Definitive List of Web-Based Server Control Panels

(Updated Dec 30, 2013)

I’ve been researching web-based server control panels for a few months now. Most people will likely think of cPanel when they hear the phrase “server control panel” and have visions of web hosts dancing in their heads. Server control panels can be used for much more than web hosting, however. Control panels can allow people to administer systems with the click of a button having little interaction with the gorier details. Some might think that kind of scenario is categorically wrong, but I disagree. There are some *NIX oriented colleagues that I’d tackle before they got too close to a Windows server. For them, WebsitePanel might be a better option. There are also some folks that have need of their own server(s) and are happy to perform their own button mashing to reboot services and etc. I’m reminded of Jordan Sissel’s SysAdvent post “Share Skills and Permissions with Code.” In those scenarios, server control panels are excellent.

The nature of server control panels makes them most desirable by web hosting companies. As such, most of the web-based server control panels that I have found are slanted in that direction and might take some creativity to warp to your needs. Others appear to be more easily used as a general “E-Z Mode” SysAdmin front-end (Open Panel comes to mind). Don’t discard a control panel simply because it is slanted to web hosting. Some of them are much fuller than that.

Here is my list of web-based server control panels:

FOSS Control Panels

  • DTC (Linux, FreeBSD and Mac OS X Server. GPL license. Stands for “Domain Technologie Control.” Looks like a great feature set. I don’t know why it’s not more popular.)
  • EHCP (Linux only. GPL license. Stands for “Easy Hosting Control Panel”)
  • Froxlor (Linux and BSD. GPL License. A fork of SysCP. )
  • GNU Panel (Linux only. BSD license. Just kidding! It’s GPL.)
  • ISPConfig (Linux only. BSD license. Made by the HowToForge folks. HTTP, SMTP, FTP, DNS and OpenVZ virtualization are supported among many other features)
  • IspCP Omega (Linux only. Fork of VHCS. Old VHCS code is MPL, new code is GPL2. The goal is to port everything and make it GPL2.)
  • Open Panel (Linux only. GPL license. Their pre-made OpenApps looks cool. I don’t know why this hasn’t made more waves than it has!)
  • SysCP (Linux only. GPL license.)
  • VHCS (Linux only. MPL license. Stands for “Virtual Hosting Control System”)
  • WebController (Windows. only GPL. SourceForge project with an appalling website. Looks like it’s abandoned but I’m not sure.)
  • Web-CP (Linux only. Not sure what license, but I assume GPL since it was a fork of the older web://cp product that itself was GPL. Web-CP looks abandoned. The last update on the site was 2005 and the latest bug closed in Mantis is 2006. The wiki is full of spam [I've never seen spam for breast enlargement and pistachios on the same page before - Thanks Web-CP!])
  • zpanel (Windows and POSIX-based OSs – that supposedly includes Max OS X, but a commentor below disputes that.)

Control Panels with a Free and Paid Edition

  • ApPHP Admin Panel (Free, Advanced, and Pro version. Linux. )
  • Webmin(Primarily POSIX-based OSs, however a limited Windows version exists)
    • Usermin Module (POSIX only. Simple webmail interface and user account modification for non-root users)
    • Virtualmin Module (POSIX only. Allows for multi-tenant use of a server much like a shared web host)
    • Cloudmin Module (POSIX only. Creats VPSs using Xen, KVM and OpenVZ among others)

Commercial Control Panels

  • Core Admin: Commercial control panel, but has a free web edition. Manage many servers from one portal and delegate permissions to different users.
  • cPanel / WHM (Linux and FreeBSD. The granddaddy of control panels started back in 1996 as an in-house app that eventually got licensed. WHM controls the entire server. cPanel is user-oriented.)
    • WHMXtra (Not a control panel on its own, but it’s a significant third-party add-on to WHM)
  • DirectAdmin (Linux and BSD.)
  • Ensim (Control panel that handles the management of cloud services Microsoft Hyper-V, Active Directory, Lync, Mozy, Anti Virus / Anti Spam Solutions like F-Secure, MessageLabs, Barracuda and a ton of other things. It’s really for $n aaS providers to build a business around.)
  • Enkompass (Windows only. cPanel’s Windows product.)
  • H-Sphere (Windows, Linux and BSD. Originally made by Positive Software before being bought by Parallels. I’m not sure how this software compares / competes with Parallels’s Plesk. This is an all-in-one provisioning, billing and control panel tool. Obviously focused solely on web hosts.)
  • HMS Panel (Linux only.)
  • Hosting Controller (Windows and Linux. Also supports managing Microsoft Exchange, BlackBerry Enterprise Server, SharePoint, Office Communication Server, Microsoft Dynamics and more.)
  • HyperVM (Linux only. Virtualization management platform. Uses Xen and OpenVZ. Sister product to Kloxo.)
  • InterWorx (Linux only. Can manage Ruby on Rails.)
  • Kloxo (Linux only. More than just a server management platform, this is a large web hosting platform that is geared very much for a client / provider relationship.
  • Layered Panel (Control panel geared towards free hosts that inject ads into their customers sites. Linux.)
  • Live Config (Linux)
  • Machsol (Unusual in this list because it’s a control panel to manage the hosting of major enterprise server applications like Exchange, Sharepoint and BES.)
  • Parallels Helm (Windows. One of the many acquisitions that Parallels has made.)
  • Parallels Plesk (Linux and Windows. Probably the biggest competitor to cPanel.)
  • SolusVM (Linux only. Manages VPSs and VPS clusters using OpenVZ, Xen and KVM.)
  • vePortal VPS Control Panel
  • vePortal veCommander
  • WebsitePanel (Windows only. The former dotnetpanel after it was revised by SMB SAAS Systems Inc. and released as a SourceForge project.)
  • xpanel (Rather emaciated looking control panel with very low price. Only advertised to run on Fedora.)

Billing / Automation Tools for Control Panels

These are billing and automation tools that tightly integrate with control panels.

Misc. Inclusions

  • Aventurin{e} (Linux only. This is actually a pre-made image that you drop onto a server. It allows you to provision VPSs.
  • BlueOnyx (Linux only. The successor to BlueQuartz below. This isn’t a control panel itself, but a full-fledged Linux distribution. However, since it’s geared to web hosting companies, it has a web interface for your to manage most of the server’s functions. I debated if I should include it, but decided in the affirmative for the sake of being thorough.)
  • BlueQuartz (Linux appliance. Based on the EOL CentOS 4.)
  • Cast-Control (Streaming media control panel. Does ShoutCast, Icecast and more.)
  • CentovaCast (Internet Radio streaming control panel. Based on ShoutCast.)
  • Fantistico (Automated application installation tool)
  • Installtron (Automated application installation tool)
  • SCPanel (ShoutCast internet radio hosting panel)
  • Softaculous (Automated application installation tool)
  • WHMXtra (Additional features for WHM)

Gaming Control Panels

Included because, hey, they’re control panels too!

Defunct Control Panels

  • CP+ (Linux only. Ancient control panel that has since been abandoned. The developer, psoft, is yet another Parallels acquisition. Only included for thoroughness.)

I’d like for this to become a definitive list of web-based control panels (regardless of their focus; server management or web hosting). Basically, if it can manage a server or services and has a web front-end, I’d like to know about it. I’d appreciate any social shares. Likes, +1s, Tweets, Stumbles, Digg’s and etc. are awesome. If you know of any control panels that I’ve missed (active or defunct, since I love history), or if you spot a control panel that I mis-categorized, please let me know in the comments below.

14 Comments

  1. joschi

    December 6, 2011 at 8:41 am

    You’ve missed Froxlor (http://froxlor.org/), which is a fork of SysCP.

    Reply

  2. [...] control panels into a single blog post at my blog. Consider researching some of them on your own: Definitive List of Web-Based Server Control Panels Answered by [...]

    Reply

  3. [...] I’ve worked with cPanel and Plesk, but never with any of the others that I’ve listed in this giant list of web based server control panels. Most people will shout “Just don’t use a control panel!” but that’s not a [...]

    Reply

  4. Klaus

    July 30, 2012 at 9:24 am

    You might also want to have a look at LiveConfig (commercial, linux) – http://www.liveconfig.com :) (full disclosure: I’m one of its developers)
    Best regards!
    -Klaus

    Reply

    • Wesley David

      July 30, 2012 at 10:39 am

      Awesome! Thanks for pointing that out. Always happy to add more to the list.

      Reply

  5. Nexusvirtual

    August 19, 2012 at 12:56 am

    The reason DTC is not more popular is because their website is terrible, the download link is not clear, and when you do try to download… you get a list of seemingly random files… not one file, not a list of past versions. Random stuff.. like skype.

    zpanel is NOT mac compatible.. I tried. They do not support mac and do not offer any mac install instructions.

    Webmin is not a web host control panel. It is a Unix control panel and is no good to those wanting to serve hosted websites to many users.
    Usermin is just an email helper program for Webmin.

    Reply

    • Wesley David

      August 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      Awesome critique! Thanks.

      And yes, Webmin is a server control panel. This post is for control panels in general, not just multi-tenant web hosting panels.

      Reply

      • Mattz

        December 13, 2012 at 6:32 am

        I’m also looking for more alternatives that look like Webmin. Webmin is great but not clusterwise as it should be.

        A managed service per server(node) would be something nice. Not Webhostingbased but Administration based.

        More examples are very welcome.

        Reply

  6. Michael Stauber

    March 1, 2013 at 8:31 am

    BlueQuartz is not based on BlueOnyx. Rather BlueOnyx is the sucessor of BlueQuartz.

    BlueQuartz itself was running solely on CentOS4 and at the EOL of CentOS4 it was discontinued.

    Also, please change the URL of BlueOnyx to http://www.blueonyx.it, which is where the actual project resides. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Wesley David

      March 1, 2013 at 10:10 am

      Thanks Michael! I’ve updated the post.

      Reply

  7. Francis Brosnan Blázquez

    December 27, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    You could also conside Core-Admin (http://www.core-admin.com). Is a web server administration panel that gives together server administration, real-time monitoring and easy to use end-user panels.

    It has a Free Web Edition (for ISP) and other commercial editions (at a reasonable price) that allows handling many aspects of a typical Linux server plus many security features to track to the minute server’s status.

    What it makes different is that it allows to handle hundred of servers from a single web console, letting administrators to provide limited access to certain resources at any connected server.

    You’ve got a demo here: http://www.core-admin.com/portal/features/demo

    Reply

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