WHM compare review

Review comparison of FREE Boxbilling & TheHostingTool (Reworked)

WHM review compare BoxBilling TheHostingTool(reworked)

Requirements

  • WHM compatible
  • Reseller Account creation
  • Management tool
  • Free
  • Fast and Simple to use
  • Reliable
  • Logical operations eg works how you would expect.
  • Manages email notifications

Boxbilling
I had tried this Freebie a few weeks back. The installation was not straightforward and if you go to Boxbilling forum, many questions in this regard, and many unanswered. Once its installed first thing you want to do is go to the admin panel; most admin panels are yourwebhosting.com/boxbilling//admin boxbilling is yourwebhosting.com/boxbilling/index.php?url=/bb-admin/staff/login which is just plain stupid. bb-config.php (no, they could not even call config.php by a standard name) has a field you can change: 'admin_area_prefix' => '/bb-admin', to /admin, but that didnt work for me. Even before getting to login stage, many folks would be getting a tad annoyed, worse is to come. . . . . .
For the Free version you need an account with boxbilling (thats OK) but even with the account your login does not work. Eventually you may receive a welcome email which gives you a verify link and only then theoretically you can now login to your own CP (Control Panel).
For later logins, 'Remember your password' does not seem to remember, anyway after you put the right login details, Yea! trumpet fanfare and we're in . . . .
Configuration/Hosting Plans & Services. Was my first step. Found that its installation was confusing in places eg it would not communicate with WHM unless I checked the [secure] connection box. I do not use SSL. Once connection is working a Commerical Product (such as this) should communicate with WHM and if exist, get your plans automatically. This product fails to do this, and you have to enter all your Hosting Plans manually. I presume these plans have to be entered exactly as per name on WHM but there is nothing says this. So you enter your plans, which of course are a Product, but then you have to go to Product to enter the Plans!! There should be no step in between IMHO; confusion reigns with this product. Because my reseller account is for Australia & NZ I wanted currency for $US, $AU and $NZ BoxB only allows 2 currencies in the free version. Because my reseller account needs admin to enter the customer details and do the ordering, after I had everything set up I found that the only way to place an order was through the customer interface - only the paid version allows you to use the admin interface. By this time I had enough of this software; to claim its free is a joke. If Boxbilling is to restrict features other than client numbers, they should be up front with the limits, not hide them until a new user discovers the limitations themselves. I understand there are some users who swear by, not at Boxbilling, but for me, there are too many other issues with it to be a serious WHM manager


TheHostingTool (reworked)
A short history. 2014 was the last version of THT (thehostingtool) and some excellent development was carried on by Rick MacGillis who unfortunately dropped the project in 2015 THT Reworked 1.3.10. This was an unfinished version and the last stable version was V1.3.5 September 2013 which is available from github link above. V1.3.5 is the version this review is about. I recommend nobody except developers play with 1.3.10. Rick has continued to host versions on Github and any PHP developer reading this is welcomed by him to continue developing.
Overview THTReworked is a PHP script with minimalistic but functional interface. The design inherited from THT is a free script that enables resellers to sell their hosting to clients with no need to interface with WHM panel; this is all done easily and logically (unlike Boxbilling) by the script.
Pros:

  • reliable and logical methods
  • free covers most requirements although payment methods could be better eg various PLAN payment options say monthly/six/yearly instead of monthly or having separate plans for different payment terms.

Cons:

  • I found it hard to get my head around the coding methods, to make any customization changes
  • there is zero support as the project has now closed
  • on localhost it required .htaccess RewriteEngine on Rewritebase /tht/ but on live host .htaccess caused script errors.
  • despite searching for could not find any recent activity developing this potentially excellent script further.

I wanted to change the way admin worked so admin could put an order in and the welcome emails were still sent, but emails only go when a customer fills in their own order. Similar problem to Boxbilling but easier to work around. Unfortunately, I found the script during runtime is compiled, which makes modifying/debugging tricky in my experience, others may find methods around this. If you wish to collabarate develop THTR with me, please contact me by comment below. You will need PHP skills which I have, and DB and OOP which I dont.

The good news for THTR is that for the few issues, there are ways to work around them without need of a recode. Its perfectly suited to a small volume Host Reseller with some limits on the billing and ordering side.

Disclaimer I dont know how reliable in the long term THTR is, and have no affilliation with R MacGillis or THT. This article is my own opinion which may be flawed. Use THT/THTR at your own risk. This disclaimer and your awareness is important since THTR has not been updated for a while there may be security risks associated with using it; I have no idea.
Links

  • Reworked lives on same forum as TheHostingTool HERE
  • Original TheHostingTool download is now missing due to not being supported but you can go to their forum still which is HERE
  • Another free option for up to 50 clients is Billmanager. I have tried this, its a bit convoluted to install as you have to SSH which some shared hosting do not allow. A more complex solution, but worth looking at too.

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