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Best cPanel alternatives: DirectAdmin, Plesk, SPanel, Webmin and more

cPanel
(Image credit: Marco Verch / Flickr)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Best cPanel alternatives

1. DirectAdmin

2. Plesk

3. SPanel

4. Webmin

5. Froxlor

Read on for our detailed analysis of each control panel.

If you’re familiar with web hosting, then the chances are that you’ve heard of cPanel. It’s the most popular hosting control panel on the market and it’s offered with hosting packages from countless different providers.

However, cPanel certainly isn’t a perfect option. It’s actually very expensive, which is a major downside for those with VPS or dedicated server hosting, who have to pay for their own control panel subscription. On top of this, some users find the cPanel interface a little confusing, although it’s far from the worst on the market. 

With this in mind, we’ve taken a closer look at the best cPanel alternatives available today. We’ve scoured the web and analyzed countless options to bring you the following list, which includes a selection of free and paid control panels for both Linux hosting and Windows hosting

DirectAdmin

The DirectAdmin control panel is tidy and intuitive (Image credit: DirectAdmin)

1. DirectAdmin

Best overall cPanel alternative

Reasons to buy
+Faster and more efficient than cPanel+Intuitive, user-friendly management interface+Very competitive prices
Reasons to avoid
-Not nearly as popular as cPanel or Plesk-No free-forever option-Not available for Windows OS

If you’re looking for a powerful alternative to cPanel that boasts advanced hosting management features and very competitive prices, DirectAdmin is a great choice. It offers an excellent 60-day free trial, and prices start from just $2 per month for support for up to 10 domains. 

The user interface is among the best we’ve seen. It’s much more intuitive than cPanel’s and is streamlined and easy to navigate. 

On the main dashboard homepage, you will find information about your hosting resource usage, your databases, and your domain status. On the left of the screen, there are numerous links to additional features, including advanced configuration tools. 

Here, you’ll find everything from basic domain and SSL management tools to an email manager and a link to the RoundCube webmail interface. There are also various advanced tools to help you configure custom error pages, cron jobs, SSH keys, and other technical options. 

Plesk

The Plesk control panel is a little cluttered, but it remains highly functional and intuitive (Image credit: Plesk)

2. Plesk

Best control panel for Windows hosting

Reasons to buy
+Available on Windows and most common Linux distributions+24/7 phone and email support+Excellent security features
Reasons to avoid
-The Control panel is a little cluttered-Quite an expensive option

If you’re looking for an attractive Windows hosting alternative to cPanel, Plesk is a great option. It’s available across Windows and nearly all common Linux distributions, although it is a little expensive. 

Fortunately, the features on offer here are excellent. The user interface is a little cluttered at times, but it comes with a great range of management tools. Access different tools via the menu on the left of the screen, add any of a range of extensions for extra functionality, and view the status of your websites via the Domains panel. 

Another standout feature of Plesk is its excellent customer service. 24/7/365 support is available via phone, online ticket submission, and live chat. 

SPanel

Ongoing management is extremely easy with the SPanel control panel (Image credit: Scala Hosting)

3. SPanel

An excellent all-in-one hosting platform

Reasons to buy
+Free forever with a Scala VPS plan+Excellent all-in-one solutions+Great security integrations and automatic backups
Reasons to avoid
-Only available with Scala Hosting -The user interface looks a little bare

SPanel by Scala Hosting is one of the best control panels we’ve used. Along with standard control panel services, it includes a leading selection of security tools, great automatic backups, and free website migration tools, among other things. 

On top of this, SPanel is available for free with any Scala Hosting VPS plan. The user interface is attractive and easy to navigate, and website configuration is very straightforward. Having said that, it’s certainly not the fanciest dashboard we’ve used. But everything you need is available and easily accessible. 

Webmin

Webmin has a simple yet highly functional user interface  (Image credit: Webmin)

4. Webmin

A popular free cPanel alternative

Reasons to buy
+Open-source and free to download+Web interface for Linux hosting+Excellent range of advanced tools
Reasons to avoid
-The user interface is a little simple-Only community-based support is available

If you’re on a tight budget and looking to save money by using a free cPanel alternative, Webmin could be your best option. It’s an open-source web platform that’s available for Unix, and it comes with a great selection of hosting management tools. 

All tools are available via an attractive management interface. It is a little simple, but everything is intuitive and easy to find. Configure your site via the built-in tools, or hire a developer to code custom tools where required. 

There are a few downsides to using Webmin. As an open-source community project, security fixes can take some time to be developed. Customer service is limited to forums and other online chat sites, and it can be difficult to make advanced changes without a high level of technical knowledge.   

Froxlor

The Froxlor dashboard is streamlined, but a little cluttered (Image credit: Froxlor)

5. Froxlor

A modern free cPanel alternative

Reasons to buy
+Open-source and free to download+Lightweight platform known for excellent performance+Very attractive management panel
Reasons to avoid
-Only officially available on Debian and Gentoo distributions-Support limited to community forums

Another popular free open-source alternative to cPanel is Froxlor. In fact, we’d argue that it’s almost as powerful as cPanel, although it’s only available on Debian and Gentoo Linux distributions

On the downside, we did find the management panel to be a little cluttered at times, although it’s certainly not terrible. Access common menu options via the menu on the left of the screen and configure your hosting account exactly the way you need to.