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3 Free Control Panels for VPS Administration


Managing multiple websites with a control panel on your VPS can be cumbersome, time consuming and complicated. To simplify the deployment of websites and apps, you can install a control panel app that will help you manage the critical components of your VPS.

Most shared hosting providers offer their own web based administration panels. One popular, but costly solution is cPanel.

If you manage your own VPS servers, working within an administration panel can streamline the process of  performing administration tasks. Control panels remove the struggle of working via SSH while simultaneously being able to offer a silo for administration within a specific web property.

Did you know that several free and open source control panels are available for your VPS? Let’s evaluate 3 of the top control panels for your VPS.


VestaCP is a free control panel that has been gaining a lot of momentum over the last couple of years. With a couple of hosts sponsoring their development, it has remained steady and shows no signs of going anywhere.

Installation of this is simple. It can be installed on CentOS 5, 6, 7 as well as Debian 6, 7, 8 and even Ubuntu 12 – 15. These two commands will have your installation running:

curl -O http://vestacp.com/pub/vst-install.sh
bash vst-install.sh

At the end of the installation process you will be provided with the details to log in.


ISPConfig 3 is an open source hosting control panel for Linux which is capable of managing multiple servers from one control panel. ISPConfig is licensed under the BSD license.

This control panel features powerful modules that administrate common server tasks. ISPConfig is only available for Linux and the website offers detailed installation instructions on how to rapidly get started with server environment you choose.


Webmin is a web-based interface for system administration for Unix. Using any modern web browser, you can setup user accounts, Apache, DNS, file sharing and much more. Webmin removes the need to manually edit Unix configuration files and lets you easily manage your VPS.  The installation process is of Wedmin is trivial.

Assuming you are working on a Ubuntu server, execute the commands needed to install the panel. First, you will need to install the repository by adding the following lines in your/etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://download.webmin.com/download/repository sarge contrib
deb http://webmin.mirror.somersettechsolutions.co.uk/repository sarge contrib

You will then need to install the GPG key with which all the packages are signed:

wget http://www.webmin.com/jcameron-key.asc
apt-key add jcameron-key.asc

The final step? Simply launch the 2 following commands to start the installation:

apt-get update
apt-get install webmin

Once the process finishes, you will be able to connect to the panel using your browser at the following address:


Remember to open port 10000 in case you should have a firewall installed.

Jon Biloh


  1. robohost:

    Seriously Zpanel?
    you can add vestacp and kloxo-mr or anything other than zpanel

    October 27, 2016 @ 7:30 am | Reply
  2. Actually, ZPanel has been dead for 2 years. No releases since.
    For simplicity, VestaCP is pretty good. Just enough features to get the job done.

    October 27, 2016 @ 9:29 am | Reply
    • I’m going to look into Vesta and consider doing a post about it soon. I’ve got of posts scheduled right now for the next 45 days.

      October 28, 2016 @ 10:06 pm | Reply
  3. Job:

    Wasn’t ZPanel one of the lesser panels with regards to security bugs? The last downloadable version of ZPanel is from 2014, so I don’t think that improved over the past years :p

    Sentora (fork from previous ZPanel contributors) isn’t showing a lot of updates either since Febrauary 2016 (https://github.com/sentora/sentora-core/commits/master). I wouldn’t recommend either due to the lack of updates/support.

    If you enjoy security holes from time to time and just like the looks of these panels, I’d still pick Sentora over ZPanel :p

    October 27, 2016 @ 9:45 am | Reply
  4. Rakesh:

    Zpanel project was dead before a years ago and founder of Zpanel start new project called sentora panel.
    The best panel for VPS now days is centos web panel.

    October 27, 2016 @ 2:17 pm | Reply
    • I’ve updated the post to include a remark about the stalled development at ZPanel. I really appreciate folks pointing this out!

      October 28, 2016 @ 10:05 pm | Reply
  5. I use VestaCP. It’s simple, clean, and has all the features I need like a mail server, backups, and SSL cert support among other things.

    October 27, 2016 @ 7:32 pm | Reply
    • That’s a great suggestion, will include that in a future write-up.

      October 28, 2016 @ 10:02 pm | Reply
  6. So should I use Zpanel??
    That’s a joke. No one flip out or anything.

    October 27, 2016 @ 10:19 pm | Reply
  7. jvnadr:

    Is this a tutorial or is this a joke? Jon, I really was expecting much more of you…

    P.S. Please, remove zpanel from list, It is dead since 2014, there is not even a member maintain it, it is not secure at all. If you want to suggest it, at least, suggest sentora, that is still in development and there are efforts to secure it…

    October 28, 2016 @ 12:36 am | Reply
    • Thanks for the suggestion. I understand it is not well supported, so I will put a note on the post about this.

      October 28, 2016 @ 10:03 pm | Reply
  8. People seriously Zpanel? Old panel with now support at all.

    October 28, 2016 @ 6:08 am | Reply
  9. Bango:


    October 28, 2016 @ 7:34 am | Reply
  10. NotMyName:

    Zpanel? please… make it vestacp

    October 28, 2016 @ 7:54 am | Reply
  11. Dave:

    Hey, that’s too long an article! It even contains one image for some reason (LET logo) Because who needs them, let alone screenshots!

    October 28, 2016 @ 8:39 am | Reply
    • What would you like to see changed?

      October 28, 2016 @ 10:02 pm | Reply
      • Dave:

        You see – the article now just states the fact that there are these three free control panels, a way to install them on Ubuntu and… little else.

        But what each of them is good/not so good at at?
        What are the differences?
        Which one should I prefer, based on what?
        What do you yourself use and why?
        How do they look like, is UX any good?

        If you don’t add something useful in your writeup, something personal, your opinion as a specialist, how is it better than a page in Wikipedia listing control panels?

        October 31, 2016 @ 6:47 am | Reply
  12. gunix:

    What about Centos Web Panel (CWP)?

    October 30, 2016 @ 7:56 pm | Reply
  13. im using sentora, simple and good

    November 18, 2016 @ 11:52 am | Reply
  14. Nothing beats VirtualMin. I have used all panels mentioned here and I have been playing with planels for over 5 years now. So my opinion is that you just cannot go wrong with VirtualMin.

    February 12, 2017 @ 11:56 pm | Reply
  15. Using Cloudpanel for some time now and i am very happy with it … should be mentioned here

    January 18, 2023 @ 8:13 am | Reply

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