What is the best control panel for a newbie at the moment?

April 22, 2014 14.7k views
Hey everyone, I have never set up and never managed a VPS. But I believe I can handle basic stuff at the first time. I have read lots of forum topics about panels however most of them discussed at 2012/2013. I think to try ZPanel because of its user friendly interface but many people said it has security issues. But maybe they made it more secure in 1 year. So I need the opinions about latest version of the free panels. I will use it for our OpenCart based small scale eCommerce site. Only one site will run on the server. All we need a fast, stable and secure server, mail service, SSL. Should I pay for cPanel or give a try to ZPanel, Webmin, Webuzo, VestaCP etc..? Or can I do basic stuff with learning commands? :)
8 Answers
I have been using zPanel for months now, it has been working perfectly and you can easily set up email accounts should you need them. I have multiple accounts set up with many domains, and you can even create hosting accounts for friends with certain limits if you want to.
ServerPilot is very easy to use. It was designed as a control panel for hosting PHP sites on DigitalOcean. There's a free plan that does all of the server security and configuration. For hosting mail, DigitalOcean has a tutorial for installing iRedMail.
by Bulat Khamitov
If you would like to create your own online e-mail system, you can use iRedMail. In this article we will explain how you can do it on your Ubuntu 12.04 virtual server.
I would personally suggest trying out Virtualmin and if it doesn't work you could try VestaCP or Webuzo (although I've never used any of them). You can also find cPanel licenses for about $15/mo which is much cheaper than getting it directly from cPanel, Inc. if you prefer using cPanel.
Virtualmin is a Webmin module which allows for extensive management of (multiple) virtual private servers. You will be able to manage Apache, Nginx, PHP, DNS, MySQL, PostgreSQL, mailboxes, FTP, SSH, SSL, Subversion/Git repositories and many more.
@Kamal Nasser

Thank you very much for your fast reply and advices. The site is running on shared hosting atm and it has cPanel as usual. I'm familiar with it but I still cannot make sure are the control panels really important or not. I have read about Webmin + Virtualmin many times. But I don't even understand what's the difference between them :P
How about VestaCP, I have read many positive comments about it.

Actually I'm asking to myself a question now:

5$ VPS + 15$ cPanel or 20$ VPS and free panel for the beginning?

  • Yes 20$ VPS and free panel for the beginning is good choose. VestaCP is really nice. But PhpMyAdmn display problems.

I previously used Cpanel on shared hosting before coming to DO.

After testing a number of panels on different droplets (great DO cost-saving feature), I've used Vesta - it's the simplest (for me) to use, and I can manage most important tasks through there. Panels like Webmin or Virtualmin were very feature-dense, but not user friendly. The only issue with Vesta so far is Russian user forums (which is slowly changing).

Truth be told, Cpanel is great but who actually uses all the features? It's not worth what a free panel like Vesta does for you. Plus, it runs as an nginx reverse proxy out of the box.

Go for $20 VPS and Vesta, but test its functionality so you are comfortable with it before deploying live.

Saying that "Webmin/Virtualmin" are not user friendly is a colossal understatement. It probably does way more than what you need, and it will probably take less time to learn how to configure Apache by hand than it will to learn how to use the control panel. It's just page after page of incomprehensible fine-grained attributes and no help for the uninitiated. I wouldn't recommend it if you're not already an experienced Xnix admin and understand how to do things by hand.

Vesta is at the other extreme. I like it quite a bit, but bear in mind that it's very simple. You can easily get a website up and running with it, but it misses a few features that I'd love to see (upgrading PHP or MySQL versions, for example).

For those asking themselves this question in 2018 ... i can tell you that i recently had one of my Vestacp servers hacked ... and so did hundreds if not thousands of others ... i've applied the fix, but my advice is to look into Webuzo:


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