cPanel or Plesk – The Best Control Panel?


Your control panel, the tool that allows you to administer your website, is one of the most significant features of your web hosting service. While several control panels are available, including a number of own-brand panels created by web hosts, Plesk and cPanel are the two most common. They are, basically, the Android and Apple of the market for control panels. In this article, we’ll compare both applications so that you can make a more educated decision if you are given an option over which one to pick.

Originally launched back in 1996, cPanel is a popular platform used on millions of websites and is often included in many shared hosting packages for Linux, as well as being used for dedicated servers and cloud hosting. cPanel comes with WHM (Web Host Manager), which is a sub program acting as a server administration interface for those who are granted access to their server.

Plesk was launched in 2001 and has become a dominant force in the market for control panels, as has cPanel. The most recent version, Plesk Onyx, with more than 100 extensions, is available in three versions: Web Admin, Web Pro, and Web Host Special.

OS Compatibility

Designed to work on Linux servers, cPanel is currently incompatible with Windows. It is, however, compatible with operating systems based on the CentOS, Cloud Linux, and Red Hat Linux distributions.

Originally developed for Windows, Plesk can also be used on a broader range of Linux OSs, including Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, Red Hat Linux, and Cloud Linux, for which it is the world leader.

In many instances, the operating system you are running (or your host, in the case of shared hosting) on the server may dictate the control panel you are using.

User Interfaces

While both offer control panels that are very easy to navigate, the Plesk interface is more in line with the standard layout of software that most people are used to. It has its main menu on the left-hand side, very similar to the WordPress admin panel, and when an item is selected, its contents will appear on the main panel. On the right side of the screen, a further set of feature boxes are located. For ease of use, for each of the main features, icons are used.


The interface with cPanel is laid out differently. The left-hand menu is missing and, instead, the features are grouped by scrolling down into sections that you can access. Each feature has an icon to help you identify it, like Plesk. To make things easier to find, the cPanel interface also has some customization options.


With regard to the organization of the panels, cPanel grouped its functions under the headings of preferences, mail, files, logs, security, domains, databases and software services, while Plesk split its functions into areas such as usage of statistics and resources, users, mail, websites and domains, applications and statistics. The control panel of WHM is separate from the cPanel, having a standard left-hand menu interface. It is more like Plesk, in this sense, than cPanel.

Both Plesk and cPanel allow command line access for users. Command line and API-based access are provided by cPanel, the latter enabling third-party app interaction. Plesk’s command line access comes via its ‘Panel Action Log Command Line Access Tool,’ not so succinctly named.


Over the years, cPanel developers have worked hard to increase their performance, and it is generally accepted that it is the fastest loading out of the control of two panels. This has been accomplished by reducing the amount of RAM needed by cPanel, which means that page loading, account creation, and other operations are faster.

Features and Tools

Every user needs a standard set of server and account management tasks, and you will find that both Plesk and cPanel allow users to perform them. Both can, for example, be used for:

Out of the box, Plesk provides support for a wider range of apps and extensions, but cPanel also allows many apps to be added.

Web Security Features

Web security is essential today, and a wide range of security tools are provided by both cPanel and Plesk to protect users. For example, cPanel includes tools such as IP address denials, automatic SSL certificate installation and password-protected directories, while Plesk’s security suite includes tools such as active directory integration, email and fail2ban intrusion prevention in and outbound spam filtering.

Management on the go

Smartphone apps have been developed by both cPanel and Plesk to allow you to connect with and manage your server and website while you are on the go. There are also a number of apps from third parties that you can use.


Both cPanel and Plesk are exceptional control panels that make your server and website easy to run. In many instances, the operating system or hosting package you choose may limit your choice. If you have a choice, however, such as with the VPS, cloud, and dedicated hosting packages we provide at Cloudhostservices, then hopefully this post will give you a better understanding of each one.

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