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The Best Web Hosting Panel cPanel VS Direct Admin VS Plesk

Having the right control panel for your VPS/VDS or Dedicated server is key for the management of anything on your server. In this article we will help you decide what we think is best and have chosen industry’s top 3 panels as examples.

cPanel

With a wide feature set and an easy to learn interface cPanel is by far the most recognized control panel in the industry, and with good reason! Most commercial Linux web hosts tend to use this control panel. In addition, it’s massive popularity means that there plenty of how-to articles and videos available to teach you how to use cPanel. And there is even a feature called Fantastico that installs common free software packages like WordPress with a single click. So if you don’t want to spend days learning a complex control panel, cPanel is a great choice.
cPanel even comes with a feature called Web Host Manager (WHM). It’s gives you complete control over your server and allows you to create user accounts and perform basic web host and control panel maintenance. While cPanel is more for the end user, WHM is for the server administrator.
There is one caveat, however. cPanel is mostly a Linux/Unix control panel. There is a beta build for the 64 bit version of Windows Server 2008, but it is quite unstable.

Pros:

  • Popular – cPanel was initially released in 1996 and is considered the most popular control panel in the market. Since it has been in the business for so long, customers prefer it because they know it is of top quality.
  • Highly Functional – Many third party programs can be added on cPanel. Some examples are script installers that automate the installation and updating in web applications. Script installers like Fantastico, Installatron, Softaculous and WHMSonic are just a few among the list.
  • Easy to Use – The design of cPanel is not complicated and is completely user-friendly. Most hosting providers agree that it is easier to operate because its graphical user interface is simpler to use.
  • Fast Loading Times – The intuitive design allows cPanel to perform fast and efficiently on the server. Unlike the other control panels, it does not use an external database for backend support.
  • Regular Upgrades – cPanel’s functionality is being upgraded from time to time to ensure that customers will be using cutting-edge technology.
  • Multiple Website Management – With just a single hosting account, customers will be able to manage multiple websites easily.
  • Suitability – cPanel is perfect for small to medium websites.
  • Excellent Reseller Support – With the WHM (Web Host Manager) offer of cPanel, a reseller has the ability to create hosting packages, delete or put an account on hold, and monitor resource usage

Cons:

  • Platform Specific – cPanel is only available in Linux platforms, so this is not preferable for customers who use Windows- or Mac-based platforms.
  • Cost – Web hosting services that use cPanel are costlier compared to other control panels.
  • Simplicity – Due to the simple GUI design of cPanel, some webmasters think that it will not be able to meet their complex needs.
  • Resources Required – Larger websites that require resource maximization may not opt for cPanel as cPanel itself requires a sizable amount of server resources.
  • Tedious Maintenance – Due to the regular upgrade in the cPanel’s functionality, it may include more bugs. As such, it requires frequent updates and application of patches to make sure that the fixes are being applied.

Weighing the pros and cons of the cPanel control panel will surely help in deciding whether to choose it or not. With proper evaluation, you can avoid making the wrong decision when choosing a product. This way, you will not have regrets once you finally decide whether to purchase it or not.

 

Direct Admin

DirectAdmin is another Linux control panel that has a bit of a cult following. This control panel has nowhere near the market penetration of cPanel, but many network admins swear by it.
DirectAdmin is a significantly lighter control panel than cPanel, meaning that if your server has limited resources, it is often a better choice. It is also not tied into the operating system like cPanel is, meaning that a DirectAdmin crash will not take down your server. Admins also seem to like how it handles subdomains, where it gives each it’s own filesystem rather than having it as a subdirectory.

Being a lightweight control panel, DirectAdmin will never be able to compete with cPanel on features. cPanel has a more robust plugin system and far more plugins. cPanel also can manage your server in addition to the data on it.

But if you want a lightweight interface and don’t mind having a limited selection of hosts to choose from, DirectAdmin could be for you.

 

Pros:

  • Direct Admin is much cheaper than both two, CPanel and Plesk, this benefits new users, who aren’t looking to spend too much money massively!
  • A minimum 512 megabytes of memory is needed to run Direct Admin, this is more efficient than CPanel, which utilizes a minimum of 712 megabytes of ram, so it is essential for low memory servers.
  • Direct Admin is by far the most simplistic out of the three, defiantly recommended for those new users!

Cons:

  • Direct Admin carries very few plugins and other resources.
  • Direct Admin is not as sophisticated, and does not support as much as CPanel does.

 

Plesk

cPanel and DirectAdmin are great, but they only work on Linux servers. Plesk has no such restrictions.

Next to cPanel, Plesk is probably the most common control panel running on various web hosts. It’s a robust cross-platform alternative to cPanel that has many features that cPanel could only dream of. One of the biggest is cluster support. If you have multiple servers, you can control all of them from a single control panel. While there has been some success hacking cPanel into a clustered configuration, Plesk easily trumps it’s competition on this front. Another nifty feature is tight integration into the Windows Services architecture, making control of SQL servers and the like simple.
Plesk is not without it’s own problems, however. The biggest is performance. Particularly on Linux, Plesk can run like molasses in the winter. Of course not many admins use it on Linux because of how difficult it is to integrate Linux software packages, so perhaps that doesn’t matter too much.

Pros:

  • Plesk provides much better support towards automation, for example, the package includes an XML-PRC interface, which allows PHP, or Perl scripts, to call functions optionally, through a remote computer.
  • Plesk has, pre-installed, a large range of plugins. There are also many more which you may find and install yourself, this is a great feature to the panel!
  • For unlimited domain licenses, Plesk is cheaper to purchase at $800, as opposed to cPanel’s $1,250.
  • Plesk also supports SuSE Linux.

Cons:

  • Plesk is the less popular option of panel’s, as it is harder to use and navigate around, which is why, generally, most people stay away from it.

 

Overview:

cPanel – Easiest to use with the most bells and whistles

DirectAdmin – Easy to use and extremely stable because of its simplicity

Plesk – Has great support for clustering and a good SiteBuilder. This is slightly harder to use than cPanel or Direct Admin

 

We hope that we have helped you when looking for your web hosting panel of choice.

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