Its usually a dilemma faced by most individuals when placing an order for a hosting package. Few order a hosting contol panel instantly while others order it later after realising the need for a simpler way of managing their hosting account. To relate it to our real life situation, its like purchasing a TV set with or without a remote control. You can anyways use the functions available at the set, but what do you do ?, you order a remote with it which makes it simpler for you to operate it from your comfort zone. Similar can be said about using a web hosting control panel. It simplifies the tasks of server/account management without which you’d have to open up a black and white screen (shell screen) and run commands to get things done. Well, if you are an experienced webmaster, I’m sure you’d feel comfortable doing it that way, but what about those who don’t have a hand on the system, here’s when a hosting control panel comes for help.
A control panel is a graphical front-end interface that is much simpler where even a layman would understand and get a hold of it in no time. Following is a list of couple of advantages and disadvantages that a control panel would offer, this should help taking a decision.
Advantages of Hosting Control Panel
No Need of Software Setups : Choosing a hosting control panel would help you get rid of installing applications such as the FTP clients onto your local machine. With a webbased control panel you can do the same task that an FTP client would do and that too without eating up your harddisk space. More importantly, you are no longer required to use the same computer to carry out the tasks, simply logging into the hosting control panel would give you access to all the files that are hosted on the server, download them, make changes and re-upload it using the web-based console. It’s quicker, easier, and does the task for you.
Simpler Statistics : A traditional shell prompt wouldn’t offer you the stats details in a way that the statistcs tool included with a control panel. So, now with a single click of button you’d be able to check the latest updated stats of your website in a beautifully presented way which are simpler to understand. Plus, there are various details such as geo-located traffic, browsers that the visitors have used to access your website, their IP’s, the break-up of traffic to particular pages of your site, etc. This information is presented in a pie/bar chart formats making it simpler to quantify the results.
Simplified Installation of Applications : This is one of the major advantages that a hosting control panel offers. Considering an example of cPanel control panel, installing, deletion a Another benefit to using a control panel is its ease of software installation. Essentially, with a package like cPanel creating a front-end for your site, you’re allowed to add, remove, or modify web applications as you please. Want to add a forum to your site? No problem, assuming you have a control panel! How about shopping carts, bags, help desks, image galleries, billing software, or even a content management software like WordPress? With all of the above, it’s a done deal, assuming you’ve got the control panel to match. Best of all, these installations can be removed just as easily as they’re added, allowing for an unprecedented level of control over your site’s performance.
No More Assuming the Resource Requirements : When you are about to choose a hosting package, you need to take certain factors into consideration such as the website space, the traffic it’d incur once its made live, control panel installation files etc. based on which you decide a plan. Fair enough, but what if you’ve chosen a package offering resources which you don’t need at the moment and you are paying unnecessarily for that. This is when a control panel can be brought to use. The panel is capable of tracking your resource usage, database size etc. based on these details you may either upgrade or downgrade your package. A piece of advice, do choose a package that offers resources that are slightly greater than your actual needs, this should help you manage sudden spikes in traffic and usage.
Disadvantages of Hosting Control Panel
Inconvenience with processing Large Tasks : As everything has certain benefits to offer, so are a couple of disadvantages that follow. When it comes to carrying out larger tasks such as moving files of couple of GB’s, doing it through the control panel can be tedious task. To carry out such tasks, it is usually simpler to do via. shell. Now its you who need to decide that how often you are required to carry out such tasks, if you do it often then a hosting control panel may be dropped off.
Inability to Control Complex Processes : You might experienced attimes when there are unexpected activities happening on the server, for example the file permissions get automatically changed to the default values. Now, if you try sorting out this issue using a control panel, it may take hours, whereas using a command line interface all this mess can be sorted in minutes by running a couple of scripts and commands and restore permissions for the files as if nothing had ever happened.
Security in Shell : You’ve got the access to Shell would itself mean that you have root access to the server, moreover graphical user interfaces are ideally less secure. After all a control panel depends on a software relationship between the hardware, the shell, and the front-end GUI. All these in combination acts superbly, but we also need to remember that you might be compromising security. Moreover, if you are using any of the popular control panels, you might be the prime targets for the fraudsters. Whereas a root access and a shell prompt is a direct access to the server and the files it holds. Moreover, the connection and password is in an encrypted channel making it almost impossible for any fraudster encroach into the system.
Though considering such possiblities, certain levels of security are implemented on the servers to help users have a safer and secure experience. You must quantify the use of a hosting control panel and based on the points mentioned above decide whether you’d want to order it alongwith a hosting package.
Author : Stanley Jones | Eukhost Limited