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cPanel VS Plesk - Which one is right for your dedicated server?

cPanel VS Plesk. Which control panel is right for your dedicated server?
There are a number of control panel options available to choose from for your dedicated server. Two of the most popular of these options are cPanel and Plesk. Choosing the right control panel for your dedicated server can sometimes be a difficult decision as there are a number of points to consider. While both control panels offer a lot of the same options, there are some differences that should be noted before deciding which one to use. First, let's learn a bit about the history of each company.

cPanel History
Since 1997, cPanel has been providing software packages to automate server tasks for web hosts and website owners. cPanel is a Linux based control panel system that utilizes a GUI (Graphical User Interface) to simplify and automate a lot of the functions needed to host a website.

Plesk History
Plesk (Parallels Plesk Panel), originally Plesk Inc., was originally started in the US and purchased by SWSoft in 2003. SWSoft changed their name in 2008 to Parallels, where you will still find them today. The Plesk control panel is compatible with both Windows and Linux server platforms which has helped them in positioning themselves at the top of the list for reliable control panel software providers in the world.

What are the system requirements for cPanel & Plesk?
It is very important to ensure you have the appropriate resources allocated to your server before choosing the control panel software as both cPanel and Plesk have their own requirements. Speak with your service provider to find out which control panel options they offer as some do not offer both.

cPanel Requirements

  • Processor: 266MHz processor
  • Memory: 512MB RAM (1GB is recommended when hosting a large number of websites)
  • Disk Space: 10GB hard disk

Plesk for Linux Requirements

  • Memory: 512MB RAM (1 GB when hosting many accounts; 768MB minimum when also using Web Presence Builder)
  • Disk Space: 10GB hard disk

Plesk for Windows Requirements

  • Memory: 1 GB of RAM (2 GB when hosting many accounts)
  • Disk Space: 32GB hard disk

Which Operating Systems are supported?
As previously mentioned, cPanel is a Linux based control panel while Plesk offers installation options on both Linux and Windows servers. cPanel does offer a secondary control panel called Enkompass which can be installed on Windows servers. Below is a list of the supported operating systems for both control panels.


  • CentOS versions 4.x, 5.x, 6.x
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions 4.x, 5.x, 6.x
  • CloudLinux 5.x, 6.x


  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 R2, Web, Standard Data Center
  • Enterprise Edition



  • CentOS versions 5.x, 6.x
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions 5.x, 6.x
  • CloudLinux versions 5.x, 6.x
  • Debian 6.0
  • openSUSE versions 11.4, 12.1
  • Ubuntu versions 10.04, 12.04 Server LTS


  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 SP2

Supported Virtual Environments
cPanel lists a number of supported virtual environments that are compatible with their control panel, which include:

  • KVM
  • Linux-VServer
  • Microsoft Server 2008 Hyper-V
  • OpenVZ
  • Oracle VM VirtualBox, VirtualBox OSE
  • Virtuozzo
  • VMware Server, VMware ESX Server
  • Xen, XenEnterprise, XenExpress, ZenSErver

Which control panel is more popular?
cPanel currently tops the market share of control panel installations around the world. We strongly recommend to customers to have CentOS 6 and cPanel installed on their servers as we find cPanel is easier for clients to manage and they provide excellent technical support. There are also a number of additional features, including:

  • One-Click software installations (Softaculous)
  • Easily updated software
  • Fast loading times
  • 3 tier user setup (root, reseller and user)
  • and more

Are there licensing fees for these control panels?
There are monthly licensing fees for both cPanel and Plesk, but these vary depending on your service provider. You can typically see a cost of between $24.99 to $49.99 per month for a cPanel license and $39.99 to $59.99 for a Plesk license.

How do I install cPanel or Plesk?
If you are going to install cPanel or Plesk on your own it is important that you familiarize yourself with the full installation instructions prior to starting and contact your service provider to ask any questions you may have first. Below are links to the installation instructions for cPanel and Plesk.

cPanel Installation Instructions

Plesk Installation Instructions

Whether you choose cPanel or Plesk it is important to first do your research. Again, ensure your server has the appropriate resources available and do not be afraid to ask your service provider for assistance. Also, find out if your service provider is an authorized cPanel or Plesk partner as that may help you make the decision of which control panel to choose.