At our MeetUP, Alexander Brukhanov, Head of Development Department, explained the upcoming changes to ISPmanager. Below is a text version of his presentation.
History of ispmanager: What has changed since 2018
First released in 2013, ispmanager is a very mature product, the first of the fifth line of products. Many improvements and additions have been made in seven years. The 295th update came out recently. The code base of the product has grown about five times over this time. This does not include numerous changes in COREmanager, which is the basis for all the fifth generation products.
ispmanager has been integrated with most popular solutions of the hosting world. But time is not standing still: the applications with which the panel works are changing. New operating systems and service versions are being released. And we are constantly making changes so that the settings you make with our product keep up with the times. In recent years alone, we have added support for new operating systems:
- Ubuntu 18.04 and 20.04;
- CentOS 8 and Stream;
- Debian 10.
Support for the new versions of popular services has been added:
- PHP 7.3 and 7.4;
- MySQL 8.0;
Year by year the expectations regarding the security of services: mail, web, and DNS, are growing in the Internet. A lot of improvements have been made to ispmanager in this respect. For example, encryption and various digital signatures are becoming mandatory for many services. Now you are no longer able to enter a website without a valid SSL certificate. Numerous improvements and integrations are associated with this:
- related to the Let's Encrypt service, which provides free SSL certificates;
- DNSSEC - digital signatures for your DNS records to protect them from forgery.
New protocols and technical solutions are emerging and gaining popularity on the Internet:
- support for the HTTP 2.0 protocol has been added to the nginx web server configuration;
- feature of working from behind NAT allows ispmanager to manage a website deployed in the Amazon cloud, for example.
The most noticeable change is the new interface with the dark Dragon theme. ispmanager has become more modern both externally and technologically. It is now a single page application, which has made the interface more responsive.
ispmanager 6: What to expect from the new version
ispmanager 6 license policy
Despite the mature age of the product, we are full of ideas for its further development aimed at increasing the convenience and level of automation. We have announced ispmanager 6 and now we are turning our vision to the future. The product will get a new road map and a line of tariff plans.
ispmanager 6 Lite will be divided into three tariff plans with restrictions on the number of websites. After analyzing how our product is used, we came to the conclusion that this policy is more suitable for customers. In particular, the Host version will get some of the features that were previously available only in the Business version. This will increase its convenience in providing hosting services.
ispmanager 6: License policy
ispmanager 6 will not have perpetual licenses. Perpetual licenses for ispmanager 5 will continue to work and receive critical bug fixes. Updates will be released before the expiration date for which they were purchased. ISPmanager 5 with perpetual licenses will then continue to work without updates. The same way ISPmanager 4 still works.
ispmanager 6 road map
Simplified entry for beginners
First of all, we want to simplify the login process to ispmanager 6 for beginners, without cutting out the previously created functionality.
- we will rearrange the menu sections. ispmanager is a fairly large product that allows you to configure dozens of services. The number of items in the main application menu is approaching a hundred. We will optimize it by keeping the most frequently used ones and moving the rest to lists. At the same time, we will temporarily leave the possibility of working with the old menu, so that it will not break the user path of those who are used to it;
- we will update tables and forms in the main sections: websites, mailboxes, databases;
- we will add more useful information and remove unnecessary details;
- we will improve the prompts, making them more informative and understandable;
- we will add a training mode to guide users from logging into ispmanager to hosting a website.
Another big change is aimed at improving the stability of user websites. We will add monitoring of various services, including website monitoring. And all this – with sending of notifications via popular messengers such as Telegram.
- Mail monitoring will help to detect spam, spot delivery problems, the number of mails sent and not delivered and the reasons for delivery failure, the number of incoming mails and the total volume of mail occupied;
- Checking domains and IPs for blacklists;
- Checking server availability and website response code;
- Any major changes in the size of the client page received;
- Monitoring of DNS records will allow you to find out about problems with your domain in time;
- Monitoring of CPU, memory, and disk usage;
- Tracking slow mysql requests, monitoring the number of web server requests by website.
All this will allow you to monitor the state of your service with due quality and respond to emerging problems in time.
Improvements for stable website operation
- We will improve support for nginx in conjunction with FPM. This bundle is one of the most productive ones, but has a significant drawback - the lack of support for htaccess, which is used by many CMS. In ISPmanager 6, we will bypass this limitation;
- Roundcube will be updated. Version 1.4 will get the modern Elastic Skin available out of the box;
- The ability to select the version of PHP for each website. Now the version of PHP is selected for the user;
- Support of new operating systems. We are watching the situation with CentOS and looking at alternatives such as Alma Linux and a number of others;
- Support for CloudLinux cgroups in the ispmanager Host version. This is especially relevant when you are using the panel to provide hosting services. This is functionality that was previously only available in the Business version.
Improved support for ispmanager
Changes will affect the approach to ispmanager support. Automated collection of information about problems encountered by users allows us to fix them much faster. We will know there is a problem before you contact technical support. For example, the new ispmanager structure is already at the prototyping stage. And we have already begun to collect information about the problems: to identify them and assess the extent of their spread. We know how many panels encounter this or that problem and how often it happens.
In the first 24 hours of collecting this information, we received almost half a billion incidents from panels with invalid licenses. Multiple scheduler tasks continue to run on such servers. That was the first problem we fixed. Now, when the license expires, all the scheduler tasks registered by the panel stop, except for one small task that keeps track of whether the license has been renewed or not.
Transition to ISP manager 6
Switching to ispmanager 6 will be easy and seamless - no need to reinstall the panel or migrate. After your license has been renewed, an ispmanager update to version 6 will become available. It will happen in the same way that updates between minor versions happen now.
If you are using an old version of the panel, you need to buy a license for ispmanager 6. It will allow you to first update the panel to the latest, fifth version. After that, you will be able to switch to ispmanager 6. At the same time, the panel will retain both its API and its incredible extensibility: if you had your own revisions or integrations, they will continue to work.
When will ispmanager 6 be integrated with Active Directory to authenticate users?
We are going to implement Active Directory in the near future. I have already deployed a test bench for myself to do it. Active Directory will appear in ispmanager and BILLmanager.
What will be the difference between the ispmanager Host and Business versions?
Ispmanager Host currently corresponds to the Lite version, but without any restrictions on the number of domains. And the ispmanager Business version allows you to work with multiple nodes simultaneously. Meanwhile, you need to keep them running, because the loss of any of them will affect users. As practice shows, not everyone uses ispmanager Business to provide hosting services. Very often Lite is used - it is more convenient and a little more responsive.
Will DNSmanager continue to be supported?
Yes, DNSmanager will be supported.
Will there be changes in the demo?
Same as now, trial versions will remain. You will be able to install, view and use them. There will be a restriction in trial versions - no more than 10 domains can be created, similar to the minimum tariff plan Lite. Otherwise, it will be a full-featured ispmanager available to use for a limited time.
What will the transition to ispmanager Business be like?
It will be exactly the same painless transition as for the other versions of ispmanager 6.
Is integration with Git planned?
Integration with Git is planned, but in the road map it stands after the items I mentioned in the report.
Will the plugins continue to work?
Yes, the plugins will continue to work through the same mechanisms - the API will not change. So you will not have to modify anything - just move to the new ispmanager and keep working.
Will there be integration with IMUNIFY360?
I cannot talk about IMUNIFY360 at this time. It is not listed in the near future road map.
Will there be support for Cloud Linux?
Yes, support for Cloud Linux will be provided
What other channels besides Telegram do you plan to send notifications to?
I do not see much of a problem in providing support for multiple messengers. But Telegram, as the most popular, is a priority.
Will there be HA (high availability) for ispmanager?
No, we are not planning high availability for ispmanager.
Will information from monitoring be collected in Zabbix or other systems?
I cannot answer this question at this time.
Will FreeBSD and Ubuntu be supported in ispmanager 5 Business?
No, support for new operating systems, including FreeBSD, will not be added to ispmanager 5. Only critical updates will be released for the fifth generation products.
Will there be support of ZFS snapshots for each user?
No, we are not planning it.
How will the ispmanager versions differ from each other?
Host will differ from the other versions by having extended support for configuring user limits. It is assumed that it will be mainly used for hosting. Therefore, Host provides a more flexible system for dealing with user limits on disk resources.
What types of nodes will be in a cluster?
We are not planning clustering for ispmanager Lite.
Will jail be integrated as an alternative to CloudLinux?
There are currently no plans regarding jail.
Will plugins and other addons be charged for separately or will they be included in the price of the license?
Part of the plugins will be paid. Some of them are integrations with external systems, and we get them for a fee.
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