Plesk vs. Cpanel: Which is Better?

cpanel dashboard

cPanel and Plesk are popular web hosting control panels for web servers. Both are great options if you find yourself about to pick a web host for your next project. But which is better, and which should you choose? 

Here, we’ll be taking a deep dive into both of these options, comparing important features of each to ensure that you choose the one that’s right for you and your project.

What Exactly is a Web Hosting Control Panel?

Before diving into the differences and similarities between cPanel and Plesk, we first have to flesh out exactly what a web hosting control panel is. 

Essentially, a web hosting control panel provides you with a web-based interface to coordinate your setup. 

Here are some common things that a hosting control panel allows you to do:

  • Install server software
  • File management on the server
  • Email account management
  • Examine server stats and information
  • Server security management
  • Domain name management
  • Database management

Control panels like Plesk and cPanel do everything listed above in an easy-to-understand way. That is why they are both great options for users who can do more of the regular server management tasks without guidance.

Why Compare the Two?

To put it simply, people often compare the two services because they are two of the most popular hosting control panels available. However, there are noticeable differences between the two choices you should know. 

Comparing Differences Between cPanel and Plesk


cPanel launched in 1996 and quickly became an example of commercial servers that inexperienced users could use.

Plesk followed soon after, released in 2001. Unlike cPanel, Plesk was specifically made for Windows-based servers in mind. While Plesk also can work with Linux systems, this is significant because cPanel is a Linux-only web hosting control panel.

Ease of Use and User Interface

At first glance, the user interface for Plesk and cPanel look very similar. To explore the differences between the two, we’ll have to look into examples of how users can access the features offered.

cPanel Interface

For new users, cPanel appears to have the easier to navigate interface. Therefore, many of the commercial web hosts use it – you can find some examples in any of our recommended lists:

Overall, there are a lot of options available, so this is important for ease of use, especially for those who don’t have much experience in the area.

Each section is labeled clearly to help users navigate the interface, and it is easy to access every area of the panel. This way, new users don’t have to spend valuable time clicking through each option to figure out how to access important features. 

Each icon is also colorfully illustrated, which might seem like a small detail, but this makes each icon easy to find in a sea of other options.

Plesk Interface

Plesk interface

Plesk, on the other hand, organizes its dashboard by the individual sites that the user is hosting on their setup. Then, for each site, only the configurations and settings that apply are displayed. While not showcasing every option in the initial interface, this style might make more sense for a user who has multiple sites and wants to keep them separated.

Let’s go through the process of adding a new email to a domain name for each service to help better illustrate this difference:

  • For cPanel, you would choose “email,” then choose the domain you want your new email address to be associated with. 
  • To do the same for Plesk, you would first choose the domain name and then assign the email.

Both services get the job done quickly and effectively; it’s a matter of preference if you’d like your organization based on features and options, or by domain.

However, it is worth mentioning that Plesk offers panels to the side that list common settings, making them easier to access. cPanel doesn’t have this as a feature, although it is still easy to use.

Comparing Similar Features

As far as must-have features, both Plesk and cPanel have a bunch of great options that don’t disappoint. Both services offer the following:

  • Domain Management – adding new domain names while being able to manage and configure each one
  • File Management – upload files to the server of your choice, then manage them through backups and restores
  • Email Management – manage new email accounts by accessing webmail, creating mailing lists, and configuring spam filters
  • Database Management – coordinate and manage databases
  • Stats – have access to the amount of traffic that your server is receiving
  • Security – managing security through SSL certificates, IP blockers, SSH access, and more
  • Software Installers – ability to easily install web scripts like Joomla and WordPress, to name a few

Besides this solid foundation of services, both Plesk and cPanel also enjoy their own unique characteristics.


  • This service is more commonly used by hosting providers
  • Allows the set up of SSL certificates that are free
  • If you’d prefer not to use Let’s Encrypt, other certificates are also compatible
  • Supports Amazon Linux, which Plesk does not
  • Automatic restorations and backups


  • Plesk can run on most systems, including numerous Linux distributions which include versions of Virtuozzo Linux, CloudLinux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Ubuntu, and Debian
  • Built-in support for WordPress Toolkit, Docker, Node.js, and Git; this is great for users that want to utilize WordPress automation
  • SSL integration that can be completed with one click
  • Works closely with WordPress by utilizing automatic updates, patches, and bug fixes to keep security up to date


Both Plesk and cPanel offer strong features in terms of security. This is an important part of being a successful web hosting control panel, so it’s no surprise that security is an area where both services shine. Let’s take a closer look at the specifics that each service offers.


  • AutoSSL
  • cPHulk brute force protection
  • Supports CSF
  • Spam filters for email
  • SSH access, hotlink protection, IP blocker, two-factor authentication, leech protection, and ModSecurity are all available for each user


  • A firewall that can be customized and configured
  • Auto SSL
  • Access to ImunifyAV, an intelligent antivirus monitoring tool
  • Blacklist status checking, one-click cleanup for malware, and domain reputation monitoring
  • Fail2ban – a service that scans log files and bans IP addresses that look to be dangerous.
  • Spam filters for email

Comparing Costs

Cost is one of the most important things to consider when comparing two similar services. Both web hosting control panels offer two separate models:

  • First, you can purchase Plesk or cPanel individually and then install it on your web server, which you will need to physically access.
  • Second, you can sign up for Plesk or cPanel via a web hosting company that features either of them as their hosting control panel.

To compare, let’s begin with the first option: purchasing either cPanel or Plesk individually.

Plesk Individual Purchase

1) The Web Admin Edition is the cheapest tier at just $10 per month and geared toward website and server administration. With this option, you’ll receive:

  • 10 Domains
  • WordPress Toolkit SE

2) The Web Pro Edition is slightly more expensive at $15 per month and works best as a solution for web developers and designers. You’ll receive:

  • 30 Domains
  • WordPress Toolkit
  • Developer Pack
  • Subscription Management
  • Account Management

3) Finally, the Web Host Edition is the most expensive at $25 per month. This option is described as the best way to build and grow your hosting business, which includes features like:

  • Unlimited Domains
  • WordPress Toolkit
  • Developer Pack
  • Subscription Management
  • Account Management
  • Reseller Management

cPanel Individual Purchase

1) The first and cheapest option, Solo, will cost $15 per month. This option can host just one account and is best suited for small businesses or freelancers who won’t need numerous accounts.

2) Next is the Admin tier, which costs $20 per month. Users can host up to five accounts through this option, so it is more suited for small to mid-level businesses, application developers, or web designers.

3) The Pro tier will cost you $30 per month, for which you can host up to 30 accounts. This option is useful for larger businesses or agencies that are enjoying growth since the number of available accounts allows for scalability.

4) Lastly, there is the Premier option. For $45 per month, users can host up to 100 accounts, and add on additional accounts for $0.20 each. As can be expected, this option is best for larger businesses, web hosts, or data centers.

Plesk Purchase via Web Hosting Company

  • HostGator: shared plans start at $4.76 per month at the cheapest, while there is also an enterprise plan that you can purchase for $14.36 per month.
  • A2 Hosting: They offer three hosting plans. Shared plans start at $4.90 per month, managed WordPress plans are $11.99 per month, and VPS hosting comes in at the most expensive at $36.29 per month.
  • Liquid Web: They start at $59 per month for cloud VPS plans. The middle tier costs $169 per month, and the most expensive monthly plan will cost $219 for managed dedicated servers.

cPanel Purchase via Web Hosting Company

  • Bluehost: plans that start at $2.75 per month
  • A2 Hosting: $3.92 per month
  • SiteGround: Offers the “StartUP” plan at $3.95 per month

At a glance, cPanel is cheaper than Plesk if you want to take the hosting plan route, while Plesk ends up being cheaper if you’d rather use your web server.

Conclusion – Who to Choose?

For two stellar platforms like cPanel and Plesk, it isn’t necessarily going to be about which one is better. Both have great features, an easy to navigate interface, and options available at any price point. 

Choosing which one to use will have to be about the needs of your business or site since both options are effective and great to use. In our experience with the best hosts, cPanel has been a more common option. It’s found in the top of the line options such as HostPapa, GreenGeeks, and A2 Hosting. On a side note, companies such as SiteGround, Hostinger, and Kinsta have shifted to their custom panels instead of either.