DirectAdmin vs cPanel: How do I choose the right control panel in 2024?

Is it time to make a switch? Last Updated: Thu, Feb 01, 2024

DirectAdmin Logo VS cPanel Logo

Like most people, you've probably been very happy and comfortable with using cPanel/WHM over the years. CPanel has been the industry staple in Web Hosting control panels for decades.

Recently you may have noticed a new surge in DirectAdmin Hosting plans on offer and you may also have noticed they seem a lot cheaper. Why you wonder? And should I risk switching over to DirectAdmin?

Some cPanel Background - from a Web Hosts perspective

These are some of the thoughts I had back in 2019, shortly after cPanel/WHM got taken over by Oakley Capital (in 2018). As a Hosting provider, we were unpleasantly surprised to see Oakley Capital introduce a new licensing structure based on charging per account, instead of cPanel's usual unlimited accounts licensing model.

In short we were faced with a sudden sharp increase in licensing costs. What should we do?This is when we seriously looked into DirectAdmin as an alternative. It didn't take us long to switch over to DirectAdmin - for all our clients - and since then we have never looked back.

So 5 years later I can report that we have encountered ZERO issues with DirectAdmin. It has been rock solid, stable, and reliable. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. But many people still prefer cPanel and are reluctant to move. Here are some reasons why you should consider switching over:

So what's so good about DirectAdmin?

  • It's Cheaper. For a Web Hosting provider a single server license includes unlimited accounts, those savings can be passed on to you
  • It has a modern User Interface. DirectAdmin has a very new and modern interface, that's at least on par with cPanel
  • Its fast and lightweight
  • It's stable and secure. We have never encountered any stability issues in 5 years of using it, it's rock-solid
  • It has all the equivalent functions that cPanel offers. After 5 years I still haven't found myself missing anything from cPanel, nor have our clients. It simply has everything cPanel offers.
  • It has a multitude of plugins - for example just to name a few essentials, CSF and Softaculous
  • It has decent support

So what's so wrong with cPanel?

  • Its licensing model ensures that Hosting companies have to charge you more to make any profit. So you're guaranteed to pay more simply because cPanel charges more.
  • Its more of a heavyweight and uses more server resources than DirectAdmin
  • Its Company values have changed. The original owners of cPanel believed in an unlimited licensing model because they were focused on lifting the Web Hosting industry. In short, they cared about the Industry. Well, the new Management has changed all that and it's clear that the new focus is profit first.
  • Future pricing uncertainty. The only thing that remains unlimited about cPanel is the number of price increases they are going to have. The latest was a 9% price increase in September 2023.

Is it time to move away from cPanel?

I'm going to get straight to the point here and simply say up front that DirectAdmin has become the better choice imho. To put it politely - I've simply become too concerned with the departure from the values that initially attracted me to cPanel (thanks chatGPT for that more polite version). Considering that DirectAdmin offers nearly an identical product/service - I can't see any reason to remain with cPanel.


So should you take a risk on DirectAdmin? The short answer is a resounding - YES! With their migration from cPanel to DirectAdmin functionality there is no reason to hesitate any longer. Do not worry about DirectAdmin being unstable or inferior because it is neither. Take the jump into DirectAdmin and you will be pleasantly surprised.