The hosting control panel is a crucial tool for managing all the resources on a server, and it’s always been a key component of a web hosting. When we think of a web control panel, we’re used to seeing cPanel as the dominant choice. CPanel is the most popular and widely used software for managing your website(s) on a web server.
Unfortunately, this cPanel software isn’t free and comes with a cost. For individuals using it personally, VPS owners, and startups, it can be challenging to allocate funds for such software. They prefer to stick to smaller budgets, and eliminating the cost of control panel licensing can save them a few dollars on monthly fees.
Thankfully, there has been a growing number of feature-rich hosting control panels emerging online, and the best part is, they’re completely free to use.
In this post, we’ve curated a list of the best free cPanel alternatives for you to consider for your server(s).
Now, let’s dive into our top picks for cPanel alternatives!
Top & Best cPanel Alternatives
Virtualmin is a fantastic free and open-source control panel operating under the GNU GPL. With its user-friendly dashboard, you can effortlessly manage virtual domains, email, databases, file management, applications, and more.
What’s even better is that installing Virtualmin on your server is a breeze, thanks to its automated script, allowing you to set it up in just a few minutes.
Notably, Virtualmin not only offers a file manager but also includes a straightforward and intuitive WYSIWYG HTML editor right within the file manager itself. It provides full support for Ruby on Rails and Mongrel-based applications.
While there is a professional version of Virtualmin available, it’s worth noting that the free version is often sufficient for most users. The professional version includes advanced features like bulk hosting for numerous sites or users, reseller accounts, and extra install scripts, but for many, the free version offers everything they need.
Download Virtualmin: https://www.virtualmin.com/buy/virtualmin
VestaCP is easy to use and simple looking control panel comes with robust and must have features. It’s simple in terms of only have the features which are must for a web host and not included the unnecessary feature list.
It supports most of the latest Linux distributions such as CentOS 5-7, Debian 6-8 and Ubuntu 12-15. The installation is easy, even a less technical person can install it without much trouble. You need to run few simple commands to install the software on your server.
The main feature includes file manager, interactive graphs, and a free web-mail, it has the ability to add WHMCS billing module, where you can add various custom hosting plans for your website. It also includes a firewall you can use to protect your serve from viruses.
Overall VestaCP is a feature rich, lightweight, fast and easy to install and simple to use control panel.
VestaCP Demo: http://vestacp.com/demo
Froxlor is open source and is considered a best alternate to cPanel in terms of features it supports such as, it has various access levels i.e. admin, re-seller and client accounts, where you can set your own theme for the UI.
It has a nice and simple user interface. The customer facing UI should be simple so that even a person with less technical knowledge should understand and use it easily, and Froxlor make it really good in this regard.
The only feature it missing is the file manager. This file manager is a must have utility for a control panel but its missing from Froxlor. To overcome this feature you need to use a FTP client (such is FileZilla) to upload/download your files on the server.
Froxlor Demo: http://demo.froxlor.org
ISPConfig 3 is so far the best alternate to cPanel in terms of advance features it comes with. ISPConfig 3 have all the features you want in a full fledged control panel.
It offers various user layers such as admin, client, re-seller and control panel user, which is a special kind of user to whom an administrator can assign a specific task such as handling DNS, file management, mailbox settings etc.
The ISPConfig 3 installation is not automatic, so if you are like a person who likes things to be completed by few clicks aka automation, then you will be a bit disappoint, because you have to do a lot of steps manually to install the IPSConfig 3 on your server.
ISPConfig Demo: www.ispconfig.org/ispconfig/online-demo
It’s an open source, feature packed and provides everything you would expect from a web hosting control panel.
There are plenty of built-in modules are available in Sentora, you can even brought in 3rd Party modules or built one yourself for your particular requirement.
The control panel also has the ability to use many free and custom theme for CP user interface. It even p provides a theme similar cPanel!
It only included the essential features of a control panel instead of a plethora and unnecessary features which normally isn’t useful for most of the users. Features such as file management, database, domain, mail and many more features are present in the main dashboard.
Sentora Demo: http://us.sentora.ga
Kloxo have everything a good control panel should offer. The user interface is much similar to cPanel. It support and runs on CentOS 5 and RHEL 5. The kloxo can easily distribute resources across different servers.
Kloxo can easily integrate with WHMCS, Hostbill and AWBS; this is a good feature if you are already using any of this service for your clients. Kloxo also have the ability to create different user levels by allowing re-sellers account, so that you can effortlessly resell your hosting services to your clients.
Sadly we haven’t seen any active Kloxo development for a while now; even the demo link seems to be down for a while. (As of writing this) we couldn’t find any active demo link on the net! Worst yet the installation link is also down!
Side-by-Side Comparison Chart of Free Control Panels
|OS Support||RHEL/CentOS 5,6,7, Debian 6,7,8, Ubuntu 12.04-15.10||Debian Squeeze or Wheezy, Ubuntu 11.04 or 12.04||Debian 5–8, Ubuntu 8.10–15.10, CentOS 5.2–7, Fedora 10 and 12-15, OpenSuSE 11.1–12.3||CentOS 6, CentOS 7, Ubuntu 12.04 and Ubuntu 14.04||CentOS 5, RHEL 5||CentOS, Ubuntu|
|Database||MySQL & PostgreSQL|
|Billing Integration||WHMCS||AWBS, WHMCS & HostBill||n/a|
|Statistics||Webalizer & AWStats||n/a||AWStats|
Quick note about license, support and advance features
We are here to share with you the free alternative to cPanel, but it is advisable that you should know the consequences of using the free web hosting control panels.
Many of the above cPanel alternative are free but there will be small fee you have to incur in order to use the advance feature and/or to get technical support.
There is a saying “nothing is free in this world”, you can’t expect developers to spend countless of hours of time developing a free control panel (and keep fixing bugs and proactively releasing new updates) that will compete with a commercial one such as cPanel.
7. CWP (Control Web Panel)
As we keep update this page, we are happy to add one more free (and paid) web panel to this list, its CWP (Control Web Panel). CWP is a leading web hosting panel that gives you all the flexibility and advance features to easily and efficiently manage your server.
Some of the main features of Control Web Panel includes:
- Easy and Modern User Interface
- Tough Security
- Easy Customization
- Best Support
- One of the free and best Linux Webpanel
As you can see, there are a growing number of fantastic free alternatives to cPanel. These control panels are excellent, fully functional, and easy to use and have become a blessing for web hosts and web administrators.
We strongly encourage you to go through each of the above mentioned web hosting control panels and use the one you feel is a good fit for your needs.