Compare ISPConfig Hosting
ISPConfig is a free open-source control panel application that allows website owners to easily administer their sites, similar to cPanel and Plesk. It also allows resellers to manage multiple accounts on multiple physical or virtual servers. But ISPConfig is not available from all hosts.
Best ISPConfig Hosting
ISPConfig only runs on Linux servers. It is normally used along with accounts that allow you to host multiple websites such as reseller hosting. Read below for more details, but here’s a quick preview of the best 3 hosts for ISPConfig:
- Bluehost: Best Hosting for ISPConfig
- A2 Hosting: Best Hosting for Speed
- LiquidWeb: Best Managed Dedicated Hosting for ISPConfig
How Did We Pick the Best Hosts for ISPConfig?
We’ve examined over 1,500 hosting plans and selected the ones which meet all the technical requirements for running an ISPConfig site. We then picked the hosts which offer ISPConfig as an alternative to other control panels, plus great technical support in case you run into trouble.
Finally, we scoured our massive database of thousands of actual customer reviews to identify the top hosts for ISPConfig:
What You’ll Learn
In this article, we’ll look at ISPConfig, its features and its main competitor.
You’ll learn what to look for in an ISPConfig host. Furthermore, I’ll offer a few personal recommendations to get you started on your search for an ISPConfig host.
If you’re new to web hosting control panels, don’t worry: we’ll cover what they are, and why you might want to use one.
What is ISPConfig?
ISPConfig is a control panel tool suite for Linux hosting.
It is free, open source, and highly reliable software available under the BSD public license.
Getting started is as easy as downloading a file, and tapping into a significant support resource when needed.
Users can use the web-based interface to manage:
- Domain Name System (DNS) records, and,
What are Web Hosting Control Panels?
Web hosting control panels are online interfaces that simplify the management of server activity.
Often, hosts will include a control panel within a hosting plan, or offer one for a small additional cost. Control panels are designed to let server and site owners control their hosted services without needing to be tech-savvy.
While just a few control panels tend to be the most widely used among hosts, many others, such as ISPConfig, are available for download and easy use.
Server Administration Tools
If you choose to set up your own server from scratch, finding a server administration tool is ideal.
And for anyone who is hoping to create their own web hosting service or reseller service, having a control panel like this which automatically gets set up for a new user is convenient. It can be used to define the website configuration for potential customers/users.
What do I Need a Web Hosting Control Panel For?
A control panel can be easier to use than running applications individually or using the command terminal.
Additionally, a control panel will have built-in monitoring which allows a message to be triggered in case of server problems or dwindling resources.
What is cPanel?
The cPanel web host control panel software is very popular.
It’s not free, and the hosting company offering it will either charge you a small fee or absorb the cost.
New to control panels and the cPanel brand of control panels? This introductory video by InMotion Hosting will give you a helpful overview.
Finding a site that offers ISPConfig can help you to get cheap domain hosting without sacrificing convenience.
ISPConfig and Projectfarm
ISPConfig originally came from the German company Projectfarm, which is no longer involved in it.
The project doesn’t seem to have any big-name backers at present, which could raise concerns about its long-term viability.
The Git source code repository is on a German web hosting site rather than an independent, stable repository. However, the software is getting frequent releases, indicating a committed development team.
What are the Main Features of ISPConfig?
You can manage just one server with ISPConfig, or use it to maintain multiple servers.
These servers may be physical or virtual and used for a personal site or at the enterprise level. Depending on your needs and authorization, you will log in at the email, client, reseller, or administrator level.
In addition, you can use ISPConfig in one of 20 translated languages. At a high level, ISPConfig is a Linux-based server control platform with many different tools.
Here’s a high-level list of all available ISPConfig features:
|Server Management||Contains features and functionality for both single- and multi-server management|
|Tiered Access Levels||Control access levels for administrations, resellers, and clients|
|Web Server Support||Supports Apache and NGINX for site routing and content hosting|
|Email Support||SMTP Postfix, POP/IMAP – Email hosting servers – for all hosted domains|
|FTP Support||PureFTPd – allows file transfer protocol for each hosted site|
|DNS Support||Bind and MyDNS – this server can run a domain name service|
|Databases||MySQL – using the Oracle MySQL database – for each user|
|Virtualization||OpenVZ – allows virtual machines for client sites|
How to Install
After you download ISPConfig, installing it requires just a few things:
- A Linux system
- Root/sudo access
- PHP 7
- Some system management skills.
What are the System Requirements for ISPConfig?
The system requirements for ISPConfig cover a wide range of Linux flavors.
- Debian 5 through 9
- Ubuntu 8.10 to current
- CentOS 5.2 to current
- Fedora 10 and 12 to 15
- OpenSuSE 11.1 to current.
If your system runs any of the Debian derived operating system kernels, or any of the other large distributions mentioned, then it will be able to run ISPConfig. (With root privileges provided.)
Installation is for Linux platforms, so every version will have its own installation process, which is well documented on the official site.
These installs are not “easy” comparable to setting up a single website. Instead, getting ISPConfig up and running will take patience and attention to the details of the instruction.
In order for ISPConfig tools to run properly, you will need to have all of the subsequent platforms installed first, namely:
All of the above need to be installed parallel to ISPConfig in order for the server to run properly.
Because most hosting packages feature Linux by default, you should not have any issues finding hosting for ISPConfig.
Is There a Preferred Linux Distribution for ISPConfig?
The preferred Linux distribution is Debian. Installation on some other distributions requires temporarily disabling a firewall or other security tools.
This can be a serious concern since in today’s Internet every server is constantly under siege.
ISPConfig Machine Instances
With that in mind — some cloud hosting providers may have “Machine Instances” already prepared — which will have the correct OS and installed software pairs to make an install very simple.
Just keep in mind that setting up this platform isn’t the same thing as setting up a website. With ISPConfig, you’re setting up a service which will allow other users to create websites on your servers.
Setting up ISPConfig allows you to become a web host, rather than just using one.
Several add-ons are available for ISPConfig for a one-time licensing fee:
- A billing module
- A migration tool
- A malware scanner
- A monitor application
- Several plugins for interfacing to other software.
Using ISPConfig’s Public API
A public, documented API exists, so PHP developers can write scripts to add to ISPConfig’s functionality.
There’s very little published third-party software, though.
A plugin to integrate WordPress with ISPConfig is available, but it hasn’t been updated in years.
Beyond websites, DNS, and email, ISPConfig provides management for:
- File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
- MySQL databases
- Cron jobs
- Shell uses
- Internet Protocol (IP).
Within these, you can observe website traffic, create and delete email accounts, filter spam, park domains, create subdomains, and much more.
Setting ISPConfig up: Expect to Spend Time Getting it Right
Most of the core “use” of this service will be in the hours spent in setup/installation. After installation, a fair amount of time will be needed in order to understand how the mechanisms work.
This is especially important if ISPconfig is going to be used to run hosting for other users. Creating virtual machines and DNS pointers for users can be made automatic, but require additional setup.
Plus, even if a perfect setup were accomplished, troubleshooting and user support will come up. In order to be capable of assisting users, there is an official manual available.
This manual does cost money, which is used to continue developer support for the platform. It’s a good investment for anyone trying to use ISPConfig for commercial purposes.
A hosting site that offers ISPConfig and handles the details of installing and maintaining it can be an economical alternative to other hosting control panel software. Few hosts offer it pre-installed, though, so you may need to install it yourself on a VPS or dedicated server.
Pros & Cons of ISPConfig Hosting
Here’s a convenient summary of ISPConfigs strong and weak points.
- Free, open-source multi-host control panel for Linux
- Clean, user-friendly interface
- Complicated to install
- Few pre-installed options
- Limited support community
My Top Three: The Best ISPConfig Hosts
If you’re in need of an ISPConfig host, I recommend the following options:
BlueHost: Toll-Free Support in the U.S.
BlueHost provides Linux hosting exclusively and favors open-source technology. Customers on dedicated and VPS hosting can get SSH access with a root account, allowing them to install ISPConfig and any other required software.
There’s only one datacenter and no uptime guarantee. On the bright side, phone, email, and chat support are always available, and phone support is toll-free in the US.
A2 Hosting: ISPConfig is Pre-Installed
A2 Hosting is one of the few host providers that offer ISPConfig pre-installed. All of its VPS plans let the customer choose ISPConfig on the SwiftServer platform.
Root access and SSD storage are standard, and the prices are reasonable. If you want more speed, you can get it with the Turbo Boost VPS. Phone support (including Skype), as well as email and chat, are available 24/7.
Liquid Web: Linux Distributions and 24/7 Support
LiquidWeb offers a choice of Linux distributions on its VPS and dedicated web hosting servers. This gives you everything necessary to install and use ISPConfig.
It operates datacenters in the United States and Europe and guarantees 100% uptime. Support by phone, chat, and email is available 24 hours a day and comes with a guaranteed initial response time.