Those that require Web Hosting often look for the most easy method for managing their servers using a Control Panel. As we all know, the easiest way is with a simple graphical user interface to ease the painful PHP, MySQL and Administration Management tasks – Particularly setup and configuration! There are several web control panels fighting for top position, and continually improving on their service.
One of the most common questions our Virtual Server, Cloud Server, and Dedicated Server customers as is – Which FREE Control Panel do you recommend? Followed by a month or so later, if I was to pay for a Control Panel, which one would you recommend? At the end of the day, it is always depending on both your budget, and your requirements. To help answer these two questions, lets look at some of the most popular options they are available today.
General Web Control Panel Features
Typically, free and paid control panels offer a common set of features to get your websites up and running. Features will vary by platform, so it’s all about assessing your current and future requirements against what is available on the market.
Most Web Hosting Control Panels feature –
- Email Management – Email Accounts, Email Quotas, Forwarding/Redirects, Spam Prevention, and so forth,
- FTP Management – User Accounts, Password Management, File System Quotas, and so forth,
- Database Management – MySQL, MariaDB, and sometimes support for other database systems,
- Domain Management – Top level Web Domains, DNS, Sub-domains and so forth,
- File Management System – Web Browser based file management system for adding, editing and removing files.
- Backup Systems – Automated/Manual backup systems locally, via FTP, SFTP or SCP.
- Log File Access
- HTTPS (SSL)
- Website Statistic Reporting
Control Panel Reviews
cPanel is most popular web control on the market today, with a very active user base and outstanding support. cPanel is a web control panel tool for website owners and hosting companies. cPanel includes WHM (Web Host Manager) that offers a GUI server administration tool.
cPanel/WHM is jam packed with features versus other control panels available today. cPanel is only available on Linux, however it can be supported using it’s Enkompass product.
cPanel is our #1 recommended paid control panel of choice.
Plesk follows closely behind cPanel as the second most popular web control panel. Plesk supports both Linux and Windows. It comes in multiple editions, each specially designed for specific hosting requirements. Generally, the user interface and design is slightly clearer than cPanel.
Looking at the Feature list, both cPanel and Plesk pack very similar features.
DirectAdmin is a much more lightweight web control panel that supports Linux. Versus cPanel and Plesk it doesn’t pack as many features, but it has the basics of a control panel, including multi-customer setups which means hosting providers can use DirectAdmin to sell web hosting.
5wire Networks originally started with DirectAdmin, and for managed solutions today would highly recommend DirectAdmin.
InterWorx comes with 2 versions –
- NodeWorx – Server Management
- SiteWorx – Website Management
InterWorx comes with a great plugin system which allows for easy and quick installs of applications.
ISPmanager supports Linux. It’s a flexible and relatively easy to use control panel. ISPmanager offers two editions, both able to handle unlimited domains and users.
- ISPmanager Lite – Designed for managing Virtual Servers and Dedicated Servers
- ISPmanager Business – Designed for Shared or Reseller hosting
ISPmanager is much more cost effective versus other paid web control panel platforms available on the market. Many users find ISPmanager a better value control panel for their requirements.
Core-Admin is designed as a centralized and highly connected solution that provides instant access and management to multiple severs using a single credential over a secure connection. Core-Admin includes an advanced permission system and monitoring software.
Froxlor is a lightweight open source server management software with an easy to user web based interface. Froxlor includes IPv6 support, advanced SSL, a support ticketing, and an integrated reseller-customer messaging system.
Vesta Control Panel is Open Source web hosting control panel with premium features, secure, advanced and minimalistic design. Vesta uses Nginx as a reverse proxy to sit in front of Apache to handle requests, and make your server perform and scale much better.
Zpanel is a free and complete web hosting control panel for Microsoft® Windows™ and POSIX (Linux, UNIX and MacOSX) based servers. The Zpanel interface is clean and packed full of features.
Note: Zpanel hasn’t been updated since March 2014)
Webmin is an open-source web control panel system for administrators of Linux. It is packed with modules for configuring server serices. Cloudmin is a GUI based service for managing virtual serverson OpenVZ, Xen and KVM.
ISPConfig is most of the most popular open-source web control panels available with great enterprise support. ISPConfig claim to get over 40,000 downloads per month, offering the ease of managing single/multiple servers all from one control panel.
CentOS Web Panel
CentOS Web Panel is an open-source web control panel for the CentOS Linux operating system. It has a rich feature set that can square up to most other web panel solutions on the market. CentOS Web Panel does not support multi-server.
Unfortunately I have missed some of the other Open Source control panels out there, but get in touch if you have any recommendations and we can write a short review!
Our team will add guides on how to install each Control Panel listed above on the different Unix / Windows platforms to make it easier for you to get up and running.