Buy a VPS License for Your cPanel Dedi

cPanel is a well-known web hosting panel used by thousands of hosts and probably hundreds of thousands of users.

The product is licensed two different ways:

  • for dedicated servers
  • for VPSes

Not surprisingly, the VPS license is cheaper than the dedicated server license.

Also not surprisingly, some people realized they could rent a dedicated server, put OpenVZ on it, create one big container, and then run cPanel with the cheaper VPS license while still enjoying the full power of the dedicated server (as OpenVZ virtualization costs very little overhead).

Now you’d think cPanel’s license would clarify this. The reality is that it’s technically impossible to enforce (that I can think of) but at least it should be in the license as a formal statement. But it’s not.

This leads to all kinds of people saying things in forums like:

  • You have to have at least 2 VPSes on the box to use a VPS license.
  • You have to have at least 3 VPSes.
  • You can’t use more than 2GB of RAM in a VPS.
  • Each VPS must be no more than 25% of the total server RAM.

Etc. Here is an example on cPanel’s own forums of how these conversations usually go.

None of this is true. It gets to be a little questionable when resellers chime in with these “facts,” given that dedicated server licenses are 2x the cost of VPS licenses.

Here are some genuine facts:

  • I’ve asked people to identify where in the cPanel End User Agreement (or any license document) where these requirements are stated, and they never an.
  • I asked this question in a forum and pointed cPanel’s legal department at the thread and there was no response.
  • I opened a ticket with cPanel (ticket 4532311) on 2/3/14. They initially said they were “researching it” but I never got a response. After multiple requests for status in which case they said they were still “researching” I finally gave up on 4/4/14 – two months later.

I think the legal department avoids this issue because it would be impossible to enforce technically.

I personally don’t have a stake here – I am not a reseller, nor am I cPanel. I don’t even use the product at the moment (other than as a customer of a licensed hosting provider). But I think cPanel should clarify their policy and put it in a license, because otherwise you get random resellers and Internet lawyers repeating myths about cPanel licensing.

Or perhaps cPanel has concluded that works to their benefit.

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