CPanel, DirectAdmin, Webmin, CyperPower, and such

Discussion in 'Servers and Control Panels' started by davert, Oct 26, 2019.

  1. davert

    davert Enthusiast

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    I wanted to leave CPanel for something less costly and faster. So I tried some others.

    CyberPower seemed almost unfinished. I gave it a whirl and gave up. Webmin/Virtualmin/Usermin shows the most promise, it's been around forever, it's what I started on, but it still seems almost unfinished; it makes some things better, but it's no CPanel.

    DirectAdmin was the most promising. It is a for-profit system and looks very finished. However, it's rather difficult to use and has made me spend far too much time in Terminal. Things like changing the php version are handled by going into a configuration file, changing a value, then entering various build commands, then waiting forever.

    It's great that you can switch between Apache, Nginx, LiteSpeed, and OpenLitespeed. It's kinda nasty that you do it by changing various options and rebuilding in the command line. It can take 20 minutes to install and switch systems. The server is not down during that time, though.

    It's not clear but you can't just run it all as admin, you have to create a reseller and an end user. You need domain names for each level.

    LetsEncrypt is fairly easy to install. I've been having some issues getting anything to run in php. Originally I couldn't really get Apache to work, either. The defaults of the system were not especially functional. I'm still having bad gateway errors on any php files.

    One really needs to have the documentation in one screen, forum searches in another, and a couple of terminal windows open.

    I would host with a DirectAdmin site, as long as it was run by someone competent. But it's not like WHM/Cpanel which is really very comprehensive and well thought out. I fear I'm going to have to tear out my DirectAdmin Linode (trial license) and either go back to CPanel, but shoving every domain into the same account (though it's really not designed well for that), or webmin/virtualmin/usermin.

    The main attraction of DirectAdmin is that theoretically it can restore from CPanel backups, but the one time I tried that, I got error messages.
     
  2. davert

    davert Enthusiast

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    I just realized I should have just replied to the next thread, rather than posting, but now I see I can't delete this - sorry.

    In any case, an update: I found that nginx works well with DirectAdmin, though I had to go into nginx configuration to turn SSI on (I know most people don't use SSI) and then reboot nginx. But it resolved my php problems well. I also added mod_secure into php, which wasn't that way by default.

    It's a bit worrying that mod_secure is _not_ the default in DirectAdmin, and this whole messing around in Terminal for everything under the sun is not really what I wanted a control panel for. At that point, since I'm not a reseller, I might as well just do a better job of working the command line.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
  3. eva2000

    eva2000 Habitué

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    FYI, a well know security firm rack911 is doing security audits of common shared hosting control panels at https://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1770951. You can follow that thread for how each fairs for security.

    DirectAdmin is shaping up to be #1 alternative to cPanel from discussions on webhostingtalk.com forum but as you have experienced it's not at feature parity with cPanel as yet. DirectAdmin folks are listing to feedback from cPanel users for features on various forums:
    I also wrote a DirectAdmin install guide for CentOS 7 users on a new Wordpress blog I started to review and test various control panels when I have spare time at https://servermanager.guide/162/how-to-install-directadmin-control-panel-on-centos-7/ including how folks can speed up DirectAdmin recompilation times by up to 60-80% using ccache :)

    But if you have small number of accounts on cPanel i.e. <=5 then US$20/month licensing isn't that different from DirectAdmin licensing so you could stay with cPanel or get better licensing if your web host provides it some web hosts are outlining their own cPanel licensing pricing by eating the cost themselves to allow higher number of accounts than official cPanel pricing.
     
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  4. davert

    davert Enthusiast

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    Thanks! I must admit, I was afraid I'd end up combining all my accounts into one, which is awkward and inconvenient. It does appear I might end up doing that for a year or two, as DirectAdmin comes up to speed. At the moment every web site is set up as a separate account. There is no easy way, as far as I can tell, to simply merge accounts, or I'd just do that.

    That said, I'll try your guide and cache system. My current web host is looking at offering DirectAdmin as an alternative to CPanel, and perhaps they'll have a more effective default setup. My main worry now is that because DirectAdmin is more like an alpha than a finished product, in terms of throwing unexpected and inexplicable obstacles at the user (that require going to various forums, then going in via SSH to type commands), I can't really rely on it for day-to-day unless I'm willing to make a fairly massive time investment. I actually used Webmin et al years back, and it did work, though - even there - I needed to use SSH quite a bit. On the lighter side, one can easily change configurations and such from within Webmin et al, and press a button for it to do whatever's needed in terms of building and restarting, without having to remember a dozen file names and locations and the various commands for rebuilding and restarting.
     
  5. davert

    davert Enthusiast

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    Should add that I tried GoPanel 2. It worked nicely but kept crashing, and reviews said that was a problem for many people. I decided to move on. apnscp sounds promising.
     
  6. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Aspirant

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    I have tried a few different services for a replacement to cpanel (though, it should be noted that to this day I still use cpanel as it was just my most familiar software) but I did have a pleasant experience for the most part when using DirectAdmin and WebMin. The learning curve is what kept me away from trying those out permanently, but some people swear by them!

    I suppose command line is out of the question?
     
  7. davert

    davert Enthusiast

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    It is for me, Elizabeth. I used to use Webmin with command line (ten or fifteen years ago, I think)... in the days when you needed a LOT of command line. It really wasn't practical. And then there's the daily security updates...

    Based on another thread here, I tried ISPConfig. It looks great even though it takes around 20-30 minutes to go through the painful, custom installation process. But updates are painful, not only requiring the command line, but with the developers insisting you go through a more-painful manual backup system first.

    I get the idea I'm going to have to give up having a VPS and move entirely to reseller hosting at some point... or just give up and get CPanel and load everything into one account.
     
  8. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Aspirant

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    To be honest, that's exactly what I wound up doing. I stuck with cPanel and so far have not really regretted it. Like yo said yourself, it is expensive, but the investment for me at least) has paid off.

    That was just me, though. If you mess around enough with some of the other options, you might find that you like one of them better than cPanel.
     
  9. davert

    davert Enthusiast

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    Or that you wasted a few hours on software that isn't really ready for prime time...
     
  10. Hentai

    Hentai Enthusiast

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    I kept my +$100/mo dedicated server on cPanel and am just eating the cost. It's my production server and it hosts clients, I am not about to mess with it.

    For my lower-end VPS where I host my development stuff & personal projects I already moved it to DirectAdmin and am liking it so far. I couldn't justify a license fee, 50% of my hosting cost, and my current host offered to both transition me to DirectAdmin, and give me a VPS license for free, so I took them up on the offer.

    I am not the most comfortable in command line, I don't like that I need to SSH in to change a "0" to a "1" in a setting, but I am not unfamiliar with command-line either so I am making do. One thing that DirectAdmin has going for it is its EXTENSIVE documentation, moreso than any other cPanel alternative. I am frankly impressed in both the quantity and quality of its documentation and various tutorials already out there on the web.

    Also since I am testing DirectAdmin on my dev/personal server I am really excited about some of the new possibilities, not possible on cPanel. Specifically, I want to try out OpenLiteSpeed and see how it affects my WordPress sites and small Xenforo community now that I see both have LiteSpeed Cache plugins available.
     
  11. Ali.Ch

    Ali.Ch Aspirant

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    I switched all my servers to DirectAdmin.

    If you have one/some personal websites like a forum or auch hosted on the server, IMO you should not use cPanel in the first place as its made for hosting industry and end user not a professional one.

    I personally prefer to have a hosting panel always so I always go with DA!

    If you are looking for an unlimited accounts version I know a authorized provider which support DA and it starts from 9.99.
     
  12. LordOfSpoon

    LordOfSpoon 127.0.0.1

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    Direct admin runs their forums on vB3... I love those people lol
     
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