25 December 2019

Darya Ponamarchuk

ISPsystem Technical support specialist

How to sell non-standard services via BILLmanager. Take a look at our example of proxy servers

BILLmanager is a billing system focused on the needs of hosting providers, but it allows you to provide practically any service you can imagine. They say someone sells forest via BILLmanager! This article will go you through the steps we need to perform to sell a non-standard service. Let it be proxy servers.

Briefly about BILLmanager

BILLmanager is a panel for providing hosting services and SaaS-solutions.

The panel is integrated with software products for different tasks:

  1. ISPmanager, Vepp, cPanel/WHM, Plesk — virtual hosting.
  2. VMmanager, VMware vCloud Director — virtual servers.
  3. DCImanager — dedicated servers.
  4. VMware vCloud Director, Microsoft Windows Azure Pack — virtual data centers.
  5. DNSmanager — DNS hosting.
  6. Site builders.

Moreover, BILLmanager enables you to sell SSL-certificates, domain names, backups, and resell services of other hosting providers.

Even if you cannot find a service you want to sell – it is not a problem. Let’s take proxy servers as an example of how to configure provisioning of non-standard services.

How to sell proxy servers in BILLmanager

A proxy server is a gateway between a client’s computer and the Internet. Proxy servers are used for various purposes: they help bypass blocked websites or services, facilitate access to resources, maintain anonymity, and protect a local network.

Let’s assume that we want to sell proxy servers for 200 euros per month. A client signs up at our website, pays for the service, and receives the connection details (the IP address and password).

To sell this service perform the following steps:

  1. Create a new product type.
  2. Specify parameters for the new product type.
  3. Create a custom processing module or connect the existing one.
  4. Configure the tariff plan.
  5. Check the service provisioning procedure.

Step 1. Create a product type

How to create a new product type in BILLmanager

To create a new product type:

  1. Go to the Products section — Product types and click on Add.
  2. Enter the service name in the “Name” field. Eg.”Proxy server”.
  3. Enter its internal name. The name must be unique because it is used for identifying the product type in the billing system and associating a processing module with a certain product type. Eg., proxy.
  4. Set the service deletion policy.
  5. In the “Available payment methods” section select the periods you want to use: day/month/half-a-year/year.
  6. Click on Оk.

Learn more in the article Product types.

Useful tips
If you plan to sell another service, create a product type with the custom name. For example, “ddos protection”.

Step 2. Specify parameters for the new product type

New product type parameters edit form

Specify the service parameters — the information required for service activation. For proxy servers, these are the connection IP address and password.

Parameters for IP address

  1. Go to the Product types section — Proxy server — Parameters.
  2. Click on Add.
  3. Enter the name and the internal name — IP.
  4. Select the checkbox “Show during order”. This will allow specifying the value manually or via the automatic processing module.
  5. Read permissions — “Client”, Edit permissions – “Staff member”. A client will be able to view the connection details, and the admin will be able to edit them if needed.
  6. Select “List” in the Input field type and “Drop-down list” in the Display type field.
  7. Add a description for this parameter in the Hint field, eg., “Proxy IP”
  8. Click on Оk.

Parameters for password

  1. Go to the Product types section — Proxy server — Parameters and click on Add.
  2. Enter “Password” as the name and fill out the forms in the same way as for the “IP address” you have specified above.
  3. Select “String line” in the Input field type.
  4. Do not specify anything in the “Check function” field type. Or you may leave one of the values “Password” or “Alphanumeric”.
  5. Click on Ok.

For more information on how to configure parameters for a new service type please refer to the article — Product type parameters.

Add values for the newly create parameters. In our case add IP addresses of the proxy servers that we will provide. To do so, in the list of parameters select the required one, open the Values tab, and enter the IP addresses.

Edit the parameter values in BILLmanager

In this example, we do not describe the configuration of product add-ons. An add-on is a template that is used for creating additional resources of a tariff plan. A service provider can charge additional fees for such resources. For example, he can limit the number of web domains, disk space or traffic for virtual hosting services. Learn more about add-ons in our documentation Product type details.

Step 2. Create a processing module

The purpose of a processing module is to manage a service: activate, suspend, and modify its parameters. For new products, in BILLmanager you can use manual processing, shell scripts or processing module based on API-requests.

Let’s describe how to connect a manual processing module. It means that an administrator will have to activate and manage a service manually.

How to connect a manual processing module in BILLmanager

To connect a manual processing module:

  1. Go to the Integration section — Processing modules and click on Add.
  2. Select the product type “Proxy server”.
  3. Select the manual processing module.
  4. Leave the default integration settings.
  5. Enter “Proxy” as the processing module name.
  6. Select a department and click on Finish.

A task in BILLmanager
A task in BILLmanager is one or several operations over a service that can be performed only by the company's staff members.

Step 3. Create a tariff plan

How to create a tariff plan for the new service type

After you create the new product type and specify how to process it, you will have to configure a tariff plan. Perform the same steps as for standard services.

  1. Navigate to ProductsTariff plans and click on Add.
  2. Select the product type “Proxy server”.
  3. Enter the name “Proxy server”.
  4. Select the processing module “Proxy”.
  5. Configure a service activation template if you want to send to your customers a service activation email with the IP address and password.
  6. Select the service order page.
  7. Set prices for different order periods.
  8. Set policies for this tariff
  9. Add a description and the service icon.

Step 4. Check an order

Now let’s check how the service order procedure looks like:

  1. Drill down to the user level: select a client in the Clients section — Users and click on Log in.
  2. Select the tariff plan you have created and pay for the order. We select “Proxy server”.

Go back to the admin level. In the Tools section — Tasks you will see the task “Service activation” for the tariff plan “Proxy server”.

The service activation procedure looks like this:

  1. A staff member assigns the task to himself (the button Assign to me).
  2. He fills out the fields “IP address” and “Password”.
  3. Clicks on “Close”.
  4. The service status will change to “Active”.
  5. If you have configured notifications, the client will receive the service activation email with the connection details.
  6. If you have not configured notifications, the client will find the IP address and password in the service properties form in his Client area.

When the client deletes the service or stops paying for it, the responsible department will receive a service deletion/suspension task. A staff member will have to close the access to the proxy server for this client (for example, he can reset the password) and close the task.

The next step is an automatic processing module!

With BILLmanager, you can automate routine operations. In our example, we managed to optimize the service provisioning process.

As long as your business grows and you require full automation, you can write an automatic processing module. This will take some time but it’s worth it! Please refer to our article How to add a custom processing module for more information.

Darya Ponamarchuk

ISPsystem Technical support specialist