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Working with complex web hosting plans can be daunting, which is why a solid web hosting control panel can make the task much easier. It simplifies as well as consolidates different commands and lets you easily manage your hosting account.

The Web Hosting Control Panel Explained

Web hosting control panels provide a great way to manage your web server quickly and efficiently. With a single interface, you can control & manage nearly anything related to your website, hosting account, emails, etc. All of this without any need for in-depth technical knowledge.

Your web hosting plan’s control panel is the most visible factor that will affect your user experience. Many hosting plans offer a choice of different control panel brands, giving you more options to choose from. This means you can pick the best one for your needs, which can help you get the most out of your web host.

The web hosting control panel simplifies administrating tasks in the same way a website builder makes constructing websites easier.

Why the Need for a Web Hosting Control Panel

Web hosting control panels are a great way to simplify the process of server management. They give you an easy and intuitive way to manage your web servers without having to worry about all the technical complications.

With a web hosting control panel, accessing your server and web hosting account is much more convenient compared to using the direct-command tools such as Secure Shell (SSH). Without it, not only do you have to learn – but also remember – every command and syntax associated with each operating system you use.

Having access to a control panel is extremely beneficial when configuring web server applications because it simplifies the process and makes it much more efficient. You’ll be able to take advantage of a graphical user interface, which can significantly reduce the amount of time spent on tasks.

Instead of manually finding and tweaking files to modify DNS records on a Linux-hosting plan, you can utilize web hosting control panels for easy access to the configuration screen with just a single click of an icon.

Utilizing a control panel offers the advantage of avoiding server configuration mistakes. It is much easier to make the necessary changes in a control panel compared to working directly with command lines, thus lessening the chance for errors.

What Web Hosting Control Panels Can Do

Despite different brands implementing their control panels in a distinct way and showcasing slightly varied approaches to managing your web server, the objective of most of them remains the same- accomplishing various tasks.

This generally includes:

Account Administration

This involves typical account management tasks which include your billing profile, plan renewal, updating of your password, and others. You have to make sure that your software version is regularly updated for security purposes, as payment is handled by this portion.

Domain Management

Although the tasks here are not frequently done, they are one of the more complex yet crucial things you have to do. So, it is best you understand how your control panel handles this part. Activities under this area include:

  • DNS editing

  • Domain forwarding

  • Subdomain management

And more.

One-Click Installation

If your web host provides this feature, you’ll be able to install most popular web applications via a one-click installer. This makes life much easier as all you need to do is look up the product you want and click ‘Install’. The installer will handle the rest.

For example, you want to install WordPress. With this one-click installer, you will not need to manually download a copy of the WordPress, then upload it via FTP to your website’s server. This saves time and is more convenient.

Email Management

Your control panel helps to reduce hefty administrative tasks related to your email. You’ll be able to:

  • Set up mail accounts

  • Set up email forwarders

  • Set up email spam filters

  • Manage email accounts

  • Delete email accounts

File Management

This function is common to most control panels but can be labeled differently. Your control panel makes your file management tasks much easier, without the need for an FTP client. They allow file modifications via a browser-based drag-and-drop interface.

Database Management

All website hosting needs a database to store information in, and the control panel makes this easier to manage. Generally, packages that include MySQL databases are enough for the majority of websites. This type of database is usually included with web hosting solutions.

Your control panel should allow you handle things like:

  • Database additions and modifications

  • Database maintenance

  • Database Users


Keeping backups of important files is a great way to ensure that you are safe from data loss. Your control panel is the place to go for creating, accessing and restoring those backups. Most control panels also come with a built-in file backup utility that runs periodically, making it even easier for you to back up your files.

Choosing the Right Web Hosting Control Panel

Generally, it’s a matter of personal preference. Some users are more than happy to settle with whatever works while others may be looking for something more specific & that can only be found in a certain control panel. It just depends on what you’re looking to achieve. The preference of Plesk or cPanel is often heavily discussed, but there are many other superb alternatives worth considering. When selecting a web hosting control panel, you should take into account some of the best options out there such as:


cPanel reigns supreme in the web server control panel market, particularly for Unix-based systems like CentOS, CloudLinux, RHEL 7, Amazon Linux and FreeBSD. It’s a must-have for any business that wants an easy & organized way to manage its web servers.

Being in the market since 1996, cPanel offers tons of features along with years of documentation and discussions available to help you.

Through cPanel, your applications and tools are categorized into easy-to-find groups, namely Files, Databases and Software. This makes the interface clearer and easier to use. Additionally, icons in each group can be moved around via drag and drop.

The functionality is typically split into:

  • cPanel – an interface for you to manage your hosting account

  • Web Host Manager (WHM) – a web server administration interface used by the web hosting provider

While cPanel is full-featured and popularly used, some of its features are not organized in the most intuitive manner. Its extensive interface can also be difficult for inexperienced users.


cPanel has long been the go-to control panel for web hosting, but Plesk is also widely used, having been released in 2001. If you’re looking for a solution to host your Windows Server then Plesk may be the best choice for you.As a primary control panel for Windows-based servers, Plesk is well known and highly recommended. It also has Linux versions available for those who require the same level of control over their server.

Plesk supports Debian, CentOS, FreeBSD, Ubuntu, SUSE, Red Hat Linux, Cloud Linux, Amazon Linux, Virtuozzo Linux, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP, Windows Server 2016, and Windows Server 2019. Resembling the Windows interface, eases entry for those familiar with this operating system.

Plesk offers an easy-to-use interface along with the usual features you’d look for in a web server control panel; managing DNS entries, email management, IP address allocations to file management, FTP user creation and more. More than 100 Plesk extensions allow you to easily add features and also integrate with third-party tools.

Unlike cPanel, Plesk is generally considered to have a better and more organized intuitive interface. In general, Plesk offers everything cPanel does and at a cheaper price.


SPanel is not widely distributed, but it’s still highly praised because of its defining feature – it’s free and cPanel compatible. This lets users migrate away from the rising costs of cPanel licenses and take advantage of a unique opportunity.

It is also a great control panel for first-time users with a neat user interface. You’ll find that each section is self-explanatory and intuitive. cPanel is known to run best with Apache but SPanel is considered by some as being more versatile.

It supports Apache, Nginx, LiteSpeed Enterprise and OpenLiteSpeed web servers with the last two being claimed as the fastest in the world.

An all-in-one solution, SPanel provides a single interface, through which you’ll have control over your entire account, from email management to handling DNS configuration matters and others. Also, there are advanced features that are worth highlighting:

  • SShield – a real-time cyber security solution. Integrated in SPanel, it is claimed to stop 99.998% of website attacks, at no additional cost.

  • SWordPress Manager – a handy utility that helps WordPress users manage their sites; installation, uninstallation, admin tasks, editing, cloning, staging, etc.


Webmin is an open-source, server sysadmin tool that helps manage servers. It works with more than 100 Unix flavored Operating Systems and is complemented by Usermin – a platform for user-level server admin tasks. This service helps make the administrative management of servers easier and more efficient.

Like most, it behaves as the interface to the underlying applications on servers, including configuring applications like FTP, SSH, email, web server, databases, and more.

Webmin is module-based, which makes it easy to add new functionality and customize it. Although Webmin supports mainly Unix based systems, it can now support Windows servers as well. Webmin is more popular among smaller hosting providers and resellers.

Even though Webmin is not as streamlined or user-friendly as Plesk, it offers just as many features, making it a viable option for hosting your website.


DirectAdmin was launched in 2003 as an open source web hosting control panel. It has a multilingual interface, making it very accessible for everyone and has three default access levels. This makes it effortless to manage websites, email accounts, and more with ease.

  • Admin – DNS administration and clustering, IP management, user management, software upgrade, and others.

  • Resellers – account and package management, user communication management, system info features.

  • Users –  file and database management, email administration, FTP management, site backup, and others.

Linux users consider DirectAdmin to be an incredibly reliable control panel option due to its excellent stability.


Having a control panel for web hosting accounts is invaluable for anyone who is running a website. Knowing how to manage web servers can be time-consuming and confusing when one needs to search for each command individually. Control panels simplify this process and make it more efficient.

When selecting a web hosting service, pay special attention to the various control panels offered. Your choice should be determined by what features fit your needs and which preferences you have. Make sure that whichever option you choose provides the best possible experience for managing your website.

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