What’s the difference between Plesk and CPanel?


WHM/cPanel and Parallels Plesk are both great options for WordPress hosting providers and website managers who are seeking an intuitive and secure web control panel. While they function similarly, they differ on a few key points that end up being the deciding factors for many developers and companies.

Here’s a breakdown of the main differences between WHM/cPanel and Parallels Plesk.

Compatibility with Operating Systems

Before you start comparing features, consider the type of operating system you use. This will determine which control panel may be better for you. Plesk is largely catered to Windows users and will run much better than cPanel on Windows. cPanel supports CentOS, BSD distros, FreeBSD, RedHat, and Linux OS.

Cost & Available Plans

Budget is always a considerable factor when choosing between technological products and services. Both panels are often bundled with a hosting plan meaning you don’t have to buy a license separately, but if you don’t have a license included then you can expect to pay the following…

  • cPanel offers a $425 yearly plan (which comes to just over $35 per month), or a $45 monthly plan.
  • Plesk offers a $35 monthly plan, which is better for the short-term user, and is significantly more expensive for unlimited use. Both cPanel and Plesk offer different upgrades and add-ons to extend their functionality.

Functionality & Ease of Use

Both panels are designed to be intuitive to the user, but Plesk was designed with the novice in mind. The simpler layout and navigation make it a better choice for beginners. Plesk is sectioned based on functions, so users can easily find the icons based on category. It is also easier to start. However, it is more limited for developers.

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cPanel was designed with more advanced applications in mind. It provides more powerful options and allows the user to restart services, such as FTP, DNS, POP3, and SSH, without remembering and entering complex commands. It loads faster and is laid out so that most of the function icons are available on the cPanel home page for easy access.

Security Model

For both panels, only scripts on the server can access the databases, and additional IP addresses would have to be white-listed to gain access.

Security for both control panels can be time-consuming, requiring regular maintenance, updates, and configuration to keep it free from intrusion.

Both cPanel and Plesk are useful tools for managing websites and networks. They each fit various needs of end users, and provide customization and easy management on an intuitive interface. When choosing between the two, be sure to consider your operating system and its compatibility with the two panels, as well as your budgetary needs and familiarity with the tools.

Charlie has been building WordPress themes, reviewing web hosts and utilizing social media since their respective inceptions.

2 thoughts on “What’s the difference between Plesk and CPanel?

  1. Phoenix Pop says:

    I read that servers running on windows plesk shared servers are faster than usual cpanel hosting solutions. Faster delivery and better server stability under load and/or heavy traffic are among it’s unique features.

    Do you agree with this? or is the difference simply for functionality and use.

    1. charles Charles says:

      Hi, I have not read that myself nor done any performance benchmarks of the two control panels so I can’t comment authoritatively on the relative performance. In practice though if you are using WordPress I wouldn’t advise using a windows server. It is totally possible to run WordPress on a windows server, but in my experience the set up and configuration is not straight forward (or out-of-the-box) like it is on a Linux based web server running Apache or Nginx. Assuming you choose a linux server you still have a choice of Plesk or Cpanel for your control panel, though most hosts these days run with Cpanel.

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