If you’ve been following our Twitter and Facebook feeds lately, you know we’re getting ready to launch a new line of OpenVZ, Xen, and KVM VPSes within the next month or two. The servers are currently undergoing testing and burn-in here in Harrisburg, and if all goes according to plan, they’ll be shipped up to Scranton and installed in the datacenter within a month. But before that happens, we need to settle one lingering choice: the VPS control panel.
The VPS control panel gives you a nice, clean, web interface for performing administrative tasks on your VPS. Think backups, reboots, reimaging, that sort of thing. It’s a completely different animal from “main” control panels like cPanel or DirectAdmin, which handle your day-to-day tasks (such as email setup and file management). We spent a lot of time at HostingCon talking with our new-found friends from other web hosting companies about what panels they like (and why), what panels they don’t like (and why), and what challenges they’ve run into when launching their VPS lines.
There are lots of competing VPS control panels out there, and it seems like a new one springs up every few months. Even if you narrow the list down to “major” panels, there are still at least a half dozen to choose from. Although they all perform the same basic functions, the manner in which they do it varies greatly from vendor to vendor. After a week of testing and heavy-duty coffee consumption, we’ve narrowed the list of candidates down to three contenders:
- Virtualizor is a relative newcomer to the scene. Developed by the same folks who brought us the ever-popular Softaculous auto-installer, Virtualizor brings a refreshingly-simple, clean interface to the field. The layout is simple, with commonly-used functions grouped into logical, easy-to-find menus. If Apple made a VPS control panel, it would be Virtualizor.
- SolusVM has been around a bit longer. It’s arguably the most widely used panel of the three we’re comparing, and with good reason. It provides an easy-to-use interface on top of a comprehensive feature set. If you’ve ever had a VPS with another hosting provider, chances are good that you’ve already used SolusVM at some point.
- Cloudmin is also a relative newcomer. It was developed by the folks who produce the Virtualmin control panel. Cloudmin has the most comprehensive back end of the three, and its user interface is packed with more options and features than you could ever dream of.
We’ll be doing a more in-depth review of each during the coming weeks, with a final announcement coming later this month. Stay tuned!