5 measures we follow to upgrade WHMCS with zero downtime
Software upgrades form an indispensable part of any server management process. From new feature additions to advanced security updates, a software upgrade provides a lot of advantages.
WHMCS is the most commonly used billing and customer account management software in hosting business. Upgrading WHMCS for our customers is a common task we perform as a part of our Hosting support services.
When it comes to billing portals, security is a very crucial aspect. You cannot afford to take a risk with the confidential credit card information of you and your customers.
At Bobcares, we audit all critical software regularly and keep them updated to the latest secure versions to safeguard the information stored in their databases.
Today, we’ll see the common issues that can happen during WHMCS upgrades and how to upgrade WHMCS without incurring any downtime for the customer portal.
What can go wrong when you upgrade WHMCS?
In WHMCS 7.0 or later, it is possible to use the built-in Automatic Update utility. But for software versions prior to that, we need to manually upgrade WHMCS version.
Most hosting companies would have done some customization specific to their requirements, in their WHMCS portal. Having such custom settings or templates can affect automatic upgrades.
If your WHMCS software is configured with a custom Admin Directory or Cron Directory, these folders should be updated appropriately for a successful upgrade. Custom File Permissions would also need to be reapplied.
WHMCS team usually comes up with template changes – both major and minor – in their various versions. These changes can mess up your customized pages and may cause functionality or display issues.
If the upgrade fails due to any unforeseen events, it can affect the day-to-day functions of your business and can cause customer complaints.
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How we ensure zero error WHMCS upgrades
To avoid a downtime for the billing portal due to upgrade issues, we take proper precautions during every WHMCS upgrade that we perform.
- We always take the latest backups of the WHMCS files and the database, before proceeding for an upgrade. This helps us to revert things to the original working situation in case anything goes wrong.
- WHMCS upgrades are usually performed during off peak hours of the customer’s business, so that it won’t affect much customers. Having server experts available 24/7 enables us to manage this without any hassles.
- Before jumping into the upgrade, we do an in-depth study of the changes made by WHMCS team in the templates of their latest software version, and compare it with our custom template settings.
- After installing the latest files, we update the permissions, ownership and other settings appropriately.
- Since all customization done in the WHMCS portal would be lost during upgrade, we keep track of all the custom code and re-apply the customization after upgrading the WHMCS.
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Post-upgrade checks to validate the upgrade
You wouldn’t want your customers loading you with trouble tickets, complaining that the features are not working, after a WHMCS upgrade. That’s why we pro-actively do a 360 degree check soon after the upgrade.
To ensure that all the features and tabs are working fine in the updated WHMCS, we perform these checks:
- As browser cache can cause the previous versions of the site to be displayed, we always clear the cache beforehand the check, to avoid any inconsistencies.
- We check and validate the four major customized options in the Customer’s client area – 1-click install, cPanel, License and Buy Domain features.
- Under ‘Quick Navigation’ and wherever applicable, we verify that the relevant customized links are visible and working fine.
- In the ‘Client Area > My Products & Services > Product Details.’, we verify that the required items are displayed right.
- The next day after upgrade, we ensure that the WHMCS cron job has executed correctly without any errors.
With our detailed pre-requisite check and post-upgrade inspection, along with an overly-cautious upgrade process, we’ve been able to perform numerous WHMCS upgrades for our customers without any downtime or errors.
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If you’d like to know how we can help you boost your business by ensuring stable server configuration and efficient customer support services, we’d be happy to talk to you.