Checking license on a server

Information about the license used by the DirectAdmin can be checked using GUI. It is available on the Admin level in Support & Help -> Licensing page.

Standard license

What is legacy licenses and legacy codebase?

In the past, DirectAdmin operated on a hybrid codebase where available features depended on the license used. Some licenses received a core feature-set, while other licenses received an additional feature-set known as Pro Pack.

Due to diminishing interest in core-only products, DirectAdmin has unified its codebase by dropping the Pro Pack concept and simply including all features in licenses that are for sale as of August 1, 2023. These licenses are:

  • Personal PLUS
  • Lite
  • Standard

All other license types are considered legacy because they are no longer available for sale. These products will be maintained separately under a legacy codebase.

The licensing section of the control panel will show if you are running a legacy license:

Demo legacy license

Users of legacy licenses may continue to run the DirectAdmin service with the understanding that their codebase will receive limited maintenance. For the purposes of licensing infrastucture compatibility, security fixes, and other development, the legacy codebase will increase version number in accordance with our changelog. However, it should not be assumed that items listed in the changelog are guaranteed to exist in the legacy codebase.

Servers using legacy products can seamlessly upgrade to the unified codebase by applying a new license key. However, downgrading to the legacy codebase is not supported.

What is a Limited license?

A limited license is the same as any other DirectAdmin license type, except that it causes DirectAdmin to have a reduced maximum number of items. You can see your limits, if any are set, at your Admin Level -> Licenses/Updates page.

For the "Lite" and "Personal" license types, the limits are the number of accounts and the number of domains allowed on a server.

Account Limit

The account limit is the total sum of all DirectAdmin accounts on the system. This includes all Users, Resellers and Admin accounts. With the default install, the presence of the 1st Admin account constitutes a total of 1 account on the system. Creating a User below that would then be 2 accounts, etc.

Domain Limits

The number of domains DirectAdmin will count refers to the number of actively used domains on the system for all services. This refers to any Domain or Domain Pointer under at any account's User Level. This does not include stand-alone DNS zones, which have no limit (can be used for DNS clustering, without limits, regardless of the domain limit).

Exceeding your limits

If you've either downgraded your license or somehow ended up with more items than your limit allows, DirectAdmin will go into an over-limit mode, where many core feature are disabled until your remove items to lower your limit.

Disabled features in this 'over-limit' mode GUI:

  • User Level
    • Domain Creation
    • Account Creation
    • Subdomain Creation
    • Modify Domain
    • User Dns Control
    • MX Records
    • DNSSEC Control
    • E-Mail actions
    • DKIM Controls
    • Setting Catch-All
    • Forwarder actions
    • Vacation actions
    • Autoresponder actions
    • Mailing List action
    • User Databases
    • FTP account actions
    • SSL Certificate actions
    • Create Ticket
    • View Ticket
    • close/read Ticket
    • FileManager: various actions
    • actions on Protected Directories
    • Create/Edit Crons
    • Site Redirection
    • Restore Site Backup
    • Rename Domain
    • SSH Keys
    • SpamAssassin
  • Reseller Level
    • IP Manager actions
    • Name Servers
    • Skins page actions
    • Reseller Backup Crons
    • Reseller Backup Restore
  • Admin Level
    • Create DNS Zone
    • Add DNS data
    • IP Manager: Add IP
    • Admin Backup Crons
    • Admin Backup Restore
    • Custom HTTPD actions/view domains
    • Plugin Manager actions
    • Multi-Server Setup actions
    • Move Users between creators
  • Background Tasks
    • All Tally types
    • Cluster Syncs
    • Backup Crons
    • Restore any Backup
    • All LetsEncrypt tasks

Note that the list of features that are disabled when in 'over-limit mode' can change at any time.
The ability to reduce the number of items in the limit will never be disabled, as you're intended to use it to have DirectAdmin return into the normal state.
For most disabled areas, you can usually still delete items. Feature 'actions' refers to a state-change item, often related to a POST.
As you can see, the functionality drops significantly, and we'll likely be adding even more blocks, with the exception of Backup creation scheduled for "Now", Account Deletion, and Domain/Pointer Deletion. Everything else is fair game.

License Expired

This is a collection of most common licensing errors and solutions on how to solve them.

All licensing related errors will be visible in DirectAdmin service log. You can check it with:

journalctl -u directadmin

Permanent license error 'invalid license key'

This error means you do not have a valid license key configured on your server. Please check you license key in Client Account Areaopen in new window.

Enter your License Key (LK):

Then run the following command:

/usr/local/directadmin/scripts/ 'Provided license key should go here'

Permanent license error 'lost license session'

This error means your license was used on another server or you reached maximum amount of servers allowed to use for this license.

For example if you restored your server from a backup on another machine two DirectAdmin instances will use the same license. The last server started will run fine but the first one will receive a permanent license error.

You can check which server is using you license in Client Account Areaopen in new window.

If you license was grabbed by another server by accident, just restart DirectAdmin service on the main server and it will re-claim the license.

If you do not recognize the server using your license it might mean that your license key got leaked or stolen. Please use reset license key function in Client Account Areaopen in new window and configure your server to use new license key.

Request failed: ... context deadline exceeded'

This error occurs if DirectAdmin service can not reach licensing servers for license validation.

Please make sure you are not blocking requests to our licensing system servers at

Following commands might help you troubleshoot licensing servers reachability issues:

dig +short   # should return licensing server IP addresses
curl # should return HTML contents of our licensing page

If you are unable to find the root cause please open a support ticket.

Transient license error 'too many requests, try again later'

Licensing servers allow license to be claimed by another server but not often than once every 10 minutes. If you have multiple servers continuously restarting and fighting for the same license you will start receiving too many requests, try again later errors.

Please make sure only one DirectAdmin instance is running. You can check what server is using you license in Client Account Areaopen in new window.

Wait for 10 minutes and start DirectAdmin service on the server you want.

Transient license error 'license is IP restricted'

Each license can have IP restrictions enabled. This error means you are trying to use a license from IP address which is not in the license allowed IP ranges.

You can manage allowed IP ranges in Client Account Areaopen in new window.

Note: For dual-stack servers you need to white-list both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses or address ranges.

Transient license error 'request time is out of sync'

You server clock is not set to current time. Make sure you server clock is set correctly.

Instructions on setting system clock.

Transient license error 'license is not active'

Check Client Account Areaopen in new window.

Transient license error 'license is not verified'

Check Client Account Areaopen in new window.

Transient license error 'license is suspended'

Check Client Account Areaopen in new window.

Transient license error 'license is expired'

Check Client Account Areaopen in new window.

Updating your DirectAdmin license manually

Starting DirectAdmin version 1.63.8 license file is a simple plain-text file where the contents of the file is License Key. License key file location is /usr/local/directadmin/conf/license.key.

You can read License Key with command:

cat /usr/local/directadmin/conf/license.key

Replace it with using commands:

echo 'Provided license key should go here' > /usr/local/directadmin/conf/license.key
chmod 0600 /usr/local/directadmin/conf/license.key
systemctl restart directadmin

Note: If license key is being modified manually please make sure it is not readable by other users. Stolen license key can disrupt your server if used elsewhere.

My old server does not support new SSL Protocols, but I need to update my license

Older OSs like CentOS 4 do not support TLSv1.2, so will not be able to use https connections for most websites (you should update your OS).

DirectAdmin can not work in a server that is unable to establish secure connections.

Troubleshooting broken license

All licensing related errors will be visible in DirectAdmin service log. You can check it with:

journalctl -u directadmin

Most common licensing errors and solutions re listed in the License Expired section.

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