cPanel is easily the king of the hill when it comes to web hosting control panels. It is, in a word, awesome. It gives me an intuitive interface to simplify the process of managing my site. cPanel had its origin in the late 1990s. With ongoing improvements it became the default hosting control panel of choice early in the millennium, and remains so today. But likely not tomorrow.
In mid-2018 cPanel was acquired by the investment company Oakley Capital. The web community collectively held its breath. What would this mean? Most likely a modest price increase, thought the web community. The web community had no idea of the depth of evil lurking in the foul heart of the greedy investment company.
On June 27, 2019 the villains at Oakley Capital announced an egregious new pricing structure with monumental cost increases for customers. After the resulting PR disaster and unanimous backlash from longtime cPanel loyalists, Oakley doubled-down on their debauchery, refusing to budge on the new pricing structure.
Oakley must be cursed with management as dunderheadedly incompetent as they are nefariously greedy. They acquired a cash cow. cPanel is, for very good reasons, the defacto standard for high quality web hosting. Oakley could have milked that cash cow for years or decades. Instead, Oakley went for a shortsighted approach of extracting as much loot as quickly as possible and to hell with their long-time loyal customers.
Web hosting is a fiercely competitive business, and price is a primary factor when choosing a host. Web hosting end users are – to a very large degree – struggling small businesses and cheapskate individuals like me. We simply will not tolerate a major price increase. We will move on.
And so … the future of hosting control panels is unlikely to be led by cPanel.
Plesk? Nope, the wickedly malicious folks at Oakley Capital own Plesk too.
DirectAdmin? Maybe. I haven’t used it and in my very limited research it looks – well, kinda shitty. But rapid improvement is possible and called for given the situation.
Something entirely new? That’s my bet.
Update 2019-07-14: And so it starts. SiteGround will no longer offer cPanel on at least some accounts. They are apparently developing a host-specific control panel called SiteTools. If this becomes the trend – fracturing the industry into a multitude of disparate, host-specific control panels with no common standard – yikes. Quality of control panel will become a primary factor when choosing a web host. If I switch hosts – which I have done frequently in the past but hoped to avoid in the future (MDDHosting rocks!) – I will have to learn a whole new user interface.
This approach will likely lead to unfortunate consolidation of the industry. Big providers like GoDaddy, BlueHost, and SiteGround have the resources to develop and grow their own control panel. Smaller providers – not so much. Less competition will lead to higher prices. Curse you Oakley.
WPPOV supports freedom from Net Neutrality and the GDPR. The Internet of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.