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Free VPS panels: how to choose the best for you

For many hosting users, control panels have become the first go-to thing when managing their servers and websites. It’s completely understandable why – they other a plethora of tools and features that simplify various administrative tasks through an intuitive graphical interface without the need for in-depth knowledge of how to run systems. When it comes to a VPS server, especially Unix and Linux, these are essential. There are various control panels that users can choose from, but what are the best open-source ones?

VestaCP

This is a fairly new VPS control panel that offers high speed and runs on Apache and Nginx. It gets significant attention from the VPS community as it has a lightweight design. Because of it, even first-time users find it simple to use and navigate.

It has various tools that make such things as adding domains, SLL, creating databases, and creating backups a fairly easy task. VestaCP also has such beneficial built-in features as:

  • “Let’s Encrypt”,
  • firewall,
  • cron jobs,
  • graphs,
  • statistics,
  • file manager and more.

Although it’s a neat open-source control panel for a VPS server, it has some drawbacks. You can only get an integrated file editor and support for an additional cost. Furthermore, some might find that it doesn’t have a one-click install application an inconvenience.

Webmin/Virtualmin

This is quite a popular panel because of its great and unique configuration opportunities. It is specifically designed for Linux servers in mind as the systems can be managed with a web browser instead of commands, which can be quite time-consuming.

A big advantage of Webmin is that it’s mobile-friendly. Users can do important tasks, like creating mailboxes, restarting services, right from their phone. Much like VestaCP, it also has built-in features like “Let’s Encrypt”, firewall, backup and restoration, and more. It only requires a small amount of RAM to run and is quite suitable for those, running a large VPS server.

When it comes to drawbacks, these are quite minimal. Some people might not like the old interface design, which can take a while to get used to, and the limited support.

ISPConfig

This is a free to download Linux focused control panel, licensed under the BSD license. It works on both physical servers and virtual machines. It has 4 access levels: administrator, reseller, client, and e-mail user. Through this software’s web-based interface, administrators can manage several websites, e-mail addresses, DNS records, MySQL databases.

It’s translated in more than 20 languages, so managing a VPS server in a foreign language becomes easier for non-English speakers. ISPConfig is also compatible with many Linux OS distributions and even has an app for Android for those that want to manage their systems from a phone.

On the other hand, it can be quite difficult to install and configure on a VPS without proper instructions and requires a significant amount of resources to run. A major drawback for some might be that it also doesn’t have official support, which can be quite irritating when major issues occur.

Centmin Mod

This shell-based control panel for the CentOS operating system and was intended for the management of multiple/single dedicated or VPS server from a single root user/administrator. It has a LEMP Stack install that fully automates most of:

  • installation,
  • configuration,
  • base optimization,

According to the recommended practices for setting up CentOS, MySQL, MariaDB, Nginx, PHP, and other software.

It doesn’t have a web GUI panel, though. Users have to manage their systems through the SSH command line that has a menu for frequently performed tasks. It’s a great option for those running several websites and it also requires few resources.

For some, it might be a major inconvenience that Centmin Mod doesn’t have a GUI. It is also only available for CentOS 6 and CentOS 7 distributions and is not suitable for those running their pages on shared hosting.

There are various choices out there in the market. If you’re still unsure which open-source control panel is best suited for your VPS server try these out and see what works best, just consider the purpose of your VPS. If you want an intuitive GUI, VestaCP might be the one for you. For those that don’t want to use a command line, Webmin/Virtualmin is optimal. ISPConfig is great for reselling and Centmin Mod is best for those that don’t want to use up too many resources.