Web Hosting Control Panel Comparison 2019

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After the drama and panic in the last few weeks regarding the changes in the control panel landscape and in particular the changes at cPanel, many are now contemplating switching control panels. But what options are currently available? An overview below.

DirectAdmin

In development since 2003 and written in C++, DirectAdmin has been around for ages and it shows. It is a fully featured yet lightweight control panel that just works. DirectAdmin requires knowledge of command line operation to get the most out of it but that can only be a good thing. cPanel users will feel at home with the new Icons Grid layout which loosely mimics the cPanel GUI interface.

Out of the box DirectAdmin supports Apache, Nginx, LiteSpeed and OpenLiteSpeed web servers. 4 simultaneous PHP instances can be installed and are user selectable. Furthermore there is support for MariaDB and MySQL, ClamAV, ModSecurity, Exim, Dovecot, SpamAssassin, SpamD, ProFTPD and PureFTPD.

The handy Custombuild plugin, comparable to cPanel’s EasyApache, allows for basic server configuration via the DirectAdmin GUI.

Directadmin integrates with popular 3rd party software such as CloudLinux, Softaculous, Immunify 360, Nginx, Litespeed, R1 Soft Backups, and more. It has a fully functional reseller system and is compatible with billing systems such as WHMCS (owned by Oakley Capital), ClientExec and Blesta.

As DirectAdmin’s market share increases we are also expecting to see an increase in third party plugin development for DirectAdmin. Plugins for the popular JetBackup software and ConfigServer CXS and OSM have already been announced.

Licensing fees are fair, although some changes to their pricing have been introduced in response to the cPanel exodus. This means that new Lifetime licenses will no longer receive lifetime updates. Updates will now cost an additional $99,- yearly. Existing licenses are grandfathered and will continue to receive updates.

Receive a FREE DirectAdmin license when purchasing any VPS or Dedicated Server!

 

promotion is available until august 30 2019. Your DirectAdmin license remains valid for the lifetime of your service

Interworx

Another mature and fairly popular option is Interworx. Under development since the early 2000s, it is a great value control panel that has a number of interesting features such as load balancing and server clustering. It can import cPanel, DirectAdmin, and even Plesk backups. Unfortunately Interworx only supports the Qmail mail transfer agent (MTA). There is no support for the more popular Dovecot software.

Interworx is divided into two interfaces: NodeWorx, which is used by a server administrators to manage a server, and SiteWorx, which is used by a website owner to manage a particular web site. The NodeWorx interface also contains functionality for web hosting resellers to securely manage multiple SiteWorx accounts without allowing the ability to manage server daemons and configurations

InterWorx has a working API and an extensive plugin system, compatible with Softaculous, LiteSpeed, CloudFlare, Immunify 360, Site.pro, CloudLinux and more. Billing systems such as WHMCS and Blesta also fully support Interworx.

Interworx is available from $24.95 per month. One-Time licenses are available for $599.99

Plesk

Plesk has a long and rich history. The control panel was originally developed in Nobosibirsk, Russia in 2001. In 2003, Plesk was sold to SWSoft, which became Parallels in 2008. In december 2015 Plesk became a separate business entity, which has since been acquired by Oakley Capital.

Plesk has integrated support for various Content Management Systems including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and other web software such as git, Docker, Multi-server management, as well as framework ready environments for Node.js, PHP, Python, Ruby on rails and more. The only platform agnostic control panel; Plesk for Windows supports Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2016 operating systems.

Billing integration is provided by WHMCS, ClientExec and Blesta

Plesk is owned by the same venture capitalist as cPanel. A migration from cPanel to Plesk is not recommended at this time. The pricing strategy for Plesk in the near future remains uncertain with many hosting companies expecting price increases, sooner rather than later.

Webuzo

From the developers of Softaculous and Virtualizor. Webuzo is a single user control panel that also integrates some of the functionality of the Softaculous auto-installer.

Webuzo helps you deploy Apps like Zend Framework, WordPress, Drupal, MediaWiki, and Joomla on your server. Webuzo offers database management (MySQL, SQLite, MongoDB), domain management, FTP management, E-Mail and SSL Certificates. There is support for the Apache and Apache Tomcat webservers.

Webuzo is available as a free and premium edition. The free edition of Webuzo offers the opportunity to install a small number of scripts but lacks support for Perl, custom scripts, backups, let’s encrypt SSL certificates and SpamAssassin.

The premium edition of Webuzo is available from $2.5 per month for a VPS license. A dedicated server license is available for $5,- per month.

ISPManager

ISPManager is available in two distinct flavors: ISPManager Lite and ISPManager Business.

The Lite version supports an unlimited number of users and domains whereas the Business version also includes reseller functionality and the ability to cluster multiple servers.

The ISPmanager control panel enables management of Apache, Nginx, MySQL PostgreSQL, Engintron (Nginx acting as reverse proxy), Modsecurity, Mod_ruid2, multiple PHP versions, backups, Sendmail, Exim and Postfix through a centralized web-interface.

It has good compatibility with 3rd party software: Cloudlinux, Softaculous, Site Pro, KernelCare, Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, CSF firewall, Maldet/Clam AV and Immunify 360 among others. Although these modules must be purchased from ISPManager. Licenses directly purchased from the developer will not work.

ISPManager also provides cPanel account import. A commercial provisioning module for WHMCS is available on their marketplace.

Licenses are fairly affordable with ISPManager Lite currently priced at €4,- per month and ISPManager Business is priced at €12,- per month.

VestaCP

VestaCP is a control panel written in Bash with quite some potential. Released under the GPL license the control panel is “free” FOSS software with optional paid support plans.

VestaCP has the option to chroot SFTP. This is a paid option at $3,- a month or $18 lifetime. This restricts users to their homedirectories and it also removes optional SSH access. This is an absolute requirement when you want to use VestaCP in a public environment.

Out of the box VestaCP support the Nginx or Apache webservers, SpamAssassin, ClamAV, Dovecot, Exim, Roundcube, MySQL, PostgreSQL, VsFTPD and ProFTPD. VestaCP also integrates with the Softaculous auto-installer. Quite a well-rounded list.

A WHMCS provisioning module for VestaCP is available.

VestaCP has a less than stellar track-record security wise. In their defense, they have been open about this and past issues have been tackled and resolved.

HestiaCP

HestiaCP is an open source control panel and is a fork of VestaCP.

HestiaCP features support for the Nginx or Apache webservers, Dovecot POP/IMAP server, MySQL, PostgreSQL database servers, VSFTPD and ProFTPD FTP daemons.

There is extensive monitoring support out of the box with Monit, Webalizer, Awstats and rrdtool included. 2 factor authentication is available using Google Authenticator.

Virtualmin GPL / Virtualmin Pro

Virtualmin is written in PERL. It is a module for Webmin, an expansive server control panel that has been around for a very long time. While Webmin is not the easiest to get your head around, you will be rewarded with, in our opinion, the most mature free control panel option out there.

The Virtualmin module for Webmin offers a powerful and flexible web hosting control panel for Linux and BSD systems. Virtualmin is available in an Open Source community-supported version, and a more feature-filled version with premium support (Virtualmin Pro).

There is support for Apache and Nginx webservers and supports multiple PHP versions when installed on CentOS. Free SSL support is provided by Let’s Encrypt and 2-factor authentication is also available.

Virtualmin also supports features rarely found in other control panels, like LDAP authentication, command line management, and advanced access controls.

Webmail is provided with the Usermin module, a full-featured webmail client with encryption, search, spam and antivirus management, mail filters, and folders. Alternatively, the popular RoundCube webmail client can also be installed.

Virtualmin integrates with the WHMCS, ClientExec and Blesta billing system and the popular CSF firewall is supported by the Webmin outer shell.

Information about Virtualmin Pro pricing can be found here.

apnscp

An interesting but perhaps lesser known option is the lightweight APNSCP control panel. It supports the Apache webserver, Lets Encrypt, 1-click installs for common apps such as WordPress and Drupal, daily database backups, file manager and a choice between MariaDB or PostgreSQL.

It has a focus on security with jailed environments, support for cgroups to limit resources and PHP fortification. It also integrates out of the box with Argos, a lightweight monitoring solution that can send alerts but also has the ability to attempt to restart services on the fly.

apnscp offers full DNS management with CloudFlare, DigitalOcean,Linode, Vultr and AWS.

Lifetime licenses for apnscp are currently available for $129,-. This price is scheduled to increase to $249,- when version 3.1 is released in the summer of 2019.

CyberPanel

CyberPanel is a lightweight control panel built specifically for OpenLiteSPeed. It includes out-of-the-box support for GIT version control and ModSecurity with Comodo or OWASP rules. One click SSL certificates by Let’s Encrypt are also available.

CyberPanel supports MariaDB, LSCache and PureFTPD. It includes an autoinstaller for WordPress, Joomla and PrestaShop, the Rainloop webmail client and SpamAssassin is included for spam filtering. It has a frontend that integrates neatly wit FirewallD, the standard firewall in Centos 7+

A free version of CyberPanel is available with support for 1 domain and unlimited subdomains. Additionally there is a RAM limitation in place of 2 GB. A fully unlimited license is available for $38 per month.

An initial security audit conducted by Rack 911 Labs uncovered potential security issues. It is recommended not to use CyberPanel until these issues have been fixed.

ISPConfig

Released under a BSD license, ISPManager is available free for Fedora, CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu and OpenSUSE. It has support for the Nginx and Apache web servers and comes with full reseller support.

Unfortunately support for third party modules is limited. ISPConfig does sell an in-house developed billing module and a malware scanner. A migration toolkit is also available that allows imported files from ISPConfig 2 and 3, Plesk 10 – 12.5, Plesk Onyx or Confixx 3. cPanel or DirectAdmin migrations are not supported.

ISPConfig has a number of commercial installation and support options available.

Ajenti V

Ajenti V is a plugin that adds web hosting capabilities to Ajenti an admin panel for dedicated servers. It works in a similar fashion as Webmin and Virtualmin.

It is a highly adaptable open source control panel with support for Nginx, PHP, Node JS, MySQL, Python, Exim and Courier Mail. There is unfortunately no reseller functionality, nor are there any integrations with 3rd party billing systems currently available.

However, Ajenti would serve its purpose very well as the foundation for a more custom developed control panel solution.

Although in use for some time, Ajenti V is currently classed as being in beta.

Centos WebPanel

CentOS WebPanel is a free control panel that supports a wide range of integrated software. PostgreSQL, MariaDB, MySQL and MongoDB are the integrated database servers and Nginx and APache are the supported webservers. There is also 3rd party support in the form of CSF Firewall, ClamAV, ModSecurity, Maldet and more.

CentOS WebPanel also allows for the import of cPanel accounts and it neatly integrates with WHMCS, Blesta, BoxBilling and ClientExec billing software.

Premium support is available as an option.

It must be noted that CentOS WebPanel has had a shaky history security wise.

ClusterCS

ClusterCS is available in a single server (standalone) edition and a cluster edition.

One or more websites can be deployed and have access to the single server edition, available for $7,- per month per server. Multiple stand-alone servers can be managed under this ClusterCS license.

The cluster edition, available for $30,- per month for each server, allows you to build high availability clusters and scale up or down as needed. Web services can be split across multiple servers in order to load balance the traffic and insure redundancy. Multiple clusters can be managed under this ClusterCS license.

ClusterCS has HA support for MooseFS, MySQL cluster edition, Galera Cluster, HAProxy and Postfix.

There is support for Nginx and APache webservers, extensive domain management and monitoring functionality that includes an auto-healing function.

Vepp

Vepp is a new control panel option, currently under active development by the makers of ISPmanager. Vepp is designed with a focus on common users who need a website and don’t have system administration skills.

Vepp uses the Apache or Nginx webservers with MariaDB currently the only available database option. Vepp runs on CentOS only. Vepp includes a file manager, PHP management, backup management and e-mail. There is also support for the RoundCube webmail client.

Vepp has a focus on ease of use with an automated WordPress installer, free SSL and automatic domain configuration. It allows for the creation of a website in one click – you only need to enter your domain. Vepp adds a domain on the web server level, creates a database and an FTP user automatically, and adds the latest PHP version.

Vepp is currently in beta and available for free. The general release for Vepp will be available as an on premise installation or a SAAS hosted installation. A monthly or yearly charge will apply.

KeyHelp

Keyhelp is a free server administration control panel for Debian and Ubuntu. Additionally, it offers user management, domains management and e-mail administration.

A basic backup system is available, free SSL by Let’s Encrypt and a traffic statistics tool. Webmail is provided by Roundcube or RainLoop.

Froxlor

Froxlor is an open source (GPL licensed) lightweight control panel that offers user and reseller management. Reseller accounts can limit resources and limit what the customers can access in their customer panel.

Froxlor does not does not automatically configure a LEMP or LAMP stack. So you need to install the LAMP or LEMP stack on your server before proceeding with the Froxlor installation.

Froxlor is compatible with the Apache webserver and MySQL database server. Furthermore, there are interactive usage graphs, free SSL certificates by Let’s Encrypt and a themeable interface. Although there is no support for multiple php versions that can be selected on a per user/domain basis. Froxlor does allow for a per-user php.ini configuration via the GUI.

There are a few more control panels around. Sentora / zPanel and Kloxo spring to mind. These projects are no longer maintained, full of security holes and should be avoided.
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promotion is available until august 30 2019. Your DirectAdmin license remains valid for the lifetime of your service

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