ISPConfig: German-based Open-Source Hosting Control Panel

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Understanding ISPConfig

ISPConfig
ISPConfig is a powerful open-source hosting control panel that allows users to manage their web servers, email servers, and DNS settings through an intuitive web interface.

What is ISPConfig?

ISPConfig is a German-based open-source hosting control panel designed to manage multiple servers from a single interface. First created by Till Brehm in 2004 to manage his web hosting business, ISPConfig was officially released in 2005 by ISPConfig UG, an IT company based in Nuremberg, Germany. This versatile web hosting control panel (WHCP) quickly became popular due to its ease of use and ability to handle multiple servers and websites.

ISPConfig Features and Popularity

ISPConfig supports various operating systems, including Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, and Fedora, making it a favored choice for web hosting companies worldwide. As businesses seek cost-effective and competitive control panel options, ISPConfig’s affordability and robust features have made it the go-to solution for many system administrators globally. The platform has seen numerous updates, with the latest version (3.2.9p1) released in February 2023.

ISPConfig System Requirements

  • Operating System: ISPConfig can be installed on various Linux distributions, including Debian 5 and above, Ubuntu 8.10 and above, CentOS 5.2 and above, Fedora 10 and above, OpenSuSE 11.1 and above.
  • Web Server: Apache or Nginx.
  • PHP: version 7.0 or later. PHP 7.2 or later is recommended.
  • Database Server: MySQL or MariaDB.
  • Mail Server: Postfix or Exim.
  • DNS Server: BIND or PowerDNS.

ISPConfig Features Highlights 

A Complete Hosting Control Panel Solution

Like many other WHCPs, ISPConfig allows you to attend to your servers, sites, emails, and DNS. ISP Config is also feature-rich and supports SMTP. POP3/IMAP, FTP, HTTP, and upcoming powerful features such as DNSSEC. It also allows virtualization by supporting OpenVZ. 

Multi-language Support 

A unique feature of ISPConfig is its availability in 20 languages, hence making it easily adaptable across the globe. 

Languages supported by ISPConfig:

  • English
  • German
  • Bulgarian
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Dutch
  • Finnish
  • French
  • Greek
  • Hungarian
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Slovak
  • Turkish

Active Community

ISPConfig community forum
There is an official ISPConfig community forum in English and German.

ISPConfig has an active community of users and developers who work together to improve the software and provide support to users. This community is made up of thousands of individuals from around the world who share their expertise and knowledge with others. The community provides resources such as user forums, documentation, and tutorials, making it easier for users to get help and support when needed. 

Integration with Other Tools

ISPConfig is designed to work seamlessly with other tools and applications, making it easier for users to manage their web hosting infrastructure. For example – ISPConfig integrates with Let’s Encrypt, a free and open-source SSL certificate authority, making it easy to secure your website with HTTPS. 

The control panel also integrates with popular email clients such as Roundcube, making it easy to manage email accounts. Additionally, ISPConfig integrates with phpMyAdmin, a popular web-based database management tool, allowing users to manage their databases easily. 

How Much Does It Cost to Implement ISPConfig?

The basic ISPConfig is a free and open-source web hosting control panel, which means that it is available for anyone to download and use without charge. Therefore, you can install and use ISPConfig in your VPS or reseller hosting account without incurring any costs for the software itself. However, ISPConfig add-on features, including account billing, migration, malware scanner, and monitoring application, you’ll have to pay a one-time licensing fee (at €59.00  plus tax) to enjoy such extras. 

Also, while ISPConfig is user-friendly, it may require some technical expertise to set up and configure correctly. You may need to invest time or hire a professional to help with the installation and management of the software on your hosting account.

Best ISPConfig Hosting Services 

While ISPConfig can be installed on any hosting provider that allows you to install your own control panel, we recommend three companies: Digital Ocean, LiquidWeb, and Kamatera,

1. Digital Ocean

Digital Ocean

Website: https://www.digitalocean.com/

As one of our Best Cloud Hosting picks, Digital Ocean is a popular choice for developers and tech people. However, it’s important to note that Digital Ocean is not a managed service provider – meaning users will need to handle most of their server technical issues. Despite this, Digital Ocean remains a top choice for those seeking a scalable and cost-effective ISPConfig hosting solution.

Digital Ocean Pros

  • Outstanding server uptime and speed performance
  • Competitive and flexible pricing model
  • Choice of 15 distributed data centers
  • Highly configurable virtual machines
  • Built-in alert system for resource thresholds or critical issues

Digital Ocean Cons

  • Charges apply for automated backups
  • Unencrypted backups
  • Only suitable for advanced users
  • Less user-friendly for team operations

2. LiquidWeb

Liquidweb

Website: https://www.liquidweb.com/

LiquidWeb is a US-based hosting provider that offers managed VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and cloud hosting. The company is known for its high-performance infrastructure and excellent customer support – making it an ideal choice for high-end users.

LiquidWeb Pros

  • Powerful enterprise hosting solutions with great scalability
  • 100% network uptime, backed by detailed Service Level Agreement (SLA)
  • Excellent customer support - 59-Second support response guarantee
  • Self-operated data centres - Higher degree of security and data integrity compared to providers renting space from third-parties
  • PCI-Compliant and HIPAA-Compliant hosting servers available

LiquidWeb Cons

  • No standard shared hosting plans
  • No Asia-based data center

3. Kamatera

Kamatera Ispconfig Hosting

Website: https://www.kamatera.com/

Kamatera offers preconfigured ISPConfig on its high-performance cloud platform. With data centers strategically located in major cities worldwide, including New York, Amsterdam, and Hong Kong, Kamatera ensures optimal performance and low-latency connections for users. This flexibility, combined with seamless scaling and affordable pricing, makes Kamatera a reliable choice for ISPConfig hosting.

Kamatera Pros

  • Excellent server speed performance
  • Highly flexible hosting plans
  • Affordable pricing
  • Choice of 18 distributed data centers

Kamatera Cons

  • Plans are confusing - especially if you are new
  • Many vital add-ons require extra cost
  • Unhelpful customer support

Quick Wrap

In short – if you were looking for a cPanel alternative, ISPConfig is versatile, cost-effective, and highly recommended by many web techies – including us. Hosting resellers, in particular, use it a lot when handling their multiple accounts. 

Note: The rising cost of cPanel license fees and changes to its pricing model has left many web hosting providers no choice but to pass on the increased costs to their customer (see price hike announcements in 2020, 20212022, and 2023). This has made a significant impact on the hosting, especially VPS and reseller, users. And many have had to look for alternative options to save costs and remain competitive in the market. Seeing such – we are doing a series on cPanel alternatives and taking a closer look into other less popular (but with good functionality) web hosting control panels. 


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Article by Jerry Low

Jerry Low has immersed himself in web technologies for over a decade and has built many successful sites from scratch. He is a self-professed geek who has made it his life’s ambition to keep the web hosting industry honest. For latest personal updates and news, follow Jerry on Facebook and Twitter.
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