These days, the average web hosting company has thousands of websites to maintain and even more customers to keep happy. Manually performing all of the required tasks across multiple web servers is prohibitively costly and in many environments, impossible. Being that web hosting is such a demanding operation, even seemingly trivial processes such as creating email accounts would be overwhelming difficult. This is where control panels and automation come into play. With a quality control panel application, hosting providers can get an efficient handle on server administration while their customers can manage virtually every aspect of their own websites without intervention from the host.
Control panel software is designed to automate various aspects of server administration, taking the pain out of intensive manual labor. Some of the most notable include creating email accounts, SQL databases, access control and facilitating software installations among other administrative functions. Most of these programs work by providing each domain and website owner with a unique access ID, which gives them access to the user interface of the control panel. When the user logs in to their hosting account via the software, they are then able to perform a number of different server administration tasks based on the available features, resources and access permissions. A good control panel will not only allow you to accomplish server administration with relative ease, but also monitor your resource usage, view server logs and manage your files right on the software.
Commercial vs. Custom Control Panels
When it comes to control panel applications, web hosting firms generally have two options. They can choose to purchase an out of the box commercial solution, or build their own custom software in-house. A large number of companies have elected to build their own software programs due to their proprietary hardware infrastructure, assured compatibility and to elude the often expensive licenses that come along with commercial products. On the other hand, developing custom automation software in-house can prove to be both time consuming and expensive. Most importantly, it could result in a much steeper learning curve for the hosting provider’s customers. Therefore, most companies utilizing generic software and hardware components are better suited for out of the box commercial solutions as they typically offer the utmost in convenience for the end customer. These type of control panels eliminate the cost and complexities of designing the application and also cut down on technical support as customers will be less likely to rely on assistance from the host.
Control panel software enables web hosting companies to drastically reduce overhead expenses through the simplistic power of automation. This in turn, allows them to be more competitive in terms of pricing and even extend that power and control onto their customers who can perform a number of server administration tasks regardless of their technical knowledge. From cPanel and Plesk to DirectAdmin and Helm, control panel software plays a key role in making sure web hosting is simple and affordable.