“A good system shortens the road to the goal.” – Orison Swett Marden, Founder of Success Magazine.

A hosting control panel is an interface designed to ease the management of hosting services by providing centralized access to everything that’s needed, at one place. This makes hosting simpler than you think!

A control panel is an important choice to be made while selecting the web hosting. Although it’s a matter of choice guided by needs, yet our comparison article will definitely help you in making an apt choice. Out of the many options available, the two that are considered the top players are – cPanel and Plesk.

Both are perfectly capable of getting the job done, and both cover the basics well. So, we will try to cover more cPanel Vs Plesk ground to let you know the differences.

cPanel and Plesk Onyx panel – an overview

cPanel – cPanel is a Linux based control panel that provides automation tools and GUI for helping users to easily manage their websites and hosting accounts.

cPanel and Plesk Onyx panel 1

Plesk panel – Plesk is an intuitive, multi-level web hosting control panel which offers role based access to the users, allowing their full control on their websites.

It also provides a wide range of options to the server administrators to build and maintain their hosting business and provide valuable services both on Linux and Windows servers.

Plesk is constantly evolving in terms of functionalities with upgrades.

cPanel and Plesk Onyx panel

Suggested reading: Plesk Onyx latest version 17.8 loaded with new Plesk Onyx features for performance, WordPress, SEO, Security and Cloud integration

cPanel vs Plesk Onyx – the comparison for the end users:

Here are the differences between cPanel and Plesk if you are an end user.

FeaturesPleskcPanel
ArchitecturePlesk’s new Architecture (based on Extensions) allows very fast delivery of new features without having to replace the core.

Examples are the new Advisor, Extension Catalog, WordPress Toolkit, REST API, Git, Docker and much more that are all Extensions themselves and can be updated within 24 hours.

cPanel is designed to act either as a dedicated server or virtual private server.

cPanel leverages a three-tier structure that includes capabilities for administrators, resellers, and end-user website owners to manage website and server administration via a standard web browser.

Web Servers

NGINX + caching out of the box

Apache.

Operating system (OS)Plesk is more flexible, as it supports both Linux and Windows OS:

Windows OS (Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2)

14 Linux distributions, including CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu, Virtuozzo, CloudLinux 6 and 7 and Red Hat Enterprise 6 and 7.

cPanel is a Linux only control panel. It supports CentOS, Cloud Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

It does not support Windows platform by default. Windows server compatibility can be achieved, but with a workaround.

Admin Panel

Provides single login for both – users and server administrators.

Two separate logins- while cPanel is used by webmasters for website management, WHM needs to be logged in to separately for server-side administrative tasks.

Shared hosting users don’t get to see WHM unless they upgrade to VPS or reseller hosting.

User web interfaceCompletely redesigned UX/UI with modern JavaScript technology usage (React.JS is also used by Facebook and many other popular companies)

Intuitive interface and ready to code environment with PHP, JavaScript, Perl, Ruby, Python, Java and .NET support.

It provides role based access across all devices.

Graphical interface that allows to access and manage PGP keys, FTP accounts, mailing lists and more from the front end.

It has a command line and offers API based access that automates administration tasks.

Creating sub-accounts without access to complete panel is a tricky task.

WordPress

Plesk is equipped with professional tooling developed together with the WordPress Community & Automattic with a huge and fast-growing fan base.

cPanel’s WordPress Manager still needs to do a lot to catch up, since Plesk delivers automatic updates to the WordPress Toolkit with new features every month.

Extensions

Plesk comes pre- loaded with most useful apps and extensions, so user does not need to add them, like WordPress Toolkit, Joomla Toolkit etc.

One can add extra apps to cPanel as needed via auto-installers like Softaculous. Not all add-ons are free.

Quality of addons112 extensions with 20 more in development. Plesk has a very intense testing and certification process, including security check, code analytics and UX check. This leads to higher add-ons quality and reliability.

ISVs need 5-8 iterations to pass their Certification for Plesk Extensions. Most fail at the first attempt since building for scale and exposed (security) environments is hard.

cPanel has more add-ons in catalog – but these are not tested and submissions are not checked for quality. Most of them may not work.
SecurityPlesk has a variety of Security features and extensions (both free and commercial), like Fail2ban intrusion prevention, inbound and outbound email antispam and active directory integration.

They publish patches to PHP or apps like WordPress usually within 24 hours – much faster than cPanel.

Automatic installation of SSL certificate, IP address denials and password protected directories.

cPanel takes days to implement a security fix.

Database accessMySQL or MSSQL Server databases can be managed via web browser.

If one needs MSSQL access, Plesk is the way to go.

cPanel allows access to PhpMyAdmin for managing MySQL databases.
SSL Support

Let’s Encrypt + Symantec

Let’s Encrypt

New technology adoptionPlesk supports some enhanced features that cPanel does not provide integrated, as of now.

  • Docker Support
  • Git Support with Gitman extension
  • Node.js Support
  • WordPress Toolkit with self -repair functionality
There are workarounds in cPanel for Docker, Git and Node.js, but they are more complex to implement, than Plesk.
Mobile accessibility

A mobile app is there.

There’s no mobile app.

Resource usage

Lightweight

cPanel app is more resource hungry.

Backup support

Easy website backups with tools like DropBox, AWS S3, Google Drive and Acronis.

Can generate full website backup, but there are compatibility issues in restoration process with different cPanel versions.

cPanel vs Plesk Onyx – the comparison for the service providers:

Here are the differences from service providers or resellers point of view:

FeaturesPleskcPanel
Operating System

Plesk Onyx is more flexible, as it supports not only Windows OS (Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2) but also adds various Linux distributions to its list of operating systems’ support- Debian, Ubuntu, Virtuozzo, CloudLinux 6 and 7 and Red Hat Enterprise 6 and 7.

cPanel is a Linux only control panel that functions either as a VPS or a dedicated server. It is compatible with CentOS, Cloud Linux and Red Hat operating systems but it does not support Windows platform.

Reseller support

Plesk allows resellers to set up hosting offers, manage customer accounts, and do other tasks to run and grow their business with the help of Reseller panel.

cPanel supports resellers and a section is dedicated to them, helping them to setup name servers, manage IP pools and assign accounts with a single interface.

Cluster (joining several instances in one cluster) Support

Traditional clustering is not supported by Plesk. However, it has multi-server functionality. One can manage multiple Plesk installations from a single control panel.

There’s no default cPanel feature that allows provision for complete management of multiple servers with a single WHM interface.

Limitations on users

Users can easily switch to managed hosting (WordPress/Joomla)

User has to be on shared hosting.

Setup procedurePlesk setup follows a stepwise approach and one needs to just keep on clicking ‘Next’.

Moreover, it is easier to setup as it provides same login for end users and server administrators.

cPanel provides different logins for end users and server administrators so it might get confusing for first-time users.
Setup time

7:12 minutes

20:14 minutes

Time to setup WordPress

8:54 minutes

28:51 minutes

Migration

Plesk provides its own migration system for migrating a website from one server to another. It’s easier to move when one moves from Plesk on old server to Plesk on new one.

cPanel offers migration tools and technical help to transfer websites from third-party control panels to cPanel & WHM. However, some issues and concerns exist in the data migration process.

Growth and adoption

Plesk has partnered with AWS, Azure, Google, Alibaba, Vultr, and DigitalOcean.

cPanel has partnered with AWS, Azure, Alibaba Cloud, Vultr and Linode.

Revenue opportunities

More revenue opportunities with extensions, overall better performance.

Plain billing.

Support

Partners get free premium support, training and free certification.

Partners get enterprise priority support and assurance to receive responses in less than 2 hours.

Discounts

There are three tiers of becoming Plesk resellers. Elite partners can get discounts of 45% on genuine Plesk licenses and extensions, opening a window of business opportunities.

Partners get up to 30% discount on cPanel and WHM licenses for dedicated servers.

Marketing and growth support

Plesk provides partner collaterals, go-to-market consultancy, help with content creation and marketing development fund of up to $1000 as well.

cPanel provides its partners a place in its partner directory which as claimed by cPanel provides access to over 14K potential customers.

Which is the best web hosting management tool?

To stay ahead of the competition, it is important to keep up with the latest technology. Both cPanel and Plesk panels are feature rich web hosting management tools that simplify your workloads and help you succeed.

But choices are always determined based on the needs of a business- operating system, security needs, configuration of server and usability preferences.

Let us know your thoughts about this write-up in the comments section.

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Jyotsana Gupta

Jyotsana Gupta - the content and communication head, is an engineer by education and a writer at heart. In technical writing for 8 years, she makes complex topics interesting to general audience. She loves going on long drives in her spare time.
Jyotsana Gupta