WHMCS – Half Implementing Features since 2007

I’ve been using WHMCS as a billing and support platform for web hosting since 2007, for over 13 years now, and as near as I can tell WHMCS was founded in 2005. There have been issues over the years where there was unexpected behavior or unexpected changes during upgrades but every software vendor is going to roll out a bug here or there. Even companies with the best quality assurance and testing are bound to have something slip by – and I understand this.

While I do not and have not ever expected perfection and I do understand that bugs can happen sometimes feature implementation is just poor at best or processes are not well thought-out and planned. The most recent instance of this that has caused me problems is Premium Domain Support in WHMCS. This feature was added to WHMCS in version 7.1 which was released over 4 years ago.

What is Premium Domain Support you ask? Some domains are considered ‘premium’ in that they’re in some way unique or extraordinarily valuable. The domain “gift.shop” for example is a fantastic domain but it is Premium and should you choose to register it – it will cost thousands of dollars per year just for the registration. We’re not talking about buying it second-hand from a domain squatter but the direct price straight from the registrar.

I’ve always made sure that we offered domain registrations and transfers for the convenience of my clients. While you aren’t obligated to register or transfer domains to us to use our services – many do like to keep everything all in one place. We sell more domains than I originally ever expected us to sell and overall it has been a good experience for our clients.

Recently Premium Domain registrations and Transfers have become a problem for us. As it stands with WHMCS version 7.1, or newer, if you disable Premium Domain Registrations the domain lookup will still show them as available at the normal non-premium price. This is bad as our customers will see a Premium Domain available at a non-premium price. The result is that we cannot process the order as we can’t, for example, sell a domain that costs $18,000 for $35. I am sure that for our client this feels extremely misleading. The same issue exists for domain transfers, where a customer is moving a domain registration from another registrar to us.

Having Premium Domain Registration disabled is bad because of the misleading pricing and poor user experience. When we turn on this feature to avoid the poor experience of misleading pricing we open ourselves up to a half-baked poorly planned feature. WHMCS does not support Premium Domain Transfers. This means that whether or not we enable Premium Domain Registration if you choose to look up the cost to transfer a Premium Domain to us from another registrar you will experience the same issue outlined above if we have Premium Domain Registrations disabled. The transfer will show the non-premium price and this is misleading and a poor user experience.

Ok – so we can turn on Premium Domain Registrations to avoid the first issue and WHMCS does not support Premium Domain Transfers – so let’s turn that off. Oh wait – you can’t – at least not without a bit of custom code. Not only does WHMCS not support Premium Domain Transfers but they do not have any inbuilt feature to disable or block Premium Domain Transfers.

Have a premium domain registered somewhere that’s costing you $500 per year? If you look it up in our transfer tool it will show you the non-premium cost, often somewhere between $20 and $50 per year. You think, “That’s a great deal!” and you place the order only for us to have to let you know that we cannot transfer the domain for that amount. It’s a terrible experience.

In summary – if we disable Premium Domain registration all premium lookups, new registrations and transfers, will show as available at the non-premium cost – a very bad experience for our clients. If we enable Premium Domain registrations then premium lookups for new registrations will show the correct price but transfers will still show the incorrect and much lower price – another very bad experience for our clients. The worst part of this whole situation is that we cannot simply disable premium domains entirely to solve the issue and enabling it only enables it for new registrations while still showing incorrect and much lower pricing for registration transfers.

We, of course assuming this was some configuration issue on our end or some sort of oversight, reached out to WHMCS for support on this matter. To our surprise WHMCS confirmed that this is expected and that if we wanted to support premium domain transfers that we needed to submit a feature request.

Thanks for reaching out to WHMCS Support. Unfortunately, the functionality you’re looking for here is not something that is currently offered by WHMCS.

However I can see how supporting Premium Domains for transfers could be useful. Therefore I would encourage you to please submit a request to our feature requests tracker where other users can contribute to and vote on your idea. Ideas with the most votes and activity do get reviewed by our team.

WHMCS Support

To be completely straightforward I am shocked to see that WHMCS feels that only half-supporting Premium Domain Registrations and Transfers is normal. It is very surprising that they feel that showing non-premium pricing for Premium Domain Transfers is expected and that we should submit a feature request for them to complete this half-baked feature. Premium Domain registrations and transfers are not separate features that can be individually enabled or disabled in WHMCS. If we could simply disable premium domain transfers – that would be a simple solution. If we could disable premium domains entirely without showing misleading pricing – that would be another simple solution. While neither of these solutions is ideal – they are solutions none-the-less.

As it stands WHMCS has only half-implemented Premium Domain support and the end result is that it creates a poor experience for our clients. Due to WHMCS’ IonCube Encoded Closed-Source model altering this behavior is significantly more difficult although it may be possible. Ideally I will write some custom code that will enable premium domain transfers although it’s far more likely I’ll have to find a way to disable them in some way.

WHMCS does offer a hook called PremiumPriceOverride but just as the Premium Domain support is only half-baked – this hook does not trigger when a user looks up a premium domain for transfer, only for new registration.

I’ve seen WHMCS do a lot of silly things over the years – but only rolling out support for New Premium Domain Registration without supporting Premium Domain Transfers is absolutely near the top of the list and the first layer of this cake. Not providing the tools to disable Premium Domain Transfers, which WHMCS doesn’t support, is the second layer of the cake. WHMCS telling me to submit a feature request to fully implement Premium Domain Support is the icing on the cake.

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WebHostingTalk.com – Where you can break the rules without breaking the rules.

I have been a member at WebHostingTalk.com, or WHT for short, since December of 2007. I can’t say that I haven’t run afoul of their rules on several occasions since then because I most certainly have. Although I have always personally done my best to make sure I understood and followed the rules there have still been situations where I have mistakenly broken the rules.

In the situations where I accidentally broke a rule it was always very helpful to be able to discuss the incident with the moderation staff in order to get a clearer understanding of what I did wrong and how to avoid it in the future. I’m human and by nature fallible – I will make mistakes – I am not perfect. What is important is that I am able to learn from my mistakes to avoid making them again in the future.

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The Small Business Administration – The Disaster during The Covid-19 Disaster

U.S. Small Business Administration Logo

I’ll start by saying that the company I own and operate has been in business since late 2007. In nearly 13 years of being in business we have never applied for funding through the SBA or anywhere else as we didn’t need it. Personally I absolutely hate owing money be it to a person or to an organization.

I have heard from other business owners that working with the Small Business Administration, or the SBA for short, isn’t easy and that even if you qualify you’ve got a 50% chance of approval. I do know a few small businesses that have SBA loans for business property.

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Time, change, and goals.

MichaelIt’s been almost a year since I wrote a post and life has a way of keeping you busy.  I’ve gone through a lot of changes both in my personal as well as my professional life.  I would say I’m not the same person I was a year ago and that isn’t a bad thing.  Over the last year I have become far more tolerant and understanding than I have been in the past.  I’ve been learning to be happier with who and where I am and less worried about where I want to be.

Having goals is obviously a good thing and it is helpful to have something driving you forward; something to drive you towards growing and improving.  It is also important that once you achieve a goal that you set a new goal for yourself and that you always focus on moving forward and not being stuck in the past or even the present.
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AT&T Business Internet [u-Verse] – Slow to replace lightning-damaged equipment

Dead AT&T DSL ModemAt the office where I work unfortunately there are no fiber optic options.  Before we signed the lease we reached out to the local ISP that provides fiber connections for our area and confirmed that they serviced the location we were looking at leasing.  The ISP told us they did service our building and we didn’t find out until after we signed our lease and arranged to set up service that they do not actually service this location.  Sadly enough the only option we have here is AT&T vDSL [AT&T uVerse Business Internet DSL].

We experienced some pretty intense storms today / this evening and experienced several very close lightning strikes.  At least a couple of strikes were within several hundred feet of our office and one of them managed to take out our AT&T uVerse DSL Modem.  Being that AT&T has numerous corporate stores within a short driving distance I really didn’t imagine getting this damaged equipment replaced would be an issue.

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1-800-Flowers.com

If you want to show somebody you love them – avoid 1-800-Flowers.com

Depending on how well you know me you may be aware of my aversion to talking on the phone.  It’s not so much that I hate talking on the phone as much as I hate how it totally destroys my ability to multi-task.  When I am working I will be handling a dozen or two different tasks at once on my computer without issue but the second I’m on the phone that all goes out the window.

Generally if I want to look into something or accomplish something I’ll find a way to do it via my computer which I can do without putting everything else I’m working on on complete hold.  Realistically I should have taken the time to find a local florist and called them up to arrange for the delivery of some flowers for my wife.  I instead went to “1-800-Flowers.com” to see if they could deliver today – and they could!

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SPAMMERS – I have a question for you…

While I don’t really expect to get any answers – I am a little curious.

I know that the reason spammers send spam is to make money.  I don’t think anybody sends spam for fun although I am sure some people have ‘spammed’ others to annoy them/etc.

With that said we get a lot of spam to “[email protected]”, “[email protected]”, “[email protected]”, etc…  Do you actually see a return on sending spam to these addresses or are you so readily able to send the spam that it really doesn’t matter?

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National Hotel in Miami – Elevator fell 7+ floors, One guest injured.

Elevator Injury at the National Hotel in MiamiMy wife and I are here in Miami for a good friend’s wedding and we are staying at their chosen hotel – the National Hotel in Miami.  Needless to say we’ve been having a wonderful time sharing this event with our friends and their family.  Overall the hotel is very nice and looks to be well maintained.  Our room is a tad small but ultimately we’re not spending much time in the room.

Last night the whole wedding party was meeting at Mango’s Tropical Cafe and identification was required.  My wife, the groom’s brother, and myself got in the elevator and went up to the 10th floor so my wife could grab her ID.  After grabbing her identification we left the room and proceeded to hail an elevator to our floor.

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If at first they refuse – harass, harass, harass, and threaten! [Updated 07/11/19]

Brick WallIt has been roughly 10 weeks since “The Professor” sent a Cease and Desist letter to the company I work for concerning content on one of our client’s sites. We refused to bow to this individual’s demands and that was the beginning of the harassment.  At this point I count no less than 20 individual messages in my inbox.  The Professor has called the company I worked for numerous times and asked the same questions and received the same answers.

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Goodbye MediaLayer, Rest in peace Gupreet.

Gupreet VirdiWhile I was not close to the founder of MediaLayer, Gupreet Virdi, I was always very familiar with their name and their services.  For the past 7 years MediaLayer has been competition for my company’s premium offerings and they’ve always done an excellent job of maintaining their reputation.  The owner has always taken care of customers first and made speed and reliability priorities.  It is unfortunate that Gupreet passed away unexpectedly and the industry as a whole will miss him as well as his company.

We have helped dozens of MediaLayer customers transition over to our services and while this has been good for our company it does sadden me to know why these new customers are heading our way.  Growth is good for us obviously but I wish there was more continuity planning at MediaLayer so that their customers did not have to scramble to find new services.

I hope that everybody affected by the closure of MediaLayer is able to transition to a competent and reliable provider quickly and easily.  It is my understanding that the MediaLayer servers should remain online for a week or two.  This will give MediaLayer’s customers some time to transition out but I generally would still advise downloading a backup immediately regardless.

Rest in peace Gupreet.

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