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Alternative to WHM/cPanel

     
7:27 pm on Aug 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I'm in the middle of updating my dedicated server... I've decided to leave Softlayer, after they were taken over (or whatever) by IBM their service is a literal joke. It takes DAYS for them to reply to an urgent ticket, and I've caught reps in flat out lies. Nope, not for me.

I'm switching back to Siteworks, if anyone is interested; I used them about 10 years ago and was extremely happy, but they didn't offer dedicated servers at the time. Now they do, and my preliminary exchanges with them has reminded me of why I was so happy with them before.

But I digress.

The question I have now is about WHM / cPanel. I pay a monthly fee for this, and it appears that the fee is going to go up in the near future. So I'm looking for something cheap (or free) to replace it.

I'll be on CentOS 7 with MySQL, and I need something that I can use (akin to WHM) and that my hosting client can use (cPanel). The WHM replacement needs to be able to import all of my accounts easily, and the cPanel replacement needs to be simple to use and include some sort of Webmail.

I need the ability to install Wordpress, and maybe some other template programs.

I don't have a need for a reseller option.

Any suggestions? I've found a few lists, but I'm hoping for real-world reviews instead of potential affiliates or paid reviews.
9:00 pm on Aug 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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You can get some of the cPanel funtionality from Webmin. A client of mine uses it and I have been working with it recently and its quite nice. No webmail but there are things that can do that (Mail in a Box, Horde, others).
5:48 am on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Web mail packages all over the place.

Is cpanel not included or is your dedicated your own iron/space?
7:07 am on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Softlayer charges $25 /month for WHM / cPanel :'-( Siteworks is putting together a quote for me right now, but they told me that cPanel is going up on their licensing price on 9/1/19 so I'm guessing that the cost will be more than $25 after that.

I found the original invoice when I first set up with The Planet. That was 2006, and cPanel was $20 /month then.

Since I'm provisioning a new server, though, I figure that now's the time to try out something else :-) I've had cPanel for over 13 years, and at $20-25 /month that's somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,500 that I've paid for this software!
7:47 am on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In retrospect, I also need them to automatically install SSL certs for each account, like WHM does. Sectigo is preferred; I used Let's Encrypt for awhile but ran in to an issue that they limit the number of certs per account.

Here are a few others that I've found referenced:

VestaCP
(built-in firewall, ClamAV, SpamAssassin, RoundCube for webmail, and MySQL... but no mention of SSL)
[vestacp.com...]

Froxlor
(doesn't mention many features, but does have SSL. Only refers to Let's Encrypt, though)
[froxlor.org...]

ISPConfig 3
(they have SSL built in, but I only see Let's Encrypt. And I couldn't figure out how to park a domain, or how to import from WHM)
[ispconfig.org...]

ZPanel / Sentora:
(no online demo or screenshots)
[sentora.org...]

VestaCP was topping my list until I read this in their support forum... now, I'm thinking not so much:
[forum.vestacp.com...]
8:08 am on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The cPanel price jump was noticed on a lot of budget providers as it killed their margins. Apparently a number of them are looking at DirectAdmin, I've not used it extensively to say what it can and can't do but may be worth a look.
7:06 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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DirectAdmin looks good, but it would be $29 /month so there's not much of a savings :-(

[directadmin.com...]
10:33 pm on Aug 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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For a dedi perhaps, but perhaps you don't need one. You'd know best. For many people on a shared plan it'll work out cheaper.

In the end it really depends on if you're accommodating other users using the server requirements. If not, there's not much requirement for the panel at all. Personally I find panels fudge the general setup and you become dependent on them, but if you're accommodating multiple users doing unknown things they're useful. So depends on the use case.

Installing the likes of Wordpress can be done with a bash script, per site. It doesn't need a full blown panel. Depends on you, and any other users. WHM especially is built on the idea of delegation and multiple users.

Since cpanel's rate has been raised, I'd expect the number of other people expecting cpanel to drop quite quickly.
12:37 pm on Aug 23, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@brotherhood_of_LAN I agree entirely, but a lot of people want a GUI because they are uncomfortable with the command line and command line scripts.

For Wordpress (which I do not use much) I use wp-cli.
1:06 am on Aug 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have about 50 bits of code saved that I use as needed, but completely doing away with a GUI in favor of command line would be a major pain. And there's no way that my hosting clients could use it... most of them struggle with cPanel :-(

I definitely need a dedicated server... or at least a VPS, which I guess would be the same thing for software. I'm using just under 100G of storage, and I redline my 4G of RAM pretty much daily.

Any thoughts on Virtualmin? Siteworks recommended it and it looks good, but they only offer Let's Encrypt for the SSL so I'm still having to figure that one out.
1:20 am on Aug 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Interworx is 10 $ until 35 domains for dedicated server
for more of this is about 25 $ I think
Is very similar with cpanel
because has nodeworlx and siteworx (like cpanel has WHM and cpanel for sites)
 

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