Effective Date: September, 2013
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Server Usage Analysis Data Collection Policy
At cPanel, we love our customers and users. We also love our products and want to make them better, just as many of you do. To make our products better we need to make timely and informed decisions. While we'd certainly enjoy talking to every single customer and user to get valuable instantaneous information, it simply isn't practical.
In order to make these informed decisions we collect various data regarding serverusage and configuration. Based upon the analysis of this collected data we can make sound decisions in the best interest of everyone.
What data does cPanel collect?
There are three different categories of information collected: (i) error reports, (ii) server configuration data, and (iii) server usage logs. Below is a categorical list of the files sent to cPanel for analysis.
What does cPanel do with this data?
We look for trends that can feed into product development. Here are some examples.
From the cPanel error log (/usr/local/cpanel/logs/error_log) and the cPanel update log (/var/cpanel/updatelogs/latest) we can determine:
- The overall health of product releases
- How often different errors occur
- Whether error messages should be added or improved
- Whether we need to make changes to a released product to address new errors
An examination of the various files that comprise the server configuration can help in the following ways:
- A better understanding of common ways people configure cPanel & WHM can prioritize improvements in those areas
- We can identify educational opportunities from common misconfigurations
- Which optional applications are installed most?
- We can focus development attention to improving those applications in future releases.
- How many installations of certain third-party applications exist?
- A large number of installations can build the business case for existing feature requests.
- Which features in EasyApache are most commonly built?
- This can guide development to improve those features or promote them to standard features in the cPanel-provided profiles.
- Are there settings that are rarely, or never used, and could be removed from the product?
Finally, the access log (/usr/local/cpanel/logs/access_log) can help with the following analysis:
- How important is it for us to support browsers on older platforms? For example, IE 8 on Windows XP.
- If a large number of users are still using these platforms, we can include them in our compatibility testing.
- How heavily can we rely upon modern browser technologies, such as HTML 5?
- We can add support for these technologies if their popularity and usage grows.
- Which features are used most in cPanel & WHM?
- We can focus the development effort in those areas to improve widely used features.
- Are there features that do not get used as often?
- We can determine if a feature should be removed or consolidated with other seldom used features.
- Which features do cPanel & WHM users spend most of their time?
- This allows us to know where usability analysis should focus for future improvements.
- Which geographical regions show an increase in the popularity of cPanel & WHM?
- Using this information, we can prioritize the translation of languages of those areas to provide an easier to understand interface and more relaxed user experience.
Right, I bet cPanel is really selling this data to marketing agencies for $$$!
We don't like it when people sell our own usage data and we aren’t going to sell yours. We DO NOT sell or otherwise distribute the data we collect. The collected data is solely for the use of cPanel, Inc., and will not be released, in any form, to any other party (except for when cPanel, Inc., is required to do so pursuant to a valid court order or governmental subpoena).
What safeguards is cPanel taking with this data?
All data collected is stored internally on cPanel-owned and controlled servers. It is submitted via SSL. The number of people who have physical access to the machines, raw data, and reports is restricted to as few as possible.
Is the data collection an opt-in program?
No. Both the Error Reports and Server Configuration data are opt-out. The Server Usage data is opt-in.
The first time the server admin logs into cPanel & WHM version 11.40, a choice is presented to participate in the data collection.
I don't like this, please stop!
Data collection is an uncomfortable thought for many. If you do not wish to participate, please do the following:
- Log into the WHM interface with root privileges
- Click Tweak Settings
- Click Off for the following settings:
- Send error reports to cPanel for analysis
- Send information about server configuration to cPanel for analysis
- Send information about server usage to cPanel for analysis
If you wish to have already collected data purged from our analytics system, please do the following:
- Open a support request (https://tickets.cpanel.net)
- In the body of the request provide:
- A request that your server data be purged from our data analysis system
- A list of your servers with both the hostname and IP address (to ensure we
get the proper servers)