ZPanel – A Free Web Server Control Panel

ZPanel

When you first start with web servers, your first experience is probably going to be with a shared host, running something like cPanel. This isn’t a bad thing by any means, cPanel is a great system. But what if your website grows and you need something a little more beefy, like a VPS, yet want to maintain the simplicity of something like cPanel? Well, you really need a free web server control panel like ZPanel.

What Is ZPanel?

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I’ll let the guys over at ZPanel tell you what it is:

ZPanel is a free to download and use Web hosting control panel written to work effortlessly with Microsoft Windows and POSIX (Linux, UNIX and MacOSX) based servers or computers. This solution can turn a home or professional server into a fully fledged, easy to use and manage web hosting server.

Being open source is a definite plus, as you can see what’s going on behind the scenes if you’re that way inclined. Not only that, but ZPanel is also free in both senses of the word (free as in free beer, and free as in freedom).

ZPanel-Home

What Can ZPanel Do?

Well, ZPanel works in much the same way as other control panels like cPanel. You can use it to manage pretty much every aspect of your web server, including email accounts, MySQL databases, domains, DNS, FTP, and more advanced config like Cron jobs and managing quota’s. As you can see from the screenshot above, it all comes packaged with a very slick looking interface as well.

ZPanel goes one further than competitors like cPanel as you can use it to create re-seller, or user accounts for other people to use. So, I could setup a domain for a friend, and give them their own user account so that they can log in to ZPanel and manage only their domain(s). This can also be done for FTP. So your domains can stay separated. Pretty cool stuff for a free web server control panel!

Note: I know that cPanel have WHM (Web Hosting Manager), but this is a separate utility away from cPanel, and has to be purchased separately.

This Sounds Great, How Do I Set It Up?

Getting up and running with ZPanel is extremely easy. The installation package for ZPanel installs everything you need to run your own web server, so all you need is a blank server, and ZPanel will do the rest. You can read more about the ZPanel pre-requisites here. During the installation, ZPanel will install the following packages on your machine:

  • ZPanel (obviously)
  • MySql
  • Apache
  • PHP
  • Bind
  • phpMyAdmin
  • RoundCube
  • Dovecot (Ubuntu, CentOS)
  • Postfix (Ubuntu, CentOS)
  • proFTPd (Ubuntu, CentOS)
  • hMail Server (Windows)
  • *FileZilla Server (Windows)

 

See? Told you that you will everything you need to get going! To install ZPanel, you can follow the very simple guides linked below in the ZPanel wiki.

 

Once you have finished the installation process, simply navigate to whatever URL you specified during the setup of ZPanel (remember to have configured all the DNS required with your host, or the URL won’t work) and you should get the ZPanel login screen as below:

ZPanel-Login

Conclusion

There are other free web server control panel’s out there, but we’ve found ZPanel to be the best looking, simplest to use, and by far the easiest to setup. If you want a free web server control panel with more advanced features then I would recommend using Virtualmin. However, ZPanel will be more than enough for the vast majority of users who require a free web server control panel.

Enjoy this article? Think a friend may find it useful? Well, feel free to share it on your social networks, or via email using the grey buttons below. We’d really appreciate it if you did. Also, don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or sign up for our email newsletter.

ZPanel – A Free Web Server Control Panel
User Rating: 2.6 (4 votes)
  • mist42nz

    got that far….
    but how to have actual website (index.html) logins or setup users that can login past the zpanel green…?