Granted, there is only a very slight chance that you will be able to avoid having to stare into the bottomless pit that is the CLI (command line interface) while administering your server, however, you can limit these scary encounters to a minimum by installing a GUI (Graphical User Interface), in the form of Control Panels, to make this process easier.

For all you cheapskates out there using shared web hosting, you would probably be familiar with cPanel or Plesk. These two are the control panels of choice of most web hosting companies, mainly because of their relative ease of use, intuitiveness and informative content. cPanel is the more popular of the two.

However, these panels are not cheap. With luck, your VPS hosting vendor may offer you a cPanel subscription for as low as $US120 per year. This translate to a 40% discount over the regular $US200 price for the VPS Optimized version. Note that this is exclusive of your VPS subscription and it does not come with the premium Fantastico one-click installer scripts.

While the pricing of these panels may seem fair, but having spent a tidy sum on the VPS, shelling out even more money for the panel was not what i wanted to do in a hurry. Thankfully, there are a sizeable number of other premium rate control panels out there that would do the job equally well and , most importantly, for free too!

After scouring the web for a while, i was able to come up with the following shortlist :


Very nice and easy to use interface. A short learning curve for those already familiar with cPanel as they share very similar interface.


Pretty is the word for this panel with its MacOS-like interface and very easy to use too. However, chances are that more often than not, you may resort to the CLI to carry out some tasks as the Open Panel GUI is probably the least powerful of the four in my lineup.

Webmin/Virtualmin/Usermin Combo

Arguably the most powerful of the lot but also the most difficult to use. The ugliest too! The serious minded folks administering personal servers should seriously consider going for this.


Next in line to the Webmin combo in terms of functionality but much better interface. It even has provision for creating reseller clients if your intention is to resell your hosting space, and across multiple servers too.



4 Responses

  1. Very informative article. I am getting to know for the first time that cpanel doesn’t always come bundled with your website when you buy the domain name and get hosted. Or am I wrong? My website came with cpanel on hosting by default. I am hosted by web4africa.

    1. cPanel is a popular choice but by no means the only choice. Some companies like 1and1 even have their own proprietary panel.

  2. Thanks Wale, Nice informative article, I’ve been wanting to break the shackles of cpanel expenditure, thanks i found this article. I will really appreciate if you can recommend the best panel among your list for me to use on my Linux CentOS 6 VPS

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