Cooking with WebsitePanel

cookingSo back in January we put together, and made available, something called the Windows Server 2008 Cookbook. This book, which we freely gave away, included a few simple recipes that made life just a little easier for our dedicated and virtual private server customers, especially those who were, perhaps, a bit new to Windows 2008 and IIS7 or unfamiliar with installing SmarterTools products (or, even, for web developers who wanted to get away from shared hosting and taste some of that freedom a dedicated environment offers).

Then, in late March, we announced coming support for DotNetPanel, a powerful, user-friendly hosting control panel, to much fanfare and anticipation. But instead of simply offering the software, and just charging you a setup fee for installation (which we will still do, of course, if you want us to), we wanted to give you some simple documentation to follow so you could do it yourself, easily, and with no more complication than what cooking dinner might normally be.

Here, then, is where I tell you about our latest cookbook: The Windows Server 2008 Cookbook, WebsitePanel Edition.


Yes, I did say WebsitePanel and not DotNetPanel. Very recently, SMB SAAS Systems, the DotNetPanel people, made a significant change to their business model–they revised the DotNetPanel codebase and posted the code to SourceForge.NET as an open source project, under the newly minted name WebsitePanel.

The good news: WebsitePanel is now available completely free, under the BSD license, and some features that were previously only available in paid versions are now available to you at no cost, such as creating reseller users.

From installing PHP to Creating Hosting Plans

cookbookLike our original cookbook, the point of WebsitePanel—or, at least, why we love it—is that it will make the lives of dedicated and VPS customers easier. Now, through a web-based control panel, you’ll be able to create custom hosting plans and price them as you see fit, create websites without touching IIS, or FTP accounts without ever touching FileZilla, create full-blown mail accounts, manage customer billing, and much, much more.

Here’s a taste of how the cookbook will make your next server setup easier:

  • Chapter 1. The Microsoft Web Platform Installer — Install SQL Express, PHP, the latest version of .NET and MVC, and more, all shockingly easy.
  • Chapter 2. Installing WebsitePanel — A few minutes and you’ll have web access to your new hosting control panel.
  • Chapter 3. SmarterStats — See how to install SmarterStats then run it on IIS instead of its built-in web server.
  • Chapter 4. SmarterMail — Install and run it on IIS.
  • Chapter 5. Windows Firewall — Add a couple of new firewall rules to be sure you’ll have access to the WebsitePanel portal, and more.
  • Chapter 6. Windows DNS — Set up your initial DNS (i.e. your primary and secondary DNS)
  • Chapter 7. Configuration — Configure your WebsitePanel installation to work with SmarterMail, Stats, DNS, FTP, and more.
  • Chapter 8. Hosting — Learn how to create hosting plans, creating ‘hosting spaces,’ customers, and more.

You can check out the cookbook in itsĀ entirety right here.

The WebsitePanel Installer and WebsitePanel edition of our Cookbook is now available on all new Windows 2008 dedicated and VPS orders.

Do you have an existing server with us and want to use WebsitePanel? Check out our KBs on how to install WebsitePanel on either Windows 2003 or Windows 2008.

So let us know what you think.Ā  Do you plan on using WebsitePanel?

Also, don’t forget to check out our post on How To Be Your Own Host, which talks about how WebsitePanel makes it easy to resell hosting space to your own customers.

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6 Responses to “Cooking with WebsitePanel”

  1. with websitepanel, can I install it on a dedicated windows server and use it to apportion the server into VPSes each with a dedicated IP?

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  2. Hi Ken,

    From my understanding, you could accomplish this by using Hyper-V, which is a feature of Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition… After creating the VMs, you could then install WebsitePanel to manage the multi-server config. Basically, in a Multi-Server setup, you’d install the WebsitePanel (WSP) ‘Portal’ and ‘Enterprise Server’ component on the web server VM, and then the ‘WSP Server’ on, say, the mail server and/or database VM, which you could control all through the web portal.

    If you’re interested in discussing this (or other options) with our experts, shoot us an email at

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  3. I’ve been interested in DNP and WSP for some time now – actually signed up with DNP and 10 days later it went to WSP. Are you folks associated with ExpertServices? I’m quite interested in your cookbook. From the description of it, it seems to be the most thorough documentation for WSP to date. I’ve been trying to build a decent Exchange hosting solution for over a year. Thanks.

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  4. Owen, feel free to contact us to discuss your Exchange setup. We’d be more than happy see what your needs are and if we can help you with that. You can either call into our sales queue, or, if you prefer, shoot me an email at I’ll have someone give you a call.

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  5. Error 404

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  6. Amin. Sorry about the 404 error. The Cookbook link is now available.

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