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DigitalXeron
There is a lack of sanity

join:2003-12-17
Hamilton, ON

A bit of a rant: cPanel

Hi all, this may come off as bit of a rant, but I feel it needs to be aired:

I have been working with cPanel for the past several years and have come to many conclusions that have me questioning why it's such a "Standard" in the webhosting community, well, I know the answer ("it makes administration easy"), but my point stands.

For instance, cPanel is designed so it almost insists on any server it is installed on that all administration has to go through cPanel/WHM. This means that if you have a sysadmin/tech who prefers to do things by the shell, or have a script that you're running on multiple servers to deploy a change, this frustrates matters. cPanel basically requires your operation to revolve around it instead of it revolving around your operation. This is arrogance on cPanel's part.

In the like to the above, cPanel seems to ignore the system configuration files that Linux itself utilizes and reads and insists on utilizing its own separate configuration files. This results in situations where the two sets of config files become mismatched and cPanel proceeds to make no effort to read system config unless it is absolutely required to (though it has no qualms about overwriting config, or even outright trashing config options enabled for services for options not available via cPanel).

Another is backups, the default cPanel backup script makes no effort to determine if backups are able to be completed to the destination before attempting. So if you're filling up an HDD in the process, the process fails silently and anything else depending on the HDD being backed up to starts thrashing/crashing/etc.

There's a few other items, but suffice it to say, there's a lot of problems that cPanel (The company) doesn't seem interested to fix as it would require a massive overhaul of the codebasea.

From a user perspective, cPanel is wonderful and a near-perfect tool, but the moment you step behind the curtain, you see how ugly it is. I would honestly like to see cPanel become more like webmin in that it actually sees that it's a _tool_ and not an _environment_.

Apologies if this is an inappropreate forum for this, but I feel I just needed to get this off my chest, it's been a festering splinter for those past several years.
--
--Kradorex Xeron
[an error occurred while processing this signature]



Rob
In Deo speramus.
Premium
join:2001-08-25
Kendall, FL
kudos:3

cPanel works best when it has full control over everything. If you're making changes to config files outside of the cPanel system, it only complicates matter.

With that said, cPanel has become a standard because it was the first one to offer such tools under one screen with ease of use and installation. I believe it was one of the very first to offer the WHM system with the ability to let resellers resell service.

I'm just surprised that there hasn't been a serious challenger to cPanel. The other panels can't match everything cPanel offers.
--
CheckSite.us | YourIP.us | Reverseip.us



removed
Premium,VIP
join:2002-02-08
Houston, TX
kudos:38
reply to DigitalXeron

said by DigitalXeron:

For instance, cPanel is designed so it almost insists on any server it is installed on that all administration has to go through cPanel/WHM.

Nonsense. Almost everything done through cPanel and WHM can be done via the command line as well. At the end of the day, cPanel and WHM are just pretty GUI interfaces for scripts that are run in the background. There are tons of scripts (see /scripts) and other tools that allow you to make changes on a large scale. Some functions are difficult compared to using the GUI, but it can still be done. cPanel does a fairly decent job documenting the backend and the cPanel forums are a solid resource if you don't know what to look for.

said by DigitalXeron:

In the like to the above, cPanel seems to ignore the system configuration files that Linux itself utilizes and reads and insists on utilizing its own separate configuration files.

Sounds OK to me - just use the cPanel internal configuration files instead of the default Linux config files.

said by DigitalXeron:

So if you're filling up an HDD in the process, the process fails silently and anything else depending on the HDD being backed up to starts thrashing/crashing/etc.

Elaborate. Why would a failed backup cause filesystem errors or disk problems?

My take on your rant:
Spend some time learning the ins and outs of cPanel. It's a complex product but if you take the time to learn more about it, you can overcome everything you've ranted about thus far. It's unreasonable of you to expect to use the system as if you were running a vanilla LAMP installation with a product as extensive as cPanel in place - I don't think this would be possible even if you developed your own control panel. It's simply too complex when you're working with hundreds of different pieces of software through one centralized interface.
--
irc.removed.us - #dslr


DigitalXeron
There is a lack of sanity

join:2003-12-17
Hamilton, ON

said by removed:

Nonsense. Almost everything done through cPanel and WHM can be done via the command line as well. At the end of the day, cPanel and WHM are just pretty GUI interfaces for scripts that are run in the background. There are tons of scripts (see /scripts) and other tools that allow you to make changes on a large scale. Some functions are difficult compared to using the GUI, but it can still be done. cPanel does a fairly decent job documenting the backend and the cPanel forums are a solid resource if you don't know what to look for.

[...]

Sounds OK to me - just use the cPanel internal configuration files instead of the default Linux config files.

This can often require additional personnel time to work on individual mass deployment scripts for cPanel servers and non-cPanel servers. cPanel essentially replaces the operating system userland as far as this is concerned. Going into a bit of hyperbole, if cPanel had a script for removing files, you'd have to use it instead of rm and if you had used /bin/rm, cPanel would replace the file you just deleted and any support would insist that you use /scripts/rm and that /bin/rm is untouchable now.

said by removed:

Elaborate. Why would a failed backup cause filesystem errors or disk problems?

Backup process backs up several large user accounts, HDD becomes full, backup fails due to full disk, anything depending on that drive cannot write due to a full drive. Often times backups are performed to a temporary location before being sent off to remote backup mechanisms. cPanel seems to use the same drive to back up to by default (at least temporarily, which can cause a non-trivial burst)

said by removed:

My take on your rant:
Spend some time learning the ins and outs of cPanel. It's a complex product but if you take the time to learn more about it, you can overcome everything you've ranted about thus far. It's unreasonable of you to expect to use the system as if you were running a vanilla LAMP installation with a product as extensive as cPanel in place - I don't think this would be possible even if you developed your own control panel. It's simply too complex when you're working with hundreds of different pieces of software through one centralized interface.

cPanel should perhaps market itself as rather than a control panel for managing servers, to market itself as an operating system userland replacement or perhaps an outright operating system sans the kernel.

Taking this into a Windows perspective, imagine installing a Windows 'control panel' where you couldn't ever touch regedit or any *.msc and had to instead use a tool that's a part of that control panel suite because any registry changes you did would get reverted and that .reg files no longer worked because the suite doesn't understand them.
--
--Kradorex Xeron
[an error occurred while processing this signature]


removed
Premium,VIP
join:2002-02-08
Houston, TX
kudos:38

TL;DR. Everything you've outlined is more of a DigitalXeron See Profile problem rather than a cPanel problem. You could make much better use of cPanel if you took the time to understand how it works rather than ranting about the management process not being exactly what you expect it to be.
--
irc.removed.us - #dslr



netboy34
Premium
join:2001-08-29
Kennesaw, GA
kudos:1
reply to Rob

said by Rob:

I'm just surprised that there hasn't been a serious challenger to cPanel. The other panels can't match everything cPanel offers.

Plesk
»www.parallels.com/products/plesk/

There was more, but Parallels bought most of them.

I have DotNetPanel (now WebsitePanel when Microsoft bought it and OpenSourced it) on my windows box, and Virtualmin on my linux box. They may not look pretty, but they work when I need it


KoolMoe
Aw Man
Premium
join:2001-02-14
Annapolis, MD

We have Plesk installed on a Windows box.
It sucks...though fairly, may be lack of understanding of parts of it. There are always hassles, usually with permissions. We avoid it whenever possible.
I use a Cpanel site for my webhosting. It's great! But I probably only use 20% of it's overall functionality...
KM
--
Don't Lie - Be Kind - Realize your Potential


William
Premium
join:2010-04-18
Washougal, WA
reply to DigitalXeron

Prefer cPanel myself. Used Plesk (think it was) way back when I first started tinkering with a web site, don't recall how it was, tried custom panels, webmin, these others seem difficult, just accustomed to cPanel (just used to it).