Web Hosting Control Panels – cPanel vs. Plesk

A web hosting control panel is an interface designed to ease the management of hosting services by providing centralized access to everything that’s needed – and without any technical/SSH experience required to maneuver around the panel. This makes hosting simpler than you think!

Out of the many control panels out there on the marketplace today, the two that are considered the “top players” are cPanel and Plesk. A control panel is an important choice to be made when it comes to hosting – and it has to be one you’re familiar and comfortable with using frequently. Although it’s a matter of choice guided by your specific use-case needs, this comparison article will help point you towards the right direction. And if you’re still unsure, our solutions architects are happy to provide you with a free consultation!

cPanel vs Plesk Web Hosting Control Panels 

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

It also provides multi-level ACL options, including the ability to create reseller hosting accounts.

Plesk – Plesk is a 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 has an active development team, and they are constantly upgrading their software to add additional functionalities.



Feature Comparison:

Features Plesk cPanel
Architecture Plesk’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 interface Completely 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 addons 112 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.
Security Plesk 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 access MySQL 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 adoption Plesk 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.

So which is better – cPanel or Plesk?

Both cPanel and Plesk panels are excellent web hosting control panels that make managing your website’s online presence easier. What is ultimately better depends ultimately on your use case, and is up to user preference. As a general rule of thumb, you can’t go wrong with either. Plus, cPanel and Plesk are owned by the same parent company!

Please feel free to contact our solution architects and we will be happy to provide a free, no-fee consultation! We are also available by phone at 888-5-QUADRA. We are pleased to also announce that cPanel and Plesk both run on QuadraNet’s dedicated servers and cloud platform, so whichever control panel you choose to go with, we’ll help you get it set up for you.