Role and tasks of VPS hosting control panels

Role and tasks of VPS hosting control panels


One of the main advantages of a VPS is its versatility. A virtual private server is suitable for a variety of business tasks. Thanks to a separate IP address, increased performance and resources, it can be used as a VPN system or a web hosting server (a large online store, a large-scale online educational project). A control panel is needed to create an optimal working environment. 

What is Control Panel

A special application that is designed to make changes to settings, control your account, and control your running projects is called a control panel. The application is installed after selecting United Kingdom VPS and operating system installation. Suitable for managing any type of hosting. The application has a graphical user interface (GUI) for ease of use. Thanks to the user interface, the software product is easy to use. Beginners and experienced website administrators can easily cope with the management. The control panel is needed to solve tasks:

  • Systemizing and organizing files.
  • Formation of a database.
  • Organization of e-mail. 

A platform such as a VPS or dedicated server can be used without a control panel. However, such a decision can negatively affect the efficiency of the web resource and complicate the process of administration. 

Why do you need a control panel?

When selecting a virtual private server, the client has options – VPS with self-management provided or a tariff plan on the Linux platform, when access to the server is through the SSH protocol. In the second case, management is performed through the CLI command line interface. We are talking about such operations as setting up the FTP service, content management, and database management. Management through the Terminal (CLI) is not always efficient and convenient, even for experienced administrators. 

The advantage of the control panel is the simplification of administrative processes. Instead of typing dozens of commands and writing code, you can use ready-made tools located on a visualized panel (a centralized browser-based platform). Using the panel, you can adjust settings and control the operation of projects that are hosted on a virtual private server. The options available to the administrator are backup management, email addresses, and content configuration systems.

Types of control panels

Adding a control panel on a VPS means the ability to monitor the work of all sites hosted on the hosting. Developers offer dozens of types of control panels, among which there are several popular ones:

  • Plesk panel. One of the best options. The developers have made it possible to manage an unlimited number of sites using a single interface. Other advantages are the high speed of operations, including changing settings, and a wide range of tools. 
  • cPanel/WHM. One of the common options. A universal product that is suitable for web designers, developers, and business owners. It contains all the necessary tools for the most efficient use of virtual server resources. 
  • VestaCP is a simple and easy-to-use site management panel with enhanced security, easy file uploads, and processing. It provides the administrator with a wide range of tools. 
  • The DirectAdmin panel is characterized by high speed, compatibility with a large number of operating systems and distributions, ease of use, and affordability. 

The listed panels work equally well on Linux and Windows operating systems. To understand how much easier the administration process will be, we should take a closer look at the functionality of some panels. 

General functions

Each panel provides tools for server administration, site and project management. Server administration options:

  • Tracking VPS load level at any moment of time. 
  • Tracking and controlling the work of services and running processes.
  • Getting accurate information about resource usage – memory, CPU, disk space. 

Some panels include a server restart feature that can be used to apply selected settings to email, FTP, firewall, and backup systems. Tools can be used to create an individual account for each website, specifying the amount of memory and bandwidth for each resource. The activity of any account can be suspended, terminated, and reactivated. Most dashboards offer the option to change interface components and the ability to fine-tune web resources for business needs. 

When creating an account in the administration section, the client is provided with a set of credentials (login, password) necessary to log in to the system. The client gains access to an individual user section through which the site is created. Among the available tools are options for organizing, grouping files, and managing databases. Additional applications can be used that operate in the automatic mode, such as WordPress (content management system). SSL certificates are installed and the backup system is configured using the panel. For administrators, simple utilities are available to configure email operations (managing mail servers, spam filters, autoresponders, forwarders, mailing managers). 

Tasks that the control panel can’t handle

The panel does not allow you to install any applications needed to run a web resource unless you have root privileges. Without superuser rights, it is impossible to change the system settings. When renting a VPS with the function of self-management, the client receives root level rights, which allows you to quickly solve these problems. If the task of administering a private virtual server is entrusted to the hoster, you must clarify in advance if the applications needed for efficient operation of the site are supported. Hosters are often ready to install the necessary software products at the request of the client. 

Features of different panels

Plesk

Plesk panel is the main competitor of the cPanel/WHM application. The important advantage of this option is the compatibility with any operating system (Linux, Windows). The panel is focused on the management of several domains simultaneously. Their number can be up to 30. This is the best option for agencies that develop, test, and promote several projects simultaneously. A wide range of extensions for fine-tuning the sites’ work is available to administrators. 

You can successfully solve some administration tasks with the help of the Terminal. However, a full-featured control panel with a graphical interface and easy navigation will help to speed up and facilitate the process of hosting management.

cPanel

The cPanel application is adapted to the VPS environment. The client has access to the administrator interface, where all the tools needed to track server load and monitor the processes running on it are located. If you create several accounts, several people can access the interface to participate in the process of server administration. Administrators have access to the Softaculous application (designed to automatically install plugins, scripts, and other software products) and WordPress (a content management system), and the PHP INI editor (setting up the PHP interpreter).

cPanel/WHM

The cPanel/WHM panel is one of the most popular control panels. The WHM application is an extensive set of tools that you will need for hosting administration. Available options are monitoring server activity (task manager, utility for moving accounts, changing the parameters of the hosted sites). The set of features cPanel/WHM can be significantly expanded to meet specific business objectives. Most often, though, the administrator is satisfied with the default options, which include IP blocking, a log manager, and an SSL wizard. The administrator can restrict access to the resource and create password-protected directories, which helps improve security. A ticketing system provides timely notification of problems. 

VestaCP

Free open-source control panel based on Linux. Installed on Debian, Ubuntu, and Red Hat products. VestaCP allows you to manage all the functions of the server and has all the necessary packages for work. The panel has a simple and concise interface – the upper section contains statistics and additional features, and the lower section is for work.  VestaCP itself is free, but there are additional paid packages. 

DirectAdmin

Provides server management (starting/stopping domains, configuring the system), and backup. The tool allows you to monitor the status of the server. It allows you to manage client sites (virtual hosts, DNS) and user accounts, databases, and files work with mail and install SSL certificates. The panel provides standard FTP account management options – creating, deleting, and defining the root directory for uploading content.

Which panel to choose? The choice depends on your user experience and the OS version installed on the server.