Often, the hosting control panel you choose will depend on your own personal needs and preferences. While some people will automatically prefer Plesk, others will opt for the ease-of-use and simplicity that comes with cPanel.
If you're just getting started in the hosting world, and you want to learn more about the options that might be available to you, then the first two options you should look at have to be cPanel and Plesk. These two applications are very similar, as they feature many of the same solutions to make managing your hosting experience easier. However, there are some differences to be aware of when you're making the choice of which control panel to use.
Assessing the User Interface: cPanel is More Popular
When it comes to using a control panel, you need to be sure that you feel comfortable with the GUI or graphical user interface. Because Plesk is a little younger than cPanel, some people believe that it also has a more modern, and clean interface. However, the truth is that many regard cPanel to be the better option because it simply feels more natural and easy to use.
Unlike Plesk, cPanel's control panel feels familiar, which can be important when you're getting used to hosting for the first time.
The Cost Consideration: cPanel is Cheaper
Ultimately, while cost shouldn't be the only thing driving your decision of which control panel to use, the chances are you're going to be drawn more strongly towards the option that's most affordable. cPanel can cost a lot less than Plesk to run, because it offers dedicated plans that last for a year at a time. On the other hand, Plesk offers more expensive options - particularly if you want an unlimited account.
Both cPanel and Plesk licenses can be offered as part of your hosting package, so it's worth seeing what's available when you're looking at VPS or dedicated server plans.
Operating System Support: Plesk has More Options
cPanel is designed to run exclusively on Linux, CentOS, and Red Hat. On the other hand, Plesk also adds plenty of Linux distributions and Windows support to the list of operating system options. While Plesk is obviously the most flexible solution, that doesn't really matter to most of today's hosting customers, who will probably prefer to use a more robust Linux system anyway.
Admin Panels: cPanel has WHM
When it comes to making sure that you can access all your service needs in one place, cPanel comes with something called "WHM" or web host manager as standard. Although, it's worth noting that you probably won't get to see this feature if you're a shared hosting user, unless you upgrade to VPS or reseller hosting instead. The WHM is for the server administrator, rather than the website owner. On the other side of the coin, Plesk has a single log-in space for users and administrators alike.
Migration Options: Difficulty for Both
Finally, perhaps the biggest similarity between Plesk and cPanel is that migrating from one to the other is almost impossible - regardless of where you start off. Both cPanel and Plesk make it easy to move from one server to another, as long as you stick with the same control panel, but if you want to change control panels then you're going to have a lot more of a problem.
If you're considering taking advantage of a free migration service with a new web host, it's worth remembering that you'll probably only be able to get a like-to-like move from cPanel to cPanel, or Plesk to Plesk. If you try to transfer between the two, then you're going to need to invest in an advanced migration product. Ultimately, once you choose a control panel you feel happy with, it's best to stick with it.
Plesk or cPanel: Which Should You Choose?
At the end of the day, both cPanel and Plesk are secure, fast, and easy-to-use systems for those who want a web hosting control panel. While cPanel remains to be the most popular option for most customers today, that's not to say that Plesk doesn't have its benefits. The key thing to remember is that if you're already working with a particular control panel, it's best to stick with what you have than to run the risk of trying to migrate.