Is a front-end panel worth it?

I've never used a front-end for Linode. I just do everything by hand. But I'm going to put up a new server and thought maybe putting in a front-end will make creating virtual servers and security hardening and configuring stuff and installing stuff and maybe even running an email server (which I doubt I'll do)…easier and faster?

Is cPanel the weapon of choice for you folks? Is it worth the $16/mo ($192/yr) price?

(Does the Marketplace version work with Ubuntu 22.04? Docs say 20.04 - )

There are free alternatives to the cPanel program. Are there any that you recommend? Here are some listings of them. (A few are in the Marketplace):

Thanks for your help and opinion.

3 Replies

There's a few things to keep in mind with a control panel on a web interface, such as what you're proposing.

  1. Security. This is one more way that someone who desires to enter your server, can do so, perhaps in a more familiar access path. Definitely, a less secure one. Any web interface will be less secure than SSH using a public private key pair, and allowing no passwords, unless some are able to take advantage of two factor authentication. I would highly recommend, that if you use a panel like this, to secure it via a firewall that you can easily control via the command line, just in case you need to remove or add another IP address. I'd recommend access to the panel from one specific IP, to prevent anyone else from logging into your control panel. Close any virtual host redirections that might be available to prevent this access path, too.
  2. Configuration. A control panel like this will automatically configure things in a manner that it decides to use. If you choose to return to a command line based configuration setup in the future, you may find it more difficult to migrate away from your control panel setup.
  3. Package installation. Again, this is something the control panel will do in a way that it can deal with. More packages might be installed for a particular setup than you actually need or use, and depending on which operating system you use and which control panel you choose, this will run more servers with more open ports than you may need.

There are probably several other cons and concerns than I've listed here, but using a control panel could make certain things faster, initially at least. I would recommend evaluating your use case. If you're only planning to use a server for yourself and not as some type of shared hosting environment with a lot of other users, my opinion is that a web based control panel, or any control panel, is not worth it. It introduces more complexity to a system than one person will need. If you're planning to do shared hosting or something else like it, a control panel might be useful to you.

If you aren't doing any type of commercial application and you don't need anything that cPanel might support over its compedators, I would recommend a free alternative. Here is a list of some of the best control panels for Linux that may give you more ideas on which control panel you could use, if you still choose to do this. I'd compare your features and see what you need, what you'll use, and choose what will be best for your use case.

I hope I've been helpful to you.


I hope I've been helpful to you.

Yes, you have been more than helpful… you have helped me ratify what I've learned in the past 3 hours of reading the basic docs on Virtualmin, cPanel, and Webuzo.

These things are really NOT for the single user like me but are for the person hosting lots of client (or friend) websites.

I had not considered the security aspects of the applications but I can see how they really need to be locked down tightly.

I've pretty much decided to continue doing everything from the command line unless someone points me toward a simple front-end designed for the single user. I'm comfortable with the CLI… and I figure that a humongous front-end system is just something else that is going to break or cause some issue…sooner or later!!!

Thanks for you excellent answer.

Is cPanel the weapon of choice for you folks?

Not for me.

Is it worth the $16/mo ($192/yr) price?

Not for me.

-- sw


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