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Hosting Control Panels: A Web Host Comparison

Aug 22, 2008
A control panel is provided by a web host. As suggested by the name, it is the controlling mechanism for the website and helps in managing the website. Control panel is the one place from where a user can do everything that is needed to be done, while hosting a website, this includes tracking statistical information like traffic information, creating FTP accounts, setting up email accounts, adding sub-domains, databases, managing files, among many other things.

There are a number of different control panels available in the market. These include Cpanel which is among the most popular, Hostopia, Sphera, Ensim, VDeck, NextGenCP etc. They all differ in their look and feel as well as functions. Web hosts usually have their own control panel preferences, which depend upon the platforms they use. The control panels are selected according to their features and ability to perform on a particular platform.

These are all features that can be found in a control panel:

Parked Domains

Mail Manager

Network Tools

FTP Manager

Hot Link Protection

PostgreSQL Database Manager


Password Protect Directories


MySQL Database Manager

Password Protect Directories



Frontpage Extensions

Index Manager

Frontpage Extensions

Raw Log Manager

Error Log

MS SQL Manager(Windows only)


Frontpage Extensions

Web/FTP Stats

MIME Types

Raw Log Manager

Index Manager

SSL Manager

How easy a control panel is to use is a good way of noticing the difference between them. A panel such as Plesk is really simple to use whereas the functionality of cPanel is highly regarded. To make the best choice between these control panels, it helps to know the strengths and weaknesses of them. What follows is a brief overview of the control panels:


cPanel is very commonly used on Linux based systems, it provides support for more than 10 different flavors of Linux, and as of yet, it does not have a Windows or OSX based version. cPanel helps users in managing/controlling everything, from administering MySQL database to creating and deleting email accounts and much more.

cPanel has a whole range of functions and provides much more than the majority of control panels. The amount of functions offered is a key reason why it is so popular, that and it is cheap.


Plex is available for Linux and Windows web hosting servers where cPanel is not. Many users find it helpful that Plex has an interface similar to Windows XP. The control panel looks good and offers many features available in cPanel. It can enable any user to build their own site with easy to sue tool. It offers many features but it may be viewed as more expensive than other products, especially cPanel.


H-Sphere is also a popular control panel used by web hosts. Just like Plesk, it is also available for Windows, as well as Linux based web hosting servers. It offers a good range of features ranging from complete automation to key functionalities. However when compared with cPanel and Plesk it has less features.


DirectAdmin features a number of options that other control panels do not have. However it comes out lacking, when compared to features available with cPanel or Plesk. Furthermore DirectAdmin does not support Windows based platforms, and only supports a few flavors of Linux. On the plus side, it is cheaper than cPanel.


Available for Windows and Linux, Ensim doesn't have a lot of features but it has an interface that is adequate.


Again only for Linux, Interworx has impressive features like the site usage snapshot and a well presented interface.

Hosting Accelarator

Hosting accelerator supports only Windows Web hosting servers. Its interface is not well organized and appears crowded with options which may overwhelm inexperienced users.


A key feature of Helm is the ability to view bills within the control panel but it is only available on Windows.


The CWIPanel aims for Windows server management. It is an average product.


Again, InsPanel is Windwos based and has little to stand itself out from the crowd.

Among the above mentioned control panels, cPanel usually ends up as the favored choice due to its range of features, ease of and affordability.

There have been recent developments in control panels and Pandela.com have developed the NextGenCP control panel. It has been a few years in the making but it looks very good.

NextGenCP has been developed with the help of the latest internet technologies. It has a fast and easy to use environment which has been specially built for web hosting clients. It has been designed so well, that even novices can get a hang of it in relatively less time. In fact Pandela.com claims that you can carry out any function with a maximum of three clicks of your mouse. However its simplicity is deceptive, as it hides a powerful range of features, which would be able to manage all web site requirements. At the same time Pandela.com has made an offer to its users, according to which, if they do not find a feature they need in the NextGenCP, then they just have to inform the developers at Pandela.com the needful will be done!

Features contained within NextGenCP:

Gain control over your domain:

Users have full control over their domain as well as sub-domain. They can also register and host their own domain names easily and quickly.

Learn how to manage your own database:

This product makes it extremely simple to create and manage your very own database with just a few clicks of the mouse. phpMyAdmin provides the database management and the data is secured by Database Backup Manager.

Mail Accounts:

It is very simple to add and control email accounts using this system. Pandela.com have provided many SPAM filters which should vastly reduce the amount of junk a user receives. There are also features to organize mail accounts, and look through and filter mail that is not desired.

Tools for the Site:

NextGenCP has plenty of tools, which make managing a web site very easy. Some of these tools are Script Installer, Hotlink Protection and IP Access Manager.

Statistics of the site:

The statistics available will offer all the data about your visitors, a complete tally of bandwidth and traffic consumption and an overview of email accounts.

Support System

Having full access to a support system is a great feature offered by NextGenCP. Anytime a user notices a problem, they have to submit a ticket and they will be offered assistance from a member of staff as quickly as possible. It usually takes no more than fifteen minutes to be responded to.

With so many impressive features, there is no doubt that NextGenCP looks one of the best web host control panels ever created. It is also good to hear that Pandela.com is promising to continually improve the service each and every day.
About the Author
This article is published with permission from WebHostingMadness.com, a provider of web hosting company reviews, comparisons and detailed articles about web hosting.
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