My favorite part about being an Internet Entrepreneur is having the ability to be able to travel to new places and meet awesome people!
This week we had the opportunity to attend the 2017 cPanel Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The conference was originally scheduled to be at the W, but the venue was changed at the last minute (due to construction not the hurricane) to the Ritz Carlton. Being a Ritz “loyalist”, it made my trip all the better!
The conference was jam packed full of educational sessions on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
While a lot of them were centered around cPanel, some also went into other details about the web hosting industry.
I personally attended several of them and want to include my thoughts:
Tuesday, September 26th
Opening Keynote – cPanel’s Vice President of Product Development, Ken Power, opened the conference with a keynote about the history of their product titled The cPanel & WHM Roadmap. Given cPanel is celebrating their 20-year-anniversary and it was very interesting to hear where they’ve came from and where they are heading. Being a personal cPanel user since the late 90’s I’ve actually got to watch the company grow as a user and as a web host. I’m very pleased with the direction of the company and continue to be impressed with each update they release.
Shhh! Tales of a Small Host – This was a session held by Christopher McGuire of WSO.host. He talked about being a “smaller” niche-based web host and gave a presentation on how it is still possible in 2017 to be a successful without having thousands of clients. While my goals here at Name Hero are different, Christopher actually described the story of many of our Reseller hosting customers. It’s a lot about what I teach in my Reseller Hosting training. You don’t have to be a company serving thousands of customers to be successful in this industry. You just have to carve out your niche and do a great job.
Reseller limits in CloudLinux OS – CloudLinux CEO, Igor Seletskiy gave us a sneak peak into their new Reseller dashboard and it’s something that’s going to be a “game changer” for us here at NameHero. Coming in 2018, we’re going to be able to sell our Resellers accounts with specific limits tailored to CloudLinux. This will allow them to be able to provide “even more juice” and have more control over their end users and allow us all greater monetization strategies with our hosting packages.
HTTP/2 for All – cPanel’s Michael Blandford gave us an in-depth look into Easy Apache 4 with HTTP/2. We’ve all known this has been coming out for a while but it’s now available in the latest version of Web Host Manager which means to all of our VPS hosting customers. I plan on doing a training series here on the blog to actually explain this in much more detail as HTTP/2 will help increase the performance for our VPS hosting customers. HTTP/2 is already enabled for our Shared/Reseller hosting customers through LiteSpeed.
Easy Apache 4 and PHP-FPM – If you’ve ordered a VPS from us recently, you already know they’re rolling out with this as the new standard. For those unaware, PHP-FPM stands for FastCGI Process Manager which in simpler terms, means better server performance. This session was held by cPanel developer Julian Brown who was probably my favorite speaker on Tuesday. I loved how he got right down to business and knows his stuff very well. Very informative presentation where I learned a thing or two about how to help our customers optimize their boxes better.
Wednesday, September 27th
Creating Transparency Reports that WORK! – cPanel’s general counsel David Snead gave one heck of an opening keynote on Wednesday! Legal stuff is something that’s not the most fun to deal with but being a web host its something that we’re ultimately all up against eventually. He gave out some “free” legal advice which was helpful and did it in an entertaining way. Being involved in the affiliate marketing scene for the last decade, it was interesting to hear his references to the “Smiling Bob” court case that was featured on CNBC’s American Greed several years ago.
Alternatives to Shared Hosting for Resellers – Mike Jung, Product Manager for LiquidWeb, gave probably the most useful presentation for me to hear. Specializing in reselling, he talked about how technology has changed in recent years for resellers and how to be more efficient. He went into detail about benchmarking and server optimizations which is always a bonus for our entire team here at NameHero. His talk brings tremendous benefits to all of our Resellers here as well!
A/B Testing: Which Way Does Your Duck Face? – Prior to starting Name Hero I owned one of the largest private Internet Marketing discussion forums. Therefore whenever I get the opportunity to listen to someone else talk about marketing, split testing, etc. I take it! Mike Demo (yes that’s his real name) held a fantastic and one of my personal favorite sessions of the entire show! Why does the duck that faces the right convert better? Why the hell does it matter?! It just does! If this talk gets on YouTube or if you have the ability to check it out – I highly recommend it!
There were many other sessions, but these were all the ones I was able to attend. I know they did record all of them, but not sure how or when they’re going to be making them available.
Aside from the meat and potatoes of the conference (the educational sessions and talking to the companies exhibiting) one of the most beneficial things about coming out to conferences is making connections through the industry.
I was fortunate enough to spend a good bit of time with Joomla President Robert Jacobi. I personally enjoyed talking about the industry as a whole with him as well as learning about his involvement in open source. Also, aside from Joomla, Robert also works with another company that is going to help us implement some really cool features for all our customers here at NameHero.
Mike Jung from LiquidWeb is also someone we work with very closely here at NameHero. We consider LiquidWeb to be a very valued partner and it’s our successful relationship that has allowed us to grow as quickly in the industry as we have. Mike is also one of the smartest guys I know in the industry and has a Wiki that I recommend reading!
When I started hosting websites in the late 90s I always had developing a custom control panel on my mind. However as cPanel continued to grow and develop their company, I made the decision to stick with them while focusing my time and resources on growing my businesses. It’s a decision that I don’t regret.
cPanel is doing some very interesting things in the industry and as I mentioned above, I’m really pleased with the direction they’re taking the company. This conference alone not only displayed that but furthered my confidence them as a partner that is going to continue serving NameHero customers for the unforeseeable future.
Rather you’re a small web host or a corporate giant, cPanel conference is one you should put on your calendar for next year. It’s one I will try to never miss and already look forward to attending again.
I personally want to extend my greatest thanks to everyone at cPanel for putting on such a great show, especially amongst some of the challenges they were up against, given the widespread devastation in the Houston, Texas area (home to cPanel) following Hurricane Harvey.
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.