Many Linux users have been looking for a CentOS replacement since the news of CentOS 8 coming to an end emerged in early 2021. Similarly, many managed VPS users have switched to Cloud Server (unmanaged) Hosting following the price increase in cPanel hosting plans recently. Below we’ll cover some of the most popular, stable cPanel alternatives available for Linux systems.
True cPanel Alternatives
The following server control panels allow you to easily manage websites, email, databases, DNS, and PHP versions in one graphical interface. We’ll focus on key differences.
Webmin / Virtualmin
Webmin is a fully free server control panel packed with everything you need to manage a cloud server. There are also dozens of Webmin integrations available. Some disadvantages:
- Some native features aren’t stable
- Webmin doesn’t receive frequent updates
- Many Webmin modules haven’t been updated in years
You’ll only be able to install and fully manage certain system services from the terminal. For those reasons Webmin may be best suited for staging environments. If you choose Webmin, be sure to prioritize system hardening methods beforehand.
System administrators needing to separate a system into virtual machines (VMs) can install Virtualmin to manage partitioned Webmin accounts.
Control Web Panel (CWP)
Control Web Panel (CWP), formerly known as CentOS Web Panel, is a more polished server management tool with a workflow more similar to cPanel. It also has more support for essential add-ons such as ConfigServer Security & Firewall (CSF) and ClamAV malware scanner.
The downside: some great features such as PHP Selector, a function for managing different PHP versions for separate CWP users, require an annual paid subscription for CWPpro. The free version also restricts how many CWP users you can create.
The good news is that all other premium features are negated with good Linux terminal skills.
Vesta is another fully free control panel. It stands out among the others by natively including software for the best performance and security:
- NGINX reverse proxy with PHP-FPM for faster websites
- ClamAV and Spamassassin for file and email scanning
- Fail2ban for system security
The only official, commercial Vesta plugin is SFTP Chroot to restrict user access.
Control Panels for Specific Uses
The applications below don’t have the wide range of features of a cPanel alternative but are great for some niche purposes.
Cockpit is designed to manage small and medium-sized business networks more so than web applications. It’s more suitable for advanced users familiar with the terminal. Backed by Red Hat, the administration tool has stable, updated integrations for RAID backup configurations, virtualization, and file sharing.
ownCloud is a file sharing solution for teams looking to manage data outside of something like Google Drive. The personal cloud storage solution has dozens of stable plugins that further consolidate data for remote-based organizations:
- Collaborative file editing
- Integration with external email accounts
- Audio and video file organization
- Team communication via text and video
ownCloud is optimal for advanced users capable of managing system services from the command line interface (CLI).
Nextcloud was forked from ownCloud in 2016. They share mostly the same native features and workflow. However, Nextcloud is more popular for a few notable reasons.
ownCloud requires a premium subscription for essential security features such as encryption and web application firewalling (WAF). Nextcloud is completely free.
Nextcloud has a greater selection of plugins available including the popular Deck kanban (with NxDeckGantt chart integration).
Cloudron, Ajenti, and Froxler are interesting projects that we didn’t cover but seem promising and may be worth checking out.