The web hosting control panel is one of the most important parts, if not the most important part, of any server hosting plan. They are so important that many will decide on their server hosting company based on which control panels they offer! (ServerPronto offers a choice between cPanel and Webmin in case you were wondering!)
With such an importance on web hosting control panels, we figured we’d give you a breakdown and review of the top 6 control panels for web hosting. We will start with a quick look at some important specs and then dive into a summary of each panel.
A brief look at each control panel:
|Control Panel||Free?||OS Support||Frontend||Backend|
|DirectAdmin||No||BSD, Linux||C++||C++, Scripts, PHP|
|H-Sphere||No||BSD, Linux, Windows||Java||Java|
|ISPmanager||No||Linux||C++||C++, Scripts, PHP, Java|
cPanel is, hands down, the most popular control panel out there. Many think that it is the best control panel in the industry, and with good reason too! cPanel combines a simple and easy to use interface with advanced tools which enable it to appeal to both the new user and experienced professional. If you are looking for a server with a great control panel that almost any webmaster will be familiar with, a cPanel equipped dedicated server is going to be your best bet!
Plesk is a great alternative to cPanel because it is available on both Linux and Windows. Plesk excels in areas such as instance clustering support and easy user access management. Plesk is not as popular as cPanel, but it is growing in popularity due to a large number of webmasters using Windows.
DirectAdmin offers an extremely easy to use control panel. It’s popular due to its speed, stability and price point, but cPanel is better designed and more neatly laid out resulting in most webmasters choosing cPanel over DirectAdmin.
H-sphere is offered by Positive Software (or Psoft) and boasts the ability to be used on all major server operating systems. It contains an impressive amount of advanced features which make it great for scalable multi-server cluster setups, but ultimately the focus on advanced features is also its downside as it is one of the most difficult to use control panels.
The biggest advantages of the Webmin control panel is that it is completely free and boast a highly configurable set up using modules. The downside is that it isn’t as nicely designed as cPanel which makes it a little less intuitive and a little more time consuming. If you are looking for a server and don’t want to pay the extra $35 a month for cPanel, a Dedicated Server using Webmin is the way to go!
ISPmanager is commercial solution with a full suite of premium features rivaling many of the top control panels. It’s attractive features and lower price point make it very attractive to end users. In an effort to keep prices as low as possible, support isn’t included in the price, and this can be a con for some, but there is a community forum and documentation to help you solve the problems on your own.
Another drawback is that while ISPmanager is very popular in Eastern European countries, it’s still not one of the most popular panels here in the U.S. This means that some IT staff may not be familiar with the interface, but the interface is quite intuitive and staff will pick it up quickly. Expect ISPmanager to become one of the more popular web hosting control panels as time goes on.