As a dedicated hosting client, you will have access to an online control panel to help you manage your dedicated server. This control panel will provide you with a graphical interface to help you choose server options, manage websites and domains, install software, and perform many other complex tasks just by filling out simple forms and clicking icons.
When you set up a contract for a dedicated server, you may be asked by the hosting company whether you prefer Plesk or cPanel as the online control panel for your server. These two brands of web hosting control panel software are the two most popular in the hosting industry, and are available from nearly all hosting companies. However, if you have not had previous experience with web hosting, or if you have used other control panel software, you may not know anything about these two products. To help you decide between Plesk and cPanel, here is a quick introduction to the advantages and disadvantages of both products:
cPanel is widely regarded as being the most effective, feature-rich and user-friendly hosting control panel software available, and it controls the largest market share among hosting control panel platforms. This popularity can itself be an advantage, as it enables hosting clients to migrate websites from other cPanel installations if needed. cPanel is also known to have the best technical support, with quick responses and an up-to-date and useful online knowledge base. cPanel’s only disadvantages are a higher price tag than many competitors, and limited support for Windows servers. While well-known as a control panel for Unix web servers, cPanel only recently added Windows support, and only for Windows 2008 server and above.
Parallels Plesk Panel, or Plesk for short, is one of the leading hosting control panels for both Windows and Unix servers. Like cPanel, Plesk offers clients an easy-to-use graphical interface for performing common server tasks. Plesk is widely regarded as being user-friendly, if not quite as user-friendly as cPanel, and has a loyal following among Windows web server users. Plesk is also noted for being the cheaper option, and even has a free version available for evaluation and testing. However, technical support for Plesk is not known to be responsive, and documentation available online is neither comprehensive nor current.
If your hosting company has standardized on one of these products exclusively, this decision may already be made for you. No need to worry if this turns out to be the case, as both products are solid and user-friendly, and you will find that either product is satisfactory for server management. If there is an option, however, you can use the information above to determine whether Plesk or cPanel is the best web hosting control panel for you.