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Control Panels for Web Hosting

Aug 8, 2008
The environment of web hosting is extremely competitive at the moment and these conditions have created an environment where firms are aggressively competing on price to offer numerous hosting plans at an attractive cost. If firms can't compete on price they are forced to stand out in other ways. There are a number of different ways a firm can make a strong offering to consumers and these include building the site, providing a domain name at no extra charge and the overall fee. However, the major element for many consumers is the Control Panel. Therefore, the website that you have and what you want for it will play a huge role in determining which web host is best for you. The way that a web host maintains control to organize a customers site is through the software they provide and this comes in the shape of the Control Panel. Every single action and activity that is undertaken on a website is maintained through the Control Panel. These actions can include anything ranging from creating FTP accounts, operating the email server for the client or compiling statistical data. No matter what operating platform you use, be it Windows or Linux there will be a Control Panel for your specific platform or one that can cater for both.

Control panels for websites based on Windows Platform

Some of the web hosting control panels is only available for the Windows platform. Windows only control panels include Hosting Accelerator and Helm. They are both good but Helm is a very popular control panel for Windows only users only and a lot of this is due to the features it offers, which are very consumer friendly. A key component of Helms popularity is the way it handles billing information as it provides features that most control panels do not offer. One which does is H-Sphere but Helm is extremely easy to operate in addition to having a strong interface.

Benefits of using Helm:

* Managing your server needs: Helm has the ability to facilitate an unlimited amount of servers, users and domains whilst being able to swiftly increase or decrease the number of servers. Helm has a high level if integration and can be used alongside SmarterMail, MailEnable, Merak and Mdaemon. Amongst the other programs it can be used aside include Imail, Mail Servers, hMailServer, Serv-U FTP, Microsoft FT, MySQL Server, Gene6 FTP Server andMicrosoft SQL Server, amongst others. If that was not enough, Helm is able to support Perl,ASP.Net, ColdFusion and PHP ASP.

* Cost of the service: Helm offer a great deal of freedom with regards their billing process as customers can either use the Helm one or take advantage of the billing system from any other external party. This freedom is also extended to allowing the customer to operate in the currency of their choosing and how they want to distribute or view the invoices. Customers are able to choose between HTML and plain text format.

* Managing the customer: Utilizing Helm as a hosting control panel also gives users the chance to shape the relationship with their own customers. These can be used for resellers and as also as a tool to gauge certain relevant data. These can be really helpful for calculating user limits for areas such as domains, available disk space, emails and the ability to transfer data.

Control panels for websites based on Linux platform:

There are some web hosting control panels that only operate on the Linux platform and these would include DirectAdmin, cPanel and Interworks. Many people like the services offered by DirectAdmin as they are availale for a low cost and is an extremely easy and convenient control panel to use. Similarly, many people choose Interworx as they find it a simple interface and it too offers a variety of additional features. However, these control panels cannot match the popularity of the cPanel service, which is by far the most coveted Linux based control panel. The cPanel service serves in excess of ten styles of Linux. One of the reasons why many of the companies who provide a web hosting facility like cPanel is due to the low cost of its hosting. There are also other benefits of this brand of software package which provides a great number of other services. These services include deploy applications, provide the ability for customer accounts, offer an account transferring service between servers, provides a secure server and many other key features.

Features and advantages of cPanel:

* Statistical analysis of a website: If a user would like to know how much traffic they receive, cPanel can provide them with a full range of statistical facilities to obtain these figures. Many web host providers do not offer this facility as statistical programs take up a whole host of resources. If having statistical information is vital for your site, be sure to ask any potential web host that they provide the service.

* Managing the email process: Many website owners are keen to have the power to generate or destroy email accounts and the cPanel control panel allows this facility. There is also a facility based in Webmail which offers every client the opportunity to access their emails online. There are further facilities offered by cPanel with regards to email, one of which is the ability to instruct a forwarder to move an email account to another. There is also the ability to generate auto-responders that will provide an automated response to customers.

* Providing File Manager and FTP facilities: Having FTP access is useful to upload files and cPanel provides this service and this facility is incredibly important when trying to manage a website. There is also the provision for a website owner to use the cPanel to give other people access to newly created FTP accounts. There is still the opportunity for the website owner to dictate the access rights of other users, a power shared by them and the host firm. Using a FTP package may not be for everyone and for those uncomfortable with using this process can have access to a File Manager in cPanel to control their files. The beauty of the File Manager is that it offers users the opportunity to load up files, unzip files and manage the copying and deletion processes of the files.

Control panels that can be used on both the Linux and Windows platforms:

As well as the dedicated control panels for each platform, there are some control panels that will work on both. Some of the more common web hosts that operate this facility are Ensim, H-Sphere and Plesk. H-Sphere is able to offer its client many different features that run the full spectrum from complete automation to providing key functionalities. Plesk has turned out to be the control panel for Linux and Windows that has turned out to be the most popular. This means that the majority of companies who offer a web hosting service for Windows and Linux will provide Plesk. Many people have remarked that the Plesk interface looks similar to Windows XP and as you might expect, as it serves both platforms, it can be an expensive service.

Benefits of using Plesk:

* Having shared hosting: Plesk is able to provide an identical various-platform design that allows any user to take control of their shared hosting landscape. This facility can also be undertaken on a self-administration basis. No matter the technical level of the website owner, they will find they are able to take full control of setting up, creating and fully managing their accounts.

* Dedicated Hosting: The RPM installation and modular design of the Plesk control panel enables the Dedicated Hosting providers to satisfy the various requirements of tech savvy clients. It offers a number of unique tools such as XML-API and other 3rd party applications.
About the Author
This article is published with permission from http://www.webhostingmadness.com, a publisher of web hosting company reviews, articles and helpful guides on web hosting.
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