledge base options which we needed.
    I'd suggest trying it out or WHMCS depending on the companies plans.

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  • I am also curious to know what Blesta does Blesta lack to make it an allegedly inferior product according to some people when compared to WHMCS & if you guys see Blesta gaining more success in coming years

    Most dedicated server resellers use WHMCS but I see a huge number of shared & vps providers using Blesta successfully

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  • alentoalento Hosting ProviderOGServices Provider

    Thanks for all of the excellent feedback everyone. I will catch up and comment to individual replies, soon. :pensive:

    @vpsgeek So far the two things that Blesta lacks, that I would like to have are affiliate tracking, and random usernames when creating accounts on the server.

    It is my understanding that the latter is just a check box in WHMCS. I am not sure what it would take to accomplish that in Blesta. Probably a slight modification to the module.

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  • InceptionHostingInceptionHosting Hosting ProviderOG
    edited December 2019

    I strongly STRONGLY STROOOOONGLY suggest you pick what you can see yourself using in 10 years, it is an UTTER nightmare to migrate later (not just the technical side)

    From what I can see from 10 years of using various options, hostbill is the best option.

    WHMCS is completely stagnant and has venture capital risk as you know, blesta is to small to build any long term foundation on. (at this stage)

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  • vpsgeekvpsgeek OG
    edited December 2019

    @AnthonySmith said:
    I strongly STRONGLY STROOOOONGLY suggest you pick what you can see yourself using in 10 years, it is an UTTER nightmare to migrate later (not just the technical side)

    From what I can see from 10 years of using various options, hostbill is the best option.

    WHMCS is completely stagnant and has venture capital risk as you know, blesta is to small to build any long term foundation on.

    Dear Ant what do you think is wrong with Blesta? Just Curious ;)

    EDIT: You answered much of it in your edited comment above

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  • InceptionHostingInceptionHosting Hosting ProviderOG

    vpsgeek said: Dear Ant what do you think is wrong with Blesta? Just Curious

    Nothing it is just to small to build any foundations on in my opinion (right now) and hostbill is cheaper than WHMCS after 18 months and is significantly better than both.

    https://inceptionhosting.com
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  • @AnthonySmith said:

    vpsgeek said: Dear Ant what do you think is wrong with Blesta? Just Curious

    Nothing it is just to small to build any foundations on in my opinion (right now) and hostbill is cheaper than WHMCS after 18 months and is significantly better than both.

    I agree Hostbill is for sure better than WHMCS. What do you think are the disadvantages for choosing something as small as Blesta?

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  • InceptionHostingInceptionHosting Hosting ProviderOG

    It depends on your goals I suppose.

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  • I like Blesta, but I won't lie, WHMCS looks a bit better. I think it would be good to start with Blesta though.

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  • So there is a guy to whom I have been rendering services as occasional system admin for a handful of years now. This time he contacted me after nearly an year & the task assigned to me was installing directadmin on a vps which he had recently got from a very popular hosting company of LE* world & migrate all clients from his cPanel reseller account with blesta from another top notch provider. When I had completed my task he asked me how he can resell dedicated servers.

    Now he was using Blesta as it was offered for free with his reseller account. I googled the ***t out for hours, asked around on forums & discord but couldn't find a single datacenter who gives even a tiny bit of ***k about developing a Blesta module for reselling dedicated servers.

    I wonder if this is due to lack of demand or something Blesta lacks that makes it impossible

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  • Mr_TomMr_Tom Hosting ProviderOG

    @vpsgeek said: due to lack of demand

    I suspect that's the reason. Same with templates - there's loads of hosting templates that include WHMCS themes but not Blesta.

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  • @Mr_Tom said:

    @vpsgeek said: due to lack of demand

    I suspect that's the reason. Same with templates - there's loads of hosting templates that include WHMCS themes but not Blesta.

    Blesta definitely needs more adoption. I support Virtualizor, Blesta & DirectAdmin against their biggest competitors because none of them have behaved like jerks until now by increasing prices many folds overnight

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  • BTW @alento which one have you chosen?

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  • Mr_TomMr_Tom Hosting ProviderOG

    @vpsgeek said: Blesta definitely needs more adoption.

    I agree. It's not the most intuitive I've found but it does the job!

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  • edited January 2020

    As a small scale value add hosting provider, with no reselling intentions my billing requirements are modest.
    With a previous VPS provider, I managed to persuade them to give me a license for "eHostBill", which I imagine is/was their front-end to hostbill. Once used to it I found it OK, not great and not without a few bugs, nor very customisable. It did however serve its' purpose, even though it appeared to be difficult to get developers to sort the bugs (perhaps it was the in-house system to blame).
    The move to Blesta, after about a decade (thanks @Francisco!) hasn't been too troublesome though with only about 20 clients, 2 main VPS (now three) and the excuse to standardise packages, the manual migration might've been a lot worse. I produced my first ad-hoc invoice last week, rather than the normal recurrent ones and that was pretty simple too.
    I would've liked to have stuck with (e)Hostbill but probably more to do with familiarity over function. Certainly with the software I was using it was much more closed source (always a concern). Like switching control panels, a switch in billing produces some different terms, restrictions and procedures; change, they say, is inevitable in all walks of life.

    Like many techies, I hate admin but recognise the need for it and as long as an application can help well enough, then that's fine by me. Do note that I manually process payments, as bad experiences with automatic PayPal payments (when using eHostbill) put paid (geddit?) to any trust in it. Luddite, I know!
    I realise my needs, without Reseller, is much reduced compared to many but hopefully this provides a slightly different angle.

    EDIT4: small additions and usual typos.

    lowendinfo.com is expired.

  • seriesnseriesn Hosting ProviderOG

    @AlwaysSkint said:
    As a small scale value add hosting provider, with no reselling intentions my billing requirements are modest.
    With a previous VPS provider, I managed to persuade them to give me a license for "eHostBill", which I imagine is/was their front-end to hostbill. Once used to it I found it OK, not great and not without a few bugs, nor very customisable. It did however serve its' purpose, even though it appeared to be difficult to get developers to sort the bugs (perhaps it was the in-house system to blame).
    The move to Blesta, after about a decade (thanks @Francisco!) hasn't been too troublesome though with only about 20 clients, 2 main VPS (now three) and the excuse to standardise packages, the manual migration might've been a lot worse. I produced my first ad-hoc invoice last week, rather than the normal recurrent ones and that was pretty simple too.
    I would've liked to have stuck with (e)Hostbill but probably more to do with familiarity over function. Certainly with the software I was using it was much more closed source (always a concern). Like switching control panels, a switch in billing produces some different terms, restrictions and procedures; change, they say, is inevitable in all walks of life.

    Like many techies, I hate admin but recognise the need for it and as long as an application can help well enough, then that's fine by me. Do note that I manually process payments, as bad experiences with automatic PayPal payments (when using eHostbill) put paid (geddit?) to any trust in it. Luddite, I know!
    I realise my needs, without Reseller, is much reduced compared to many but hopefully this provides a slightly different angle.

    EDIT4: small additions and usual typos.

    Blesta is still in its early stage to be honest and while it is slowly gaining market share, it is stuck in the vicious cycle, where they don't have a lot of modules and themese due to less users and they are not gaining market sure because they lack those extra customization.

    I do beleive however that, phil and his team are moving in the right direction. It is just a matter of time.

    Ps, if I could have, I would have moved to hostbill. So there's my stance.

  • MikePTMikePT Hosting ProviderOGServices Provider

    I like the fact that only a few files are encrypted in Blesta. This makes developing much easier.

    I'll give it a try next week on a VPS and license I got from you @seriesn ?

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  • HxxxHxxx OG
    edited January 2020

    If only Blesta was more user friendly (in the customer front-end) . I mean one could just extend or improve the code but...

  • seriesnseriesn Hosting ProviderOG

    @MikePT said:
    I like the fact that only a few files are encrypted in Blesta. This makes developing much easier.

    I'll give it a try next week on a VPS and license I got from you @seriesn ?

    Their semi open source coding is not that bad.

    @Hxxx said:
    If only Blesta was more user friendly (in the customer front-end) . I mean one could just extend or improve the code but...

    Themes aren’t that pain of to customize boss. It’s just, most of us are used to with whmcs :).

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  • Blesta is basically free. Many providers are giving free license.

    Be aware or Be next

  • Nobody is using www.wisecp.com seriously, as a billing platform?

  • @elliotc said:
    Blesta is basically free. Many providers are giving free license.

    Those providers are paying between $375 to $1500 per month to be able offer those as internal licenses. So Blesta are not only getting money but increased adoption as well. Those free DirectAdmin & others are provided in similar manner as well

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  • @kokkez said:
    Nobody is using www.wisecp.com seriously, as a billing platform?

    Going to need at least 10 more years for it to get close to where Blesta is right now

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  • At the moment we use WHMCS for our customer portals - but we develope an own plattform, to resolv the WHMCS Bugs there are never solved.

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