Ever wondered why exactly do you need web hosting control panel? Do you want more control over your server? But are you sure that you get it? Let’s check on the example of one of the most popular solution – cPanel.
What is cPanel?
cPanel (Control Panel) provides an automation tool and graphical interface designed to simplify the web hosting process. A 3-tier structure is utilized by cPanel provides comforts for administrators and end-user website owners to manage the different aspects of website and server administration through a standard browser.
What is the use of cPanel?
With the cPanel you can manage the important aspects of file management, FTP, backups, email management, including spam filter and autoresponder, email account forwarders and mailing lists, domain and subdomain control, password protection of web folders, MySQL database administration and much more.
cPanel also has command line and API-based access that allows third-party software vendors, web hosting organizations, and developers to automate standard system administration processes.
Disadvantages of cPanel
Our experience shows that even having all the means necessary to maintain hosting solely, most of ecommerce businessmen would rather turn to support in case of an issue with the server. Those who try fixing it themselves most likely harm its performance even worth. The only absolute minority of online store owners, who are techy, are able to maintain proper server performance or fix it if it’s down, but that that work becomes a time killer depriving them of the opportunity to manage the business effectively.
Besides obvious reasons to delegate server works to a contractor, there are more cons that are beneath the surface.
1 – Low stability
The quality of cPanel releases is pretty low. During major updates, there’s a risk to lose the data or overwrite active settings with new ones. Restoring settings, in this case, is problematic due to the over-complicated file structure.
2 – Lack of flexibility
Modern server systems are configured by the automated settings control programmes. They are able to regulate the behavior of both one and several servers.
This method is becoming more popular due to its effectiveness. But cPanel does not allow this kind of automatization keeping all resources under its own control.
3 – Vendor-lock
The software for the Linux family systems is supplied through the repositories. This software is constantly being updated, fixed and supported by the developer and community developers. The components are interchangeable – you can use alternative sources or components combinations to get the result you want. For example, to host CS-Cart you can use Apache or Nginx, or both simultaneously.
CPanel, on the other hand, combines a non-standard stack of software to launch and manage settings. The components, delivered with the panel, cannot be substituted by the alternatives and are supported by a third-party vendor. You become dependant on a single combination of certain software and its developer.
4 – Poor security
Due to cPanel update policy, focused on stability, servers are being updated with the old and vulnerable software. Updating of the separate components without updating the panel is impossible, which is the reason why hosting providers do it rarely.
Control panels create the shell between hardware. The connectivity adds up to an impressive level of control, but also to a lot of compromised security. cPanel is insanely popular that makes it a prime target for hackers.
5 – Time-consuming
Even the smallest changes in a website could take some time to do… while digging in the cPanel, you lose time which you could spare for more profitable actions.
When it comes to certain procedures with files it can take hours to complete. Say, you have a directory with 10,000 unique files. What if you want to move only the files that begin with a specific phrase or any variable? This task cannot be done with a single string in cPanel
When it comes to such root level functions as modifying folder permissions, visibility, or password protection, using cPanel will also require hours of manipulation to have the job done.
6 – Web interface
The web interface is a life savior for a newbie and almost an industry standard for any software. It is suitable for simple tasks and configurations allowing inexperienced users to manipulate server. But using the web interface for complicated tasks is almost impossible. Configuring servers via cPanel is almost the same as coding with the mouse – unprofessional and ineffective.
7 – Uncommon file organization
cPanel creates its individual surrounding, like file paths or error log directory. Making changes in the surrounding configuration files does not assure the correct cPanel or server operation.
This internal ecosystem created solely by the cPanel denies user to perform deep tuning to the server performance, like implementing HTTP/2.
8 – Complicated problems logging
Troubles with servers can be connected to multiple sources. One after another, the error can build up in a complicated chain of issues leading to a fatal error without any sign of where it all started. It does not happen every day but in such case, cPanel won’t allow you to track the starting point and fix the true problem to prevent it occur once again.
Though cPanel is an outstanding tool to manage server configuration in a convenient interface, it was never meant to allow a user to use the maximum of its server capabilities. It is a smart idea to know how to use it, but if you are running a serious website, like online store or marketplace, you have no place for experiments.
Treat your server like a living organism and cPanel as a phonendoscope. You can perform monitoring on the surface, but if the organism gets sick, you won’t be able to heal it with phonendoscope, you will need a doctor, a pro, who knows how its life processes flow to give you the necessary cure.