One of the most important features of any hosting service is the control panel - a tool that allows managing websites easily through a GUI display. While there are many control panels available, the two most popular are Plesk and cPanel. They are like Android and Apple in the hosting control panel market, but basically they are in one possession after these two control panels were acquired by Oakley Capital, an investment company headquartered in London.
In this article, I will compare the two control panels so that if you are faced with a choice like the one above, you can make a more informed decision.
History of cPanel & Plesk
Initially introduced in 1996, cPanel is a very popular platform used on millions of websites and is often included in many Linux hosting packages, be it shared, VPS or Dedicated Server packages. For those who have access to the server, cPanel comes along with WHM (Web Host Manager) which acts as the server administration interface. All types of cPanel licenses, whether for VPS or Dedicated Server, can be used for an unlimited number of domains. However, on June 27, 2019, the cPanel management made changes to the price and number of domains, which were divided into several licenses, which they called “Account Based Pricing”, the price depends on the number of domains.
Moderate Plesk was launched in 2001 and, like cPanel, has become a dominant force in the hosting control panel market. The newest versions, Plesk Onyx and Obsidian, have more than 100 extensions, available in three versions; Web Admin, Web Pro and Web Host custom versions which have unlimited number of domains.
cPanel was developed to work on Linux servers and is currently not compatible with Windows. Only compatible with CentOS, CloudLinux and RedHat Linux distributions.
Meanwhile, Plesk can run on a wider choice of OS, on Windows and Linux; including Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, Red Hat Linux and CloudLinux.
Both offer control panels that are very easy to navigate, Plesk's interface is more suited to the layout most people are used to using. Very similar to the WordPress admin panel, it has a main menu on the left side and when an item is selected its contents appear in the main panel. The advanced configuration features are located on the right side of the screen. For ease of use, icons are used for each of the main features.
The cPanel interface is styled differently. The left-hand menu is missing and instead, features are grouped into sections which are accessed by scrolling (scrolling) down. Like Plesk, each feature has an icon to help you identify it. The cPanel interface also has several customization options to make searching easier.
Regarding feature settings, cPanel groups its functions under the heading of preferences, email, files, logs, security, domains, databases and software services. Meanwhile, Plesk divides its functions into various fields such as statistical and resource usage, users, email, websites and domains, applications, and statistics. Surprisingly, the WHM control panel, which is separate from cPanel, has a standard interface with a left-hand menu. In this sense, it's more like Plesk, than cPanel.
Plesk and cPanel allow users to have command line access (command line interface / CLI). cPanel provides CLI and API access, which enables interaction with third-party applications. Plesk's CLI Access comes with the nickname, "Action Panel Log Command Line Access Tool".
The cPanel developers have been working hard to improve performance for years, and the results are speed loading cPanel views are now more improved. This can be achieved through reducing the amount of RAM cPanel requires, which means processes loading pages, account creation and other operations are faster.
Features and Tools
There are standard server setup and account management tasks that every user will need, and you'll find that both Plesk and cPanel allow users to do this. For example, both can be used to:
- Application installation
- Schedule backups
- Database management
- Runs FTP
- Configure DNS settings
- Manage email accounts
- Server logs
- Resource reports (eg availability, storage and bandwidth)
- Manage user accounts
- Traffic data and analytics
- File management
Plesk comes with support for a wider variety of applications and extensions, but cPanel also allows many applications to be added.
Web Security Features
Now that web security is so important, both cPanel and Plesk provide a variety of security tools to protect users. cPanel, for example, embeds tools such as IP address blocking, automatic installation of SSL certificates and password protected directories; while the Plesk security suite includes tools such as active directory integration, WAF, filtering incoming and outgoing spam for email and intrusion prevention with fail2ban.
Management via Mobile
Both cPanel and Plesk have developed applications smartphone which allows you to connect to and manage servers and websites while you are on the move. There are also various third party applications that you can use.
cPanel and Plesk are both control panels that make it easy to run servers and websites. In many cases, your options may be limited by the operating system or hosting package you choose. However, if you have options, such as with a VPS or Dedicated Server, then you can choose to use Plesk or cPanel in accordance with budget you.