cPanel addresses Microsoft® FrontPage® Extensions

cPanel and WHMMicrosoft® discontinued Linux support for FrontPage® extensions in 2006, so we’re now 11 years down the road and I still see instances of prospects asking about FrontPage®. Some of them simply aren’t keeping up with the hosting industry and others are trying desperately to keep their old sites alive.

Customer support dilemma

Whenever I see hosting providers or web development firms posing queries on web hosting forums about existing clients who refuse to upgrade, this highlights the real dilemma of securing your servers against security breaches, pitting them against, very often, long time clients.

It’s time to move on

There is no security support for FrontPage, so it’s imperative that everyone move on. cPanel / WHM installed Microsoft® FrontPage® extensions until early 2014. At the same time, EasyApache removed FrontPage®.

Tools to remove FrontPage® extensions

In late summer, 2014, cPanel released tools that made it possible for users to remove FrontPage® extensions, and also announced it wouldn’t be supported in any further releases.

How cPanel dealt with upgrades when FrontPage® extensions were still installed

There was always the concern that discontinuing support should not interrupt service for existing users, so cPanel blocked upgrades to its 11.46 release when it was discovered FrontPage® extensions were still installed.

Major releases of cPanel

Since all major releases of cPanel come with 1 year of security support, clients that retain FrontPage® extensions during that timeframe won’t get any updates to their server. They’re essentially forced to remain on the 11.44 release of cPanel / WHM. Additionally, Microsoft® ended client support in early 2014 with FrontPage® 2003.

There are methods to determine if your server is affected

What we’re talking about here are releases 11.44 and earlier since with 11.46, it’s not possible to have  FrontPage® extensions installed. Simply run the command:

if [ -e /usr/local/frontpage/version5.0/bin/owsadm.exe ] ; then echo “Frontpage installed”; else echo “Frontpage not installed”; fi

What if specific cPanel accounts previously used FrontPage® extensions

In instances where you suspect specific cPanel accounts had previously used FrontPage® extensions, you can run another command to list out those accounts:

find /home/ -wholename ‘*/_vti_cnf/*’ -type f | grep -E -v ‘htaccess|virtfs’ | cut -d ‘/’ -f 3 | sort | uniq

To remove FrontPage® extensions

If for example, none of your clients appear to be using FrontPage® extensions, those can easily be removed by running the command (via command line as root):

/scripts/unsetupfp4 –all

Are there workarounds?

Yes, there are workarounds, but with cPanel / WHM 11.44 and earlier, FrontPage® functionality will break whenever EasyApache is recompiled.

How dangerous is it to continue on with FrontPage®

In today’s age of advanced (and disturbing) cybercriminal activities on the Internet, web hosting providers put their clients at risk if their servers are not locked down properly. As a user, you put your own website at risk as well.

The time for FrontPage® has passed

FrontPage® worked well for a good number of years, but its time has passed. Heck, I used FrontPage® to design my very own (first) website, using their tutor. My ISP used it for their corporate website. When I first saw it demo’d, I fell in love with the navigation window. Ah yes, fond memories, but time to move on.

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Steve

Director of Sales and New Business Development at ProlimeHost
Steve's been in the web hosting industry since 1997, helping clients optimize their online solutions from shared hosting and colocation to VPS and dedicated servers.

ProlimeHost specializes in dedicated servers, with data centers in Los Angeles, Utah and Denver. Call +1 877 477 9454 or email us at Sales@ProlimeHost.com. We’re here to help.
Steve

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