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Choosing the Best Control Panel

Now that you’ve got the basics of web hosting down, it’s time to learn about everyone’s under-appreciated friend:  the web hosting control panel.

Back in the day, managing your website was … well, messy.  You needed to know your way around console commands, and you needed a solid understanding of  Linux system administration.  Today, control panels like cPanel and DirectAdmin have made everything simpler.  Whether you’re setting up an email account, managing a MySQL database, or even installing WordPress, modern panels have automated just about everything.

The question is, which one do you choose?  Here’s a simple comparison of what we offer:

  • cPanel is the undisputed leader.  It’s powerful, comprehensive, and reasonably easy to use.  Thanks to cPanel’s overwhelming popularity, you’ll often find the exact same interface from one web host to the next.  cPanel’s biggest drawback is its use of system resources; it will easily consume a sizable chunk of system memory.  It can also be a little overwhelming to basic users.  And if you want to resell services, you’ll need a separate application like WHM.  cPanel is included at no cost with every one of our shared web hosting packages, and can be added to any of our Linux VPS or dedicated servers.
  • DirectAdmin is a leaner, simpler, and less expensive control panel.  It offers almost all of the core features of cPanel, which means it packs plenty of power for most users.  In fact, as of September 2012, DirectAdmin is the most popular control panel on our VPSes.  Though its interface isn’t as polished as cPanel’s, DirectAdmin’s built-in resale capabilities create a much more seamless experience.
  • Webmin is a free, lightweight panel designed for power users.  Webmin’s capabilities are beyond comparison, but its interface leaves quite a bit to be desired.  If you’re technically minded and need a control panel to simplify daily tasks, Webmin is the way to go.  But if you’re just getting into web hosting, or enjoy the simplicity of cPanel or DirectAdmin, Webmin’s interface can be somewhat jarring.
  • Kloxo is a free panel that falls somewhere between the powerful abilities of Webmin and the simplicity of cPanel.  Though still not quite as polished as its paid competitors, it’s among the best free alternatives out there.

If simplicity is your main goal, you can’t go wrong with either cPanel or DirectAdmin.  If you need to maintain a tight budget, Kloxo is great for everyday users, and Webmin is great for power users.  Whatever you choose, we can install your panel for you and even give you instruction on basic usage.


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