While looking up web hosting services, web admins must clearly understand the nature of their proposed website and the type of control they would like to have over the possible changes to be incorporated. Websites differ in the type of upgradation required over time. Some may constantly require textual changes, while others may include photographs, graphics, etc. Control panels offered are varied according to the packages that are subscribed to. All the packages provide some essential components that are mandatory for the client. Options to add new domains, password change and addition of new accounts are some of the main features.
cPanel (control panel) is a graphical web-based control panel to simplify administration through the changes in the interface. The software is not freely available and is to be paid through a monthly subscription. CPanel is versatile enough to run on PHP, FreeBSD, Redhat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, and Windows Server. Since cPanel has become a commonly accepted tool for web hosting, a web admin can install and be linked to the website. Cpanel provides a statistics tool covering all details like disk space being used, domain name, monthly bandwidth changes, e-mails, secondary domains and SQL database. Managing FTP data and editing CGI scripts is more accessible with cPanel. CPanel supports Fantastico Deluxe and allows web admins to install 50 or more free scripts without any specific programming required. Switching the interface to suit particular needs becomes more accessible with cPanel. A cPanel-enabled computer allows the webmaster to access the website and upload, edit or delete files. The tool offers a provision for the backup of files in case of a system crash or accidental deletion of important data. Backup of mailing lists and e-mail information is also available.
The Plesk control panel allows new sites, mail accounts, and DNS entries to be set up. Plesk control panels are available to work with the POSIX platform, SUSE, FreeBSD, Windows Server 2003 or 2008, and Red hat Linux. The tool helps to create templates for clients and sites. The plesk control panel is usually used along with Windows Server. Since Windows Server plans do not have a control panel, SSH/Shell Commands are used to access the server. The control panel allows working via Shell access but in an automated method at the click of a mouse. It is one of the most secure and stable tools for website maintenance. It works well with Windows and Linux, avoiding the need for changes to the operating system. It is highly compatible with Windows Server 2008 software.
While having a control panel from a host is not mandatory, it is better since managing the website externally becomes unwieldy. cPanel and Plesk are reliable, quick and secure. Significant differences arise in terms of the user interface. Changing one’s host may make continuing with the same control panel difficult. The long-term usage charge is less for cPanel as compared to Plesk. CPanel is the most compatible with almost all web hosting tools and is much more user-friendly. If an unlimited domain license is bought, Plesk is much cheaper than cPanel. Plesk is compatible with SUSE Linux, while cPanel is not. XML interfaces are not provided with cPanel, while Plesk supports XML and allows PHP or Perl scripts. A good control panel helps optimize the website for SEO ranking and incorporate fundamental changes for interaction with the user.