If you are a hosting provider or you have your own domain and web hosting, it is likely that you’ve come across at least one of the major control panels to manage your hosting account if you have Cpanel or Directadmin Web Hosting.

A web hosting control panel is used to manage your hosting account and has all of the features including backup, email setup and script installations depending on the hosting provider.

Cpanel was founded on March 21st 1996 and Directadmin on the 1st March 2003.

Considering Directadmin vs Cpanel, they are two of the biggest control panel providers out there that have recently had big changes in terms of look and price.

Cpanel price increases

Back in September 2019 Cpanel changed their pricing system into 3 tiers with their starter price for one hosting account at fifteen dollars or a premier licence at fourty five.

Cpanel has yet again announced that in January 2021 the price will increase once again leaving companies frustrated, wondering if they should change to an alternate control panel.

Directadmin Vs Cpanel pricing

So how do the prices compare between the two major control panels? Well Directadmin does come out on top for their standard licence at just twenty nine dollars per month, which is nearly half the price of it’s competitor.

Even if you are only wanting  one hosting account on a server, Directadmin comes out on top again at just two dollars per month compared to its rival at fifteen.

Both also offer a free trial period if you are a new user, Cpanel offers a 14 day trial and Directadmin offers a 30 day trial for you to test.

Installation

We tested out the installation of both control panels which we found very straight forward and easy using an SSH (Secure Shell) client.

Cpanel can only be installed on a clean CentOS operating system whilst Directadmin can also be installed on other operating systems including Debian and FreeBSD.

Both have an installation time of around 15 minutes, depending on the type of dedicated server you are installing on. You can also install on a VPS (Virtual Private Server).

Directadmin also has extra requirements when installing including which PHP versions you would like on the system, you can choose upto four different PHP versions with Directadmin.

Cpanel completes the installation then gives you a setup screen where you login to the WHM control panel for you to complete.

Features

Both of the control panels features look very professional, Directadmin has also added extra features to its skin including dark mode and several modes including four different layouts.

Both look clean and easy to navigate, they are also put into sections so icons are easy to find.

Management

The management of both control panels is fairly simple if you are using the control panel itself. If you are wanting to start making edits and changes then we recommend a server administrator or someone with knowledge of both the operating system and back end to prevent any damage or loss of data.

However they is lots of useful information if you find you need to make any changes in the back end of the server, using guides from the internet. We recommend using SSH or for more hardened security setting up a public key to login.

Security

While both control panels do offer some protection from brute force hackers and other exposures, we do recommend using a firewall for extra protection.

CSF (Config Server Firewall) is a good example and is open source so you don’t have to pay anything for it.

Simply install with your control panel and go to “check server security” in which it will provide all the vulnerabilities for you to check and fix.

You can fix most of the common issues with Config Server Firewall by making the changes within firewall configuration, when you are happy with the configurations set “testing” to “off”.

If you are unsure which profile and custom configurations to set you can go on your firewall profiles to set your protection to low, medium or high depending if you have anyone attacking your server.

Hardware

The hardware you choose to run Directadmin or Cpanel will depends on several factors:

  • Your budget
  • How many domains you intend to have on the server
  • Website resources
  • Server specifications

If you are intending on only running a few accounts, a recommendation would be to only use VPS, saving you money as these are partitions create from a dedicated server.

If you have a large website that requires more resources you would probably require a dedicated server but will cost you more. You have full control over a dedicated server and none of your resources are used on a third party.

VPS and dedicated server prices vary depending on specifications but as a recommended minimum you would need 20GB space for the control panel and at last 4GB RAM. That doesn’t include any websites or files you also need to upload.

Dedicing which to choose

If you are unsure which control panel to choose from it may be best for you to trial them before before deciding, obviously you will need to format the server and re-install after you’ve tested one before testing the other.

CentOS would be the obvious choice especially if you decide to go with Cpanel. If you are more comfortable with the other operating systems such as Debian or FreeBSD then Directadmin would be your only choice, as Cpanel doesn’t support these.

Check out and test all the features so you are comfortable with the control panel, keeping it mind your budget and cost for the package you want to use.

Cpanel is easier to maintain as it focuses on mainly using its dashboard to make any changes, Directadmin may need some extra work by logging in via SSH to make any changes.

Summary

Based on the tests we provided and the total cost, it was close but we decided that Directadmin should be the overall winner simply because of the major price different between the two competitors.

Although Directadmin may be cheaper it’s also aimed at those with more technical knowledge. This may change your mind if you have a bigger budget as you may wish to choose Cpanel to install on your next server. Hope this review on Directadmin vs Cpanel will help you to choose the right service for your business.

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