Manually managing your servers can be a hassle. It requires you to either know a lot about hosting and server administration or to pay for and work with a professional who will do it on your behalf.
That is exactly why a good web hosting control panel can make a huge difference. It will save you precious time and money while ensuring that you benefit from some of the most essential features and possibilities available in hosting. But more importantly, you will achieve all of that without writing a single line of code or running a terminal. In this article, you will learn more about control panel software features and the top three web hosting control panels out there. So, read on to learn more.
Overview of Web Hosting Control Panel Software
These are some of the most common features you can expect from most of the popular web hosting control panel solutions:
- File Management and File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
- Domain and Domain Name System (DNS) Management
- Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate Management
- Database Management
- Email Management
- Security Features
- Bandwidth Management
Here is a closer look at each of these areas of functionality.
File Management and File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
Managing your files via the terminal is not always practical, especially if you or your teammates are not very tech-savvy. That is why web hosting control panels include a simple visual interface for file management like the one you use on a desktop machine. With it, you can copy, paste, archive, upload, download, search for, and remove files in just a few clicks.
Domain and Domain Name System (DNS) Management
One of the most convenient tools bundled with control panel software is the ability to manage your domains’ Domain Name System (DNS) zones and records easily. This included feature set means that you no longer need to rely on third-party services for user-friendly DNS management. Just open your web hosting control panel and start working with DNS records right away.
The same goes for domains, subdomains, redirects, and virtual hosts. Web hosting control panels make managing all this possible in just a few clicks with wizard-like interfaces.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate Management
Acquiring, managing, and manually setting up Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates can be tedious and time-consuming. That is why web hosting control panels usually come with an integrated SSL wizard, and some even include free SSL solutions that can be issued and installed in a few clicks (usually Let’s Encrypt). Depending on your specific SSL needs, these free SSL solutions save you time and money.
Database management is a breeze with control panels. You can create and delete databases and database users and update database passwords with them. Additionally, they include more advanced database tools such as phpMyAdmin, which you can use for imports and exports, making database changes, and more.
Web hosting control panels help you create and manage email accounts and their passwords. They come with practical webmail software that can be used to read and write emails, filter out spammers, and much more. You can even use them to generate email deliverability records and fight spam.
Security is another crucial aspect of control panels. Instead of managing your firewalls, security settings, and malware scanners via the terminal, you can simply use a graphical user interface integrated into the panel.
Control panels usually come with bandwidth management tools as well. You can use these tools to monitor bandwidth, set up notifications, limit how much each of your users or websites can consume, and more. Furthermore, historical bandwidth data can help you learn which accounts are the biggest bandwidth eaters.
Web Hosting Control Panel Comparison
In this section, you will learn about cPanel, Plesk, and InterWorx and how they compare to each other. When deciding which web hosting control panel to choose for your server, there are a few key things to consider:
- The features that you need
- The Operating System (OS) compatibility
- The total number of licenses or accounts you will need
- The pricing plans
cPanel/WebHost Manager (WHM)
cPanel, short for control panel, was released in 1996 and is known as the most popular control panel solution for Linux-based hosting servers. It packs many features and extensions with the most beautiful and well-known user interface. All of that makes cPanel web hosting one of the best choices for both new and experienced hosting users. You are able to migrate from InterWorx to cPanel.
OS support: CentOS, CloudLinux, AlmaLinux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Rocky Linux, Ubuntu.
Pricing: cPanel plans start as low as $15.99 but can reach a very high number if you need to manage hundreds or thousands of user accounts.
Plesk is the second most popular web hosting control panel solution with almost as many features as cPanel. There is one significant thing that makes it superior to cPanel, however, and that is its Windows Server support. Overall, Plesk web hosting is a great option everyone should consider.
OS support: CentOS, CloudLinux, AlmaLinux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Rocky Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, Virtuozzo Linux, Windows Server.
Pricing: Plesk pricing plans start from $12.38 for up to 10 domains. But if you need priority support and an account manager, you must invest at least $250.
InterWorx is a LiquidWeb-owned web hosting control panel that rose in popularity at the time when cPanel updated its pricing model in 2019. It was offered as a worthy, feature-rich alternative to the company’s cPanel users at the time. If you want a great control panel solution at the best possible price, InterWorx web hosting is the one you should choose (especially if you host a large number of websites). You are able to migrate from cPanel to InterWorx.
OS support: CentOS, CloudLinux, AlmaLinux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Rocky Linux.
Side-by-Side Web Hosting Control Panel Comparison
Here is a quick comparison table to help you decide which control panel would best suit your needs:
|cPanel/WebHost Manager (WHM)||Plesk||InterWorx|
|Multiple PHP Versions||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Let’s Encrypt SSL||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Supported Operating Systems||Linux||Linux, Windows||Linux|
|Multiple Admin Accounts||No||No||Yes|
|Licensing Type||Per Account||Per Account||Per Server|
|Trial License Available||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Pricing||From $15.99 to $59.99 (+$0.39 per additional account)||From $12.38||$7.50 for VPS, $20.00 for Dedicated Servers|
Making the most optimal web hosting control panel choice can simplify and improve your server management with a user-friendly interface and hundreds of valuable features. These features include file management, database management, DNS management, email management, and many more.
There are many web hosting control panels out there, but there is little doubt that three best are cPanel, Plesk, and InterWorx. To decide which is best for you, you should compare their OS compatibility, licensing, pricing, and features — as discussed in the sections above.
Are you ready to take control of your server environments and make daily hosting tasks a breeze? Then, kindly take a look at our InterWorx control panel. This Liquid Web add-on will save you time and money while ensuring access to the best hosting features and seamless control panel updates. To be even more sure of your final control panel choice, you should review the detailed comparison in the series entitles InterWorx vs. cPanel:
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