WHMCS, or Web Host Manager Complete Solutions, is the automation software that will make your web hosting business run like clockwork. It automates all your general operations such as invoicing clients, handling new orders, sending overdue reminders to clients that have not paid, as well as suspending accounts of clients who have gone into default.
Without WHMCS, you could find yourself spending most of your day doing tasks that the system could easily handle for you, freeing you up to gather more clients or work on support.
In this starter guide, we will show you the basics for getting your WHMCS set up and running.
WHMCS can be easily installed via the Softaculous Apps Installer from inside your cPanel. Simply search WHMC in Softaculous and select it to install.
Enter in the details for where you would like the install to take place. Note: We do not recommend installing WHMCS on the root of your ‘public_html’. Instead, create a unique folder name and install it into this folder. For this example we have used the folder ‘dashboard’.
You do not, however, need to change the database name or the default cron job options. Cron jobs will be configured more specifically later on.
Continue filling in all your company details such as company name, default email address, administration username and password etc. Once you have completed all of this, click install.
Installation could take some time depending on the speed of your connection and server. Once completed, you will receive a notice saying that it has completed. You will then be able to access your WHMCS portal by using your domain and adding /dashboard/admin or the corresponding name that you gave to your installation folder. (i.e. https://www.yourdomain.com/dashboard/admin). Once there you will see this screen from which you can log in using the administration username and password you provided during installation.
After logging in, you will be redirected to your control dashboard. It is from here that you can see all the statistics of your business as well as change all settings of your WHMCS installation. You are now ready to get everything set up and running.
You will need to tell WHMCS which server to use to ensure that it links properly to your reseller in order to sell hosting packages. To access the server set up area, navigate using the top menu bar and select ‘Setup’ > ‘Products/Services’ > ‘Servers’.
Once in the server menu, select ‘Add New Server’. You will then be directed to your server details screen. Enter all the relevant information that you received from your reseller such as server name, IP address, nameservers, and your administration cPanel details. Once you have completed adding all the details, click on ‘Save Changes’.
Your server is now linked to your WHMCS platform and you can move on to the next step.
Domain Registars and Pricing
A domain registar is the plugin you use to purchase, register, and renew domains on behalf of your client. One of the most common domain registars is eNom. They process all domain transactions on your behalf to ensure that you can sign new customers and register their domains through your WHMCS. To access your domain registar settings, use the top navigation and navigate to ‘Setup’ > ‘Products/Services’ > ‘Domain Registars’.
From here you will see all supported domain registars. Simply select the domain registar that you will be using and click on ‘Activate’.
Then, follow the steps to link your account to your registar. This usually entails entering the details that you used to register and account with the domain registar on their website. Once that is complete, your domain registar will be linked to your WHMCS and you will be able to offer domains through your website.
Once your domain registar is set up, you will need to set domain pricing for each of the TLD’s that you will offer. To do this, use the top navigation menu and navigate to ‘Setup’ > ‘Products/Services’ > ‘Domain Pricing’.
Here you can enter in each domain that you will offer to your clients. Each time you enter a domain TLD, click ‘Save Changes’ and the domain will be added permenantly to the list. You can then add more until you have added all the TLD’s that you would like to offer.
Under your ‘Auto Registration’ column, ensure that you have selected the domain registar that you set up in the previous step.
Once you have added all the domain TLD’s that you would like to add you will need to start setting prices for each TLD. Click on the ‘Open Pricing’ button next to the TLD you would like to set the pricing of. This will open a pop up window that you will be able to set the price for the registration, renewal, and transfer of domains using the TLD. You will also be able to set pricing on an ascending annual basis. This is generally used to grant discounts for if your client registers the domain for a longer period of time.
Once you have set the price for the TLD, click on ‘Save Changes’. Do this for all the TLD’s that you will have to offer and then your domains will be complete and set up. Remember to check the pricing offered to you by your domain registar regularly to ensure that your pricing is appropriate to what you are charging clients.
Payment gateways are the methods that people who sign up on your site are able to make payment to you. WHMCS comes preloaded with an extensive list of payment gateways that you can link to your existing provider account. To access the payment gateway settings area, use the top navigation bar and navigate to ‘Setup’ > ‘Payments’ > ‘Payment Gateways’. You may be required to reenter your password to access this area.
Once in the payment gateways section, click on ‘All Payment Gateways’.
You will now see a full list of payment gateways that are supported. For this guide, you will see that Payfast and Paypal are both already active and set up to receive payments.
To set up your payment gateway, click on the provider of your choice and follow the onscreen instructions. You will be required to supply your pre-existing account details with the merchant as well as your merchant ID. Once you have supplied all the relevant information, click on ‘Save Changes’. Your payment gateway will now be set up and ready to receive payment from your clients.
Now that your server, domains, and payment gateways are all set up you need to add hosting packages that your customers will purchase from you. To do this, use the top navigation bar and navigate to ‘Setup’ > ‘Products/Services’ > ‘Products/Services’.
This area will display all the existing products that you have on offer and allow you to add new ones. For new WHMCS installations, there will not be any products listed. Before creating a new hosting package product, you will need to create a product group to place it in. Click on ‘Create a New Group’.
You will be asked to specify a group name (i.e. Hosting Packages), a group headline, and a group tagline. You will also be asked to select the order form template that you would like to use to sell products allocated to this group. Tick the relevant payment gateways that you would like to be enabled for products in this group, and then select ‘Save Changes’. You are now ready to add hosting packages to your WHMCS and so click on ‘Create New Product’ to add your first hosting package.
Select the product type from the drop down menu that appears. The default is ‘Hosting Account’ which is your web hosting that your client will purchase. Then, select your product group that you would like the product to fall under, and enter a unique product name. This name will be visible to your clients as the hosting package that they are purchasing. Then click ‘Continue’.
You may now enter a product description which outlines what the hosting package is. Under the drop down menu titled ‘Welcome Email’, select ‘Hosting Account Welcome Email’. This is the default email that will be sent out to new clients when they purchase this product from your site. Select or deselect the remaining options such as ‘Apply Tax’, ‘Hidden’, etc. and then click on ‘Save Changes’.
Once your changes are saved, click on the ‘Pricing’ tab. Choose either ‘free’, ‘one time’, or ‘recurring’ payments for the product. Then enter in your pricing as you wish and select/deselect the options as you want them set up for the product. Once done, click ‘Save Changes’.
Then select the ‘Module Settings’ tab and to link your product to your WHM. In ‘Module Name’, select cPanel as you server base. Then from the drop down next to ‘WHM Package name’ you will see the list of packages that you have previously loaded onto your WHM platform.* Select the one that corresponds to the product that you are adding, as well as tick the option to automatically set up the product once the first payment is received. Then click ‘Save Changes’.
*If you have not yet set up your hosting packages in your WHM you will need to do that first. To find out how, view our WHM Set-up Guide.
Your product is now ready to be sold to your clients. You may continue to look through the remainder of the tabs if you wish to which will allow you to offer free domains with the package, add affiliate rewards, and view the links to use when linking your site the the product for a customer to add to their cart.
The final thing to do in your standard setup of WHMCS is to automate your system. This is done by adding cron jobs to your cPanel on your host web domain. To access this, use the top navigation and navigate to ‘Setup’ > ‘Automation Settings’. You may be required to reenter your password to access this area.
By default, all the options available are already set to ensure that your system is fully automated. You may, however, go through the options and set them according to your preferences. We are, however, looking at the top of the page where you are given your ‘Cron Command’.
Copy this command and then open a new window and access your administrator cPanel for your website. Once inside your cPanel, look for ‘Advanced’ and open ‘Cron Jobs’.
Using the cron job details that you copied from your WHMCS automation settings screen, create a new cron job and save it to your cPanel. The system will now automate each day at the specified time.
You have now successfully done the base set up of your WHMCS platform. Continue to add all the products that you would like to be able to offer your clients and link them to your main website. Once you have done this, ensure that you test the system thouroughly to ensure that everything is working the way that it should be and that there are no glitches. If there are, navigate back to the area that the glitch occurs in (i.e payment method or domain registration), and ensure that you have correctly configured the area using the guidelines above.This page was last edited: December 6, 2018