Demystifying the web hosting vocab for a newbie: Control Panel for web hosting

I attended our college reunion last weekend. It’s one of those wonderful times that reminds you how old you are (It’s been ten years since we graduated!) and how our choices over the years have diversified our career choices.  I was discussing my website’s hosting and control panel features, with some of my friends, and most of them had that look, “Come’on Kavitha, we understand all those words separately, but what exactly are you trying to communicate”.

Demystifying the web hosting vocab for a newbie is a series of articles, dedicated to all my friends out there, who listen to the ‘techie talk’ with out the blink of an eye. Thanks dears, for all that attention!

A control panel, in web hosting vocabulary, is a web based interface that you access to administer all the services of your web hosting account, from the comfort of a browser. It lets a layman user to use the web hosting account without the need to know Linux or coding. The control panel provides a single interface to manage email accounts and FTP accounts, create subdomains, manage files, monitor bandwidth and disk space, create backups and many more. The control panel simplifies the process of handling servers, by bringing together the various aspects and services of the hosting into a simple graphical-user-interface.  

It is the magic wand for a Linux newbie to host multiple websites on VPS (Virtual Private Servers) and Dedicated Servers, without the need of expert knowledge of server administration, by allowing easy access to the various services offered by the web hosting account.

Common Control Panel Features

The basic set of features offered by control panels are as follows.

  • Domain name system management
  • Email system management
  • Web-based file system access
  • FTP management
  • SSH user key management
  • Database management (MySQL, PostgreQSL, and sometimes other database systems)
  • Logfile access and reporting
  • Backup management
  • Plugins for configuring additional services and installing apps (e.g., WordPress)

Enterprise Control Panel Features

Some of the premium or enterprise versions of the control panels offers are as follows.

  • Manage multiple servers from one control panel interface
  • A ticketing system
  • Service monitoring and alerting
  • IPv6 support
  • Allow multiple customers to use the same cPanel licence, such as in a shared hosting environment

These enterprise options have a lot of utility for large-scale, growing businesses as well as hosting providers.

Popular control panels in Linux hosting

Some of the most popular web control panels are proprietary software whereas others are open source. The most famous and powerful control panels are cPanel and Plesk. Both cPanel and Plesk are paid services. Some of the other popular control panels are ISPconfig, Ajenti, Kloxo, OpenPanel, ZPanel and EHCP.

cPanel is regarded as the most popular and most widely used control panel. cPanel is a Unix based hosting control panel. cPanel has a Graphical interface helps you to manage your Website and web hosting accounts very easily and quickly. The automation tools are designed to simplify the process of website In my experience, cPanel has a user friendly interface, while offering enterprise features such as multi-server management and IPv6 support. This is one of the features that makes it a preferred choice for newbies as well as professional Sys Admins.

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