cPanel has open-source software licensed under the GNU General Public License for hosting websites on Unix-like operating systems. It has the most widely installed control panel for web hosting servers globally, with a market share of over 68%.
On the other hand, Plesk provides a graphical interface to manage your website via an online console for Windows-based servers. It’s an all-inclusive software solution that anyone can use to host and manage websites managed by Plesk Control Panel or provide Domain Administration Services and Mail Services.
To begin with, there is no such thing as a simple comparison between cPanel and Plesk since they are software packages designed for different purposes. The best way to begin would be to view both packages as components of a web hosting service, as different ways of building web hosting servers.
Taking this perspective, you are still faced with the question, “How does one create an effective architecture for a website?” – this is the question every web host needs to answer when starting from scratch; it has no easy solution.
On the other hand, such a question tends to have a fixed answer that differs from one company to another.
For example, you may add a MySQL server as the main database used by your website. To do so, you will need to make certain changes in the PHP configuration files. You’ll also need to deploy Apache Web Server software onto your server. And depending on your location, you need some additional configuration settings for local and regional language support. Plesk includes DNS Manager software that can help you configure the DNS records for your domain name.
In other cases, you may create a site that is not hosted at all; instead, it’s stored off-site and accessed via a secure web browser (SSL). You’ll need to create a secure link between your server and the remote website in this case. You can easily achieve this by installing Apache and the OpenSSL software on your server.
They designed cPanel’s Web Hosting Control Panel to manage hosting accounts that focus on the needs of hosting providers — not individual users. So, if your goal is to obtain a control panel software that allows you to create a complete web hosting service, then cPanel will be the right choice for you, whether you are running a web host or building one from scratch.
On the other hand, Plesk is a fully-featured web hosting control panel designed for use by people unfamiliar with web hosting systems. It offers a graphical interface to manage your website via an online console. In other words, Plesk installations usually take less than 5 minutes to complete. You’ll likely be able to install your server in under 15 minutes from start to finish. This allows you to focus on setting up and managing your website — instead of spending time learning how to set up the server’s operating system and deploying additional software. Yet, it is also possible to customize Plesk using pre-defined role-based permission settings that you can apply throughout the application.
cPanel is the most widely used open-source panel software for Unix-like servers. It’s designed to manage web hosting accounts and the server configurations and database settings used to run websites.
cPanel publicly came out in July 1998. Created as a script that provided web hosting services to individual users and web developers. Over time, versions of cPanel have grown into software packages suitable for setting up and running full-fledged web hosting servers. cPanel is currently used by over 1 million hosting providers worldwide and is offered in 25 languages. The current version is 11.50, released on 2017-06-15.
Plesk provides a graphical interface to manage your website via an online console for Windows-based servers. It’s an all-inclusive software solution that it can use to host and manage websites managed by Plesk Control Panel or provide Domain Administration Services and Mail Services.
Plesk came out in 2006 as the newest generation control panel software from Parallels Incorporation. It’s only distributed at no charge, but it can also be licensed for fee-based commercial use. Plesk is currently used by over 240,000 websites worldwide and is offered in 7 languages. The current version is 12.0.1, released in 2016-11-23.
Both packages have a similar user interface for creating, managing, and configuring websites hosted under a web hosting service. You can access your account via FTP on both systems using a dedicated domain name or IP address. All the software configurations required to build a fully functional web hosting server, including Apache Web Server, can be managed from the control panel’s graphical interface.
However, there are still several differences between the two control panel solutions. For one thing, cPanel design is to run on RPM-based and Debian Linux operating systems. It currently supports a wider range of servers and operating systems: FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and Solaris. In addition, cPanel provides support for several databases, including MySQL/MariaDB, Oracle Database, PostgreSQL, and Microsoft SQL Server.
Plesk design is to run on Windows operating systems only. It is mostly compatible with Windows Server, but it does provide support for MySQL and PostgreSQL. Plesk can also set up websites hosted on Unix-like operating systems like Linux (Debian) and FreeBSD.
Both packages provide a similar feature set for creating, managing, and configuring websites. However, there are some important differences between the two. cPanel doesn’t have the ability to host files in the cloud (like Dropbox) or control web traffic on a per-host basis. It also lacks built-in security features such as firewall management, intrusion detection, or content filtering.
Overall, both cPanel and Plesk provide hosting services that anyone can use with a wide range of web servers, operating systems, and domain registrars. The two packages have a similar feature set for creating, managing, and configuring websites hosted under a web hosting service. They’re both relatively easy to use, even for beginners. The main difference is that cPanel design is to run on Linux operating systems, while Plesk supports only Windows-based operating systems.