cPanel is one of those IT tools you wouldn’t know about unless you had to use it. Nonetheless, it is used around the world to administer server space and is arguably the most popular application of its kind. But it is certainly not the only one. Anyone interested in cPanel alternatives will be happy to know that other packages are out there.
What is cPanel?
cPanel is a control panel for web hosting services. It is essentially a dashboard allowing website owners, web hosting resellers, and hosting company IT pros to administer server space via an easy-to-use graphical interface. It is loaded with administrative tools that eliminate the need to learn command-line procedures.
Why Has cPanel Been Raising Their Prices?
For many years, cPanel’s pricing was considered quite reasonable. That changed in June 2019, when cPanel announced an entirely new pricing structure. The new structure translated to a significant price increase for most customers. So, what happened?
A venture capital group acquired cPanel in early 2019. The Oakley Group already had an impressive tech portfolio that included the Plesk control panel. Yet management determined that cPanel needed to bring its pricing in line with most of the rest of the tech industry by revamping their licensing structure. That’s all well and good but converting existing customers to the new structure met huge increases for some.
Tremendous backlash led cPanel to rethink its pricing. Subtle changes dropped prices for some customers, but not all. A subsequent price hike for 2021 has all but wiped the savings out. The net result is a pricing system based on the number of accounts a customer has. The larger that number, the higher the price increase.
What Are Some cPanel Alternatives?
Web hosting resellers have born the brunt of cPanel’s price increases due to the number of accounts they host. Those with command-line capabilities can choose to forgo cPanel and do everything the old-fashioned way. Those who don’t know command-line must either pay more or move to something else.
There are several cPanel alternatives, including these three:
DirectAdmin quickly gained popularity after cPanel’s first price increase. It offers a free trial plan as well as three paid plans: the Personal plan at $2/month, the Lite plan at $15/month, and the Standard plan at $29/month. The Standard plan offers unlimited accounts and domains along with a full selection of the most critical web hosting tools.
DirectAdmin’s GUI is not as feature rich as cPanel, but it gets the job done. Note that it’s also missing popular features like Softaculous and Cloudflare. But it does give resellers and individual customers access to all the most necessary functions including email administration, domain management, SSH and encryption, and more.
Interworx is another option with control panels for both administrators and hosting customers. Its GUI looks and feels more modern than both cPanel and DirectAdmin. Web hosting customers can access everything from user accounts to email and Softaculous apps. Just about anything you could do with cPanel can be done with Interworx.
Its pricing structure is as simple as can be. A single license is just $20 per month and offers unlimited domains. All bulk licenses of 500 or more can be purchased for as little as $5 per license. Bulk license purchasers can also lock in annual or multi-year pricing.
If cPanel is the industry leader, Plesk comes in a close second. Its main advantage is the ability to run it on any system. It works equally well with Windows and Linux servers. Its user interface is among the most modern in the industry, with everything arranged logically for easy navigation. Plesk allows users to administer virtually everything related to their servers; it offers more than 100 extensions for expanding function.
Pricing is based on three plans ranging from $11/month to just over $25/month. Only the highest-paid plan offers unlimited domains. Plesk can customize services for enterprise solutions – at an added cost, of course.
How Do You Switch to a cPanel Alternative?
Switching from cPanel to an alternative requires migrating the existing account to the new service. Those with technical knowledge can handle the migration themselves. But this means migrating absolutely everything. You are talking metadata, full home directories, all your SSL keys and certificates, MySQL databases, etc.
It is a lot of work and requires quite a bit of knowledge. Thankfully, most of the alternative services can handle migration for you. Some do it for free while others charge. It really depends on the chosen alternative and its pricing structure.
cPanel has proven too expensive for a lot of web hosting professionals, especially resellers. But there are alternatives with better pricing and more than adequate capabilities. This year may be the best year to make the switch.