02/12/2008

WHM/cPanel 11 update wreaks a bit of havoc

Just a heads up — if you're running a server and you're using cPanel and you like to customize a bit, the new cPanel 11 update may be causing a bit of havoc.

In our case, we've got cPanel's WHM (Web Host Manager) software to help run the server and manage the accounts. WHM is *very* cool, but imagine my surprise to discover that not only had the cPanel 11 update written over my httpd.conf (server configuration) file once again, but it also wiped out a number of hand-edits that it had *not* been overwriting in the last (almost) year.

So, if you've taken care of things like, oh, domain canonicalization or ErrorDocument (404) pages in the httpd.conf, you might want to take a look at your setup.

Yes, these particular things can be done in .htaccess files, but I'd prefer to maintain that sort of thing in the httpd.conf rather than strewing .htaccess files all over the server, which strikes me as messy (and since .htaccesses can cause a bit of a performance hit). cPanel does provide a couple of other ways to preserve your own httpd.conf edits, but the one I tried wasn't quite ready for prime time (meaning: it wiped my edits out again). So, rather than forcing the issue, it's .htaccess time for me.

<sigh> Thing is, WHM/cPanel are terrific at managing servers and providing us and clients with a fantastic, usable interface for web hosting accounts — so much so that I'll put up with the occasional "issue" rather than going back to manual updating and the command line. However, it would be wondeful if cPanel would roll out updates that are fully tested and that work as advertised. After all, these things are not just about "neat ways to program things" (a sentiment I appreciate) — for most of us, the issue is business and semi-beta is not a viable option.

And since business on the Web also requires attention to search engine requirements, it would pay to … well, you get the idea.

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