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How Do I Choose the Best Open Source Hosting Control Panel?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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An open source hosting control panel is used by website and server owners to control a website and manage administrative tasks. The best open source hosting control panel should come with a graphical user interface (GUI) and command line interface, so the administrator can manage normal tasks and also perform advanced command line tasks when needed. A bandwidth filter will help the website or server keep from using too much bandwidth, which — depending on the host — can increase the price of hosting. Database integration is required for modern websites, because only static websites can survive without a database. File transfer protocol (FTP) support also will be needed by most websites, so administrator can quickly upload files, and a strong community of user support can help to navigate open source problems.

Most open source hosting control panel programs have the same features and power as closed source programs though there are still advantages and disadvantages. The primary advantage — aside from being free — is that developers can create new modules to make the control panel more useful; the primary disadvantage is a lack of support from the control panel's developers. Programs with dedicated online followings will provide members with a place to turn for advice when problems crop up.

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Many open source hosting control panel systems come with either a GUI or a command line system, which forces the administrator to choose pick one. A GUI has graphic buttons and standard features that the administrator will use regularly, while the command line allows the administrator to move around more freely and complete advanced tasks. The best control panel will support both, so the GUI can be used for quick navigation and the command line can be used for advanced needs.

Most server and website hosts only give the administrator a certain amount of bandwidth, depending on the host’s package plans. When too much bandwidth is used, the administrator is usually charged extra, though some hosts will simply cut off the website or server’s hosting for the rest of the month, if not permanently. A bandwidth filter allows the administrator to set a bandwidth limit to ensure the website or server will never overstep its boundaries, meaning there will be no extra charges and less risk of loss of service.

Nearly every website and server, except for static websites, needs a database. The database saves user information, allows administrators to quickly create new posts and saves many other types of information. This means the best open source hosting control panel software must come with database integration; otherwise, the websites using the control panel will lack modern functionality.

Another feature an open source hosting control panel system should support is an FTP program. FTP software enables the administrator to upload or download numerous files from the desktop. If the control panel does not support FTP, the administrator will only be able to upload or download a few files at once, which will be practically useless for websites that are constantly changing.

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