cPanel is one of the most popular control panels for website and server management. With over two decades as the de-facto control panel, it has become the industry standard and almost every server manager has some experience with it.
However, cPanel is not free. Plans start at $15/month for a single license, which is not really feasible for many users, especially for startups and individual developers. In many cases, it costs more than what the users pay for their servers and hosting. But not only that, the real question is also whether it’s still the best & should it still be the go-to so many years later…
If you’re looking for better cPanel alternatives, this article will help you make a better decision based on your needs and feature requirements.
Table Of Contents
- Self-Hosted vs. SaaS cPanel Alternatives
- What Features Should a cPanel Alternative Have?
- The 12 Best Alternatives to cPanel In 2021
- 1. RunCloud
- 2. ApisCP
- 3. Moss.sh
- 4. SpinupWP
- 5. ServerPilot
- 6. Interworx
- 7. DirectAdmin
- 8. Virtualmin
- 9. Ajenti
- 10. Froxlor
- 11. CentOS Web Panel
- 12. Plesk
- Conclusion – Choosing The Best cPanel Alternative
Self-Hosted vs. SaaS cPanel Alternatives
Self-hosted panels are usually free to use or require a low-cost license. However, these options typically ask some experience with server management and are not geared towards individual developers or newer users.
While self-hosted options are more complex to set up, they are a good option for companies that are in need of reinforced security and stability, as you or your IT team has complete control over the software.
On the other hand, SaaS (Software as a Service) options, have a hassle-free installation and are very user-friendly. Unlike self-hosted options, updates and maintenance of the software is controlled by the company providing the solution. It is an excellent option for smaller companies and startups that don’t have a dedicated IT team or server management experience.
What Features Should a cPanel Alternative Have?
Although most options in this list are compatible with major Linux distributions, you’ll still need to consider if the software or install script you’re using is compatible with your server. Luckily, most options come with great documentation and guides so getting started shouldn’t be much of an issue.
Features and Integrations
Most cPanel alternatives come with basic features like FTP, databases, and domain management. However, not all options might include the feature set that you rely on. For example, some cPanel alternatives don’t have email functionality. While this isn’t a deal-breaker in most cases, since you can use third-party software or plugins to enable the features you want, this is certainly something to keep in mind.
Ease-of-Use and Support
While ease-of-use and support may not be a consideration for experienced developers, it’s certainly very important for individual developers or startups that don’t have a dedicated IT team. In most cases, it’s worth the cost to have a slightly more expensive, but well-supported option in case something goes wrong. In the case of self-hosted options, you’ll have to manage everything on your own.
With that out of the way, let’s find out the best cPanel alternative for your use case.
The 12 Best Alternatives to cPanel In 2021
RunCloud is a server control panel that focuses on PHP applications like WordPress and other CMS software. Since it’s a SaaS option, installation is very easy and hassle-free. All you need to do is make an account and run the installation script on your server through SSH. Once that is done, you’ll be able to manage settings and monitor the server status right from RunCloud’s dashboard.
Given its ease of use and pricing structure – it’s perfect for solo SysAdmins looking to automate repetitive tasks as well as agencies looking to manage their own & truly control their hosting infrastructure…
RunCloud works on Ubuntu 20.04, 18.04, or 16.04 (64-bit only).
And, we also support both the NGINX and OpenLiteSpeed server stacks so you can deploy servers running on your preferred setup. Getting up & running with a CMS like WordPress on OpenLiteSpeed couldn’t be easier with RunCloud – learn more here.
- Annual Payment Options:
- Basic license at $6.67/month
- Pro license at $12.5/month
- Business license at $37.5/month
- Monthly Payment Options:
- Basic license at $8/month
- Pro license at $15/month
- Business license at $45/month
Apis Networks, the company behind ApisCP, built ApisCP as they weren’t satisfied with what cPanel was offering. Therefore, ApisCP combines years of experience and best practices rolled up into an easy-to-use package. It was designed for performance and security, and helps users achieve higher throughput, lower time-to-first-byte (TTFB), and fewer wasted CPU cycles.
Installation is easy, and they even offer direct migrations from cPanel. It also includes Bootstrapper for installation and integrity checks. Security is another big focus for ApisCP. It received a pretty respectable score in Rack911’s security audit.
The control panel offers support for RHEL, CentOS, and Ubuntu systems with a 10-year support cycle (5 years in the case of Ubuntu).
Free 30-day trial
- $30/year Mini Licence
- $50/year Startup Licence
- $20/month Pro Licence
Moss describes itself as the “virtual sysadmin for web developers”. Their excellent support team paired with their control panel ensures that managing your servers will never be a hassle.
Moss.sh is what’s called an “agentless” control panel that runs all commands through Ansible playbooks. This is preferable from a security standpoint since improperly configured agents can introduce security issues in the platform.
All you need to get started with Moss.sh is a server with a fresh Ubuntu installation. It can be used to set up PHP web apps, Node.js projects and it also offers native support for CMS platforms like WordPress. Also, it’s one of the only options on this list that offers a free, albeit limited, license.
- $0/month for the free Licence
- $9/month – Starter Licence
- $19/month – Professional Licence
- $49/month – Unlimited Licence
If you are looking for WordPress solutions, SpinupWP is an excellent option. It’s built from the ground up for WordPress and offers outstanding integration and support. The dashboard is simple and requires minimal configuration to get up and running.
Something to keep in mind is that SpinupWP lacks a dedicated database admin panel – something that most other options on this list have. According to the developers, this is done for security reasons.
To get started, you need to create your account and then run the installation script via SSH to connect your server to their platform. It supports servers running Ubuntu 18.04 and 20.04 (64-bit).
- $9/month Personal Licence for the first 3 months ($12/month after that)
- $29/month Team Licence for the first 3 months ($39/month after that)
ServerPilot is a SaaS solution that aims to make server management easy. It is specifically designed for people looking to host PHP-based applications and CMS platforms like WordPress. They also have a dedicated support team to ensure you get your server up and running without any issues.
Like most of the previous options, installation is easy and only requires you to run the installation script via SSH. It supports servers running Ubuntu 18.04 or 20.04 (64-bit).
- $20/month for a single license.
They also offer a 2-week free trial.
Interworx by LiquidWeb is an excellent control panel option that comes pre-equipped with useful plugins Webalizer, AWStats and Analog. This helps admins get a clear overview of all important statistics and server status at a glance.
It primarily targets hosting agencies and resellers, and its Nodeworx integration makes it really easy to sell hosting plans.
Interworx supports REHL 6.x, 7.x, CentOS 6.x and 7.x distributions (64-bit only). It also comes with support for the following VPS systems:
- $5/server + $0.50/app monthly Economy Licence
- $10/server + $1/app monthly Business Licence
- $20/server + $2/app monthly First-Class Licence
The platform also offers a free 14-day trial.
DirectAdmin is a great cPanel alternative if you’re concerned about performance and resource usage. It requires fewer resources to operate and is respectably fast.
Also, it is very similar to cPanel in terms of interface design and functionality, so users migrating from cPanel will feel right at home with DirectAdmin.
It comes with full support for the following operating systems:
- CloudLinux versions 6.x 32/64-bit, 7.x 64-bit, and 8.x 64-bit
- RedHat Enterprise / CentOS versions 6.x 32/64-bit, 7.x 64-bit, and 8.x 64-bit
- Debian 8.x 64-bit, 9.x 64-bit, 10.x 64-bit, and 11.x 64-bit
- FreeBSD 11.x 64-bit and 12.x 64-bit
- Ubuntu can also be used as a server by using “Linux 64-bit static” OS selection for Ubuntu installs
- $2/month Personal Licence
- $15/month Lite Licence
- $29/month Standard Licence
They also offer a free 60-day trial.
Virtualmin is an extension of Webmin, which is a very popular system admin interface for Linux systems. It’s also one of the few free and open-source options on this list, although paid plans are also available in case you need more features.
The user interface isn’t very intuitive though, as it’s geared towards professionals rather than beginners. Although the interface is a little daunting, the plethora of customization settings and options make it a worthy option.
Note that the free version does not come with any kind of customer support and you’ll have to upgrade to one of the paid plans if you need it.
- Free & open-source version
- $6/month or $60/year for up to 10 Virtual Machines
- $9/month or $90/year for up to 50 Virtual Machines
- $12/month or $120/year for up to 100 Virtual Machines
- $20/month or $200/year for up to 250 Virtual Machines
Ajenti works in a “non-destructive” manner, i.e., it won’t make permanent changes to your system or overwrite anything. It can be used for a large variety of server management tasks. With Ajenti, you can install packages and run commands and you can view basic server information like free disk space, RAM in use, etc.,
Completely free and open-source (available on GitHub).
Froxlor markets itself as a lightweight alternative to cPanel and provides a feature set that is comparable to cPanel. It’s an open source web control panel with a clean interface and lightweight server management panel.
The app is written in PHP server scripting language and can be used for creating and organizing web hosting servers and is ideal for ISPs and other similar organizations.
Froxlor can be installed on the following Linux distributions:
- Debian (APT Package Available)
- Ubuntu (APT Package Available)
- SUSE Linux
Completely free and open-source (available on GitHub).
11. CentOS Web Panel
As the name suggests, CentOS Web Panel is only available for servers running CentOS. If you’re using another distribution like Debian or Ubuntu, you’re out of luck, unfortunately.
If you’re using CentOS though, this is a great option since it’s free and comes with all the features you’d expect. It also comes with “Auto-Fixer” which regularly scans and attempts to fix the configuration in case something goes wrong.
All you need is a system with CentOS and LAMP stack installed and at least 1GB of RAM.
CentOS Web Panel is free to use, although they do offer paid support services.
While a little on the pricier side, Plesk is an extremely powerful control panel with the ability to set up reseller accounts, configure websites, email, and much more through an intuitive web-based UI. It’s also the only option on this list that supports Windows.
Plesk can work with multiple websites and integrates well with WordPress or other CMS platforms. They also offer an extensive plugin library to enhance the feature set and customize the panel. It’s also worth noting that Plesk is owned by the same company that owns cPanel.
Plesk offers 24/7 phone and email support and supports the following platforms:
- Debian 8 64-bit
- Debian 9 64-bit (Plesk Onyx 17.8 and later)
- Ubuntu 16.04 64-bit
- Ubuntu 18.04 64-bit (Plesk Onyx 17.8 and later)
- CentOS 6.x 64-bit
- CentOS 7.x 64-bit
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.x 64-bit
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.x 64-bit
- CloudLinux 6.x 64-bit
- CloudLinux 7.x 64-bit
- Virtuozzo Linux 7 64-bit
- Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 (64-bit, Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter editions, and Windows Web Server), including Server Core installations
- Windows Server 2012 (64-bit, Standard, Foundation, and Datacenter editions), including Server Core installations
- Windows Server 2012 R2 (64-bit, Standard, Datacenter, and Essentials editions), including Server Core installations
- Windows Server 2016 (64-bit, Standard and Datacenter editions), including Server Core installations
- $9.22/month – Web Admin Edition ($8.45/month if paid yearly)
- $13.84/month – Web Pro Edition ($12.68/month if paid yearly)
- $41.51/month – Web Host Edition ($31.13/month if paid yearly)
|cPanel Alternative||Free/Paid||Ease of use||Support for Email Hosting||Support for OpenLiteSpeed|
|RunCloud||Paid||Very easy to use||No||Yes|
|Moss.sh||Both||Easy to use||No||No|
|SpinupWP||Paid||Easy to use||No||No|
|Virtualmin||Both||Easy to use||Yes||No|
|Ajenti||Free||Needs technical knowledge||No||No|
|Froxlor||Free||Easy to use||Yes||No|
|CentOS Web Panel||Both||Easy to use||Yes||No|
Conclusion – Choosing The Best cPanel Alternative
With the wide variety of cPanel alternatives out there, both free and paid, it’s difficult to find the perfect solution for your project or company. However, in this article, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for you to choose.
Whether you’re a freelancer, an agency, or run your own hosting company – we built RunCloud to make managing your infrastructure easier than ever. Making it an exceptional alternative to cPanel which was a popular choice for many years. If you have any questions or want to join the conversation feel free to leave a comment below! 💬
Categories: Server Management