How to manage Resellers in WHMCS

How to manage Resellers in WHMCS

Back   Posted on 10 february 2020 / Updated on 30 may 2020
Reading time 4 minutes

Resellers in WHMCS

If you are looking for ways to manage resellers, it is very likely that you are a provider and want to offer to web agencies, developers and IT professionals the possibility to resell your products/services.

All of this can already be done configuring reseller plans on say cPanel or Plesk and connecting them to WHMCS. Visitors come to your site, place the order, pay it and can freely host as many website as they want with their given resources.

The problem is that your resellers surely need a platform like WHMCS to handle their customers. This hypothetical platform should be white-label so that your business name never gets revealed to end-users.

The truth is that you can't offer this kind of service to resellers using your own WHMCS and we speak from experience (we use it since first release). The article could stop here but we already know that it won't stop you from looking for other sources so let's face this problem head-on.

Multitenancy

That's the name of what you are looking for. The term "multitenancy" refers to a software architecture designed to serve a group of users who share a common access to the software instance each one with specific privileges and roles.

In your case you probably want to place yourself at the top of the hierarchy as provider with full permissions and have as many resellers as possible with limited permissions. Maybe you also want to make it work with resellers depositing money in advance.

Speaking of which, why don't we offer resellers the opportunity to use a simplified version of WHMCS? This way they could use the inbuilt features such as domain availability checker, hosting configuration, shopping cart and payments to manage their customers.

What else? Let them customize the template with their logo, text and make it work with their own domain name. Last but not least, we could offer API access for resellers who are interested in creating custom integrations. Let's recap.

Wishlist
  • You want to define "provider" and "reseller" roles
  • Because WHMCS already has sub-accounts
  • You want resellers depositing money in advance
  • Because WHMCS already supports prepaid balance
  • You want resellers using your WHMCS with limited permissions
  • Because you know... Full Administrators, Support Operators...
  • You want resellers customizing their instance of WHMCS
  • Because WHMCS can work with multiple of templates
  • You want to offer reseller access to WHMCS API for integrations
  • Because WHMCS has an API with documentation

They are only speculations based on the incorrect perception of WHMCS. That's just pareidolia where people see images of animals or object in cloud formations, faces on Mars surface etc.

Thinking that WHMCS can be adapted to multitenancy just because some of its features fit the vision, it's a common WHMCS to avoid.

No matter how much you want it, WHMCS can't fullfil your requirement since it's doesn't have a multi-tenant architecture. Not to mention the hundreds of problems you would incur if you try to find a solution.

For example in this multi-tenant view, who gets the money from end-users? You. Who issues invoices? Still you. This would be treated as "fictitious interposition" so you should find ways to let resellers issuing invoices and receiving payments from end-users from your WHMCS (GDPR salutes you).

What about API access? When using them, there are no access levels meaning that all commands run with full administrator permissions. There's no way to restrict the access for resellers.

That's a Rubik's Cube and we're just at the beginning. In theory you could get almost there with a lot of coding but it is absolutely not worth the effort. We tried all possible approaches, so you can trust us.

"But what if..."

Over the years we've been asked many times to make WHMCS multi-tenant. Even when we explain in detail the reasons why this is not a viable option, there's always a «But what if...» just around the corner where customers create plans that are impossible, unrealistic, or have a very little chance of succeeding.

It looks like when people waste time to figure out how to integrate WHMCS with WordPress when they could directly use it as CMS that includes WHMCS SEO.

The solution

Ironically there's a solution to this problem. Actually it's very easy to implement but many refuse to adopt it just because they don't want to reveal that they're using WHMCS as if it were a State secret.

The most successful hosting providers have already solved the problem of multitenancy a long time ago by directly including WHMCS licenses in reseller plans. This way each reseller can start an hosting business. That's the point of using WHMCS.

There's no need to reinvent anything, to tune WHMCS or create hyper complex solutions. Simply apply to WHMCS reseller program to add value to your hosting packages giving your resellers the same tools used by you.

Of course there are a couple of downsides but they're pretty minor in the greater scheme of things. Once resellers discover the existence of WHMCS, they could come up with the idea of expanding to a self-hosted solution or move to a competitor but that's part of the game. Your role is to offer them a good service and not trying to hold them back.