Plesk and Dot Net Panel (sometimes abbreviated to DNP) are both Windows web hosting control panels that offer users an easy way to manage their Windows web hosting account whilst still being able to manage their web hosting account in other ways such as via FTP. Although Plesk has been the most popular Windows web hosting control panel around for a long time, DNP is now a strong competitor and is being taken up by many web hosting providers to replace their Plesk Windows web hosting servers.
Dot Net Panel has many features which Plesk lacks, such as support for Hyper-V VPS server hosting services as well as Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 email hosting services; this effectively leads Plesk in the dust when it comes to which web hosting control panel is the most feature rich, although Plesk still has a lot to offer when it comes to basic server management and Windows shared hosting services. However, because the Virtuozzo VPS daemon that is popular with many web hosting providers for offering their VPS hosting services.
Plesk still has a strong case when it comes to VPS hosting; many VPS hosting providers offer the Plesk web hosting control panel for free with their Windows VPS servers because they are able to get licenses at a reduced cost due to their use of Virtuozzo. Both Plesk and DNP offer users with an easy to use interface that makes it easy for both clients and server managers to manage their own side of the deal; however, Dot Net Panel’s interface is a lot smoother and quicker to load than the interface which is offered by Plesk. The main thing to remember is that both Plesk and DNP are able to run smoothly on Windows based web hosting servers, however it is recommended that you only run either web hosting control on a mid to high-end Windows VPS server or dedicated server.
What are the advantages of using Plesk over Dot Net Panel?
As a consumer there can be many advantages to using Plesk over Dot Net Panel whether it be in a shared hosting environment or on a Windows VPS server or Windows dedicated server. The main advantage that you will find as a consumer will be the lower costs, especially if you choose to use Plesk with Windows VPS server hosting services; because a majority of Windows VPS hosting providers will be using the Virtuozzo VPS platform which is also owned by the creators of the Plesk control panel, they are able to get Plesk control panel licenses at a redcued cost. Parallels, the creators of Plesk, also have a number of additional features which can be purchased to increase the flexibility of your installation of the Plesk control panel and what you can use it for; such features include the Plesk Sitebuilder application which you can use to build your websites online in a few mintues, or if you are wanting to start your own web hosting service then you can make use of the Plesk Billing application. Although Dot Net Panel hosting services may be becoming more popular and freely available, Plesk web hosting services are still very much at the top of the Windows shared hosting market; with Plesk you have a choice of different applications for different purposes that will integrate with Plesk seamlessly, but with Dot Net Panel you are forced to use the default applications that are installed by the control panel. In summary, Plesk can offer users and administrators the following advantages over the Dot Net Panel web hosting control panel:
- Pricing – Plesk is in some cases available for free as web hosting providers also use the Virtuozzo VPS platform which is offered by the same company that develops the Plesk control panel – this means that in some cases they are able to offer the Plesk control panel at a reduced cost or for free to users who purchase Virtuozzo based Windows VPS hosting services – if you use Hyper-V Windows VPS hosting services then this scenario won’t apply
- Extra features – Parallels also has a number of extra features and applications under the Plesk brand name which you can use to increase the flexibility of your Plesk installation or to offer extra services to your customers if you are using Plesk to offer your own web hosting packages to your own web hosting customers – examples of these extra programmes include the Plesk billing system (formerly known as Modernbill) as well as the Plesk Sitebuilder, both of which will make it easier for you if you are using the Plesk control panel system to offer your own web hosting packages
- Support for third-party applications – Plesk also allows for the use of third-party applications which will allow you to configure your Plesk installation to function exactly the way you want it to, right down to which applications are used for specific services that are important to the running of the websites which you are hosting – for example, Plesk uses the MailEnable mail server by default, but you may wish to use the SmarterMail email server and webmail interface so that you are able to make use of the extra features, and SmarterMail is just one of several email servers supported by Plesk.
Plesk has a lot to offer over Dot Net Panel, but more so for users who have their own Windows VPS servers or Windows dedicated servers because of the additional features that are available and the fact that Plesk works well in conjunction with third-party applications. The pricing of the Plesk control panel has also helped to keep it ahead of Dot Net Panel to an extent, but Plesk is gradually losing to Dot Net Panel as web hosting providers discover the advantages of clustered web hosting services.
What can Dot Net Panel offer me that Plesk can’t?
Dot Net Panel has a lot to offer which Plesk doesn’t, and it is these factors which has meant that some web hosting providers are now moving their Plesk based systems over to Dot Net Panel based servers so that they are able to offer users a more reliable Windows web hosting experience. Dot Net Panel is a lot cheaper to license per server for a web hosting provider than Plesk is, regardless of whether they purchase an owned license or pay for a monthly license; for example, if a web hosting provider was to buy a one-off license for a Windows server they would pay $390 for the Dot Net Panel license.
But if they were to purchase a Plesk control panel license then they would be looking at paying $1000+. Dot Net Panel’s support for Hyper-V based VPS hosting nodes and Exchange Server hosting nodes puts enterprise hosting services within the reach of many budget web hosting providers; it is able to offer a control panel interface for what would otherwise be control panel-less web hosting services which could be have been inconvenient for the business users that Hyper-V VPS hosting and Microsoft Exchange email hosting are designed for. Dot Net Panel can also offer web hosting providers the chance to offer more reliable Windows web hosting packages by making use of Dot Net Panel’s ability to be used in a server cluster with ease; with Plesk for Windows servers it is more or less impossible to cluster several servers together to offer a more reliable Windows web hosting experience. You will find that DNP can offer you the following advantages and features over the Plesk control panel:
- Licensing costs – Dot Net Panel is much cheaper for web hosting providers for both one-off licenses and for monthly licenses – this is evident with the fact that a Plesk one-off license if $1000+ whilst a DNP license one-off would only be $390, and if you only wanted to pay for a monthly license then you would only be looking at paying $30 each month for a Dot Net Panel license whereas you would have to pay $39 monthly for a Plesk license
- Hyper-V VPS and Exchange Server support – many businesses choose to outsource their email hosting services but still need to be able to make use of the advanced features that Microsoft Exchange Server has to offer, but many web hosting providers have been unable to offer Exchange Server hosting because of the costs involved in setting it up and getting a custom control panel developed, but Dot Net Panel is able to offer a management interface for Exchange servers – the same can be said for Hyper-V VPS servers, which without DNP would be a control panel-less form of web hosting
- Clustered web hosting – these are becoming more popular as clustered web hosting services allow web hosting providers to offer near enough 100% uptime, but with the Plesk control panel web hosting providers aren’t able to offer clustered Windows web hosting services – this is the reason for many now migrating over to Dot Net Panel, since after all a high amount of uptime is normally the key to customer satisfaction in the web hosting industry.
In summary, you will find that web hosting providers themselves will benefit more from migrating over to DNP than consumers. Although the user interface may be easier to use for some, a majority of the benefits lie in the backend such as the ability to offer clustered web hosting services to consumers which will help to increase service reliability. However, benefits such as lower licensing fees will have an indirect effect on consumers as it means that they won’t have to pay so much for their shared Dot Net Panel web hosting services. Although Dot Net Panel may not be available for VPS server users at the moment, you can always purchase your own DNP license as they are cheap enough.
In conclusion, Dot Net Panel will remain widely used in the shared web hosting industry as Plesk is more than adequate for most VPS server users at the moment, and the fact that a majority of VPS server owners will be getting it for free means that it won’t be going anywhere for now. However, because shared hosting providers want to increase their overall service reliability it is important for them to embrace new technologies such as clustered web hosting using Dot Net Panel.