Project Management

Review: Web Help Desk

Web Help Desk is for any IT department who needs to track clients and assets, as well as keep an associated calendar, and see reports on all of it.

Every IT department would love to have a help desk application that was easy to use, easy to manage, and actually helped to make their job easier. And there are a ton of possibilities out there. There are ticketing systems, and inventory systems, and full blown help desk systems. One of those systems, Web Help Desk has a lot to offer, is a breeze to install and maintain, and really makes the IT department feel like they are in charge of their world. Let's take a look and see if it's the right tool for you.

Specifications

  • Supported operating systems: Mac OS X server 10.4 or greater, Windows 2000 or greater, Red Hat Linux (and derivatives), Debian Linux (and derivatives), and Sun Solaris 8 or greater.
  • Hardware Requirements: 768MB RAM, 1GB disk space
  • Supported databases: MySQL 5 or greater, MS SQL 2000 or greater, Oracle 8i or greater, OpenBase SQL, PostgresSQL 8 or greater, and Frontbase 4 or greater.
  • Pricing: Commercial - Free for a single Tech, Lite Edition is $180-$300 per Tech, and Pro Edition is $480-$900 per Tech. A "Tech" is defined as a named login on the system. There is also pricing for non-profits.
  • Additional vendor information
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Who's it for?

Web Help Desk is for any IT department (or consulting firm) who needs to keep track of clients, assets (and their associated tickets), as well as keep an associated calendar, and see reports on all of it.

What problem does it solve?

Web Help Desk helps the IT staff and the consulting firm to keep their trouble tickets and assets managed. In this industry it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. Getting lost means losing clients and that means losing bottom line. Web Help Desk can help to keep that from happening with an outstanding ticket management system.

Standout features

  • Plenty of reporting against tickets
  • Easy Web interface
  • Incredibly simple installation
  • Automatically assign technicians to jobs
  • Client request forms and client self-help
  • Email based ticket submissions
  • Billing and invoicing
  • iCalendar integration
  • Email alerts
  • Powerful search tool against clients, tickets, assets, purchase orders, and FAQs

What's wrong?

The biggest issue I have found with Web Help Desk is that it cannot monitor systems. The integration of a real-time system monitor and alert would make Web Help Desk the perfect solution for IT consulting firms. Another issue is that Web Help Desk includes remote support for Apple, but no other platform.

Competitive Products:

Bottom line for business

With free (free), Lite ($180-$300 per tech), and Pro ($480-$900 per tech) editions, Web Help Desk has an offering for just about anyone. It is a reliable, easy to use means to keep your IT staff or your consulting firm organized and on the job quickly. Web Help Desk empowers both the technician and the client to ensure that systems are up and running and the flow of information about said systems is smooth and simple.

User rating

Have you encountered or used Web Help Desk? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

7 comments
Bogdan Peste
Bogdan Peste

We use GLPI for ticket management. It's free, you can integrate it with OCS Reports for a list of computers/software/devices etc. You can also integrate it with AD, for better user management. Worth checking it out.

Mycah Mason
Mycah Mason

We use SysAid by Ilient and it works pretty good. I believe the licensing is very similar (free for one user, or about $300 for 3 users ...I might be a little off). It has a lot of customization, but since we are very small we are only using the default settings etc. It does have a monitoring tool, but a few versions back I stopped using it since I know it was not reporting all hardware correctly (RAM comes to mind). But that was 2-3 years ago and there have been some major version upgrades since then, maybe it works fine now. Also, it uses a DB so it is easily (automated) backed up. I have mine backup once a day and keep the most recent 7 backups ...and I get an email alert. I would recommend at least checking it out.

TheShadowKnows
TheShadowKnows

I haven't tried this piece of software but it sounds very similar to the software I am taking a look into currently. Spiceworks (http://www.spiceworks.com/) has all these mentioned features and will monitor your hardware. You can create alerts for low disk space, low toner, and for when specific software is installed. Great documentation helps you every step of the way. The software is free but has a sidebar to display ads. Worth a look as an option.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What application does your company use to manage the help desk? Are you satisfied with that system?

otaku_lord
otaku_lord

I have used Spiceworks and it does a good job as long as all of your systems actually register correctly. The biggest issue was getting the client installed and working properly on ALL systems. When it does work it worked EXCEPTIONALLY well but when it didn't work... it didn't work at all.

AlexChampness
AlexChampness

We have been using spiceworks now for a couple of years and found it excellent. It is free to use but if you want to remove the adverts you can pay but it is still cheap. The best thing is the ticketing system where you set Spiceworks to monitor an exchange mailbox so users can email a problem directly to spiceworks creating a new ticket. Also has network mapping, Inventory, monitoring, reporting, exchange health, Sql health monitoring, licencing and a multitude of free bolt ons. Definitely worth a try.

Compuhorsy
Compuhorsy

The Spiceworks helpdesk is web-based. There is no workstation client for the helpdesk part. Spiceworks does basic network monitoring without even having snmp or wmi configured. Of course, you get more and better info if you do have stuff configured properly. Some of the plugins that you can add to Spiceworks do have a workstation component to configure - usually snmp, wmi or a provided piece of software.

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