We are often asked by web developers why our shared hosting system is not built on cPanel. If you aren’t familiar with it, cPanel is a hosting control panel that provides a nice interface (GUI) and many features for managing email, websites, databases and DNS records. HostAway runs its own control panel software (we call it the HostAway Members Panel).
This is because our shared hosting runs across multiple clusters of servers which are load-balanced to ensure uptime and reliability. If a server fails your website will continue to be served by one of the other servers in the cluster.
cPanel is (usually) installed on a single physical or virtual server with your website, database, email and DNS all stored on a single instance. If there is a problem with the server everything goes down whereas at HostAway we have separate load-balanced clusters for each service. For example, a technical issue with our web servers will not affect your email hosting. Along with other unique features such as our 14 day rolling backups, DDoS protection and 24/7 monitoring, our shared hosting platform is a lot more robust than a standard cPanel installation.
Nevertheless, just because it doesn’t provide the flexibility, complexity and security that we require for our shared hosting customers, it doesn’t mean cPanel is necessarily a bad hosting platform. We offer cPanel as a virtual server to customers who want to manage their own website and email hosting environment. There are alternatives to cPanel like Plesk (yuck), Webmin (free!), Direct Admin (so-so) and numerous others however we prefer to install nginx and MySQL for single websites on virtual servers, to keep things slim and responsive. Just like any software, no matter what you choose to run you need to keep it updated!