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cPanel vs Plesk vs Webmin vs Virtualmin: Which Hosting Panel Is Best?

China iTech Ghana
Monday, September 27, 2021 | views Last Updated 2021-09-27T11:58:23Z
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In most cases, when you pay for hosting you interact with your server through a dedicated control panel. There are a lot of popular web control panels, including cPanel vs Plesk vs Webmin vs Virtualmin. Understanding the differences between each one will help you decide which option is best for your needs.


Usually, you can’t decide which hosting control panel you get to use. That depends on your web host, which will create an account for you on its platform of choice when you sign up for a plan. This means that before you choose a web host, it’s a good idea to know what control panel it offers to its customers.


In this article, we’re going to compare cPanel vs Plesk vs Webmin vs Virtualmin in three essential categories, so you understand what makes each control panel unique.


An introduction to cPanel, Plesk, Webmin, and Virtualmin

In most cases, your web host will offer a single solution for all of its users, with individual accounts to manage their sites. However, if you’re using a server to which you have complete access (such as a VPS or a dedicated server) you can install your hosting control panel of choice.


If you have a preferred control panel, it can also play a role in whether you choose cPanel vs Plesk vs Webmin vs Virtualmin. With that in mind, let’s go over each option.

 cPanel


cPanel is one of the most popular hosting control panels on the market. It’s a premium product that’s popular for shared web hosting solutions because it offers scalable plans that can support large numbers of users. However, cPanel also offers solo licenses in case you want to set it up on a server you own.


Traditionally, when you access your cPanel account, you’ll see a broad range of tools divided into multiple sections. Among those sections, you have options for software setup, file management, database optimization, and many others.

πŸ’³ Price: cPanel licenses start at $15 per month (for a single-account setup). Unless you’re installing cPanel yourself, your web host will cover the licensing costs for as long as you’re a client.

πŸ› ️ System requirements: cPanel requires you to use Linux. The control panel is optimized to run on AlmaLinux, CentOS, CloudLinux, and Ubuntu.


Plesk

Plesk bills itself as an OS-agnostic hosting control panel. The software offers a user-friendly interface that enables you to manage security settings, set up mail servers, manage databases, create backups, and much more. Plesk is also a WordPress-friendly control panel, as it includes a suite of tools that make it easy to install and update WordPress, and scan your site for vulnerabilities:


Plesk offers an extension system and a built-in catalog within the control panel. That last feature makes it easy to find approved extensions and set them up with a few clicks. Although most extensions are premium, they tend to be remarkably cheap, with prices starting at around $2.99 per extension per month.

πŸ’³ Price: Plesk licenses start at $10.08 per month for up to ten domains, which includes the WordPress toolkit.

πŸ› ️ System requirements: Plesk runs on both Windows and Linux machines.


Webmin


Webmin is open-source software. You can opt to install a full or a “minimal” version of the software, depending on how much control you want over your server. When compared with other control panels, Webmin is by far the most lightweight option in terms of system resources, and its interface is primarily designed for experienced system administrators:


Like other hosting control panels, Webmin supports modules or extensions. You can also use themes to customize the style of your control panel.


πŸ› ️ System requirements: Webmin requires a Windows or Linux installation (although we recommend the latter) and it offers packages for popular distros, including CentOS, Debian, Ubunto, and more.


Virtualmin


Virtualmin is another open-source hosting control panel that we love, and it’s built on top of Webmin. You can think about Virtualmin as Webmin with a nicer interface, a more robust file manager module, and the ability to switch between the two control panels:

One area where Virtualmin stands out is when it comes to virtual server management. The control panel makes it easy to launch new virtual servers and modify the resources that you allocate to them.

Beyond its virtual server toolkit, Virtualmin also includes all the other features you expect to see in a hosting control panel. With this software, you’ll be able to manage email and databases, set up web applications and CMSs, and more.


πŸ› ️ System requirements: Virtualmin requires a Linux setup, with CentOS or Ubuntu being the most popular options.

cPanel vs Plesk vs Webmin vs Virtualmin: Considerations for choosing the best hosting control panel


Choosing between cPanel vs Plesk vs Webmin vs Virtualmin is not always simple. If you’re using Windows, your choices will be reduced. However, if you’re open to using a Linux installation, your options are wide open.


Aside from your OS, there are other considerations to keep in mind, including performance and security options as well as ease of use. Let’s discuss each of those factors.

1. Performance features

By “performance features”, we mean the tools each hosting control panel offers for configuring and optimizing your server. There are a lot of tools that fall under the performance category, so let’s check out which control panel supports which functionality:

cPanelPleskWebminVirtualmin
CPANEL
Database managementAccess to phpMyAdmin, a database setup wizard, and support for remote MySQL
Email managementAble to set up email accounts, configure forwarding, set filters, and encrypt messages
Domain managementAccess to a full suite of DNS configuration tools
File managementOnline file manager, Git support, and FTP management tools
By and large, every one of the hosting control panels we’ve talked about gives you access to a full set of performance and server configuration tools. The table above covers the basics, but each control panel comes with its own suite of advanced functionality.


When it comes to server management and optimization, cPanel, Plesk, and Webmin are all-around great options. The primary difference between those three panels comes down to ease of use, which we’ll cover in a minute. Out of all four hosting control panels, Virtualmin does stand out due to its suite of virtual server optimization tools.


2. Security measures

A great hosting control panel will provide you with features that enable you to protect your website and server from attackers. Among those features, you have options such as:

  • SSH access configuration
  • IP whitelisting and blacklisting functionality
  • SSL certificate setup
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA)
  • In-depth activity logs
Both cPanel and Plesk offer all of those features, and they’re easy to find thanks to their user-friendly interfaces. However, Webmin takes the lead here because it gives you far more control over security settings for your server and websites. The downside is that configuring those security settings can be much more complicated than if you’re using cPanel.

Virtualmin also scores well from a security standpoint, as it’s built on top of Webmin. Logs, in particular, are much easier to peruse if you’re using Virtualmin instead of Webmin.

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