The Most Popular Web Panel for Windows Hosting
The Plesk hosting control panel is one of the two most widely used web hosting control panels on the market. It features a slick modern user interface, Windows support, and excellent 3rd party application support including security applications such as fail2ban.
As expected with a control panel with the reputation Plesk has, you can find all of the standard features that you would expect in a high-end control panel:
- Windows or Linux
- Application Management
- Backup Management
- FTP Management
- DNS Management
- Email Management
- Resource Reporting
- User Management
- Traffic Reporting and Analytics
There are reasons you might choose one panel over another and that is what we’re focusing on in this article. Plesk along with cPanel/WHM are the two most popular web hosting control panels with reason. cPanel is more popular in North America, but you will find Plesk’s market share is growing. Both of these control panels are easy to use and you’ll find that in day to day use, picking one over the other might be a matter of personal preference. Some things you might want to look at specifically when considering Plesk are:
Plesk is a premium product and premium support options are available. When you purchase Plesk directly from Plesk you receive full free support 24/7 but support only covers issues directly related to the Plesk Control Panel. If you need assistance with getting 3rd party components such as mail or database servers working with Plesk, Plesk has a professional services team that can assist. Support availability makes Plesk an excellent choice for the major commercial web host.
3rd Party Applications
Another area Plesk really shines is in 3rd party application support. Plesk offers support for over 100 extensions, including Plesk’s WordPress toolkit. While cPanel may have support for more extensions, keep in mind that there are extensions with functionality unique to Plesk that you may want. The WordPress Toolkit is an example of this. There isn’t anything offering comparable functionality in cPanel and for someone hosting WordPress, you receive enough features that it could affect your choice of a control panel. Some of the other extensions in Plesk you may want to look at are the Joomla Toolkit and the SEO toolkit. Like the WordPress Toolkit, the Joomla Toolkit allows you to easily manage mass Joomla instances. The SEO toolkit lets you optimize the search engine optimization of your website by analyzing and monitoring it real time and comparing it to your competitors. Make sure to look at what third-party functionality you need before you pick your control panel.
Software Quality and Functionality
Plesk and cPanel are the two most popular web hosting control panels for a simple reason, they have enterprise-level reliability. If you are running a large web host you can rest assured you’ll have few problems with either choice and if you do there is enough support for you to quickly overcome it. While branding and popularity alone aren’t good enough reasons to alone when choosing mission-critical infrastructure, the reputations for reliability and quality are priceless.
There are a few areas where Plesk has the advantage in terms of quality. First, Plesk has a slightly more modern user interface that may be more familiar to newer users. Second, if you’re migrating over from cPanel or another common control panel you can make use of the Plesk Migration Manager. This isn’t a feature cPanel has and can make your life as an administrator a lot easier.
One case where Plesk is clearly the best option is if you are hosting Windows servers. cPanel only provides official support for CentOS, CloudLinux, Red Hat Enterprise, and Amazon Linux. When doing web hosting using Windows server Plesk is the best choice as it has official Windows support. In the Linux world, Plesk also offers official support for more Linux distributions than cPanel does, supporting Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise, and CloudLinux.
When You Might Consider Other Options
Automation is Important
One case where you may want to look at using cPanel over Plesk is in the case when you are running multiple identical servers in a large scale setting. cPanel supports server clustering out of the box allowing you to update multiple servers with one click. Plesk can provide this functionality but it requires the Plesk Multi Server extension or Odin Automation Premium. This is one area where cPanel has a clear advantage in out of the box functionality, especially for the large-scale web host.
Speed is Critical
While both cPanel and Plesk run at acceptable speeds, in environments where you are doing large numbers of account creations or other common tasks you may find cPanel more efficient overall. The cPanel simply loads faster and is more responsive so the quicker the pages load, the quicker you can accomplish tasks. In the large-scale environment, you may find cost advantages to this as your labor dollars go farther.
Plesk is one of the two best control panels on the market. When hosting Windows servers, its the most trusted solution. When it comes to Linux hosting there are a few factors to consider when comparing it to the more commonly seen cPanel. First look at which Linux distribution you are using. Next, consider what kind of hosting you are doing.
Even if you are using CentOS, if you are running WordPress sites Plesk may still be a better option simply because of the functionality. You may also prefer some of the security options available in Plesk such as fail2ban which while can work with cPanel, aren’t as easy to set up in that environment. Finally whats more cost effective for you? cPanel is a little more expensive than Plesk and you may not have any reason to pay the higher price.
At the end of the day when choosing between cPanel it may largely come down to a matter of personal taste. Both are reliable and offer a similar range of features. Both offer great support and deserve their spots at the top of the list when it comes to control panels.