Is there a free web hosting control panel with enough features, reliability and security to replace cPanel, DirectAdmin or Plesk and help you manage your dedicated, cloud or virtual private server? Can you really trust it? Why do you need a web control panel in the first place? What are the most important features that paid control panels are providing and can they be found in a free alternative?
These are the questions that we are going to answer in this tech debate and also review two of the best free options available briefly. A few years ago there was not any viable free alternative in the market but now, thanks to the open-source community, the situation has changed.
You may start thinking, why do you need a free replacement, when there are better paid CPs that are mature, feature-full, bug free and easy to work with? cPanel is by far the most popular control panel for server and website management to date. It’s been around for over two decades. cPanel is part of a software suite called cPanel & WHM which provides capabilities for administrators, resellers, and end-user website owners to control the various aspects of website and server administration through a standard web browser using a three-tier structure. cPanel displays key metrics about your server’s performance and allowing you to access a range of modules including Files, Preferences, Databases, Web Applications, Domains, Metrics, Security, Software, Advanced and Email modules.
A free control panel is not always a good replacement, but sometimes you don’t need a paid one and a free control panel can be as good. We are going to explore some of these use cases. The situation is also going to change in the years to come. With the contributions of the open-source community, these softwares are going to get better and more mainstream.
The prices of these paid control panels like cPanel are not very reasonable for small businesses, early stage startups and developers. Their single-license plans starting at $15 per month which is more than most users pay per month for their cloud servers.
While your web server can be configured using only the command line and complex-looking code, it just isn’t practical. It’s so much easier to use a graphic point-and-click interface. Fortunately, there are few more alternate open source control panels available to download at no cost with similar features.
CentOS Web Panel:
CentOS Web Panel is a Free Web Hosting control panel designed for quick and easy management of servers (Dedicated & VPS) minus the all-consuming work and effort to use terminal or SSH console for every time you want to do something. The Platform offers a huge number of options and features for server management in its control panel package.
ISPConfig is a widely-used Open Source Hosting Control Panel for Linux, licensed under BSD license and developed by the company ISPConfig UG. ISPConfig has many features that make it one of the most used hosting platforms.
HowToForge ISPConfig Tutorials:
If you need different in-depth ISPConfig installation tutorials for linux flavors like Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora, you can use HowToForge tutorials.
If you need to learn more about MongoDB:
MongoDB is a popular NoSQL database. CWP supports MongoDB and can install and manage it.
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If there is any other free alternative worth reviewing in the future, don’t forget to mention it in the comments.