cPanel vs. Plesk: What Is the Difference?

cPanel dashboard

cPanel and Plesk have dominated the web hosting panel niche since the late 90s. They have other minor competitors today, but together they have taken up so much of the market share that those competitors aren’t worth mentioning.

When choosing between hosting panels, website builders have the privilege of choosing between two different but equally competent options: cPanel vs. Plesk. In this brief article, you’re going to learn the distinct characteristics of these two hosting panels to figure out which one is right for you.

A Bit of History

Plesk and cPanel started operating when email, online marketplaces, and video hosting sites were gaining mainstream traction. cPanel went online in 1996 to much fanfare. Today, it retains hundreds of thousands of website builders and maintenance personnel in its core user base, powering over 2 million websites, 400,000 of those coming from the United States.

cPanel 82 is the most recent version of the program, which is an amalgamation of Web Host Manager and the legacy cPanel GUI. Many millennial website designers have commented on online forums that the cPanel user experience is plain and boring. However, after they’ve tried what their competitors offer, they’ve learned to appreciate its simplicity and effectiveness.

Plesk came into the market in 2001, with its value proposition being versatility, cost-effectiveness, and excellent customer service. It was available for shared hosting and virtual private networks, allowing people to set up many email accounts, reseller accounts, and new websites and create customized DNS entries through an easy-to-understand interface.

Plesk and cPanel have evolved over the years, and today, they represent the best of what the web hosting panel industry has to offer. So what are their strengths and weaknesses?

Which One Is More User-Friendly?

When looking at the graphical user interfaces offered by both services, Plesk’s is cleaner and more user-friendly. It has a panel on the left-hand side that shows a list of features, complete with icons and an option to customize the interface. It also has a search box, which is useful if you need a tool that you can’t find right away.

cPanel has a slightly more cluttered interface that’s only user-friendly for people who have used it before. Unlike Plesk, which has an interface that appears more like a traditional desktop computer upon boot up, the icons of the cPanel GUI spread out over the screen in horizontal rows. Users can modify the GUI to make finding things more efficient, but that’s a hassle that Plesk’s user base generally doesn’t have to go through. See our recommended web hosting companies in Australia and Canada.

Which One Performs Better?

With the various renovations and overhauls that Plesk and cPanel have gone through over the years, you’d think that when it comes to the battle over performance, it would be a wash. However, cPanel takes a clear lead over Plesk when it comes to loading times and optimizing resources.

cPanel requires less memory to operate, and it makes server management effortless with its lightning-fast loading times and more efficient account creation. Almost all top hosting companies like Hostinger, Host Papa, Siteground, etc. have speed optimized Cpanel dashboards.

cPanel vs. Plesk: Which One Has Better Tools and Features?

For server and account management, cPanel and Plesk offer an identical, although bleeding-edge, set of tools and features. Plesk used to have the edge in versatility, but now you can also manage databases, email accounts, DNS settings, and run FTP with cPanel.

However, when running a web control panel from a Linux computer, Plesk takes the lead for its Docker support. You can also integrate Git with Plesk using Gitman. You can configure cPanel to work with Git and Docker, but it will take a large amount of tinkering and technical knowledge.

cPanel vs. Plesk: Which One Has Better Security?

Both Plesk and cPanel have airtight security features.

If you’re going to use cPanel, you’ll enjoy:

  • IP address blacklisting
  • Password-protected directories
  • An SSL certificate

For Plesk, you’ll have:

  • Anti-spam features
  • IP address blacklisting with fail2ban
  • Directory integration

So Which One Is Better?

If you have been a cPanel user for years, there is no question that you’ll find cPanel easier to operate and more cost-effective when it comes to the resources required to use it. Plesk is equally as feature-rich but is more tailored toward the novice website builders and Linux users. You can enjoy a free trial of both before committing to a long-term contract.

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