Control panel

Posted Posted by Patrice Guay in Web hosting     Comments No comments

A control panel is an essential feature for most lower-end web hosting solutions. Generally, shared web hosting packages will provides you with client-side access through a control panel installed on the physical server. A virtual private server (VPS) or a dedicated server could be equipped of a control panel to completely control the server.

Used to ease the management of your server, the control panel will simplify the following tasks:

  • Mail account creation
  • User account creation
  • Web application deployment
  • FTP configuration
  • Database configuration
  • etc.

A control panel simplifies server management by offering a graphical user interface (GUI) suitable for both end-users and system administrators. It turns complex server administration tasks into user-friendly processes. An application programming interface (API) should also be available for advanced scripting and automation.

If you intend on using your web hosting solution to resell hosting package, you should consider a control panel allowing your customers and other users to maintain their own hosting environments. This could drastically reduce the number of assistance requests from your customer base. cPanel and Plesk are two control panels making this possible.

The control panel overrides the normal behaviour of the operating system installed on your server. Since applications and services are configured through the control panel, using the default tools of your operating system to modify configurations or install software may cause unexpected results. When using a control panel on your server, you should rely exclusively on the control panel tools to manage your server. For example, a server with the CentOS operating system and cPanel should not be considered as a CentOS server but rather as a cPanel server. This is especially true when you use Google or discussion forums to find a solution for a problem on your hosting server.

Another drawback is that building an highly available web server cluster with control panel powered servers is usually not supported. The tools required for server synchronization lie at the operating system level while the web service is managed at the control panel level. This is the main reason why control panels are not suitable for high-end web hosting solutions.


cPanel is the most popular control panel on the market. It provides an intuitive GUI to help website owners manage their sites. A specialized component of cPanel called WebHost Manager (WHM) automates server management tasks for server administrators. cPanel intuitive interface includes video tutorials and on-screen help.

cPanel is only supported on Linux. Most cPanel installations are realized on the CentOS operating system. Both 32 and 64bit architectures are supported.

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The Enkompass control panel has been released recently. Made by the same company that produced cPanel, Enkompass is only be supported on Microsoft Windows 2008 and above.

The Enkompass interface mirrors that of cPanel/WHM for Linux. While many features of Enkompass are the same as cPanel, features incompatible with Windows have been removed, and some Windows-only features have been added.

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Plesk is a control panel supporting both Linux and Windows operating systems with a unified GUI. It provides an easy to learn interface with a simple look and feel.
Features such as the billing manager for customer invoicing and the site builder for website editing and management are convenient.

Under Linux, most Plesk installations are realized on the CentOS operating system. Both 32 and 64bit architectures of this Linux distribution are supported. Under Microsoft Windows, Plesk installation is supported on Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008R2 under both 32 and 64bit architectures.

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Plesk for Linux

Plesk for Windows

References, Top Three Control Panels for Reseller Hosting

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