A server control panel for Web hosting is an interface that allows customers to manage their hosted services in a single place. Such control panels are available for servers with Windows and Linux operating systems. Web-based control panels generally have a graphical interface and tool suite designed to make the process of hosting a website more manageable.
Commonly available control panel functionality includes:
- Server logs
- Resource reports on availability including available space, and used space and bandwidth
- Configuring email accounts
- Maintaining users’ accounts
- Database management functionality for user access and data manipulation
- Web log analysis software for visitor information, including page visits
- File management
Plesk and cPanel as control panel solutions
cPanel is a Linux-based Web-hosting control panel with an easy-to-use graphical interface and automation tool suite designed to make website hosting simpler to manage. cPanel is designed with a three-tier structure. Its functionality is tailored to suit the needs of administrators, reseller and end-user website managers, with server administration and website management controlled through a Web browser. cPanel is possibly the most popular and stable control panel solution.
The Plesk Web Host Edition offers hosting service providers the ability to configure and maintain Windows or Linux servers. Service Provider Management has simple controls to create subscription packages for resellers, customers and individuals. Bundled Word Press supportability tools make use of Plesk 12.5 enhanced server-to-site security features, which are useful for shared hosting. Unlimited accounts and domains are supported.
What are panel features? How do they differ?
Command line access – Both Plesk and cPanel offer command line access. cPanel has both command line access and API-based access, enabling interaction with third-party software. Plesk offers a command line access tool called the Panel Action Log Command Line Access Tool.
Administration – Web hosting developers are able to automate system administration processes. cPanel is designed to function either as a dedicated server or a virtual private server. The latest cPanel version supports installation on CloudLinux, CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Application-based support includes Apache, PHP and MySQL. Email-based support includes IMAP, POP3 and SMTP services.
Removing Panel – Removing cPanel is not possible. It requires reformatting the server and reinstalling the operating system. Uninstall scripts are available for Plesk but it’s not recommended.
Ease of Use – At the user interface level, cPanel aggregates functions into high level groups that include preferences, mail, files, logs, security, domains, databases and software services. On the other hand, Plesk is divided into functions that include statistical and resource usage, users, mail, websites and domains, applications and statistics.
Plesk does not support multi-server clustering. You need an add-on called Plesk Automation Services to perform such tasks.
cPanel & WHM 11.4 has new functionality for easily managing multiple servers. Root users will be able to use remote access keys. Some server configuration settings can be shared.
Loading speed – Plesk may cause loading to occur more slowly than cPanel. It can become particularly slow on Linux servers.
Database access from Plesk with Webadmin – You can manage MySQL or MS SQL Server databases via the Web browser. From cPanel, you can access PhpMyAdmin, which allows management of MySQL databases. In terms of database activities, if you need MS SQL access from the panel, you must stay with Plesk.
Support OS for cPanel and Plesk
- Windows Server compatibility – Plesk is compatible with Windows. The integration between Plesk and Windows is strong. Full integration with Microsoft SQL Server is provided.
- cPanel only compatible with Linux, CentOS and RedHat operating systems.
Advantages and disadvantages by panel
- Plesk has more detailed support requests than cPanel, allows management of both MySQL and MS SQL Server from the Web browser, is strongly integrated with Windows and is intuitively easy to use.
- cPanel loads more quickly than Plesk and aggregates functions into high level groups for ease of accessibility. For Linux environments cPanel may be best.
Handling Support Requests
- cPanel’s interface includes access to support services from your Web host by email. Availability of this function is dependent on your Web host’s terms. Check with your Web host to find how support requests are handled. In order to submit a support request through cPanel interface, enter your name, email address and issue.
- Plesk has a fairly detailed support request form that requires more extensive information including product, product version, OS version, work environment and issue. The last is selected from an extensive drop down list.
cPanel and Plesk are the top server panels. While each has pluses and minuses, the best choice should be based on the features that most closely accommodate your environment and your clients. Consider your operating system, server configuration, security needs and access control, as well as usability preferences.
- OS suitability – Plesk is more suitable to Windows while cPanel better for Linux. Plesk is not integrated with many independent apps designed for Linux.
- User friendly – Plesk is a bit more intuitive and user-friendly than cPanel.
- Both have robust security options.
- Both are powerful administration tools.