WHM/cpanel is the best panel there is. However, of course VERY pricey. For a VPS a WHM/cpanel license will cost you approx 15 US$ per month. WHM/cpanel also takes up a lot of resources for a beginner VPS, so is not recommended. It will slow down your VPS.
If you have limited experience of Linux, and want a look alike cPanel, then a free VPS panel would be great to have. Only thing is there are a great number of them out there and it can be confusing which one to select.
One has to be very careful when one selects a VPS panel as the free panels require regular security updates. By their very nature panels can make the VPS vulnerable for hacking. They can also eat up your VPS resources. So not only should one scrutinize the management of the VPS panel carefully for security and resource use before you select one, but you need to continuously check that the management of the updates are in good hands after you have installed the panel. Since the free VPS panels are managed by admin who are doing it on a voluntary basis, it’s easy for them to either sell the panel or disappear – resulting in lack of security updates after. So it’s good to check up on the panel. I also check whether the panel has additional documentation and/or a discussion Forums available, as that is a good way to keep tabs on the panel, as well as a great resource for troubleshooting panel issues.
My top choices for a Free VPS Panel for beginners – from the consideration of security and use of resources – is Softaculous WEBUZO and VestaCP. For those who are very hardware technically inclined WebMIN would be my choice.
WEBUZO is a brother/sister of Virtualizor and part of Softaculous and has a very close feel to cPanel about it. Only difference is that it is a single admin server, so if you plan to resell web hosting services or want to provide separate control panels to other users, then you will need to check out other alternatives.
I wouldn’t recommend the free version of Webuzo as it is very limited and lacks the WordPress script. However the 25 USD per year license is so little and to me worth every penny in the difference with the free version. Webuzo is feature rich, and easy to work with. Has more than one option for FTP and File Manager. Works perfectly with DNS, everything that is needed to manage Websites as a single user.
WordPress is listed first in its long list of 316 Softaculous scripts that have been neatly categorized. I had a WordPress site up in less than five minutes. It automatically created my database and database user, without prompting me for those.
What is also attractive to me is the wealth of how-to documentation in the WEBUZO blog. Easy to search on as well.
A step-by-step tutorial for how to install WEBUZO can be found here:
VestaCP is by far my favourite free panel for a VPS, but because of some security concerns that cropped up during 2018 in April and September, I’m a little hesitant to recommend it for absolute beginners. I’m a great fan of it particularly because of its above average low use of resources. It works with nginx on top of apache so have the best of both worlds in fast processing and efficient file management. Another plus is an actively supported forum with tons of documentation. And in January 2018 it included a free Softaculous in its applications. VestaCP is a multi-account panel, in other words you can set it up for more than one user.
VestaCP provides an excellent “menu” for choosing what one wants to include in VestaCP in ONE installation command. All one needs to do is navigate to its installation page and you will find a command generator and instructions for how to install the script (below).
Note: It is important to install the script on a minimal installation of the OS only, however if you have been provided with a full OS you can override this with including “force” in the installation command.
VestaCP of course doesn’t come with a free File Manager, however I’m quite happy with FileZilla and am using SFTP instead of FTP. I also don’t use a mail server. If mail is needed with my domain later on, I will use a free e-mail host like Zoho or Yandex. Yandex in particular is very generous with the number of e-mail accounts that are allowed for use with one’s domain.
My choices for the Install Command are:
WEB: nginx + apache
FIREWALL: iptables + fail2ban
FILE SYSTEM QUOTA: No
In summary these are the commands I use with a minimal installation of CentOS-7 64 bit:
curl -O http://vestacp.com/pub/vst-install.sh
bash vst-install.sh –nginx yes –apache yes –phpfpm no –vsftpd no –proftpd no –exim no –dovecot no –spamassassin no –clamav no –named yes –iptables yes –fail2ban yes —softaculous yes —mysql yes –postgresql no –remi yes –quota no –hostname vps.domain.tld –email email@example.com –password 123456
If you want to make Softaculous premium, you need to add ioncube to be able to access the Softaculous Admin Panel in VestaCP (Softaculous is “hidden” behind the Apps link that is next to the Firewall Link in the top Index links of VestaCP). Here is the command for CentOS:
WEBMIN is a control panel for system administration of both dedicated and VPS Linux servers. It is popular with super geeks who may use it for a quick access interface for remote control of their servers. I tried WEBMIN and can be corrected on this, but looks as though the control panel is more suited for dedicated servers as it ran quite slow on my VPS. Still, for someone with a VPS who is reasonably Linux literate particularly on the technical side of things, WEBMIN is at least worth checking out. WEBMIN can be used by any web browser and can help one set up user accounts, Apache, DNS, firewalls, file sharing and much more.
Here is what the panel looks like:
How to install WEBMIN
This is an excellent tutorial by Anthony Binns: