8 Best cPanel/WHM alternatives (2019)
cPanel recently announced that they will change their pricing and licensing structure starting September 1st. Apart from raising the license prices and changing their names they have also included a limits in number of sites (accounts) a license can have.
New cPanel offer now includes two licenses for clouds: Admin license costs $20/month and allows you to host a up to 5 accounts (websites) per a cloud (VPS), Pro license costs $30/month and allows you to host up to 30 accounts on one cloud (VPS).
Other than these two there is also a Premier license that can be installed on cloud (VPS) or metal (dedicated server) and for price of $45/month allows you to host up to 100 accounts. If you have more than 100 accounts you will be charged $0.20 for each additional account per month.
What’s interesting is that the cPanel was sold in August 2018 to Oakley Investment and just after a year they have decided to totally change their pricing structure, even then they said that there will be “no immediate customer impact”. Well it took them the whole year to figure out how to make a bank out of cPanel – so it’s not “immediate”.
This price change will affects mostly resellers and users that have more than 100 accounts on their servers and many of these reported that their licensing cost will increase even over 800% basically overnight.
cPanel is probably the best web hosting control panel, but what are the good alternatives? Here’s the complete 2019 list of cPanel alternatives:
Commercial cPanel alternatives
First we’ll review the commercial (not-free) alternatives for cPanel. If you don’t want to pay for a web hosting panel and you’re looking for free cPanel alternatives, just scroll down this page a bit…
Even Plesk is really good alternative and currently does offer unlimited domains license for $41.25/month (a price slightly less than cPanel Premier) be very careful since Oakely Investments has also acquired Plesk back in 2017 and as they have increased prices for cPanel they can do the same if they notice a lot of users going from cPanel to Plesk (just because the unlimited pricing license).
Find out more about Plesk at https://www.plesk.com
Direct admin is decent commercial alternative to cPanel. They have quite competitive pricing as for $29/month you can host unlimited domains. If you pay for the whole year upfront yo’ll save $149 and you’ll pay only $200/year (or effectively as little as $16.66/month) and that’s a great price. But that can get even better as you can get a lifetime license for $299 that includes lifetime updates but support is limited to 90 days after the purchase.
DirectAdmin can power your server using Apache, Nginx, LiteSpeed (3rd party product – license sold separately) or OpenLiteSpeed. It allows you to run php in all the modes as in cPanel (mod_php, FPM, FastCGI or lsphp in case of LiteSpeed).
One of the things that annoyed me when using DirectAdmin in the past was was pretty outdated design but that has also changed recently and I’ve seen some nice looking themes so even that is not an issue anymore. You can check their online demos page where you can take a look at what DirectAdmin has to offer. You can also get a free 30-day trial! My guess is that DirectAdmin will profit the most from the cPanel price increase.
Find out more about DirectAdmin at https://www.directadmin.com
After publishing this article I have ran into one more quite interesting commercial web hosting panel so I have edited this post in order to add this one. So my title is now wrong since now I have 9 instead of 8 listings.
Anyways, CyberPanel utilizes LiteSpeed webserver – a super fast webserver that’s even faster than Nginx, has support for .htaccess files and is really fast with php files (especially if you have LiteSpeed Enterpise license). The panel also includes auto installer (WordPress, Joomla), one click SSL provisioning using Let’s Encrypt, Firewall, SpamAssasin, S3 backups and many more features. Check out CyberPanel demo for more details.
CyberPanel has the following pricing: Free Starter allows you to host one domain completely free $0/month but with 2GB RAM limit. Site Owner license that costs $11/month allows you to host 5 domains with 8GB RAM limit. Site Owner Plus license allows you to host 5 domains for $17/month but now on server with unlimited RAM. And finally Web Host Essential license costs $38/month and allows you to host unlimited domains on a server with unlimited RAM.
Find out more about CyberPanel at https://cyberpanel.net
Free cPanel alternatives
There are many free cPanel alternatives, but what are really good ones? Here’s my list of “not great – not terrible” alternatives:
One of the most popular cPanel alternatives out there. It’s been around since ages and you can essentially do everything that you can with cPanel but completely free. It has builtin support for Apache configuration, bandwidth monitoring, fail2ban, configuration backups, firewall and iptables managements, user administration, cronjobs, ssh connections etc.
Find out more about Webmin at http://www.webmin.com
CentOS Web Panel
If you plan on using a server or VPS running a CentOS linux (that I can only recommend) you should take a look at it’s Web Panel too. It’s free and it’s probably the most powerful free web panel available allowing you to setup your server to run Apache, Nginx with Varnish on top. It has builtin terminal (that actually works good!), file manager, packages and quotas, auto SSL provisioning, service monitoring, WHMCS integration… The feature list is really long.
One of the best functions is cPanel account migration which will migrate your database, files and email accounts from cPanel to CentOS Web Panel with just a few clicks.
Before giving it a spin you can try out the online demo. Despite being free they offer paid support (at decent prices) in case you run into problems and that can be a plus for some users too.
Find out more about CentOS Web Panel at https://centos-webpanel.com
ISPConfig is one of the cPanel alternatives that’s been around forever. It allows you to manage one or more servers from one control panel. It’s translated into more than 20 languages and allows four access levels: administrator, reseller, client and email login (same as cPanel). Check out online demo
Find out more about ISPConfig at https://www.ispconfig.org
VestaCP is a simple yet powerful control panel written in Bash that Linux geeks will love as it can be used from the command line too. It can run Apache and/or Nginx webserver, email server, iptables/fail2ban support, monitoring, backups etc.
VestaCP is translated into 26 languages. It’s GNU project and it’s source code is available at GitHub. Paid support is available ($60/hour or less depedning on number of support hours you need) and there are number of commercial plugins available (SFTP Chroot, Softaculous).
Find out more about Froxlor at https://vestacp.com
Is an open-source project published at GitHub written in Python and AngularJS with simple user interface built with Bootstrap, Ajenti is built for speed.
It is lightweight and it’s small memory footprint and cpu usage allows it to run fast even on low-end machines or cheap VPS.
Find out more about Ajenti at http://ajenti.org
Froxlor is a lightweight and free cPanel alternative server management panel that has support for reselling: has admin, reseller and customer user levels, keeps traffic logs, has Let’s Encrypt (free ssl) integration and allows you to make custom themes for your business easily. It’s an open-source project published at GitHub.
Unfortunately, it is missing some key functions like file manager or phpMyAdmin for the customers and that’s kind of deal breaker for me but it’s an interesting project and it’s definitely worth looking at or monitoring it’s future updates.
Find out more about Froxlor at https://www.froxlor.org
cPanel is really an awesome piece of software and it even got better in last couple of years. For me it’s unrepeatable since nothing else compares to it. Switching from cPanel can be hard and it’s a lot of work but can be done. I’m planing to do so for a number of “not so important” websites that I run.
Those who host a lot of websites or simply run a hosting business will have their cPanel license bill increased significantly after Sept 1st and many things will never be the same again after that date. One thing is for sure, unlimited reseller accounts are done. My guess is that now reseller accounts will have limits in terms of number of sites that an account can host.
If you plan on replacing cPanel with some other control panel, or at least you want to check if that’s possible, my advice is that you try some of the free panels I have listed above on a DigitalOcean droplet and see for yourself.