I wanted to thank you all for being so patient while I work through several different projects! Since we’ve learned about the price increase and cancellation of Owned Licenses by WHMCS, I’ve been working on a new billing system to replace our current WHMCS instance. It hasn’t been an easy process, and several things will be different, but I believe this will help SwiftModders in the long term. I’ve been invested in WHMCS through private business ventures and SwiftModders for nearly 15 years, but it’s become clear that I need to branch out and expand my offerings to assist other billing platforms and a wider range of clients. I’ll get into this in a little more detail below, but I want to clarify that I’m not abandoning WHMCS and those who choose to continue using the platform. But first, let’s talk a little bit about the new billing system.
New Billing System
I want to announce that I have officially moved off of WHMCS. For those interested, this software is not a billing platform in the Web Hosting space but rather a digital download-focused billing system called Easy Digital Downloads. EDD specifically works with WordPress, a specialty of mine, and comes with a software licensing extension. I’ll be using the software licensing extension to handle all of the license activations and checks. The system is inherently different from WHMCS, but it does just as good a job.
Changes in Documentation & Support Ticketing
Of course, with the new billing system, quite a few things are bound to change along with it. One of the great things about WHMCS was keeping the support ticketing system, affiliates, etc., all in one platform. That’s not the case with EDD, but I have found alternative systems that integrate with it. All support requests and documentation will be handled via a platform called, Help Scout. This platform is pretty popular in many development circles and comes well-recommended. This system is specifically email-based but comes with an interface that you can use as well. In the future, email firstname.lastname@example.org when you need support. You can also open a support ticket by logging into your account.
Another important change around the support system will be the support hours going forward. I have typically responded to support requests any day (weekend, holiday, or otherwise), and it’s becoming unsustainable. As we advance, I will be conducting support hours Monday through Friday from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm EST. I ask that you wait at least 24 business hours on weekdays and 48 business hours on weekends for a response. I’ll always try my best to respond as soon as I receive a ticket.
More Advanced Affiliate Program
I have also moved to a new affiliates platform called, AffiliateWP. This is a major move that is much more powerful than the affiliates system built into WHMCS. With this new affiliates platform, you will get:
- Better reporting on your affiliates and earnings
- The ability to automatically request payouts via PayPal
- Better tracking of your referrals (you can register your domain so that you do not need any special affiliate URL)
- Acquire additional commissions for referrals you’ve made in the past
If you were a previous affiliate with a balance, I would be manually porting over your balance once you register as an affiliate again. After signing up to be an affiliate, please open a ticket and reference your past WHMCS account. If you’re interested in becoming an affiliate, you can sign up at any time and receive a $5 bonus.
Before signings up to be a part of our Affiliates Program, be sure to read the updated Affiliate Agreement.
Migrating Customer Data
You may be curious about how I imported your WHMCS customer data into the new billing system. First, let me say it was not easy! I spent some time developing a custom WordPress plugin that imported your customer data directly into EDD. Along with your customer data, it imported your active licenses and credit balance. Please note that I will not be importing any support ticket data, but there are very few active support requests open at this time. Today, the WHMCS installation has been placed into maintenance mode and will remain in this state for the next calendar year. Therefore, you will not be able to access the old system, but it will be available if you need me to reference it. Additionally, your old licenses will continue to work as the Licensing Addon for WHMCS will continue to function while in maintenance mode. I’ll be getting into the new licensing structure in just a little bit.
Lastly, I wanted to talk about some of the negatives with the new platform. Unfortunately, there are some features of WHMCS I cannot replicate:
- Additional contacts and users will not be imported into the new system (all accounts will run through the primary client info)
- There is no social login integration available at this time
- There is no feature request ability at this time
Quite a bit is changing on the billing front, but I’m excited! There will be quite a few bumps once this goes live, but I am hopeful we’ll see some improvement in the overall quality of the billing system. To access your account information, please visit https://swiftmodders.com/account/. If you find any bugs or notice something operating incorrectly, please be sure to email email@example.com with specifics.
To help you learn more about the new billing system, please visit the Manage My Account area of the documentation.
Setting up the software licensing extension in EDD allowed me to re-evaluate the current licensing structure. I also had to take some time and evaluate the financial impact of moving away from WHMCS and onto a handful of systems that have their own recurring costs associated with them. After spending a lot of time looking through everything, I ended up with a structure that I believe will work for the foreseeable future. I want to take the time to break down what will be changing within the licensing system:
- I have introduced “+” (plus) licensing options that do not require any recurring costs. These are one-time payment license options at a premium cost. Unlike before, these can come with either 1, 5, or unlimited activations.
- I have adjusted the license types and named them “Personal,” “Pro,” and “Agency.” “Personal” licenses allow for a single activation, “Pro” allows for five (5) activations, and “Agency” allows for unlimited activations.
- I have sunset the previous variable renewal fee and replaced it with a recurring subscription fee. All non-plus licenses will be renewed at their purchase price each year to maintain access to support and downloads.
- All license pricing has been modified slightly (either increased or decreased) to reflect the structural changes above. You can review these changes by browsing SwiftModders Products at any time.
Adjustment to Renewal Costs
One of the biggest changes in this will be the renewal cost increase. I apologize for the inconvenience that this causes you; it’s necessary to cover the cost of the new systems that SwiftModders will be using. As always, your license will remain active for the lifetime of the product, but you will lose access to support and downloads if you cancel your subscription and let it expire. Of course, if you do need to cancel your subscription, you can always re-activate it at any time by logging into your account.
One Year to Upgrade
You will be imported into the new billing system with a “Retired” product for those of you with existing licenses. This product will expire in one year, and you will be required to upgrade to one of the license types above. This means that your access to support and downloads will remain active for the next calendar year with your “Retired” product. It’s the least I can offer for the mass amount of changes I am forcing upon you. This should give you ample time to decide which license to upgrade to or if you wish to cancel your service.
Owned Licenses & Upgrading
If you are an Owned License holder, you will automatically be migrated to an Agency+ license. Unlike WHMCS, I do not believe in hurting those who have invested in me and believed in my work. Thank you for all of your support!
Developer Licenses Going Forward
For those of you that have access to developer licenses, the process for this has changed greatly. You will no longer need a developer license, but you may have to adjust your dev environment to support how dev licenses work. For more information, please visit https://docs.swiftmodders.com/article/53-do-you-offer-developer-licenses.
If you have any questions regarding the licensing change, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Future with WHMCS
I wanted to make sure I stated pretty clearly in the opening paragraph of this post that I will continue supporting my WHMCS products. However, I will have to dial back just how much time I invest in them. I’ve primarily focused on WHMCS as the sole billing platform I develop for, and I’ve had a feeling of comfort working on that platform. However, the recent happenings around the pricing and owned licensing decisions have forced me to look closer at other billing platforms. I have spent some time evaluating platforms like Blesta, ClientExec, WiseCP, and HostBill, among others. Unfortunately, I have not quite made a decision on which platform I will support along with WHMCS. The amount of time it has taken to set up the new billing system and migrate over specific data has really hamstrung my ability to evaluate these platforms fairly.
I can say with certainty that I will be choosing one of these platforms to support. As soon as I have a solid understanding of each platform, I will make an announcement. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you! Have you made the switch from WHMCS to another provider? Is there a specific provider that REALLY needs help in the looks department? If so, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, I want to thank you for your continued support. I appreciate the business you’ve given me, and I hope these changes will result in a better future for both of us.