Which Control Panel Should I Choose? cPanel or Plesk

Published by Sam Wilson on

The majority of the leading website hosts provide great control panels as part of their hosting packages, which enables you to access a number of different software options, add-ons and technical features relating to your website. These include SQL database management and areas to upload and manage your website files. Hosting control panels are developed as web based interfaces that allow administrators or website owners to manage various elements of their website. In this post we will explore some of the main control panels that you may encounter with your web host, and outline the features that you can expect to find when you log in.

When you sign up to any web host and log in to your control panel, it will often include a set of standard features, whether you have Plesk or cPanel.

Typically a control panel will include:

  • Options to manage your domain services.
  • An email system where you can add and remove mailboxes, view email quotas and implement spam filtering and monitoring. You can also use this to set up email forwarding and auto responses if required.
  • FTP – If you want to upload files through FileZilla or any other FTP transfer software you will need to set up an FTP account. Within this section you can create user accounts, set passwords and view system quotas.
  • Accessing your files is important if you need to amend anything in your website so there should be a file manager where you can access the root folder and your public html files.
  • Information to help you set up elements such as SSH and key. management
  • Access to databases such as MySQL and others as required.
  • Capacity to backup your website.
  • Log file reporting and access.
  • Plugin systems such as Softaculous which provides one click install for CMS such as WordPress.

If you have an enterprise control panel they may also include features such as;

  • The ability to manage multiple servers from a centralized control panel
  • Service monitoring and alerts.
  • Ticketing system for customers to raise customer support requests
  • Support for IPv6

The main control panels include:


cPanel is the most popular control panel used by the majority of web hosts. The Web Hosting Manager (WHM) is the administrative tool for the server, and cPanel is the control panel for website owners. This control panel is perhaps the most comprehensive with the majority of features on offer. However, it is only supported on Linux. Although the interface is relatively easy to use once you know your way around it can seem very complicated for the novice.


Another popular control panel, Plesk offers both Linux and Windows Support and is available in a number of different editions, each of which are tailored toward specific hosting requirements. The user interface is preferred over cPanel as it is less cluttered and more user friendly, although the features offered by Plesk and cPanel don’t differ too much.

Direct Admin

A control panel that supports Linux, Direct Admin contains all of the basic features that you would naturally expect of a web hosting control panel and it also provides the option to support multi-customer setups.

Core Admin is perfect if you have the responsibility of managing multiple servers through the provision of a comprehensive web administration console. There is also an advanced permission and monitoring facility and a ‘Free Web Edition’ that you can use to handle a total of 10 domains.


Available in two different packages, the first of which is NodeWorx, which is used to manage a server; and SiteWorx, which is used to manage a website. Interworx has a practical plugin that enables the quick and simple installation of applications, such as Softaculous, allowing you to install WordPress with relative ease.

ISP Manager is Linux based and flexible which is offered by ISP System who are a renowned provider of hosting automation solutions in Russia. ISP Manager has grown in recent years to become one of the most used web control panels throughout Eastern Europe. The control panel is one of the most powerful and is currently provided in two different editions, both of which can expertly handle unlimited domains, users and can be effectively customised to address the specific branding requirements.

ISP Manager Lite is specifically for VPS and dedicated servers.

ISP Manager Business is designed for those who use shared or managed reseller hosting packages

Control panels are essential for the effective management of your website.

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