18 Oct

What Control Panel To Choose For Your Dedicated Server?

It’s a great news as your business has grown to the point that you require a dedicated server to host your website. But this will also add additional responsibilities of managing and maintaining your dedicated hosting environment.

Managing a dedicated server without a control panel is difficult. Even to perform the smallest task, you might have to go through a list of steps or a series of shell commands. That’s where control panels come into play to simplify the process of handling servers. Additionally, managing these hosting control panels does not require expert knowledge of server administration.

There are many paid and open source hosting control panels available and you can choose your best as per your need and budget.

Available Control Panels For A Dedicated Server

If you are new to the dedicated server environment then you want a control panel that is user-friendly and intuitive at the same time. With so many control panel options available, choosing one for your dedicated server is little tricky. The best way to make this determination is to know what you are looking to achieve and what a particular control panel has to offer.

In general, control panels are designed for the specific operating systems, which usually distinguished to Windows and Linux.  Some of the most popular options include cPanel, Plesk, and MSControl, all of which are very reliable.

cPanel

Being one of the most feature-rich, powerful and widely used control panels, cPanel/WHM has become the industry standard amongst users and web hosting providers. It comes with both user-interface (cPanel) and admin-interface (WHM), offering intuitive hosting and site management tools to end-users, resellers and dedicated server administrators. A cPanel server includes the WHM login and the cPanel client login for management purposes.

Single cPanel license allows you to host an unlimited number of domains, websites, databases, etc.  which is a quite valuable feature especially if you intend to offer reseller hosting. It has a wide range of plugins to further expand its functionality and it can be integrated with your existing billing software like WHMCS.

Thanks to AutoSSL feature, free SSL certificates are automatically installed and renewed for every domain hosted on the cPanel server. These SSL certificates are absolutely free, provided by Comodo and Let’s Encrypt, and they will be kept renewed as long as you have an active account with your web host. Its EasyApache 4 feature makes managing packages and dependencies simple and super speedy.

cPanel is available as a demo, so you can familiarize yourself with cPanel and WHM before purchasing the license.

Plesk Panel

Plesk is yet another powerful control panel, having 75 to 80 percent share in the European market. Plesk supports various Linux Distributions (CentOS, Ubuntu, CloudLinux, etc)  and Windows OS as well, which is a strong pull factor differentiating Plesk from cPanel. Also, Plesk comes in several editions, each tailored for specific hosting use cases.

It also comes with both user interface and admin features. Like cPanel, Plesk also has a clean and user-friendly interface. Plesk is also used by some of the big hosting companies.

Unlike other control panels, Plesk offers support for Git through its Gitman extension, so you can track changes and site updates. Plesk’s Docker Integration feature allows you to launch Docker images straight from Plesk without touching the command line.

SSL certificate installation has always been a pain to set up and renew. Plesk is integrated with the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority, which allows you to install the SSL certificates on your site within a single click. Plesk is available for both Windows and Linux dedicated servers, so make sure you get the appropriate version for your server.

MSPControl

MSPControl is a hosting control panel for Windows systems to automate the provisioning of a full suite of hosted services on Windows servers. MSPControl gives users simple multi-tenant point-and-click control over Windows Server applications including Microsoft IIS, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Sharepoint, Microsoft RemoteApp, Skype for Business, Microsoft Online Services and Hyper-V R2 Deployments.

MSPControl comes with 3 licensing schemes, Free, Basic and Standard license. A free license is sufficient for all kind of non-production environments like a demo, lab, test etc. The basic license is good enough to run small web hosting company. Standard license suits mid-sized hosting and managed hosting providers.

Conclusion

When you host your site on a dedicated server, you should be prepared for the different level of complexity because you are only responsible to ensure that your site stays online. The control panel will enable you to create the best site possible by putting the administrative power and flexibility in your hands. Programs such as cPanel and Plesk are very popular and extremely easy to use for Linux systems. While MSPControl is a viable option for Windows systems.