DAY ONE – INTRODUCTION, OVERVIEW, WHAT/WHY WE TESTED, TESTING ENVIRONMENT
During the course of this week, The Hosting News will provide a detailed product feature comparison of the two leading Web Hosting Control panels: Parallels Plesk Panel 10 and cPanel Stable running on identical hardware/OS configurations. This feature series will be published in 4 installments, so stay tuned! The goal of this report is to help hosting users of all sizes, specifically large web hosts (averaging 1500 deployed hosting accounts), resellers/web developers (averaging 60 deployed hosting accounts), and IT professionals/end-users (averaging less than 4 deployed hosting accounts) compare and contrast the many features and performance advantages in the hosting industry’s two leading control panels, cPanel and Plesk Panel 10.
(left) Parallel’s Plesk Panel 10 Home page; (right) cPanel’s WebHostManager Home page
Often loved, and sometimes hated, the modern hosting control panel is truly everyone’s best friend. Hosting control panels provide standardization, upgrade paths, website and email portability, and easy access to friendly interfaces that allows end users to have granular levels of control over their own hosting environments. All of which can be done while reducing the need for technical support and man hours spent on server management. Enabling mass server configuration, implementing standardized security and automating server management, control panels are the cornerstone of a successful hosting platform. Whether you’re looking to host 1 domain on a single server or 1500 domains per server on 1000s of servers, choosing the right control panel for your business’s hosting needs is an important decision.
What will be tested/compared?
During January (2011), we conducted side-by-side feature set comparisons (and will provide illustrations), and analyses of integration and automation capabilities for both control panels. Understanding that one size typically must fit all for server software, we will attempt to list specific advantages from your point-of-view (no matter if you’re a large host, reseller, or IT professional/end-user). The features and options tested were chosen for their impact on our 3 user groups and prioritized for readability. Considering there are more than 500 individual functions we could have compared and/or tested, we felt this would make the report look more like a textbook. So we have broken it down into a more manageable series of reviews:
- Day 1 – Introduction, overview, what/why we tested, testing environment
- Day 2 – Feature comparison
- Day 3 – Automation/Integration analysis
- Day 4 – Conclusion/wrap-up
We start our comparison with two nearly identical Supermicro machines (provided by Parallels.) With 16 total processor cores, 12GB of Ram, and dual 7200RPM, Enterprise-Grade, Western Digital SATA drives, these are very capable machines for most hosting needs. Logging into the machines shows that they are both fast and responsive.
cpanel01 parallels01 CPU (4) Quad Core E5520 @ 2.27 GHZ RAM 12GB 12GB Hard Drives (2) 500 GB 7200 RPM SATA Western Digital 16 MB Cache (2) 500 GB 7200 RPM SATA Western Digital 16 MB Cache NIC Intel Corporation 82576 Gigabit Intel Corporation 82576 Gigabit Motherboard Supermicro X8DTU Supermicro X8DTU Operating System CentOS release 5.5 (Final) CentOS release 5.5 (Final) Linux Kernel 2.6.18-194.17.1.el5 #1 SMP 2.6.18-194.17.1.el5 #1 SMP Hard Drive Partitioning Each machine has been formatted according to provider specifications.The Parallels01 machine has not mounted its secondary drive by default;
however, this did not affect testing.
COMING UP: DAY TWO – FEATURE COMPARISION
Feature: Parallels vs. cPanel Day 1
* Super Fast Hosting
* cPanel with Softaculous
* WordPress AutoInstaller
* 99.999% Uptime
* $4.95 per month No Contract