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Many website owners and server webmasters will admit that it’s quite difficult to manage multiple websites without a proper control panel. It’s even more difficult to edit Apache configuration files, restart the server and customize the hosting files as you wish. That said, many webmasters use some kind of control panel to help them with this issue. A web hosting control panel is a web-based interface which has the capability to manage your websites and server options under a single management system. These web-based control panels manage FTP accounts, domains, subdomains, email accounts, bandwidth options and the like. There are several control panels available. The most popular ones are cPanel and Plesk. However, these are paid softwares and hosting provider will charge a monthly fee if you decide to use them. Let’s move further to explore the top 10 most preferred free control panels, one-by-one.

cPanel is a good web hosting control panel, but we have to pay money every month to use it. Thanks to open source, we have some cPanel alternative free softwares that has almost features we need to manage server such as hosting management, user account, email server, DNS server, Firewall, web base UI, backup, multi server, FTP server, file manager, SSl support… and the beast feature is big open source community. The community kindly to help and improve the script almost every day.

Note: All the items in this list was picked by me. I’ve spend a bout 5 years experience in System admin, hosting management and related fields. I’ve installed and used many web UI hosting control panel scripts for my projects, so now I write this article to save your time on finding a suitable one. All of them are FREE TO USE.

Here are top 10 free cPanel Alternative software (I sort them by stable -> easy to install and config > security > features > community) :

No. Name Supported OS Extensible Community Multilingual
1 Sentora Ubuntu, CentOS Yes Yes No
2 VestaCP CentOS , RHEL, etc Yes Yes No
3 CWP Partially Yes No
4 Webuzo CentOS, Ubuntu Partially Yes No
5 ISPConfig CentOS, Ubuntu etc. Yes Yes Yes
6 VirtualMin CentOS, Debian Yes Yes No
7 Ajenti CentOS, Debian etc. Partially No No
8 OpenPanel CentOS, RHEL etc. Yes No No
9 ZPanel CentOS Yes Yes No
10 EHCP Ubuntu, CentOS etc. No Partially Yes

1. Sentora

sentora

Sentora is an open-source web hosting control panel distributed under the GPLv3 License. It’s simple to install if you follow the instructions as stated. This control panel supports Debian, Centos 6.X and Ubuntu. It also has a friendly community support if you need someone to help you out with the software. What I personally like about the software is its extendability. The software has its add-ons store which you can use to install and use different modules and templates.

2. VestaCP

vestacp

Vesta is an open-source hosting control panel that currently supports RHEL-flavored Linux releases (CentOS, RedHat) and Ubuntu. It comes with all necessary software to run and manage your websites. It’s a lightweight and an easy-to-use control panel. If English language isn’t your native language, then consider yourself lucky. This control panel supports an abundance of languages, including Bosnian and Indonesian language.

3. CWP Control Panel

CWP Control Panel

CWP Control Panel automatically installs LAMP on your server (Apache, PHP, phpmyadmin, mailserver and webmail). Its features are that it greatly improves server performance and compiles PHP from source, making it a great control panel for RAM-tight VPS servers. It also supports FreeDNS and lets you add and edit DNS zones. They also have a little friendly community to help you out in an event of error or Apache failure.

4. Webuzo

Webuzo

Webuzo is a cloud-friendly control panel platform. Actually, this LAMP stack is mainly designed for Cloud servers. And it’s free, as well.

5. ISPConfig

ISPConfig

ISPConfig is a well-known user-friendly control panel. No matter if physical server or virtual machine, this control panel just works. As it has a huge community, it’s stable and secure. There’s even an enterprise support if you decide to upgrade to the paid version. What I personally like about this control panel is its Android app. You can use the Android application to monitor your ISPConfig-based servers. You can also check TCP and UDP ports and ping your servers to find out if all servers are running as expected. This control panel has two big communities, for English-speaking users and for Germans.

6. VirtualMin

VirtualMin

VirtualMin is a powerful and flexible web hosting control panel. Using this panel you can manage your virtual domains, databases and the entire server from one friendly and comprehensive interface. It’s one of the most popular control panels out there.

7. Ajenti

Ajenti

Ajenti is a relatively new, but promising control panel with an attractive user interface. It offers management tools for a number of things, but they tend to be relatively simple and good for reviewing what’s set up and adding new entries than any deep management. There’s also a dashboard that can be customized with different widgets for a streamlined overview of your Virtual Private Server.

8. OpenPanel

OpenPanel

This platform is mainly designed for developers. As it is extremely open with lots of options and configuration files, it’s not for newbies. However, it can be utilized to control any process on a Linux server.

9. ZPanel

ZPanel

This panel is based on an easy-to-use platform. It supports Windows, Linux, BSD and OSX. The ZPanel team is always working to improve the security within the software, so it’s a fairly secure control panel.

10. EHCP (Easy Hosting Control Panel)

EHCP (Easy Hosting Control Panel)

EHCP is a free web hosting control panel that actually has built-in support for Nginx and PHP-FPM. This means that Apache is completely thrown out, thus making it a perfect control panel for low end servers.

Comparison Table

License and Operating system support

Free/Libre Control Panels

Control panel Licence Free Open Source Alive (last release) BSD Linux Windows Frontend Backend PluginSupport VCS IPv6Support Multiserver Support
Aegir LGPL Yes Yes 2014/01/08 Yes Yes No PHP, AJAX PHP,MySQL/MariaDB  ?  ?  ?  ?
Ajenti AGPL,Proprietary Yes Yes 2014/03/28 FreeBSD 8.0+ Yes No Python Python Yes git No [2] No
AlternC GPL 2 Yes Yes 2013/11/07 No Yes No PHP PHP / Perl /Shell script Yes [3] git / svn Yes [4] No
Baifox GPL Yes Yes 2009/04/19 No Yes No PHP PHP, SQLite  ?  ?  ?  ?
CentOS WebPanel GPL Yes Yes 2015/03/09 No Yes No PHP PHP, MySQL Yes automatic Yes No
EHCP GPL Yes Yes 2012/04/01 No Yes No  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
Domain Technologie Control GNU LGPL Yes Yes 2013/04/04 Limited FreeBSD support Yes No PHP  ?  ? git No [7]  ?
EasySCP GPL Yes Yes 2013/09/17 Limited FreeBSD support Yes No PHP Perl Yes  ? Yes No
Gnupanel GPL Yes Yes 2012/03/21 No Yes No PHP PHP, PgSQL  ?  ?  ?  ?
i-MSCP GPL, MPL Yes Yes 2014/09/15 No Yes No PHP Perl, C Yes  ? Yes No
ISPConfig BSD Yes Yes 2014/10/01 No Yes No PHP PHP, MySQL Yes  ? Yes Yes
ispCP GPL Yes Yes 2010/11/24 Limited FreeBSD support Yes No PHP Perl No  ? No No
Kloxo(formerly Lxadmin) AGPL Yes Yes 2011/11/13 No CentOS (6 not currently supported) or Red Hat EL 5.x [8] No PHP PHP, MySQL No  ? No Yes
Kloxo-MR(Kloxo fork By Mustafa Ramadhan) AGPL Yes Yes 2015/02/12 (7.0.0.b version) No Yes [10] No PHP PHP,MySQL/MariaDB No git Yes Yes
OpenPanel[11] GPL, Plugin APILGPL [12] Yes Yes 2013/02/20 Planned[13] Debian [14] Planned[15] C++, AJAX Core: C++, Modules: Any language Yes [16] Mercurial Partial [17] Planned [18]
SysCP GPL Yes Yes 2010/05/11 Yes Yes No PHP PHP, MySQL Yes  ? Yes No
Sentora GPL 3 Yes Yes 2014/07/30 No Yes No PHP PHP, MySQL Yes git  ?  ?
Froxlor GPL Yes Yes 2013/10/25 Yes Yes No PHP PHP, MySQL Yes  ? Yes Partial
Usermin BSD style Yes Yes 2015/02/15 Yes Yes No Perl Perl  ? tarball  ?  ?
Virtualmin GPL Yes Yes 2015/01/31 Yes [20] Yes No Perl Perl Yes tarball Yes Partial [21]
Webmin BSD style Yes Yes 2015/01/01 Yes Yes Partial Perl Perl Yes tarball Yes Yes
WebsitePanel BSD style Yes Yes 2012/11/28 No No Yes ASP.NET ASP.NET, MSSQL No  ? Yes Yes
Zentyal(formerly eBox Platform) GPL Yes Yes 2013/09/19 No Yes No Perl Perl Yes git  ?  ?
VestaCP GPL Yes Yes 2014/08/05 No Yes No PHP PHP, BASH, C No  ? Planned Partial
Control panel Licence Free Open Source Alive (last release) BSD Linux Windows Frontend Backend Plugin Support VCS IPv6Support Multiserver Support

Proprietary Control Panels

Control panel Licence Free Open Source Alive (last release) BSD Linux Windows Frontend Backend Plugin Support IPV6 Support Multiserver Support
cPanel Proprietary No No 2014/12/03[1] FreeBSD Version Retired Yes EOL Perl Perl Yes Yes Yes
Plesk Proprietary No No 2014/06/16[2] No Yes Yes PHP PHP/MySQL Yes Yes Yes
Liveconfig Proprietary No No 2015/02/19[3] Planned[24] Yes No C++ C++/Sqlite Yes Yes Yes
MachPanel Proprietary No No 2014/06/30 No No Yes .NET .NET Yes Yes Yes
DirectAdmin Proprietary No No 2013/12/26 Yes Yes No C++ C++, scripts, PHP Yes Yes Yes
H-Sphere Proprietary No No 2012/12/11 Yes Yes Yes Java Java Yes  ? Yes
HDE Controller X Proprietary No No 2011/11/01 No Yes No PHP PHP  ? Yes Yes
XO Panel Proprietary No No 2013/05/18 Yes Yes Yes (Beta) PHP C/C++ Yes Yes Yes
Hosting Controller Proprietary No No 2014/12/24 No Yes Yes .NET MSSQL Yes Yes Yes
InterWorx Proprietary No No 2014/09/22 No Yes No PHP PHP, MySQL Yes Yes Yes
ISPmanager Proprietary No No 2014/06/23 Yes Yes Partial C++ C++/sqlite Yes Yes Yes
Server Management Tool Proprietary No No 2012/09/1 No Yes No PHP, Perl PHP, Perl No No Yes
ServerPilot Proprietary Partial No SaaS No Yes No Backbone.js,CoffeeScript Python, Go No Yes Yes
Virtualmin Pro Proprietary No No 2012/08/23 Yes Yes No Perl Perl Yes Yes Partial[28]
Hepsia CP Proprietary No No 2013/11/08 No Yes Yes PHP PHP/MySQL/PgSQL Yes No Yes
Webuzo EULA [30] Yes No 2013/07/01 No Yes No PHP PHP No  ? Yes
ZPanel GPL Yes Yes 2014/03/03 Limited FreeBSD support Yes Yes PHP PHP, MySQL Yes  ? Yes

Remote access

Some control panels allow shell (console) access to the underlying OS through a Java applet, requiring that the client-side computer use Java Virtual Machine software. Other control panels allow direct access using telnet or secure shell (SSH).

Control panel FTP Anonymous FTP Terminal File browse/upload/download HTTP frontend
Ajenti Yes (plugin)  ? SSH, HTML5 Yes
Baifox Yes (only Pureftpd) [32]  ?  ?  ?
cPanel Yes Yes SSH, Java Applet Yes
MachPanel Yes Yes Yes Yes
DirectAdmin Yes Yes SSH Yes
Domain Technologie Control Yes  ? SSH Yes
Gnupanel  ?  ? SSH  ?
H-Sphere Yes Yes SSH Yes
HDE Controller X Yes Yes SSH Yes
Hosting Controller Yes  ?  ? Yes
i-MSCP Yes No SSH Yes
InterWorx Yes Yes SSH Yes
ISPConfig Yes Yes SSH Yes
ispCP Yes No No Yes
ISPmanager Yes No SSH Yes
Kloxo Yes Yes SSH, Java Applet Yes
Kloxo-MR Yes Yes SSH, Java Applet Yes
OpenPanel Yes [33] Planned [34] SSH [35] Planned [36]
Plesk Yes Yes SSH, Java Applet Yes
SysCP Yes No No Yes
Froxlor Yes Partial Partial Yes
Usermin Yes Yes SSH, Java Applet Yes
Virtualmin Yes Yes SSH, Java Applet Yes
Virtualmin Pro Yes Yes SSH, Java Applet Yes
Webmin Yes Yes SSH, Java Applet Yes
ZPanel Yes Yes SSH Installable by third-party module
Hepsia CP Yes Yes SSH, HTML5, NodeJS Yes
VestaCP Yes No SSH Planned

Email management

While all control panel software below supports multiple email accounts, the features they provide vary.

 

Control panel Antivirus Antispam Forwarders Mailbox quota DomainKeys DKIM
Ajenti [37] No No Yes No Yes Yes
Baifox no  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
cPanel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
MachPanel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
DirectAdmin Supported Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Domain Technologie Control Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Gnupanel  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
H-Sphere Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
HDE Controller X Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hosting Controller Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
i-MSCP Optional Optional Yes Optional Optional Optional
InterWorx Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ISPConfig Yes Yes Yes Yes Possible Yes
ispCP Optional Optional Yes No No No
ISPmanager Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kloxo Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kloxo-MR Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
OpenPanel Planned [38] Yes Yes Planned Planned Planned
Plesk Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
SysCP Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes (broken [39])
Froxlor Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Usermin Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Virtualmin Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Virtualmin Pro Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Webmin Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ZPanel No No Yes Yes No No
Hepsia CP Yes Yes, SPF Yes Yes Yes ?
VestaCP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

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