To successfully set up a server for hosting websites, you need a solution that allows the users to connect and access the different sections and functions of the server. Such connection (called a panel) allows your clients to use your server without having to access it as the “root” user. Many people prefer cPanel as their hosting solution on Apache and other web servers. However, there is enough flexibility on what you can use for your server. There are many cPanel alternatives you can choose from.
In this article, I highlight the different alternative to cPanel you might consider to use on your web server. Almost all of the alternatives are free to use. If your budget is not to the price of getting a cPanel license, you might consider getting your own free panel. The features that come with each of these solutions differ a bit from what you get with cPanel, though. You need to study each of them and choose what will work best for you.
Free cPanel Alternative Control Panels
Webmin is a Unix system administration suite that is browser-based. It reduces the complications of having to manage your server through the terminal or command line and having to manually edit files when managing users. Virtualmin is a lightweight cPanel alternative for managing your server. It supports different web servers like Nginx, Postfix, Apache, and BIND.
With Virtualmin, you can create different domain accounts on your server, email system, databases & database management, and DNS system. Webmin and Virtualmin make a powerful and stress-free server management solution for you.
This software is powerful and supports most of the features you expect from a cPanel free alternative. To begin with, Froxlor is lightweight and fast. You can expect utmost performance with little server resource consumption.
You can use the advanced SSL feature, support ticket system, MySQL database management, traffic calculation, among other features. You can set up a theme of your choice to fit your needs as well. Froxlor also supports resellers and customers on your server. You also have the ability to install the LetsEncrypt SSL on the websites right from the panel.
Formerly known as Lxadmin, Kloxo is a perfect cPanel alternative that will take care of your web hosting needs. It works with the CentOS and Red Hat distros. It is compatible with both Apache and Lighttpd web servers. It works seamlessly with WHMCS and Hostbill client management portals. The interface and features are very close to those of cPanel.
This free control panel gives you lots of features to help you run your web server easily. From email, databases, file manager, cron tabs, even backups. You have the power in your hands to set automated features on your website and do many tasks without having to get your hands dirty with code.
VestaCP is designed to use minimum resources to provide powerful services for your websites. It requires only 512MB memory and 1Ghz processor to run. The caching mechanism allows you to serve websites at super speeds. VestaCP also comes with an inbuilt firewall to protect your server and the Nginx web server. The web interface of VestaCP is available in 26 languages.
It works with Apache, MySQL, PHP, Webalizer, Filezilla Server, hMailServer, among other web hosting software and resources. Sentora is built as a fork of the ZPanelCP project. It is open source, extendable, and simplified.
The fully customizable control panel allows different users (customers) to log in and manage their own web hosting accounts. You can use the API to connect your website or billing client to manage the server from a central place or application. With the reseller option, you can allow your direct clients to sell the hosting server resources under their own defined packages, just like we do on cPanel.
Sentora is compatible with Apache HTTPd, PHP, MySQL/MariaDB, Postfix, Dovecot, and ProFTPd. There are other community modules that work with this alternative to cPanel. Since the ZpanelCP was taken over by Hostwinds, the development is not active. It is wise you take up the Sentora control panel for your business or project.
This is a server management panel. It is essential for the basic control of your server resources on the web. If you do not need so many features on your web server, ajenti is enough for you. But if you need advanced features such as email, multiple accounts, etc., you have to install the Ajenti V module.
Ajenti runs on minimal resources, but it is powerful enough to run and manage a web server. You just need about 30MB RAM and 75MB HDD space to run the panel. The best thing is that it comes with a remote terminal, that you can use in case you need access to text-based configurations. Ajenti also has a commercial license version.
Paid/ Commercial Alternative to cPanel Solutions:
Apart from the free and open source server management panels I highlighted above, there are others you can still employ. However, these ones are not available for free. You need to pay a given amount of fee per month, year, or as a lifetime license to use. These include:
- Plesk: – A complete solution for managing your server and websites or online apps. It has all the features you expect from a server management panel. They have a free trial that you can use to test if it is worth to pay for. You can go ahead and grab your trial copy before you commit to obtaining a license.
- DirectAdmin: – The panel is designed to be fast and stable. The more powerful feature of DirectAdmin is that it can recover from crashes, thus avoiding server downtime. Your websites and apps will be accessible all through. They also have different flexible licenses that you can choose according to your needs and budget.