Whether it is managing your domains and email accounts or installing applications, a control panel can simplify even the most complex server management tasks. So here we are, discussing Plesk vs Cpanel vs DirectAdmin – the top three hosting control panels today. This comparison post will help you pick the right hosting control panel for your business

If you are buying a website hosting service and want to administer it yourself, choosing the right control panel is what you need. Among the hundreds of options available, three website management tools – cPanelPlesk & DirectAdmin are dominating or quickly emerging in the current market.

While cPanel is the most loveable Linux-based platform at present, Plesk has turned out to be a dominant force too, supporting both Windows & Linux. Talking of our third control panel on the list, DirectAdmin is quickly emerging because of its simplicity.

So in this post, let us discuss in-depth on cPanel Vs. Plesk Vs. DirectAdmin to simplify your decision-making journey.

cPanel Site Management Tool

Perhaps the most popular of the three, cPanel web hosting, typically manages Linux-based servers. The interface & functionality of cPanel is so easy that even non-technical users can manage the entire server without any technical expertise. This is a major reason why cPanel web hosting is a top choice for many.

cPanel allows you to perform higher-level tasks, wherein you can manage both your website and other aspects of your hosting. Alongside, it also enables you to perform some of the tasks that can be done in the admin area.

What Are The Features Of cPanel Web Hosting?

  • It is easy to use and install and comes with a straightforward GUI, which allows users to manage their daily tasks with minimal effort.
  • The features in cPanel are grouped into sections that can be accessed by a simple scroll down. It also comes with several customization options that help you make things easier to find.
  • cPanel is tightly integrated with Softaculous – a unique feature that allows 1-click app installation. With this, you can install any application like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, or Magento with just one click.
  • cPanel is an extremely portable solution allowing you to transfer your website from one hosting provider to another quickly and painlessly.
  • Supports stronger and more secure site maintenance through extensions and numerous inbuilt security solutions (SSL Certificates).
  • With cPanel, you enjoy flexible database management as you can create your own MySQL database and use the system to do almost anything you want
  • cPanel recently added a cPanel SEO tool (beta) to its interface, which enables website owners to optimize their sites for improved search rankings.
  • The backup restoration interface of cPanel makes restoring cPanel accounts from local backups or backups on a remote FTP destination easier.

cPanel Quick Facts

Look at some amazing facts about cPanel you probably didn’t know about:

  • Released in 1996, cPanel is the oldest hosting solution.
  • At present, about 3,533,540 websites are using cPanel.
  • cPanel can be installed on RHEL, CloudLinux, and CentOS.
  • A domain is created using the cPanel server every 6 seconds.
  • A new cPanel hosting account is created every 14.5 seconds.

Plesk Site Management Tool 

If you are among those who want an attractive hosting platform for Windows, Plesk is the ideal option. It has a lot to offer for developers & webmasters helping them to achieve a stable and efficient hosting solution. Plesk is best known for its user-friendly interface and myriads of features, which allow admins to manage their sites more efficiently.

The newest Plesk is available both for Windows and Linux. It is designed to manage performance and work unobtrusively. The Plesk panel is available in multiple editions, each customized for specific hosting use cases.

What Are The Features Of Plesk Web Hosting?

  • The fact that Plesk is host agnostic and can be installed on any platform, whether it is Linux or Windows makes it a popular server management tool today. The best part: you can also run Plesk inside a Docker container available on Docker Hub.
  • Plesk also supports Docker integration featuring over 200,000 different Docker images. This enables website owners/developers to launch Docker images directly from Plesk without using the command line.
  • Plesk is great support for those who demand integration with Git – a popular version control system. Plesk version 12.5 and up support Gitman extension with full Git integration to its core functionality.
  • With Plesk, users can schedule incremental and complete backups enabling easy roll-back of amendments made to their site or database.
  • It allows you to set usage limits for different system resources, including RAM, disk I/O, CPU, and even system resource usage on the server. The usage is tracked by the server health monitor automatically.
  • Plesk control panel has separate licenses for 10-30 websites. It is a cheaper option if you have fewer sites.
  • Plesk has its own marketplace where you can develop your extension using its SDK and Open API and sell it to potential customers.

Plesk Quick Facts

  • Released in 2001, Plesk is the newest hosting tool in the market.
  • Users can install it on a variety of Linux and Windows distros.
  • 300,000 servers are installed with Plesk globally.
  • 12 million websites run on Plesk.
  • Best control panel in the US, and also captures approximately 75 to 80 percent of the European market.

DirectAdmin Site Management Tool

A lightweight and easy-to-use control panel for Linux, DirectAdmin is the least expensive of all three server management tools. The most unique aspect of the DirectAdmin web hosting tool is its simple interface making it usable for even the newbies.

Although DirectAdmin is not as popular as its other two counterparts, it is still an ideal option for those trying to set up and has a tight budget. Moreover, it comes with all the core features a control panel must have, including multi-customer setups support, DNS management, and reseller account creation.

What Are The Features Of DirectAdmin Web Hosting?

  • Among the easiest and fastest Linux hosting control panels.
  • Provides you with several admin access views.
  • Comprises in-built spam management tools.
  • User-friendly interface & very competitive pricing model.
  • Offers some advanced tools to configure SSH keys, cron jobs, custom error pages, etc.

DirectAdmin Quick Facts

  • Released in 2003.
  • Runs on any system with a 500 MHz processor and 1 GB memory and at least 2 GB of swap memory.
  • Offers a 60-day free trial
  • Prices start from just $2 per month for support for about 10 domains.

Feature Comparison:  Plesk vs Cpanel vs DirectAdmin

1. OS Compatibility

The foremost criterion to choose a hosting control panel is the type of operating system you want for your server.

Of the available top hosting control panels, cPanel & DirectAdmin support Linux-based systems, and Plesk supports both Linux & Windows. So, for anyone who is familiar with a Windows server, using cPanel or DirectAdmin will require them to enhance their knowledge of the Linux environment.

While cPanel is supported by Cloud Linux, CentOS, and RedHat, DirectAdmin is compatible with Red Hat, Debian, FreeBSD, and CentOs. On the other hand, Plesk is supported by 14 different Linux solutions in addition to Windows servers.

2. Performance

Once you have decided on which OS to run on your server, next you should evaluate the performance of each of the options you have.

In the performance comparison, Plesk vs Cpanel vs DirectAdmin, cPanel wins. cPanel is faster as it utilizes a minimal amount of memory for its execution. Hence, developers can speed up load times & experience faster loading of their servers & applications.

3. User Interface

Both Plesk and DirectAdmin are currently considered to have a cleaner and easier-to-use GUI as compared to cPanel. That is why Plesk and DirectAdmin are ideal for beginners and non-tech savvy.

Plesk groups its features in a list which further expands with more options when clicked. This makes its interface quite similar to the WordPress CMS. However, this is not the same with cPanel. On the contrary, the cPanel interface seems cluttered to many users. Moreover, cPanel along with WHM offers a wide range of options along with front-end & back-end making the interface complicated & harder to manage than DirectAdmin and Plesk.

4. Functionality

Because of its integration with WHM, cPanel differs from Plesk & DirectAdmin. cPanel with WHM is a great combination to increase server management and efficiency. Plus, two of them combined also improve site administration and management.

On the contrary, when used alone  Plesk vs cPanel vs DirectAdmin requires permissions to perform complex tasks. On comparing the functionality of all three control panels, they all have multiple language packs, configurable reseller hosting packages, phpMyAdmin integration, availability to manage MySQL databases, configurable spam filtering, and more.

Of all the three, Plesk is the only server tool offering multiple IPs per domain, external file servers, and external MySQL servers.

5. Security

Plesk provides security features including fail2ban that prevent active directory integration, intrusions, and spam defense for email. On the contrary, cPanel offers security features such as automatic installation of SSL certificates, IP address denials, and directories with password protection.

Direct Admin combines with cPGuard –  a security suite that protects web apps using its Commercial WAF and website malware scanner.

6. Price

Both cPanel and Plesk are available as licensed and on cloud and dedicated servers. Hence, the price of both these control panels depends on the access type. For example, the cost for cPanel and Plesk on the cloud generally starts at around £10 per month. Moreover, cPanel and Plesk charge regular fees for the entire product usage period.

On the other hand, DirectAdmin is the only control panel that allows webmasters to purchase licenses and enjoy unlimited updates and functionality.

DirectAdmin vs Plesk vs cPanel: Quick Recap

Here’s Our Final Verdict 

Both cPanel and Plesk offer more features than DirectAdmin in terms of functionality, user interface, and security. So, when it comes to choosing between cPanel and DirectAdmin for your Linux-based system, cPanel wins the game. But, if you are a beginner and budget is a constraint, you could think about DirectAdmin.

In the battle, Plesk vs cPanel for Linux systems, you get a more intuitive interface and more than 100 extensions in Plesk. Also, Plesk seems a better option if you own multiple servers and looking to stay with a similar control panel. However, if you have a large number of sites, choosing cPanel could be more affordable.

Again, cPanel has a wider community in the market currently so finding support staff and developers may be much easier than with Plesk.

In a nutshell, choosing the right control panel depends on several factors.

cPanel Direct Admin Plesk

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