Managing your sites is now easier than before!
Anyone who’s ever bought a simple hosting plan has probably used a control panel to manage their website or Linux server.
A hosting control panel provides an easy to use, a manageable user interface so that you can easily manage all aspects of hosting.
Some of the common features of all control panels include FTP management, database management, email management etc. System admin processed are complex in nature and hence a Control panel allows you to do most of it in just a few clicks from a graphical user interface.
Advanced tasks such as server migrations or switching web servers, support a ticket support system and provide monitoring and alert services are also made easy using a Control panel. In early days all the processes were done manually which incurred a huge amount of time whereas it is just a matter of a few minutes now.
cPanel – Best in its class
The most popular and widely used Control Panel is “cPanel”. With an interface so easy to use, cPanel provides Multi-Server management through a standard web browser.
cPanel's easy to use interface allows you to manage multiple email users. Taking charge of domains, databases, files, security, and email is a piece of cake for users, and the host can easily add apps which allow an enormous range of third-party software to be installed with one touch.
cPanel’s WHM (Web Host Manager) is included but runs separately; it provides full back-end administrative access with server configuration and monitoring, backups, transfers and networking all easily managed.
Note: cPanel is only supported on operating systems such as RedHat, CloudLinux, and CentOS.
Plesk – A versatile control manager
Another most popular hosting control panel and a good alternative to cPanel is Plesk. Like cPanel, Plesk control panel makes use of an SSL-enabled web-based GUI, incorporated with frames. However, the Plesk can be used for Windows as well as Linux Servers. Plesk has an intuitive interface much like Windows XP which makes it look more elegant.
You can use Plesk on VPS, shared as well as a dedicated server. Many tasks in Plesk can be automated which results in better ROI by reducing the cost and resources considerably.
DirectAdmin – Affordable and effective
This little program is a graphical and web-based web hosting control panel, specially designed to make administration of websites easier. DirectAdmin is also compatible with several versions of Red Hat, Fedora Core, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, FreeBSD, Ubuntu, and Debian. With CentOS Linux, it is distributed by default.
It is less expensive and is more lightweight than either cPanel or Plesk, lessening server load.
Webmin – Most popular among free open source community
A long-standing choice of system administrators who want a free, full-featured open-source control panel, Webmin is a powerful tool to handle DNS, configuration, webmail, file sharing and the like. It can also become a traditional web hosting control panel with the addition of the Usermin and Virtualmin modules (and can also manage virtual systems with the Cloudmin module). Once the complete system is running, it rivals cPanel for functionality, and it will run on just about any Linux distro.
Ajenti – For all your server needs
Ajenti is a relatively much new product in the market but it has gained a lot of recognition and user acceptance in last few years. It comes along with a wide range of plugins for Apache, Cron, DHCPD, NFSD, Iptables, MySQL, Netatalk, NGINX, PostgreSQL, Samba, and many more. You can also view basic server information such as RAM in use, free disk space, etc. Ajenti takes care of cron, nameservers, file management.
Ajenti has a simple and streamlined interface which anyone can master quickly, and it does a nice job. What it doesn’t do is offer many of the deep management functions of cPanel or Webmin, but it’s worth looking at if you are just searching for a control panel which will handle the basics of server management without a learning curve or steep price.