“Five Linux-Ready, Cost-Effective Server Control Panels” reviews 5 some alternatives to cPanel, which, they say, is rather expensive. My beef with cPanel is not the price, but the technical merit. Even though I love the fact that it is written in Perl, I don’t agree with its “let me handle everything” approach.
cPanel installs all the software that it helps to manage. This might be a “so what” issue for most people, but not for me. I like my servers clean. And I want to utilize the tools that already come with my server – RPM, yum/dnf, etc. Control panels can help with routine, but when something breaks, I should be able to go to the config files and deal with the problem using the distribution’s recommended ways. cPanel, unfortunately, breaks that. It downloads sources, applies patches, locally compiles things, and has its own layout for configuration files. That’s too much mess for me.
I haven’t used any of the other control panels reviewed in the article (I usually prefer the command line way), but I hope they aren’t as intrusive and abusive as cPanel. Sometimes control panels are useful for providing a bit of help to non-technical users (create mailbox, change email password, backup the website, etc), but if they are as needy as cPanel, thanks, but no thanks.