Perhaps the biggest new feature of Virtualmin 5.0 is the new Authentic Theme. This theme has been in development for about a year, and is a major overhaul of how things look and feel in Virtualmin. The project was started by Ilia Rostovtsev, and we’ve been working with him ever since to integrate various features, and to make Webmin and Virtualmin more themeable. Authentic has been available from the beginning, but it’s now the official theme for Virtualmin, and is fully supported, and Ilia has joined the Virtualmin team.
Aside from looking really cool, and being, by far, the best theme yet for Webmin and Virtualmin, it has a lot of flexibility that older themes didn’t have. It is responsive, so it scales down to small devices like phones and tablets without having to use a separate theme, as we’ve done in the past in Virtualmin. So, in Virtualmin 5.0 you no longer need the Virtualmin Mobile Theme to manage your servers from your phone. This has the pleasant side effect that even more of Virtualmin, pretty much all of it, and all of Webmin, is available to you on mobile devices.
The new theme is also more configurable than previous themes. You can choose from a wide variety of display options and behaviors. One of my favorite new features is the ability to choose from several color schemes. This makes it easier to keep up with which Virtualmin system you’re looking at, if you have more than one, or which account you’re logged in with if you switch between root and Virtualmin domain owner users.
I won’t go into detail about all the configurable options, but I do want to point out the cool hotkeys feature. These hotkeys allow you to jump around in Virtualmin and Webmin quickly.
The search box in the new version has gotten some major improvements, and has multiple modes of operation to make it more useful. When on the Webmin tab and you start typing, the field will autocomplete to matching module names, so you can quickly get to any module in Webmin by typing and then selecting it from the autocomplete list. Or, when you’re on the Virtualmin tab, it will find pages specific to the domain you have selected. But, that’s not all the search box can do! If you know what you want, but don’t know where it is, or don’t know how it works, you can type in a couple of keywords, and it will search through the Webmin online help files, the Webmin wiki, and all of the forms within Webmin.
Authentic also has a favorites feature, which acts a little like a bookmark, but it allows you to save the pages you use most often, especially those that are deep in the menu hierarchy and maybe not as easy to get to as you might like.
I like to use it as a quick way to get to the database editor for specific domains, but it works for any page within Virtualmin or Webmin, like this Running Processes page from Webmin, sorted by CPU usage. What I think is really cool about this is that it keeps up with the page and query string so it takes you to exactly the same place, rather than just to the right module.
The new Authentic Theme also supports Usermin. For webmail, this is a very nice improvement over the old themes. While Virtualmin still provides RoundCube in both Virtualmin GPL and Professional, I think with the new theme, Usermin becomes a much more attractive option for webmail, and has the benefit of being tightly integrated with Webmin and Virtualmin. It also has GPG encryption, a reasonable address book, spam and virus reporting, auto-responder, and powerful mail filters built in.
Also new in this release is support for a new HTML5 file manager, that’s been in development for several months. Alexandr Bezenkov built Filemin initially, and Jamie and Ilia have been working with him to integrate it fully into both Virtualmin and Authentic Theme. Hotkeys in Authentic also work in the file manager. If you’re familiar with Midnight Commander hotkeys, you’ll immediately be comfortable with the new file manager, as they’re the same!
New Text Editor
Check this out: The file manager has a really nice code editor with syntax highlighting!
PHP 7 and Improved Support for Multiple PHP Versions
Virtualmin has had support for multiple PHP versions for many years, but 5.0 introduces much more flexible support for any number of versions of PHP, including PHP7. On CentOS, the Software Collections Library has improved remarkably in recent months and has been expanded to include many additional PHP versions and variants, and Virtualmin now automatically detects and supports PHP installed from SCL.
Let’s Encrypt Beta Support
Let’s Encrypt is a project to provide free, automatic, TLS/SL certificates. It has recently reached open beta status, and Virtualmin users have been clamoring for easy support. With 5.0, Virtualmin allows easy creation and management of Let’s Encrypt certificates. There’s now a great reason to encrypt every website!
Domain Count Scalability
One of the big features of Virtualmin 5.0 is something that is almost completely invisible. And, most Virtualmin administrators will never see it. But, if you run a very large Virtualmin operation, Virtualmin 5.0 will be a real boon. We’ve re-factored a number of data structures and the caching implementation for domain data to make it capable of dealing with many more domains without slowing down. Prior to 5.0 Virtualmin would begin to slow down once you had a few thousand domains. Depending on hardware, it could handle perhaps 10,000 domain accounts before getting bogged down too much. Today, it can handle about ten times as many accounts.
Of course, I’m not suggesting you rush out and try to host 100,000 busy WordPress websites on a single server. But, Virtualmin won’t be the bottleneck; other services will become bogged down before that point. Realistically, most users never run into these kinds of limits, because most users have dynamic websites that require more resources than a single system could provide anyway. But, some of our larger shared hosting customers had begun to run into those limits for their low-cost hosting offerings, which generally include mostly static sites, landing pages, and domain parking services. Virtualmin is now a reasonable management choice for many of those kinds of services in many situations, where it wasn’t in the past.
Virtualmin Professional Features in 5.0
While all of the above changes are available in both Virtualmin GPL and Virtualmin Professional, there are a few new things exclusive to Virtualmin Professional.
Cloudmin Connect Included with Virtualmin Unlimited
One of the features we’re most excited about is Cloudmin Connect. Cloudmin Connect is a combination of an existing product, Cloudmin for Physical Servers, and a product that’s been in closed beta for a while called Cloudmin Services. Cloudmin Connect is now a standard part of Virtualmin Unlimited as well as any Cloudmin Professional license. We’ve also made it available as a standalone license for Virtualmin GPL and smaller Virtualmin Professional versions. Cloudmin Connect is now cheaper than Cloudmin for Physical Servers used to be, and provides Cloudmin Services at no extra cost, so it’s a great value for anyone who has more than one Virtualmin server to manage.
Cloudmin Connect makes managing multiple Virtualmin, Webmin, and plain old Linux, servers easier, and makes it easy to delegate hosting of some services, specifically DNS, database, and mail scanning, to separate systems. So, with Cloudmin Connect, you can add domains, search for domains, manage software updates, see system analytics data, migrate domains, across any number of Virtualmin systems.
And, you can host DNS, databases, and mail scanning services, for many Virtualmin systems on centralized servers. This can make scaling easier, managing backups easier, and make it possible to put more domains on fewer servers, since resource intensive services can be pooled on a few very large fast systems and won’t need to run on every Virtualmin system.
Domain owners can still manage their own DNS records, their own databases, and their own mail preferences; the work just happens on another system.
Install Script Updates
As always, this release brings many updated Install Scripts: Drupal, WordPress, NodeJS, MediaWiki, Pydio, Ghost, Roundcube webmail, Joomla, SugarCRM, and many more web applications have been updated to the latest versions. There are well over 100 Install Scripts in the current version of Virtualmin Professional; note that some may require a newer version of PHP or Ruby or Node in order to use some of these applications; Virtualmin 5.0 has improved support for multiple PHP versions. And, if you have trouble getting a specific updated version of PHP or others working, open up a premium ticket and we’ll be able to help you out. Premium support tickets are always free for Virtualmin Professional licensees.
That’s just some of the recent features and updates in Virtualmin.
Ready to Try Virtualmin?
If you’ve never tried Virtualmin before, now is the perfect time. Virtualmin GPL is always free and Open Source, or try Virtualmin Professional for 30 days risk-free. Virtualmin Professional has additional features, powerful system statistics graphs, advanced reseller accounts, and includes premium support.