As of this writing, most reputable hosting companies using cPanel software are likely on some combination of WHM 11.52, “54” or “56”. “58” is now in Release, and “60” is in development.
Why are hosting companies behind on versions? Because cPanel is pushing technologies into production that are not ready for production use, most obvious being EasyApache 4 ( EA4 ).
cPanel itself had never provided adequate protection for symlink attacks, nor did it provide an adequate jailed environment [at least in my opinion]. CloudLinux came along and saved the day. Thousands upon thousands of hosting companies flocked to using CloudLinux in combination with their cPanel shared hosting to protect their servers / customers / data. CloudLinux brought out Alt-PHP (with the PHP selector, allowing you to select any one of a number of versions of PHP) a couple of years ago. There was no sign at the time that cPanel was going to try and do something similar. In fact, when people would bring up the idea of multiple PHP versions in feature requests and such, it pretty much seemed to fall upon deaf ears.
Now, way after all of the sensible admins have switched to CloudLinux with PHP Selector in their cPanel environments, cPanel is pushing hard to get EA4 (EasyApache 4) into production with its own version of multiple PHP support (MultiPHP). This is a royal clusterfuck.
Not only is EA4 not ready for production on any server that currently hosts 100s or more domains, but cPanel is pushing hard to EOL EA3 (with “60” being the last version of WHM to support EA3).
A few thoughts:
cPanel is pushing out versions too quick, is bringing on new “features” before they are ready for a production environment, and forcing hosting companies to totally scramble and panick trying to think of ways to convert their userbase to EA4, be ride of CentOS 5 and CentOS 6 32-bit, etc.
cPanel started the whole MultiPHP thing too late. I think that before we ever knew that cPanel was developing support for multiple PHP versions, CloudLinux already had delivered production-ready multiple PHP versions.
CloudLinux’s PHP Selector setup was a learning curve for many, including myself. And I think that most of the admins using CloudLinux + CageFS + PHP Selector are now loving it once we’ve gotten used to it. Now cPanel is throwing MultiPHP into the mix.
It’s obvious from the posts I see on the cPanel forums that EA4 is not ready for prime time yet. There are some horror stories out there from admins who have converted to EA4 thus far. And so far those reports seem to be from admins who aren’t using CloudLinux’s PHP Selector. I can only imagine that the nightmares will become much worse for admins using CloudLinux’s PHP Selector to convert to EA4 without issues.
cPanel really needs to slow down and make absolutely positively sure that the switch to EA4 is painless for all admins, whether they are running CloudLinux + PHP Selector or not.
I think cPanel’s take is that it’s CloudLinux’s burden to figure out how in the hell to make PHP Selector work in an EA4+MultiPHP environment. However, it is unrealistic in my mind to expect CloudLinux to work that miracle when cPanel’s EA4 isn’t refined enough for use in Production.
Now, I’m sure there are hundreds if not more new cPanel servers coming online every day, and I’m sure that WHM 58 is being deployed by default on them with EA4 and MultiPHP. And I imagine those brand new servers will do just fine. What I’m concerned about is all of the admins running (a) EA3 who need to convert a server with 500+ accounts to EA4 and (b) those admins who are running CloudLinux + PHP Selector who need to convert a server with 500+ accounts to EA4 AND be able to continue to use PHP Selector without issue.
Then I have to wonder what CloudLinux’s long term plans are since they and cPanel will both be devoting a lot of development time to their versions of multiple PHP support. Is CloudLinux going to bail out of the multiple PHP version race because cPanel is now doing it? I sure hope not. I trust CloudLinux’s implementation — I have a tremendous amount of experience with it. It just works. It’s easy to configure. It has been done right. It is refined.
Okay that’s the end of my rambling.