“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.

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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 Obsidian 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.

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.

Plesk Obsidian - Stable Version

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 Obsidian – the comparison for the end users:

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

Who is it for?Infrastructure providers, IT admins, Developers, Content Managers, Digital agenciesDevelopers & IT, Small to medium businesses, Business leaders, Business partnerships
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.
Docker Support (DevOps)Plesk has support for Docker on Linux.NA
Web ServersNGINX + caching out of the boxApache.
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, CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
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 PanelProvides 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.
WordPressPlesk 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.
ExtensionsPlesk comes pre- loaded with 100+ most useful apps and extensions, so user does not need to add them, like WordPress Toolkit, Joomla Toolkit etc.
View more here.
One can add extra apps to cPanel as needed via auto-installers like Softaculous. Not all add-ons are free.
View more here.
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 SupportLet’s Encrypt + SymantecLet’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.
Resource usageLightweightcPanel app is more resource hungry.
Backup supportEasy 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.
PriceEconomical as compared to cPanel.
  • Web Admin Edition: $9.16/mo
  • Web Pro Edition: $13.75/mo
  • Web Host Edition: $20.63/mo
On the higher side as compared to Plesk.
  • Solo: 1 Account: $15 monthly
  • Admin: Up to 5 Accounts: $20 monthly
  • Pro: Up to 30 Accounts: $30 monthly
  • Premier: Up to 100 Accounts: $45 monthly
SupportPlesk team offers 24X7 support.6AM – 6PM / Monday – Friday
6AM – 4PM / Saturday – Sunday
8AM – 4PM / Holiday Hours
New UpdatePlesk Obsidian uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation and orchestration technologies
  • Modern Web Stack:
  • Composer
  • MongoDB
  • Restricted Access
  • More Developer Friendly tools
  • Mail security improvements
  • SNI
  • Email auto-discovery
  • Backup optimization
  • Improved security options with Plesk Advisor, SSL It!, Advanced Monitoring, Grafana
Email Deliverability and MultiPHP Manager Interface Improvements
  • DNSSEC available for DNS Clustering
  • Updated Let’s Encrypt plugin
  • Better Apache Configuration File
  • Blocking emails by country or domain
  • New transfer tool features
  • New UAPI Modules
  • Webmail user interface updates
  • Support for DNS Node server profile license
  • Upgraded PHP 7.3 version
  • Application Manager User Interface improvements

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

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

Operating SystemPlesk Obsidian 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, CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.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.
Docker Support (DevOps)Plesk has support for Docker on LinuxNA
Reseller supportPlesk 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) SupportTraditional 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 usersUsers 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 time7:12 minutes20:14 minutes
Time to setup WordPress8:54 minutes28:51 minutes
MigrationPlesk 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 adoptionPlesk has partnered with AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google, Red Hat, Docker, Automattic, Alibaba Cloud, Vultr, and DigitalOcean.cPanel has partnered with AWS, Azure, Alibaba Cloud, Vultr and Linode.
Revenue opportunitiesMore revenue opportunities with extensions, overall better performance.Plain billing.
SupportPartners get free premium support, training and free certification.Partners get enterprise priority support and assurance to receive responses in less than 2 hours.
DiscountsThere 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 supportPlesk 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.
PriceEconomical as compared to cPanel.
  • Web Admin Edition: $9.16/mo
  • Web Pro Edition: $13.75/mo
  • Web Host Edition: $20.63/mo
On the higher side as compared to Plesk.
  • Solo: 1 Account: $15 monthly
  • Admin: Up to 5 Accounts: $20 monthly
  • Pro: Up to 30 Accounts: $30 monthly
  • Premier: Up to 100 Accounts: $45 monthly

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.

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Update: This blog has been updated on 14th November 2019