Technical Overview of DoOO

When we provide an introduction for new schools one of the things I’ve started doing is to provide a conceptual overview of how the various pieces of a Domain of One’s Own work together. There are three applications that work together to make the Domain of One’s Own setup work:

WordPress

The venerable WordPress is in many ways the face of a Domain of One’s Own installation. We describe WordPress as a wrapper in which we embed cPanel. In fact, that is literally what is happening, we are using various functions and API calls in WordPress to both create and embed cPanel within the Dashboard page of WordPress.

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Why WordPress?

  1. Oftentimes folks are familiar with it so it makes it easy for administrators of Domain of One’s Own to get up and running given they often have used it before.
  2. Given the robust open source development community around WordPress, it provides us with all kinds of pre-written code to integrate features such as single sign-on, ghosting as another user, and more.

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^CPanel is embedded within a page in WordPress using functions and API calls to WHM and WHMCS

In this regard, WordPress is the place users will log in with their school credentials, which will be checked against the single sign-on system, and then they are passed into the Dashboard that is embedding pages from both WHMCS and cPanel. And this might be a good moment to jump to the next application we use…

WHMCS

If WordPress is the face of the project, and the wrapper for cPanel, then WHMCS is the almost invisible gateway between WordPress and the cPanel server (known as WHM). As a user, you only see WHMCS for a brief time while you are signing up for your web hosting account:

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The screens above are the only time a user will be “within” WHMCS. While you are still technically in WordPress, these order forms are being pulled from WHMCS, which is a client management software that creates new user accounts and automatically provisions cPanel behind the scenes. In many ways, it is simply a bridge between WordPress and the cPanel server (WHM). 

WHM

Finally, we have WHM (which stands for WebHost Manager) and this is the cPanel software that you use for creating a shared web hosting server. CPanel is the web hosting industry standard, which provides a lot of continuity for folks who want to take their work elsewhere. WHM is where the cPanel experience can be customized and managed. You can change storage quotas, check the firewall for blocked IP addresses, manage Installatron settings, manage the email queue, and much more.

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We will get into the various tasks you can perform through WHM in other articles, but for now, it is important to understand that WHM is the software that manages the cPanel accounts, and we are pulling those individual accounts back into the DoOO WordPress homepage using various functions and API calls to get this:

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CPanel is now embedded within the Dashboard page of the WordPress site based on user credentials mediated through the school’s single sign-on service.

And that is the way in which the three major systems we use at Reclaim Hosting to build Domain of One’s Own operates. DoOO can look and feel different per institution based on how it can be customized, and we'll jump into that in other articles. 

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