What often sets web hosting companies apart is the software they offer to their clients. Control panels are one of the most sought after software components and there are a wide variety available. In this article we will focus on two of the leading control panel brands: cPanel and Ensim.
Advantages of cPanel
cPanel is perhaps the most widely used control panel and some even regard it as the best. The clean user interface makes for easy navigation with icons that put everything a user needs right in front of them. cPanel supports an array of network operating systems including Free BSD, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Redhat and Trustix. This compatibility enables it to be used by almost any web host. cPanel’s developers are currently looking to extend this portability by making the program compatible with Mac OS X and Windows operating systems.
The cPanel software makes it easy for the end-user to incorporate third-party programs into their web hosting account. One of its most popular components is an add-on called Fantastico, a unique program developed by Netenberg. Fantastico works as an automatic script installer, allowing the user to install a huge library of scripts with the simple click of a button. Some of these scripts include highly functioning programs such as blogs, message forums, content management systems and much more.
The Downside of cPanel
It’s difficult for any software to be absolutely flawless and the same holds true for cPanel. The biggest disadvantage relates to WHM (Web Host Manager), the version of cPanel designed for reseller accounts. The layout used by both versions is completely different. While the WHM interface is pretty straightforward, it can be confusing to resellers familiar with the conventional cPanel layout. This makes cPanel somewhat unattractive when compared to other control panels that utilize the same interface for resellers and end-users.
Advantages of Ensim
The Ensim control panel offers a very professional and well designed client-side interface. The main layout is divided into sections associated with numerous components of the hosting account. Some of these areas include database management, email management and sub-domain management. Several users have admitted that Ensim’s interface is far more organized and professional than that of cPanel. This control panel supports an array of operating systems including Windows and Linux-based systems like Fedora and Redhat.
Ensim is feature-rich with an exceptional spam filter and its very own script installer that rivals Fantastico. It also offers a number of helpful utilities such as the bandwidth reporting tool that provides detailed information in the form of charts and graphs. Best of all, Ensim provides the same user interface for its reseller and end-user clients.
The Downside of Ensim
The Ensim control panel has a few minor drawbacks as well. For one, the interface is incredibly difficult to skin, leaving users with fewer branding options. While there is an option that enables seamless branding, the number of available skins are limited. Moreover, Ensim is less known than cPanel. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that Ensim has a ways to go before it achieves cPanel’s popularity.
As you can see, both control panels are extremely functional with minimal drawbacks. However, they do have varying features that distinguish them significantly. If you’re looking for a winner, we’re not in the position to declare one. The best solution is one that provides features best suited for your site. Therefore, we recommend both.