You will be provided with control panel access for a majority of web hosting services that are available these days. Any good web hosting provider should offer you access to a control panel so that you are able to manage your own shared hosting account fully, whilst control panels are usually an optional extra for those using VPS server hosting and dedicated server hosting. The main purpose of a control panel is to manipulate the operating system and the various applications that are being run to deal with the hosting of multiple domains and allow web hosting companies to hand control of their hosting accounts over to their customers rather than having to deal with a multitude of support requests. The control panels available for your use will depend on the web hosting platform that you’re using; although there are different control panels available for both Linux hosting and Windows hosting, most share the same common features but may function in different ways. Control panel access is provided for free with a shared web hosting package because it will allow your web hosting companies to manage their servers much more easily, whilst with dedicated hosting you are probably going to have to pay for a license.
Types of Web Hosting Control Panel
There are different web hosting control panels available for different purposes as the needs of the different forms of web hosting have to be met in order for a web hosting control panel to be effective at its job. Most web hosting control panels are designed for shared web hosting environments and are aimed at beginners that are still getting use to the experience of having their own web hosting package. Control panels that are designed for shared hosting environments will allow you to complete simple tasks such as manage your email accounts and modify the files that are stored in your web space. Another popular type of web hosting control panel are going to be control panels that are designed for VPS servers. As Virtuozzo is the only VPS hosting platform to have its own official control panel, there are a few unofficial ones floating about for other platforms; the main purpose of a control panel for a VPS server is to provide you with a location from which you can restart your VPS server if necessary and to reinstall the OS if something has gone wrong as this removes a burden from your web hosting provider’s support team.
Linux Hosting Control Panel
cPanel is probably the most popular control panel in use on the Linux platform as it provides web hosting companies with two separate control panels – one for clients so that they can manage their hosting accounts and one for resellers and server administrators. This means that cPanel can provide you with two separate panels that are designed for specific tasks, rather than just a single interface designed for a many different tasks as otherwise things can end up getting muddled up which can then increase the time it takes to complete specific tasks. Plesk is another control panel that is available for Linux systems but provides you with a completely different interface to cPanel. Out of the two, cPanel is the most popular because it is cheaper and is seen as more efficient because it can be run on Linux VPS servers without using up any large amounts of resources. cPanel hosting packages are popular with those on a budget because the low cost of the control panel combined with an open source operating system allows web hosting companies to offer Linux hosting at affordable price points, regardless of whether you are going for a Linux shared hosting package or a Linux dedicated server.
Windows Hosting Control Panel
The control panel choices for Windows hosting are far less than those for Linux servers meaning that if you are after choice then a Windows web hosting package may not be the best form of web hosting for your needs. The Windows variant of Plesk is one of the most adaptable Windows hosting control panels available and can offer you many features that will make it easy to manage your entire hosting account. Although Plesk is the most popular choice for Windows, DotNetPanel does offer more variety. Plesk is designed purely for a shared hosting environment even though it can be used on Windows VPS servers and Windows dedicated servers; DotNetPanel on the other hand can offer you much more flexibility and possibilities for expansion, such as the feature for Hyper-V VPS servers that will allow you to setup and automatically provision Windows VPS servers. Prior to Hyper-V, Virtuozzo was the platform used for the hosting of Windows VPS servers but since that is unable to support Windows Server 2008, Hyper-V has taken over in the leader of Windows VPS server hosting.
Control Panel Reliability
The reliability of a control panel is something that hosting providers are going to consider important as the downtime of a control panel can mean that clients won’t be able to manage their accounts which in turn will cause inconvenience. As most control panels also control the services on a server such as the web server and database server; if the control panel is down then this could cause other services to crash, which in turn could lead to websites hosted on the server in question being bought down. However, at the end of the day problems shouldn’t occur if a server is being managed properly.
In conclusion, a web hosting control panel makes it easier to manage a web hosting service of any type. There are different control panels for different purposes and although you are going to have access to a control panel with any shared hosting service, if you are going to be looking at dedicated web hosting then you don’t have to have a control panel at all. Web hosting control panels usually cost more money on top of what you are already paying when using a dedicated web hosting service meaning that the added cost may not always be justifiable.