When starting this website I found myself in a situation where I have to choose a web hosting service for this website. The features in the web hosting service that are really important to me are the email addresses provided, performance of the website on the server, space provided, and I also like to have the ability to tweak configuration files to make my server even better in terms of performance and load handling. And a good web hosting panel where I can have all the basic controls of my web hosting. I also needed to keep the costs of the hosting on the lower side below 10$ a month because I don’t want to put too much money on hosting in the beginning of the project.
For days I kept looking for the perfect hosting provider but found none. So, I decided to rent a virtual private server(VPS) from DigitalOcean and started looking for a webpanel that is simple to use and have good performance.
Above is a screenshot of VestaCP, the control panel on which I finally settled on. In my search of control panels for my VPS I wanted a clean interface to work, Email services, Backups, Database, performance and should work on 512 MB VPS without any problems. I tried ISPConfig 3, Zpanel, Kloxo, Kloxo MR, VestaCP, Webmin and some other web panels to find the perfect one for my hosting needs. All these web panels have their own pros and cons, like ISPConfig have advanced features but is slower then VestaCP. Kloxo have a nice GUI but it is a dead project now. As this is a post related to VestaCP, we are going to focus on this web panel. First of all VestaCP is extremely easy to setup on a debian and CentOS machine ( I tried VestaCP on both of them and it is very easy to setup on both, as easy as downloading a bash script and running it.). Vesta Control Panel provided me with a really clean and easy to use interface which was really clutter free. You can get an idea from the screenshot that designers of VestaCP took a minimalistic approach in design when they was designing this control panel. Also it is a barebones panel to keep things simple and it only provides the barebones functionality that we need from a web hosting control panel. But the best part is that this panel uses Nginx server as a reverse proxy and this helps in increasing the server performance as Nginx is used for caching of static files in cache mode. There are various other modes too for Nginx and you can also opt for not using nginx at all for your website if you want to. If you’re admin then you got some useful features like looking at the statistics graphs which can tell you if server load is more then required. An admin in vestaCP can also check if all the required services are running or not from the web interface. There are also options to start, restart and stop services. An admin can check total space and bandwidth used by any user at any moment of time. There can be client type users too and admin can suspend the accounts of client if required, maybe if the client haven’t made the payment in the required time. If you need it vestaCP also offers an option to add billing add on to vestaCP. Though it costs a bit to add the billing addon and you need to purchase it, but it’s good if you are using vestaCP in hosting servers which are being used to sell web hosting services to people. Apart from these features you can also set how much quota does a user get in terms of web space, bandwidth, email addresses, domain names etc. You can achieve this by creating packages for different type of users.
About support, there’s a vestaCP forum I was once scared of because I saw that almost all of the forum posts was in russian language and I don’t trust google translate to do perfect translations for me, So when I faced a problem with vestaCP, I posted my question in the given vestaCP forum and I got a reply after some hours which worked. So there are people who will help you in that community and don’t be afraid by looking at most of the posts that are in russian. There’s a good community that updates/handles and uses vestaCP so you will be able to find solutions of your problems related with vestaCP panel in the forum. Also the documentation is a nice place to check for normal vestaCP terms, it also helped me in figuring out the location of configuration files in debian and centos. like if you can’t find apache config file in your vestaCP installation, you can always look up the path in documentation provided online by vestaCP. There is also a lot of other information in vestaCP docs, So it is recommended to have a look at them if you’re trying the panel and starting with it.
Though vestaCP initial configuration files was good for performance, I made some of my own tweaks in the apache config so that it will use less memory then it was initially using which freed about 150 MB of ram in my 512 mb vps. Also, There’s only one thing that I didn’t like about vestaCP, which is that it doesn’t have an online ftp file manager yet. You have to use ftp clients like filezilla to upload or download files and that does take a lot of extra time. But in my opinion, VestaCP is worth a try and if your requirements maches my requirements, then vestaCP will work really good for you.