A hosting control panel is an application or software that’s shipped with every website hosting plan. A control panel is the nerve centre of your hosting plan and allows you to control all your subdomains, add-on domains, website files, email campaigns, security configurations, SQL database, and other finer details of your hosting plan.
A control panel for a VPS allows you to do all this and then some. A good VPS control panel will allow you to change your plan, add resources, remove resources, pay your VPS bill, and do much more.
However, a Google search for a VPS Hosting plan will throw up hundreds of control panels, all claiming to be the best ones. Of course, not all of them are that great and if you’re new to hosting, it’s only natural to find this myriad of options a bit daunting.
This article lists out some of the best control panels for VPS Hosting to help you make an informed choice.
Top Control Panels for a VPS Hosting Plan
cPanel, to put it simply, is the most popular hosting control panel in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people use cPanel and for good reason.
Developed in 1996, cPanel is one of the oldest hosting control panels out there. Specifically designed for people who are new to hosting, it’s one of the first control panels to adopt a complete GUI (Graphic User Interface) path.
cPanel is available only for Linux-based hosting and having a GUI means that users don’t have to know how to use commands on Linux. cPanel works like any other software that you’ve used.
There are two important advantages that cPanel for VPS offers. The first is the ease of use. Over the years, cPanel has made its software extremely intuitive. There’s one dashboard that lists out all the functions that you can do. There’s a brilliant help section that is complete with FAQs, blogs, and even video guides.
The second advantage is that cPanel has a massive user base. These users have created forums and communities over the years and today, you can pretty much find answers to any problem related to cPanel that you can think of. When you’re new and you need a bit of handholding, forums and application communities can be invaluable.
The only disadvantage, if you can call it that, is that cPanel isn’t free. You have to pay a subscription fee. However, due to the sheer popularity of the application, many hosting companies simply offer it for free when you purchase their hosting plans.
Plesk is the direct competitor for the Linux-based cPanel and is a popular choice amongst users of the Windows operating system. However, note that Plesk is available for both Linux and Windows hosting.
Launched in 2001, Plesk has only really become popular in the last few years. For a long time, the UI (User Interface) attracted negative reviews and gave Plesk a bad reputation. However, that’s changed massively in the last few years.
Today, Plesk is a breeze to use, irrespective of what level of hosting understanding a user has. One of the most important advantages of Plesk is that it looks and functions like Windows XP, one of the most popular operating systems of all time.
Plesk is also great at resource management. So, if you have a Windows-based VPS Hosting plan that does not have a whole lot of RAM, Plesk is ideal for you.
Like cPanel, Plesk is feature-rich. Instead of a central page or a dashboard, Plesk uses something called the sidebar. It’s a popup panel that houses all the important tasks that you’ll need to perform.
There are disadvantages, of course. Installing new programs isn’t very easy, it needs lots of raw storage if you want to take backups and the process of taking a backup isn’t quite a breeze, to begin with. However, the pros outweigh the cons, making it very popular with Windows hosting users.
Webmin is one of the most stable and reliable hosting control panels in the market today. It works for Windows and pretty much any Linux distro that you can think of.
The greatest advantage of Webmin is customization. You can modify the software to look and work exactly the way you want it. What’s more, the software is completely free. Webmin is quite popular with system admins because of the flexibility that it offers.
The only drawback of Webmin is that it’s not exactly easy to use. The default setup is unintuitive, to say the least, and if you’re not an expert at hosting, getting anything done is quite difficult.
ISPConfig is a free hosting control panel that’s famous not just with experts, but with novices as well.
ISPConfig has an excellent track record for stability and is known to be quite light on your web server and it’s the only free control panel that supports virtualisation natively. You also get a ton of features as standard.
The drawback of ISPConfig is that there’s absolutely no official support for the application. You cannot even pay the company to offer you support. So, if you’re stuck, you’re on your own. Additionally, there’s not a lot of forums or help pages online to help you out.
The other disadvantage is installation. If you’re not a hosting expert, it’d be wise to simply hire an expert to set it all up for you, because the process is not just cumbersome, but also requires assigning important technical configurations.