Hosting Control Panel

Anyone managing web hosting servers will understand how important it is to be able to easily manage your web hosting services – monitoring infrastructure and managing the platform. There are many different ways to perform these management and monitoring functions, but a web hosting control panel is a commonly used method that simply makes life easier.

Web hosting control panels use a graphic user interface to help you issue server-level commands, and most web hosting companies will include a control panel with their hosting packages. It makes it very easy to make changes to your web server or to keep an eye on essential web server functionality, no matter where you are – all you need is an internet connection.

Typical features included in hosting control panels

Web servers are complex services and so most control panels will give you a really wide range of options and tools. Of course, every control panel will have a slightly different feature set, but you can usually expect most of the following tools:

  • The ability to manage DNS for your websites.
  • Changing key parameters for your DBMS, including adding and removing databases. Most hosting control panels would include the ability to manage MySQL and PostreSQL.
  • Managing server accounts including setting up users, editing quotas and specifying access rights.
  • Backing up your server, with many tools offering fully automated backup or at least backup scheduling
  • Managing e-mail including mail server management, configuring SPF, DKIM and DMARC. Most control panels will support the common protocols including POP3/SMTP and of course IMAP.
  • The ability to install and manage SSL certificates.
  • Access to server log files and full reporting capabilities
  • A web interface that lets you monitor essential system services from a remote location
  • Installing new servers and new apps on your server
  • Support for Windows and Linux OS
  • Dedicated features for managing WordPress, Joomla or other content management systems

The very best control panels will add a range of advanced features. For example, the ability to manage multiple servers using just one interface, or to manage multiple virtual private servers (VPS) from that single interface. Better control panels also support IPv6 while giving you management control over security policies and your website firewall.

How to choose a control panel

You always want to look out for a control panel that offers reliable support and which continuously rolls out fixes and updates. Past that point everyone will have different preferences for their hosting control panel of choice because every control panel works differently and offers a different feature set.

Some control panels require more advanced technical knowledge to use, while others are easier to use for someone new to web hosting, and this may be a factor in your choice.

Finally, it is always worth looking out for popular, well-regarded and reputable control panels such as cPanel or indeed Plesk so that, when you switch hosting companies in the future, you don’t need to re-learn how to use the control panel.

htaccess

.htaccess is a system file with certain Apache web server configuration instructions. It provides ability to manage such configuration on the level of specific directory. There is a necessity of .htaccess usage when you don’t have access to the main server configuration file.

.htaccess file on an Apache web server lets you activate or deactivate things like your 404 page, set passwords or prevent others from linking to videos and pictures from 3rd party websites.

Hyper-V

It’s fair to say that people who like open source software won’t have much love for Microsoft’s commercial products. However, the reverse is also true – people who prefer commercial software are unlikely to try open source tools for the management of their Windows servers. Of course this means that Microsoft has an advantage with Hyper-V because people who use Windows Server will prefer Hyper-V as their solution of choice.

The most obvious competitor to Hyper-V would be VMware, and Hyper-V runs VMware close in user ratings. However Hyper-V solutions are generally a bit cheaper than the VMware equivalent and some people may feel that Hyper-V integrates better into the Microsoft software universe.

For some environments, of course, VMware might be a better option. It’s worth checking closely however because often Hyper-V includes advanced features and support for certain hardware as part of the purchase price, whereas VMware will require additional licensing.

ISPconfig

There are a lot of very popular hosting control panels but they do not all offer efficient enterprise support. If you’re working in an enterprise web hosting environment you might want to have a look at ISPconfig, however. A lot of people already are: the hosting control panel is seeing 40,000 downloads every month, according to ISPconfig.

Installing ISPconfig is not yet as straight forward as it should be because some installation steps require manual intervention which can prove difficult for some people. However, ISPconfig can take care of most of the typical web hosting tasks you’d want, including management of web and FTP servers, plus the ability to handle mail and the option to manage SSH servers.

Joomla! Toolkit

Just like all other content management systems Joomla! is a platform that requires regular maintenance, updates and non-stop protection against security attacks. It’s just the nature of today’s websites. Thankfully the Plesk Joomla! Toolkit makes the process of keeping your Joomla! sites so much easier.

Plesk Joomla! Toolkit Features

Plesk is used to support countless Joomla! sites, and we know what site admins need most from a Joomla! toolkit. We’ve put all these essentials features into the Plesk Joomla! Toolkit, including essential functions that include:

  • Mission control. A single place for you to manage all your Joomla! sites. Joomla! Mission Control lets you build, secure and start up all of your Joomla! instances. We even support a total of 32 languages so wherever you are, you can use our Joomla! toolkit.
  • Better user experience. The latest edition of our toolkit for Joomla! includes a single-click installer to make adding new sites easier. It downloads, initialises and sets up Joomla! from start to finish. We’ve made big steps forward with an improved user interface alongside state filtering and the ability to search for an instance.
  • Joomla!, like all other CMS solutions, is often at the sharp end of cybersecurity attacks. Our toolkit automatically hardens your Joomla! instance while also providing a Backups Manager plus a dedicated security scanning tool. You don’t need to know anything about security to make sure your Joomla! site is safe – thanks to our toolkit’s security features.
  • Automate tasks. The Plesk Joomla! Toolkit lets you easily automate common tasks through Extension Manager, including the installation of templates and extensions. You can also closely monitor the performance of your sites with the audit logs tool – all from one single dashboard.

Clearly the Plesk Joomla! Toolkit has the essential features you need to streamline your Joomla! experience.

How Plesk Joomla! Toolkit helps you with your Joomla! sites

Let’s take a look at exactly how the Plesk Joomla! Toolkit helps you start and manage your Joomla! websites.

Building new sites

It’s easy to install a new Joomla! site with our toolkit thanks to a one-click installer which completes all the essential tasks for you. Click the installer and the toolkit will:

  • Download the latest edition of Joomla! and install it
  • Create a new CMS database, and manage it for you
  • Configure and harden your Joomla! instance automatically
  • Make sure your Joomla! CMS is ready to use out of the box

Securing your site

You know how important it is to secure your Joomla! site, but often it seems like it requires a lot of effort. Thanks to our Joomla! Toolkit you can immediately harden your website with 1-click hardening, automatically protecting core installations without any manual intervention. Choose items you want to harden and click the “Secure” button. That’s it.

Because we execute all commands locally, we ensure that no back doors exist because data is never passed to a third party server or any external server at all.

Thanks to our one-click security scanner and automatic hardening you can rest assured that your site is safe. You can reduce the cost of securing your site without compromising on security. You don’t need to hire an expensive security team or specialist consultant.

Ongoing Joomla! maintenance

Keeping your sites running smoothly takes a lot of time, but we make it easy for you thanks to a single master view of your Joomla! sites where you can instantly manage and monitor your Joomla! CMS instances – all in one place.

Updates are easy too, as you can update all your Joomla! sites including the latest security updates as well as new Joomla! features. Whether it’s the Joomla! core or specific extensions, you can update it right from our dashboard.

Monitoring the performance of your sites is crucial too, and you can do so easily from our Joomla! Toolkit – across all your sites and covering all the important performance statistics.

Kubernetes

If you hear mention of k8s or kube then what’s being talked about is Kubernetes, a portable, open-source container orchestration platform that was designed by Google and based on their Borg system. It can automate many of the manual processes that go with handling containerized applications, so users can arrange groups of hosts running Linux containers into clusters, and Kubernetes lets them manage them all.
Kubernetes clusters can handle different cloud types, which makes it a great choice for hosting cloud-native applications that call for rapid scaling, such as real-time data streaming using Apache Kafka.

Linux Containers

Linux containers rest on a technology that was created from some essential parts of the Linux kernel, and their combined function is to package and isolate an application with just its dependencies. There have been technologies like this before, but Linux containers’ open nature has helped to grow a large community of dedicated innovators almost overnight. Businesses now have a new way of building, deploying and managing their applications and a user base committed to pushing it forward.

Load Balancer

A load balancer distributes network or application traffic evenly between the servers in a cluster so that no single system gets swamped by the demands of incoming requests. Among load balancing goals there are optimization of the resources usage, throughput maximization, minification of response time and avoidance of overload/service interruption of any single resource.

Netmask

Netmask and subnet mask are often used as if they’re the same thing, but subnet masks are mostly used in network configurations, while netmasks often refer to classes of IP addresses. They’re used to define a range of IP addresses that an ISP or other organization can use.

Three standard classes of IP addresses exist – A, B, and C – and they have the following netmasks:

  • Class A: 255.0.0.0
  • Class B: 255.255.0.0
  • Class C: 255.255.255.0

Class A defines a range of IP addresses in which the first three-digit section is the same, but the other sections can each contain a number from 0 to 255. With Class B the same first two sections have the same number and with class C its the first three. Which means that a Class C IP address range may have up to 256 addresses.

A netmask is a 32-bit value that divides IP addresses into sections. While a class C netmask is often written like “255.255.255.0,” it may also be defined as 11111111.11111111.11111111.00000000. Showing it in binary demonstrates that there are 32 bits (4 sections of 8 bits each) which make up the netmask. It also shows how the netmask gets its name—”masking” the IP addresses within it. The sections with all 1s are pre-set and so can’t be changed, while the section with all 0s allows any number between 0 and 255.

OpenStack

The OpenStack cloud framework offers a very useful platform for hybrid and private cloud computing, which probably either wouldn’t exist, or at the very least would be quite different, if Linux hadn’t been involved. Linux offers the kind of flexibility and scalability that allows OpenStack to bring enterprise and private clouds to businesses without imposing the kind of lock-in restrictions that often comes with proprietary solutions.