The standard features are pretty similar when looking at cPanel and Plesk side-by-side. I would argue that cPanel has better features set up for resellers, while Plesk provides its extension database, which we like for regular businesses that may need to expand functionality in the future.
Having said that, the most needed features, like email address management, one-click WordPress installs, and database access, are included with both cPanel and Plesk.
Pricing of Plesk vs cPanel
Pricing for a hosting control panel depends on who you are. If you’re building your own website and require hosting, the control panel cost is typically factored into how much you’re paying for a shared or managed server.
However, opting for a dedicated server often means that you have full command over the control panel. The same can be said for hosting companies, resellers, and website developers. In short, some companies will indeed have to worry about pricing from cPanel and Plesk and include that cost into what customers are being charged.
The cPanel pricing is organized into several plans, with options for resellers as well.
Here’s what to expect for regular businesses running their own servers or customizing their own control panels:
- Solo – $15 per month to activate cPanel on one hosting account.
- Admin – $20 per month for agencies and slightly larger businesses that need a few accounts.
- Pro – $30 per month for up to 30 accounts. This makes sense for larger agencies and mid-level businesses.
- Premier – $45 per month for up to 100 cPanel accounts.
Partner licensing for cPanel
The plans listed above are suitable for small businesses, mid-level businesses, and agencies with up to 100 hosting accounts. This may work for some brands, but many hosting companies, resellers, and larger agencies require far more than 100 accounts.
That’s where partner licenses come into play for cPanel.
- Bulk account – The cost is $0.10 per account per month. You must have at least 1,780 hosting accounts to be considered for this discount.
Quite a few other custom cPanel plans are available for you to consider. For instance, enhanced cPanel packages are provided with extensions already included with the plans. One of them incorporates the CloudLinux OS and a cPanel account for $16 per month. Feel free to check out these alternative plans based on your own requirements.
Plesk is known for offering discounts throughout the year. It’s also useful to know that yearly payments save you money compared to monthly payments.
Plesk also seems to provide a simpler pricing structure, allowing for clarity when purchasing.
Here’s what you can choose from:
- Web Admin Edition – $10 per month for both VPS (virtual private server) and dedicated hosting. This plan supports 10 domains and provides WordPress Toolkit SE.
- Web Pro Edition – $15 per month for VPS and dedicated hosting, with support for 30 domains. Everything is included from the previous plan, along with a developer pack, subscription management, and account management.
- Web Host Edition – $25 per month for VPS hosting and $45 per month for dedicated hosting. You receive everything from the previous plans, as well as reseller management tools.
That’s about all you need to know when it comes to Plesk pricing. It’s cheaper than cPanel for almost every plan level, and you have the option to customize a plan based on the number of hosting accounts you need for customers.
Furthermore, there’s an enhanced Plesk ecosystem with addons for tasks like site backups, smart updates, and speed optimization.
Web server types available
Both cPanel and Plesk offer support for virtual private servers and dedicated servers.
Linux and Windows are also options for both control panels. Although it’s worth learning about, servers shouldn’t have much of an impact on which hosting control panel you consider. Linux and Windows are supported through both, and you can tap into documentation for things like Apache, IIS, and Nginx.
Essentially, if you’re interested in using a unique server, or you’d like to create a modified version of the control panel for your customers, there’s a good chance it’s possible. You may have to speak with a customer support representative, but both companies appear to be rather flexible.
Scripting languages available
Similar to the web server situation, the average user would most likely be fine with either Plesk or cPanel based on the number of supported scripting languages.
Regardless, here are the currently listed scripting languages from each control panel:
- Ruby on Rails
- JSP with help from Tomcat
- Python (at your own risk)
- Microsoft ASP.NET
- Server Side Includes
In conclusion, your use of a particular scripting language could influence your decision, so go through these lists to decide which is easiest to use for the languages planned.
Databases in Plesk vs cPanel
I briefly touched on this in the features section, but it’s worth covering since hosting control panels usually provide some of the best database management tools.
The question is, which types of databases will you have access to when using cPanel and Plesk?
Launching a database in cPanel is often done without the user knowing it. A one-click WordPress installation activates and installs the required databases in the background, allowing for those complicated procedures to remain somewhat hidden.
However, developers clearly want access to these databases, and sometimes a casual user would need to tap into the database as well.
Luckily, cPanel offers custom database creation with the MySQL Wizard and phpMyAdmin. A few other tools are available for managing your databases, but MySQL and phpMyAdmin are the industry standards. Therefore, it’s great to see that both are supported.
Similar to cPanel, Plesk provides access to phpMyAdmin for managing MySQL databases. It’s unclear about some of the other database management tools provided through cPanel, because some of them simply aren’t listed on the cPanel website.
However, we do know that Plesk supports phpPgAdmin for PostgreSQL databases. Some others to consider from Plesk include myLittleAdmin and ASP.NET Enterprise Manager.
Overall, cPanel and Plesk both have the essentials for database management. It appears that each one has other database tools. Yet, Plesk is more transparent about the specifics.
SUMMARY: Which one is right for your organization?
For some users, choosing between cPanel and Plesk is like deciding between a chocolate or vanilla milkshake. They’ll both get you what you want, but it depends entirely on your own personal preference.
And that’s typically the case when it comes to the primary features. After all, you can manage emails, databases, CMSs, and backups from both dashboards.
However, the differences typically pop up when talking about the interfaces, pricing, and what type of hosting you’re trying to support.
Here are the main differences:
- Plesk’s dashboard has a modern design with a menu and consolidated settings, whereas cPanel displays everything on one page.
- Plesk has better pricing all around.
- cPanel has a stronger infrastructure for large businesses, hosting companies, resellers, and bigger agencies.
We recommend testing out cPanel and Plesk, considering each of them has demos online.
Again, here are some of the hosts offering these control panels:
If you have any questions, or would like to state why you like Plesk or cPanel, drop a line in the comments section below.