Choosing a Control Panel: cPanel or Plesk?

9th January, 2020

In the world of web hosting control panels, two have taken the lead in popularity and performance: Plesk and cPanel. However, knowing which control panel is best for your hosting configuration isn’t always obvious. It is important to evaluate both to see which will better suit your data storage solution.  

cPanel was released in 1996 and the current release is cPanel 82. Due to its 13 years of use, there are far more legacy cPanel users than other control panels. More recent versions of cPanel also include WHM, or Web Hosting Manager, interfaces. WHM is used for server administration while cPanel focuses on account management. The combination of the two are the preferred method for reseller, shared, and dedicated hosting configurations.  

Plesk, on the other hand, was released in 2001 and is currently running Plesk Onyx. Users have recently made the switch to Plesk based on both the functionality and user upgrades as well as recent cPanel pricing increases.  

Below we look at both cPanel and Plesk in terms of usability, performance, security, and operating systems to help you decide which will better suit your requirements. Learn more about control panels and creating the perfect hosting solution at THG Hosting. 

Performance 

If you are searching for a speedy, responsive control panel, then cPanel is your best bet. As a fully optimized control panel, cPanel requires much less memory, allowing for the system to focus on speedy server management tasks rather than load times. Plesk doesn’t operate a snail’s pace by any means, however, cPanel is the clear winner when considering control panel performance. 


Usability 

Over the last decade, many have come to prefer Plesk’s user interface due to its simplicity and appearance. While cPanel is also user-friendly, it offers a much more cluttered and almost outdated menu option with tiled folders rather than a more up to date menu or dropdown options. However, cPanel does allow for home screen customization, which can assist usability once you are up to speed with cPanel options. With easy to navigate menus and a clean, streamlined look, if usability is your focus, then Plesk may be the best control panel for your systems.  


Operating Systems 

This section is when most users will choose their control panel, not by preference, but by necessity. The biggest difference between cPanel and Plesk is that Plesk is available on Windows Server as well as Linux distributions. cPanel is only available for Linux. If you will be using a Windows Server, then Plesk is the best option for your configuration. However, if you are using CentOS, RedHat Enterprise Linux, or Cloud Linux, then the choice is not as clear cut. Note that you will need separate Plesk licenses depending on which operating system you choose. 


Security 

Both control panels are heavily focused on security. This means that there is not a clear-cut winner, only specifications that may be better or worse for your specific configuration. You can learn more about cPanel’s specific security concepts at cPanel.net. Helpful topics include SSL certificates, IP address denials, password protected entities, and more. For information about Plesk security, please visit the Plesk Blog. Topics include overviews of limited access, sFTP connections, two-factor authentication, SSL certificates, and other security features. 


Making the choice: cPanel or Plesk 

Ultimately, choosing a control panel should be based on what you are more comfortable using, as well as which is compatible with the operating system you have chosen. Plesk and cPanel are quite similar in usability, performance, and security (and are even owned by the same company). You may be forced to try before you buy to know for sure.  

Whether you choose cPanel or Plesk, you can easily add the control panel of your choice to our VPS and dedicated servers for a low monthly fee. Learn more about THG Hosting and the power of bare metal servers today at THGHosting.com

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