The vast majority of web hosting providers offer cPanel as the control panel since it comes with a bunch of tools and features for easier administration. If you have a VPS, you can also install cPanel on it in order to ease your job in managing your VPS. However, cPanel is not a free tool. You will be charged a monthly subscription budget to use the tool, which is not too good if you have a strict capital.
In case you have a strict budget and are looking for a free cPanel alternative, there are tens of options available out there with the features comparable to cPanel’s.
Following are 6 best free control panels you can use to manage your VPS without needing to spend a dime.
1. CentOS Web Panel
The first free control panel you can use to manage your VPS is CentOS Web Panel. As the name suggests, the control panel was built especially for CentOS although you can also install it on RedHat and CloudLinux. Not as fancy as cPanel, but the features offered by CentOS Web Panel is complete enough. It allows you easily deploy web server, database server, DNS server, FTP server and so on. CentOS Web Panel also comes with a menu to manage domains. In addition, it also features a file manager although quite simple. There is also a handy monitoring tool at the main page of the CentOS Web Panel dashboard.
Webmin is one of the best generic free control panels. Written in Perl, the tool is released as an open source software with the source is available on GitHub. In addition to Linux, you can also install this control panel on Windows Server. The features offered by Webmin are not much different to CentOS Web Panel where you can manage the number of apps with ease. Like web server, database, DNS and so on. Webmin has a prettier interface than CentOS Web Panel.
VestaCP is a free control panel that comes with an intuitive interface. There are 7 tab menus you can use to manage users, DNS, mails, databases and so on. The file manager feature offered by this tool is pretty cool. Some the built-in features offered by VestaCP include web server (Nginx and Apache), email solutions, monitoring tools, backup tools, PhpMyAdmin and so on. VestaCP is also released as an open source software with the source code is available on GitHub.
The latest version of VestaCP features Softaculous, a famous tool to install web-based apps like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and so on. Softaculous is useful enough if you primarily use your VPS for blogging. VestaCP is free to use, but it also offer premium support if you meet some problem during using.
YunoHost also has a pretty interface. As you can see from the screenshot above, there are 7 main menus offered by YunoHost. The features offered YunoHost are not much different to tools above. For instance, it also offers a web server (Nginx), MySQL as the database, PHP, domain manager and so on. YunoHost itself is primarily written in Python. It is also released as an open source software with the source code is available on GitHub.
ISPConfig is another great free control panel you can use to manage your VPS. The menus and features offered by this tool is very complex, much like CentOS Web Panel. ISPConfig can be installed on most Linux distros like Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora and OpenSUSE. The ISPConfig team itself recommend Debian and Ubuntu. ISPConfig supports add-ons to enhance its functionalities so if you can’t find the features you need, you can download the add-ons to get the features. According to a brief stats on its site, ISPConfig has 40,000 downloads per month, indicating that it’s popular enough. ISPConfig itself is an open source control panel, released under the BSD License.
Last but not least. Another free cPanel alternative you can use to manage your VPS is Froxlor. It’s pretty light, has a bunch of useful tools and features. Froxlor is a PHP-based control panel that is released as an open source software under the GNU General Public License. Some features you will get from this control panel amongst other are Let’s Encrypt installation, PHP configuration, MySQL management, domain management and so on. Froxlor comes with three web server options: Apache, Nginx and Lighttpd.
All control panels above offer demo to allow you giving a try. You can take advantage of the demo version to find out which is the control panel suit your need the most.