If you are looking into running your own web server, you probably have heard about web hosting control panels before.
Web hosting control panels are software that runs on a web server that allow you and others to manage web domains, e-mails accounts, FTP accounts, MySQL databases, etc.
Here are four questions to ask yourself, if you are wondering if you need a web-based control panel:
1) Are you experienced using the Linux command line? If you plan to use Windows, have you ever administrated a Windows server before?
2) Do you have intermediate knowledge of how to setup and run a web-server?
3) Are you good at problem-solving?
4) Do you have many websites to manage?
If you answered “no” to questions #1, #2, or #3 and/or you answered “yes” to question #4, then you will be more comfortable using a web hosting control panel. Also, if you are planning to sell web-hosting or have a lot of websites to host, then using a web-hosting panel may be easier than doing everything manually. Otherwise just forgo a web hosting control panel and do it yourself.
Please keep in mind, using a web hosting control panel, you are potentially making it easier for a targeted attack, since one little web panel script with a vulnerability in it can potentially compromise your server (not joking).
If someone does hack the web-based control panel and gets into your accounts, they can do some serious damage and you better hope you have a current backup that restores successfully.
Here is an example of a web hosting control panel giving you a security problem (I know the linked article is old, but it still proves my point): https://krebsonsecurity.com/2012/07/plesk-0day-for-sale-as-thousands-of-sites-hacked/
Web-hosing panels are there to make your job easier, usually at the expense of being flexible with your server. When using a web-hosting control panel, you are “locked-in” with whatever the web hosing panel allows you to do. It’s basically convenience or flexibility with your server.
It is not advised to “do your own thing” (doing something that the web-hosting panel does not support; going around the control panel to do something), since this can cause problems down the road. It’s best to just stick with whatever the web hosing control panel provides you, so you better pick the right one the first time.
Posted in Computers, Internet and Servers, Software