If you need a control panel program for your server, it is important to know that the options span much further than commercial versions such as cPanel and Plesk. In fact, there are some free control panels on the market that make excellent choices for a dedicated server. The options discussed in this article will be GNUPanel, SysCP and Webmin.
A relatively new option, the GNUPanel is an application scripted in the PHP5 programming language and designed to run on the Debian distribution of Linux. The standout features of this software include domain and FTP management, mail management and database administration. This control panel lets you control popular applications such as the Apache web server as well packages like PHP and MySQL among others. The software also enables the automatic installation of various third-party programs including Joomla, phpBB, osCommerce and WordPress among others. Hence the name, GNUPanel has an open-source license under the GPL. Although this control panel is currently restricted to the Debian platform, its developers say the application is currently being designed to support other operating systems.
The SysCP control panel allows you to manage your web space, mail, CGI scripts, DNS settings, create custom error pages, view statistics and more. The features integrated into the software provide you with the ability to control a wide variety of applications including Apache, BIND, Courier and ProFTPD. While there are numerous modules built-in into the control panel, there are even more extensions available for download that enable you to administer other aspects of the server. Some of the third-party modules for SysCP include tools that allow you to manage applications such as Fetchmail and SpamAssassin, perform backups of your critical data and more. This control panel supports five major Unix-like distributions with the most notable being Debian, Gentoo, FreeBSD, OpenSuSe and Ubuntu. Under the GNU GPL, SysCP can be freely distributed and modified. Before installing SysCP, be sure to check for compatibility as it supports certain versions of the afore mentioned operating systems.
The Webmin control panel is becoming an increasingly popular option for dedicated server customers. This software is incredibly easy to use and loaded with a number of features, which are primarily modules that provide the ability to administer the server. It comes standard with modules for Apache and BIND, a BSD firewall, bandwidth monitoring, a cron job manager and much more. Aside from the built-in modules, Webmin supports a variety of third-party extensions that can be downloaded from the web. It also gives you the option to develop your modules. Webmin currently supports more than 80 different operating systems including Unix, FreeBDS and several variations of Linux. Because it is under the GNU GPL as open-source software, many developers from all over the world have contributed to the code and improved the software. The most recent versions of Webmin have been released under a license similar to that of BSD, basically meaning that it can be freely distributed and modified for both commercial and non-commercial use.