DirectAdmin is a control panel that was launched in 2003. It has had a following but always remained in the shadow of cPanel. Whilst that is still largely the case in 2021, it has managed to increase it’s share of the market due to the recent price increases associated with cPanel.
What is DirectAdmin?
It is a control panel for web hosting. Used by both providers to configure the server it is installed on and for the end-user to manage their website.
Unlike cPanel there is no separate management panel, everything the hosting provider and end-user need to do is all done in the same views. The reseller will be given access to more options than and end-user but will have less than the hosting provider.
The panel has a good feature set but is lacking in some areas although improving constantly. The reason for the improvements are largely due to the cPanel pricing changes, you can see more about that here.
Due to increased market share, the developers are spending more time delivering features that put the panel more on a par the industry leading panel cPanel.
It does now have more plugins, CloudLinux and JetBackup for example. As there has been a drive to improve DirectAdmin many of the plugins are still being developed or in some cases polished. As a result they are not as feature rich as those in cPanel.
Pricing and Availablity
It is worth looking at this area in a bit more detail as pricing is significantly different to cPanel and there are more options. Some data first of all.
Let’s look at an example in comparison to cPanel. Assume we want to consider what it would cost on each panel to create 500 accounts.
|Number of users||300||300|
|Basic Licence cost||$29||$48.50|
|$0.30 cost per user > 100||$0||$60|
|Total monthly cost||$29||$108.50|
|Total Annual Cost||$348||$1,302|
As you can see, the cost of 300 accounts is significantly cheaper on DirectAdmin. But more than that the price will not change regardless of user number whilst with cPanel the cost will continue to rise as more accounts are created.
In addition to the above, DirectAdmin has other licences available. They include the following.
|Description||Personal Licence||Lite Licence|
|Will they install it for you?||No||Yes|
|What can you install it on?||VPS/Dedicated||VPS/Dedicated|
|Cost per month||$2||$15|
|Total Annual Cost||$24||$180|
A couple of great options provided. For those that want to install and manage the control panel on their own VPS/Dedicated, you can do so for as little as $24 per year. Even the $15 option is a good deal.
In addition to this again there are many providers of VPS/Dedicated servers that will provide you a free full licence for DirectAdmin so no cost at all.
Some Great Providers I use that will offer you free or very cheap DirectAdmin Licences. To be clear, you get the full unlimited licence, not just Personal/Lite.
There are course many others but it gives you a starting point if you are interested.
I felt it important to spend a bit more time on this than I normally would given all the licence options with DirectAdmin. It really opens up a number of opportunities for those at all skill levels.
For those that want to install and manage the panel themselves for their own personal use or even to sell hosting services the barrier via pricing that cPanel creates, DirectAdmin takes away.
Is it the best control panel?
Very subjective. There are many that have always used DirectAdmin or have tried cPanel, Plesk or other panels and simply prefer DirectAdmin. One glove doesn’t fit all.
The only way to know what is the best for you is to try them all.
If you want the most amount of features, the largest availability of support across the web. And you also need the most accessible control panel amongst providers then cPanel is the obvious choice.
If you want a good panel with a core set of features that should be enough for most, at the cheapest cost then DirectAdmin is the obvious choice.
As mentioned earlier, the features on DirectAdmin are growing so although it is not quite there yet, the developers are regularly releasing updates and improving the panel at a steady pace.
Unless you have specific needs there is no wrong choice here, it is more about preference driven by personal choice and what you want from a panel.
I highly recommend that you at least give the panel a go, you may be surprised.
Pros & Cons of DirectAdmin
From a comparison with cPanel point of view there are clear differences between them in terms of feature set. But DirectAdmin are closing the gap with every new and regular release.
More 3rd parties are recognising the increased interest and user base with this panel which is making them develop new plugins for it. Although it is still relatively early days, it is nonetheless positive.
Having said that it is difficult not to recommend it as a solid, reliable panel at a price point which is quite frankly a steal when compared to cPanel.
- Cost – it’s a steal, can also be free
- Good core set of features
- Support for multiple operating systems
- Simple for end-users to use
- Needs more plugins to extend it
- Support can be slow
- Difficult to troubleshoot issues on the web