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My new VPS and Control Panel Search

So just before the start of the festive season in December I received a free VPS from a friend. Since I am from a Windows environment and the VPS was Linux based, that obviously posed an immediate challenge to me. How to get to grips with a Linux VPS. Very Happy

Here are the specifications of the VPS:

10gb disk space
1 Dedicated IP Address
75GB Bandwidth

I must have spent hours and HOURS working through the different options to set the VPS up. I immediately grasped the need for shell access first. And was pointed in the direction of a popular free script called PuTTEY. Once I had access, I had to learn a few basic CentOS commands of how to install all the various servers for setting the VPS up. Fortunately there are loads of information available on the Internet, so worked my way through them. Loved all the cute names like Yum for installing packages. Quite fun to work with PuTTEY.

The free VPS I received came with a minimalist control panel called Virtualizor with which one can select and install a Linux OS for the VPS, restart the VPS, but not much more than that. I chose CentOS 6.5 as that seemed to be the popular one for installing Apache Web server. Didn't take long for me to become a real expert at hitting the reinstall OS button. Like a "reset" button after every new try. Became almost automatic. Load up Vitualizor, reinstall the OS, then after that I would go into PuTTEY with "Yum update" to update the software. And then try something new.

I did try to set up a Website through shell - but found it very clumsy, preferring at least some Windows interface to work with. So next found myself working through plenty of FREE control panels. I tried zPanel first and found that too large and clumsy and complicated with the installation, particularly towards the last steps. Took me quite a while to get it up and running. It also didn't have a File Manager, which to me was a great negative. During the course of wading through some of the documentation online then discovered that zPanel had recently been given to a commercial free hosting company, following which most of the original team split off and started a new free control panel called Sentora. Sentora is still in BETA but probably worth watching. Point being however that zPanel will be less supported with security updates as only one member of the original team is around to look after it. I'd stay away from zPanel.

Vesta Panel was not too bad. Quite nice actually with a no-frills modern panel. But it is fairly new with lack of documentation and a few bugs. Still there are many rave reports about it and some are even hailing it as the new cPanel. There is a catch though. Support is not for free and one has to sign up for six months and 60USD if one is serious about using it. There was also no File Manager.

I then tried Kloxo MR another popular free control panel, and was really enjoying it until I noticed it was no longer supported with updates and there was some major security issues with it. It's original developer had committed suicide a couple of years ago, and since then someone else had tried to support it, but some of the reports about damages through lack of security were quite alarming. So let go of it and of course hit the OS reinstall again to start from scratch.

Next try was WEBMIN, which has been around for many years apparently and is quite popular with your Linux geeks. I had no problems installing it (with the help of a YouTube tutorial by a geek for non-geeks), but it is probably much more suited for large servers, as it was dragging on my VPS.

Next try finally paid some dividends. I arrived at WEBUZO. I first tried the FREE version, which I found quite clumsy, however on the spur of the moment decided to go for the paid version and never looked back. Compare WEBUZO's annual license fee of 25 USD - with 200USD for DirectAdmin or cPanel,it was affordable to me. Installation was effortless provided one follows some basic steps that are covered in the documentation.

WEBUZO is Softaculous and the paid version comes with 316 softaculous scripts and a wealth of functions in a look alike cPanel. Feels even better than cPanel to me. Loading WordPress was very easy. It comes with plenty documentation and an easily searchable support Blog. I had one minor issue with having to reload Apache Server after installation of WEBUZO and it was easily solved with the available support documentation.

WEBUZO also comes with a variety of ways to do FTP. There is even a Web FTP that is super easy to manage, as well as a File Manager. It works beautifully with DNS. The more I use it the more I love it. Only limitation I could find so far is that it doesn't have a reseller feature, one can create limitless domains and add on domains, but no reseller accounts. For any one who needs that feature, Vesta Panel or WEBMIN would be the free control panels I'd recommend.

Nothing of course can beat WHM/cPanel for me, but at 200USD it's much too pricey for me. Of interest to note that cPanel has created an optimized version for use with VPS. Probably taking the smaller size of VPS into consideration. For any one serious about reseller accounts and who can afford it, this is obviously the right control panel to choose. Alternative is DirectAdmin, which some says uses less resources than cPanel. I haven't come across any documentation indicating DirectAdmin is focused on VPS, so of the two cPanel is probably the better one to use for a VPS for now. If one can afford it.

11 blog comments below

Congratulation on your new VPS.
Are you going to start free hosting or paid hosting?
cybersa on Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:19 am
Neiither. Haha! I at least know enough about the hosting business to know that it can only really succeed as a great team effort. The VPS is also quite limited. Good enough for me for working with a few Websites, but if one gets serious, probably better to get a dedicated server. Can't beat the ones that Bondings chose for us so I'm quite happy where I am right now. Very Happy
deanhills on Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:23 am
Congratulations on your VPS and 'panel' hopping fun.
standready on Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:25 pm
Thanks Stand. Have had loads of fun with it. Nice toy for now any way! Very Happy
deanhills on Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:10 am
Hi Dean,

Glad to hear about your new VPS. I generally use zPanel on my servers because it's quite easy to use. It does have a file manager called Ajaxplorer (They should just call it the File Manager, in my humble opinion). It's worked pretty well so far. I'm glad you found your dream admin panel in the end, even though it did cost you a little bit of money. What sort of sites do you intend to host on the VPS?
codegeek on Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:14 pm
Thanks Codegeek. You're lucky. I picked up on Ajaxplorer in my searches but regretfully it doesn't exist for zPanel any longer so hope you've made a copy of the software. At any rate, I'm very happy with WEBUZO for now. Am watching Vesta Panel and Sentora.
deanhills on Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:51 pm
I'm pretty sure some of the folks I work with know a lot about what you've been doing. I can't seem to pick up on this stuff. I try but... It's not entirely natural for me and it would take me soo long just to get the basics. It all sounds very neat though, I just can't picture what any of it looks like... I'm a slave to a GUI Sad
TheGremlyn on Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:23 am
I'm almost certain if I can do it you'll ace it TG. Once you've got something like PuTTEY then it just becomes great fun. I learn fast when it gets to a fun stage. Very Happy
deanhills on Sat Jan 17, 2015 4:04 pm
I was wondering where i could get a cheap and good vps. and i also need help on how to set up a panel for hosting website in the vps.
skon88 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:49 am
I guess the best way to go about the VPS is by Googling, not only where you can find them but check out the user feedback and reviews. The cheaper you pay of course the less you can expect. There are some that come with cPanel, but that is usually built into a sizable price.

I found this Website that was quite helpful with the steps you need to take to set up WEBUZO.

What is VERY important to remember when you install any of the panels is to uninstall the Webserver - such as Apache that comes with CentOS usually preloaded, first.
deanhills on Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:24 am
you can find cheap and good vps providers here
k_s_baskar on Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:32 am

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