Article by Jerry Low
Geek dad, SEO data junkie, investor, and founder of Web Hosting Secret Revealed. Jerry has been building Internet assets and making money online since 2004. He loves mindless doodling and trying new food.
In the world of web-hosting there are two control panels that are commonly used; cPanel and Plesk. Both solutions are generally offered by all web-hosting companies on a VPS or dedicated server plan and they are generally around the same price. Sometimes you will be able to find Plesk being offered for less than cPanel but this will vary. If you are using a shared hosting solution you are generally only offered the user cPanel.
Compare cPanel and Plesk features head-to-head in table below.
|Available Scripts||List Available Here||List Available Here|
|Services||Analog, AwStats, Webalizer||Webalizer, Plesk Traffic Manager, AWStats|
|Other Features||Custom Reports, Graphical Analysis, logs, log rotation||Real Time Bandwidth, Custom Reports, Graphical User Breakdowns|
|Other Features||Clustering, Hands-off automatic configuration||Remote DNS, Load Balancing Support, Master/Slave Management, Automated File Matching, DNS Recursion, SOA Settings|
|Services||proFTPd and PureFTPd||ProFTPD|
|Other Features||Drive Letter Access, Anonymous FTP, Graphical File Manager Anonymous
FTP Uploads, Additional Accounts
|Anonymous FTP, Upload Directory, FTP Throttling, File Manager|
|Services||MySQL, PostgreSQL||MySQL, PostgreSQL|
|Admin Panels||phpMyAdmin, phpPgAdmin||phpMyAdmin, phpPgMyAdmin, Secure Setup, Multi-user/Multi-DB|
|Services||Exim, Courier-IMAP, Courier-POP||Qmail|
|Mail List||Mailman||Mailman Aliasing, Auto- responses, Groups, User Access|
|Webmail||Horde, Squirrelmail||Horde IMP|
|Anti-Spam||SpamAssassin, BoxTrapper, Spam Box||SpamAssassin|
|Scripting||Apache, CGI-Perl, PHP, SSI, JSP||Apache ASP, PHP, Python, SSI, CGI, Mod_Perl, Ruby, FastCGI|
|Security||SSL, phpSuExec, SuPHP, mod_security||SSL, Suexec|
|Access||IP Deny Manager, Hotlink Protector, Anti-leech, Passwords||Unknown|
|Errors||Last 300 Errors, Custom Error Pages||Unknown|
|Reseller Login||Yes, with WHM 11||Yes|
|Domain Owner Login||Yes||Yes|
|Mail User Login||Yes||Yes|
|Demo Sites||Click Here||Click Here|
Initially released in year 1996, cPanel is originally designed by J. Nicholas Koston; and it’s now managed by cPanel Inc. in Houston, Texas. The software supports a wide range of Unix based OS including CentOS, Red Hat Linux, as well as FreeBSD. cPanel is the most commonly used control panel because it is generally offered free with a shared hosting account. cPanel offers two interfaces one for the client and one for the reseller, the reseller panel is also known as the WHM panel.
cPanel official website: http://www.cpanel.net/
Screenshots Of cPanel
Screenshots Of WHM
The basic user cPanel allows the user to control his or her site thorough an easy to use interface. The features that are available will vary based on what is setup through the WHM panel. Some common tasks that can be performed through the user cPanel includes; uploading files, creating sup-domains, modifying DNS entries, creating/editing E-Mail accounts, and monitoring resource usage for sites hosted under that cPanel.
The WHM panel is designed for resellers to be able to create cPanels for subscribers. The WHM panel is generally offered to users with a reseller, VPS, or dedicated server account.
Overall the WHM offers a lot of features but can be difficult to use for someone who has only used the basic user cPanel.
Do note that this post is written with the end users in mind. While it may look very easy to get started with cPanel as an end user; setting up and managing the backend system is another story. For instance, there are a number of steps, including configuring a package handler like Yum and server release tiers, to follow before the installation. Also, note that cPanel does not come with an uninstaller- once it’s installed, you will have to reformat the server in order to remove it.
Plesk, on the other hand, was released back in year 2003. The company is originally a product of SWsoft (after SWsoft acquired Plesk Inc.) but it’s now shipped under Parallels Inc; and the infamous Plesk is rebranded as Parallels Plesk Panel. Unlike cPanel, Plesk supports both Windows and Unix based operating system. Parallels Plesk Panel for Unix support Debian, FreeBSD, Ubuntu, SUSE, Red Hat Linux; while Parallels Plesk Panel for Windows support Windows Server 2003 and 2008. Personally, I think that Plesk offers better flexibility (especially for Windows users) when compare to cPanel.
Plesk also offer two different control panels; one for the user and one for the administrator. The administrator control panel is also known as Plesk Server Administrator (PSA).
Plesk official website: http://www.parallels.com/products/plesk/
Generally, Plesk does the same things as cPanel but the layouts are completely different. It’d be tough to switch between the two when you are already familiar with one of them.
Plesk is a great solution for those who are familiar with Windows and don’t mind spending a little time figuring out how everything is setup – which, in my opinion, not too hard.
One major thing I like better about Plesk than cPanel is Plesk Site Builder. I find Plesk Site Builder very powerful and easy to use. Just to give you a quick feel on how it’s like, below are some screenshots.
Plesk Site Builder Screenshots
I would recommend cPanel to the basic user who is just trying to run a single small site or who has been using cPanel for a long time (since it is difficult to switch because of the layout differences).
I would recommend Plesk to anyone who is looking for a powerful and cheap GUI to manage their website. Additionally Plesk offers everything cPanel does plus the site builder which is a great tool for someone who is just starting out in web design or wants to make a quick website, Plesk is also generally a little cheaper than cPanel so it just makes more sense to me. Please keep in mind that for many shared hosing platforms Plesk is not an option.