About Host4net

For the beginning, Host4net is designed to integrate cleanly into the Webmin system administration tool. A future next step is a synchronization and binding with eCommerce solutions like OSCommerce and CMS applications like PHPNuke or Envolution.

Our solution consists of tools for users management, billing support, technical support ticketing and more. Host4Net will at the same time be an application with interface for clients, network administrators, commercial departments and marketing departments.

Currently, Host4net is in development stage. We intend to offer our solution as GPL - free software. The entire development process is currently supported only by 4NET. We are accepting sponsorships on behalf of the GPL idea for continuing development of the module. When a total pool of $2500 is collected for Milestone 1, the version 1.00-MS1 of this module will be released to the community under the General Public License otherwise this webmin module will end as a commercial solution. Your contribution and interest can affect the end-status of the module. It is up to you to decide how much you wish to sponsor, there is no limit. However we would like to satisfy the community needs as soon as possible.

Host4NET has great features

Like any other webmin module Host4Net uses the features provided by webmin framework. In addition to these features, Host4Net brings several innovative ideas. Host4Net will be an n-tier application that will be able to work in the future as stand alone software or webmin module.

Data Base support:

Currently Host4Net supports only MySQL. This is the first integration step.

Distributed Management:

Due to the clustering function provided by Webmin, we were able to develop a fully scalable application with clustering support. A central server will control all other servers in the cluster and all clients distributed on these servers.

Users/ Clients Management:

The concept of Clients and Users in Host4Net is innovative from the point of view of Web Hosting Management Solutions. Each Client can have multiple contracted services like two packages of Web Hosting Gold and one of Web Hosting Basic. A centralized billing and user management system displays this client's information allowing administrators to manage all its contracted services. However, the creation process is very complex and each client profile gets the attributes of a customized service. For example, a new client Foo will get the attributes of Web Hosting Gold that are set to provide Web Access, DNS access, 100 Email Users and 1Gb of quota.

Payment Methods & Currencies:

Our intention is to provide a fully scalable financial application. To achieve this goal, Host4Net must be very modular and extensive. Thus, it supports the new European multiple VAT system, multiple currencies and several billing methods like PayPal, 2Checkout, Western Union and Wire Transfer.

Host4Net Documentation v.102


Host4net is a Control Panel Management Solution dedicated for Web Hosting and ISP administration, with extended financial & commercial features, made to ease the process of administration in high density user environment. Nevertheless you should understand that for now this application is depending of Webmin. To use it you must install and use Webmin with all dependencies.

The application is developed on milestone system that will make the current documentation to change during the development process. We advise our clients to check for the new features that will be introduced in each version and from one milestone to another.

In MS1 introduces features that regard the close configuration of the ISP offer that includes both commercial and technical stuff and also the setup of new incoming clients with their home, email addresses, financial information. Beside this, some general aspects of payment/billing and currencies will be included just to be able to start to use the module immediately.


Host4NET is written in Perl. Therefore you must have Perl 5 installed and functional. However several Perl Modules are needed and must be installed manually or automatically.

Due to fast development of Webmin as well as the bug fix support, we recommend you to update your Webmin to the last version before installing Host4NET.

In order to install Host4NET go to Webmin Configuration in Webmin section. Click on the Webmin Modules and then you will see the form looking for the ftp server where lays the module's kit. Installation process take a few minutes and then you will find the module in the Others section.

Installation procedure is very simple:

  • Install the module from webmin configuration section
  • Execute the MySql database dump against a created database from //host4net/sqlscripts/empty.sql
  • From Module Configuration in Host4NET module setup the data base permissions to host4net data base.

Problems could occure if you use a non standard Webmin Theme or if you do not setup properly the DB access permissions. No other problems have been reported until now.

How it works

Host4NET is an easy to use Control Panel. Even if contains complex data for all the performed actions, each one is stored in sections. For example if you plan to customize your offer, you'll se three CGIs dealing with all financial and technical aspects. Basically, all configurations must be started from service configuration and progressively operate in all three CGIs. Then you should configure the global financial settings of the application. This means that you must configure the VAT, the payment currency, payment methods and only after that you can proceed to add clients, email users and to configure accounts. In other words all the configuration steps specified here are used to be attached to the new client profiles. You must take care with your financial data because it will affect all invoices and billing process and part of the user management. Now let's move forward to see how you must properly configure this module.

Operate with services

This chapter will explain how you must configure your service types and subscribed services. You will understand how to configure in 4 steps the financial data that will be reflected in the billing process as well as the technical configuration for each service that will be applied to the new incoming clients.

Add a new Client

In four steps you will configure your client information for invoicing and contact, select and configure the payment method, add or modify client's contracted services and finally to setup technical settings.

5.1 Client's information data for invoicing

This form is pretty understandable, but you must understand how the system will submit data and will enable controls.

First let's clearify few terms used here:

Company Registration ID - this is the registration code of the client's company. This will be used in invoicing

VAT ID - this is the VAT code of each Europen company. This is only working for EU Community Members.

Client ID - this will be automatically generated

Security ID - this is the security number of Contact Person. In USA is the SSN in other countries could be found on ID Card.

After introducing all data about your client click on ADD button. The submit process will automatically generate a Client ID and will enable the Configure button from "Select Payment Method" and the link to Contracted Services. After reload notice that the generated Client ID appear on buttom of form and the ADD button has been transformed in UPDATE.

5.2 Add contracted services

This part looks like a shopping cart. Just add contracted services, insert the quantity of contracted services and click ADD. Please notice that bellow, this service will be displayed read-only and the only thing you can modify will be the quantity. Also if you will try to add again the same service as one allready contracted only the quantity will change. After adding the first service in the list of contracted services, by pressing on Details button, a pop-up window will open showing all Order IDs and a Config button on every row used for technical configuration. In this pop-up you can click on every checkbox and select which Order ID to be deleted. This system was designed to be able to handle further reseller option that will be implemented in Host4NET.

5.3 Technical configuration setup

The modular solution implemented for technical configuration makes Host4NET powerful software. This solution consists in an on-the-fly integration method developed in the core of Host4NET which allows every new technical configuration module for network services or system services (ex. Apache, Quota) to be added easily and make it operational immediately.

Once enabled you will be able to add it to your new or old hosting packages or other services you sell. Also old clients, who contracted that package, will have the new network service enabled.

In order to technically configure an Order ID, first you must add it to the list of contracted services and then to press the Details button and choose from the pop-up window an Order ID you intend to configure. Then Host4NET will read the IDs of each network or system service attached to the package linked to Order ID and will display the main configuration interface and a drop down menu with all attached services. From here you can select a configuration interface for each service.

In the header of the form you will see the Order ID, list of attached services, and the status of the current interface.

Main Configuration form is the first interface that is included by default and has the ID 0, which means it cannot be deleted or disabled. Here you will have to create the Webmin user (called Master User) and the Unix user. There could be two users: one for Webmin control and one for ftp access or something similar. We recommend to do not assign this user to use email or any other network service. Use/Create Master User only to give access to your client and to let him to administrate his own services. Also do not forget to use our internal variables described here at chapter 4. This is your way toward a flexible configuration and customization. By using variables like $COMANY_NAME you will be able to create unique users for each Order ID in a unique format (ex. user.$COMPANY_NAME). The password can be generated in the same way.

How do you replace these variables with the real data?? There is no need to do such thing. Host4NET is asking for the clone user and you have specified and attached to the current package and is here, in Main Configuration listed and preloaded from DB. After choosing the server on which you want to create the account and other services, then by pressing the update button, the internal clone function will replace all variables from this form and from all ACLs attached to the clone user. Thus you can fully customize hundreds of clone users and groups and create special configurations for each separate package or service you want to offer.

To customize the user formats available in the drop down list, you can manually change the text, variables and order by simply editing the file from //host4net/techconfig/main/template .

The structure and format of the Main Configuration as well the directory three and techconf.info, is recommended to all those who want to develop new technical configuration sub modules. Remember to increment the order ID or you will get in serious troubles and never change the IDs of other interfaces!!!.

Further explanations will be added to this section during the introduction of new sub modules for other network services.

GPL Licence

Our goal is to release Host4net under the General Public License. Webmin has been developed as GPL, free for commercial use. Thanks to many contributors and sponsors, Webmin has become one of the most powerful remote management systems allowing third party developers to implement new features. 4NET wishes to subscribe to this goal, and to develop probably one of the most complex web management solutions available today.

To achieve this goal, we are currently looking for investors or financial contributors. Until now 4NET has supported all of the analysis, design and development process. The project is closing to its end and we wish to decide on which side we must stay - commercial/half commercial or GPL free for commercial use. This will be decided according to the level of interest manifested by the Webmin community & users and to the level of their financial contribution.

Get in Contact with Host4NET team

For any questions or problems supporting Host4NET, do not hesitate to contact us by sending an email to: support[at]host4net.us