CloudLinux has just confirmed via their suggestions platform, that they will be adding Reseller Hosting resource limits to enable global resource restrictions for individual WHM accounts.
To understand the immense significance of the new feature, we must first appreciate the basic functionality of CloudLinux, and how that functionality currently applies to Reseller Hosting.
What is CloudLinux?
CloudLinux OS is designed for shared web hosting providers, by providing security and resource usage management to servers that are shared by multiple users. A very brief summary of how CloudLinux provides these two solutions is outlined below:
- Resource management — CloudLinux isolates each account into separate Lightweight Virtualized Environments, or LVEs. It then partitions, allocates and limits server resources such as memory, CPU and connections for each end user. This prevents any one user using all the resources, ensuring the stability of your servers.
- Security — By isolating or "caging" each account from another, the security of each end user account is significantly increased by ensuring no malicious scripts or other behavior can sprawl across accounts.
How are resources managed by CloudLinux with reseller hosting?
Currently, a common way a web hosting provider will sell reseller hosting plans is by the number of resold accounts. So, for example, on a standard dedicated server, the web host may have 50 reseller account customers, each permitted to sell 50 accounts. Ordinarily, a web hosting provider would not dream of putting 2,500 accounts on this particular server, but he knows that the average number of resold accounts on a reseller plan is just 10, so things mostly work out ok.
Now, the web hosting provider will allocate around 0.5 — 1 CPU core per cPanel account, with the average use per resold account expected to be low so that the total CPU usage does not (hopefully) exceed the number of CPU cores on the dedicated server.
As you can see, it is starting to get a little complicated. With there being no way to restrict one reseller account from using up more than their fair share, it is possible for one account to hog all the resources.
CloudLinux was designed to prevent this exact hogging of resources by one customer, but due to the way it works, it can only restrict the usage of the end user or resold accounts.
As a result, web hosting companies that use Reseller Accounts, rather than their own servers, can have trouble with performance.
What are the proposed Reseller Limits Changes?
It is difficult to know the exact nature of the changes, and the extent to which reseller hosting clients will have control over the end user resource limits within the limits assigned to them. However, the following functionality was requested by CloudLinux customers in the feature request post:
My most basic wish would be: setting one single set of limits for a reseller, and having all cPanel accounts this reseller creates share (and never exceed) these limits.
Ideal would be the following scenario:
— setting max hard limits for a reseller.
— LVE manger for a reseller, allowing him to tweak limits
— but the total (summed) resource consumption for all accounts for this reseller can never exceed the reseller limits.
This would basically allow me to sell my resellers a portion of our servers (for example 1 CPU core and 10MB/sec IO) without worrying about him stealing all of the server resources.
This quote is an expansion of an earlier expansion on the original request to enable reseller limits, and one that is widely agreed with by other commenters in the thread.
The only comment by Igor Seletskiy, CEO of CloudLinux, was to flag the suggestion as "Started" and add the comment, "ETA Q1 2017". We suspect, and we have specifically sought clarification, that the above quote is a good estimation of the upcoming features.
How will resource limits on reseller hosting accounts change reseller hosting?
The new changes have the potential to shake up the reseller hosting industry, with many small companies potentially having much more flexibility in the allocation of resources to resold accounts.
Before, a standard reseller account will often have vastly restricted resource allocations. It would not matter if a customer bought the reseller account that has 20 resold accounts, or the largest plan with 200 (or even unlimited) resold accounts. Every single resold account would have the exact same resources.
Now, imagine the possibilities:
- A reseller host targets the premium end of the market. They buy a reseller account that has 4 CPU cores available to them, and decides that they will only make 20 resold accounts to ensure the highest possible performance for the end users.
- A reseller host targets the budget end of the market. They too buy a 4 CPU core account, but decides to significantly limit the number of resources to resold accounts, and decides to create 100 resold accounts.
In either case, the stability of the server will be increased, because no Reseller will be able to use excessive resources and thus affect the performance of other resellers on the server. But, for resellers, the flexibility of being able to offer custom resources to end users allows some great possibilities.
When will the new CloudLinux Reseller limit changes be released?
According to CloudLinux, the estimated time of arrival for the new changes is the first quarter of 2017.
Editor's note: We have reached out to CloudLinux for clarification of the extent of the new functionality, and will update this post as soon as their response (if any) is received.