What is Web Hosting : In today’s Internet, everyone acquires websites – from large companies to individuals, which simply denote their presence on the web. Demand creates supply, and today being a hoster is very profitable and promising.

The principle of earnings is standard: we buy a lot and cheaper, and sell in parts and more expensive. It remains to choose a tool that will help “cut” the server into small pieces of the desired size.

Multifunctional SysCP

Web panels distributed under the OpenSource license, you can find more than a dozen, but SysCP(System Control Panels, syscp.org) is probably one of the most popular. The story of creation is trivial: Florian Lippert, the main and permanent developer of SysCP, who administered the mail server at one of the hosting sites, noticed that often adding and deleting accounts and subdomains with different characteristics is not as convenient as we would like. As a result, he created a set of scripts that significantly simplified the process, which soon grew into a product known as SysCP. The first release appeared in mid-2004, and since then the project has been in active development. In the same year, the basic requirements for the principles of domain management in SysCP were formulated. They are simple and today are used in many such solutions: do not create local (system) accounts, manage subdomains and records BIND, postal addresses and mail forwarding. PHP is selected as the programming language. All data is stored in MySQL databases, which speeds up access and simplifies the creation and deletion of accounts.

Hosting management capabilities in SysCP are impressive. Today, a large number of servers are supported: web (Apache, Lighttpd), DNS (BIND9, PowerDNS), SMTP (Postfix, Exim4), POP3 / IMAP (Courier, Dovecot), FTP (ProFTP, PureFTP), plus statistics collection systems. And that is not all. Optionally, some other applications and services can be installed: Maildrop, ClamAV and Spamassassin, PHPmyAdmin, Roundcube, SquirrelMail, WebFTP and so on. 
The list of applications clearly indicates the platform on which you can run SysCP – only * nix. The developers themselves recommend Debian / Ubuntu and FreeBSD. The list of supported projects on the site also includes Gentoo Linux and openSUSE. Although SysCP works fine in other distributions, including numerous RedHat clones.
There are 3 types of accounts in the panel, each of which has its own capabilities: administrators, resellers and users. 
The localized web-based administrator interface allows you to create new accounts, determine the available resources and limits, work with resellers, setting each of its area of ​​visibility. SysCP also implements traffic accounting, billing, a convenient ticket system that allows you to organize the normal operation of the support service. And this is important, given that the evaluation of the work of the support of any host by Internet users is conducted constantly. The client part allows you to manage subdomains, passwords, databases, email records, set passwords on directories, access webmail and phpMyAdmin, redirect mail to a specific address. Activate the catch-all featurewill allow to “catch” all mail entering the domain. In addition, many other little things are implemented – the installation of e-mail templates, sending messages and so on. Total, probably, and not to list. 
Moreover, it is not at all necessary to install SysCP for “to see”, the project offers a demo.sys demo.sys , where, by clicking on the links, you can safely navigate the main features of the web panel. 
Today, a package that implements SysCP is included in most Linux distributions, so its installation is very simple. For example, in Ubuntu / Debian:

$ sudo  apt-get  install syscp

True, the batch installation has one negative point, which concerns, however, and other similar projects. The final composition of the installed applications (web, email, FTP server, etc.) depends solely on the preferences of the developer who compiled the package and, accordingly, indicated the dependencies. If you are not satisfied with the default option, you will have to add an alternative and reconfigure the services yourself. 
Installation from source can also not be called complex, it is similar to the deployment of any application written for LAMP. Although, given the multiple dependencies, you just need to be careful.

Simple ISPmanager

The ISPmanager panel (ispsystem.com/software/ispmanager) is a multifunctional server management tool. The whole process, as it should be, takes place using a simple and intuitive web interface. Settings are made in just a couple of mouse clicks. Any super-training is not required, just enough to understand the task. The solution is paid, the cost, as well as the final functionality, depends on the chosen version – Lite, Pro and Cluster. The list of supported OSs is FreeBSD, Linux, Windows (Lite only). Development of porting ISPmanager to Solaris is underway. The Linux distribution, in principle, can be any, the developers recommend Debian (for the Cluster version only Debian) and CentOS.
To set limits on disk space, the kernel must maintain quotas. But there is a subtlety: if the disk is divided into several sections, then quotas will be maintained only on the section where the user directories are located. On CentOS, you also need to disable SELinux. A big plus of ISPmanager is the ability to combine several servers with installed ISPmanager into one control panel. 
The Lite version is oriented for internal (personal use), for example, an VDS is installed in the organization, on which several servers run, without the need for a resale of hosting, a ticket system, and so on.
The following services and resources are supported: web server (Apache, IIS), database – MySQL, PostgreSQL, mail servers (Sendmail, Exim, Postfix or CommunigatePro), POP3 – Dovecot, FTP server (ProFTPD, vsftpd), DNS server – BIND9 or DNS service of Windows. For access to mail, the SquirellMail web interface is used, statistics collection is implemented using AwStats, Webalizer, database management is phpMyAdmin or phpPgAdmin. If Minimalist or MailMan is installed, work with mailing lists will be provided. Anti-spam protection is implemented using white and black lists, as well as dnsbl block lists. There is a convenient backup system, account import, statistics system, file manager and other small amenities.
The panel supports several types of accounts: Administrator, Reseller (in Pro and Cluster), user, FTP and mail account, which allows you to delegate rights to the purpose. 
The project offers demo versions of Lite and Pro, they allow you to get an idea of ​​the product and its capabilities. True, the number of demo servers is limited, so sometimes you have to wait until resources are released. Yes, and through Google Ghrome do not go to the demo site. 
The easiest way to install the distribution is to use a script, exe’shnik is offered for Windows. Before installing you need to have an active license, a trial version for 2 weeks can be ordered on the project website. The procedure is simple, the only thing you will need to specify the white IP to which the license will be associated. Then everything is simple:

$ wget  -c http: // download.ispsystem.com / install.sh

Run the script:

$ sudo  sh install.sh

And answer a number of simple questions. During the installation, all necessary files will be downloaded and packages will be installed. The only nuance that I didn’t like was the script, correctly defining the distribution as Ubuntu 10.4, added repositories from Debian to /etc/apt/source.list , but removed a number of Ubuntu lines. Therefore, I recommend making a backup of this file before installing ISPmanager. Errors in the installation process can occur only if the APT does not work correctly. We correct the links in /etc/apt/sources.list and repeat the installation. Then everything is simple, the main thing is to determine the composition of the installed software:

  • Install most popular software – installation of a ready set of hoster;
  • Minimal install (includes web server only) – only the Apache web server will be installed, everything else can be added using the ISPmanager interface;
  • Install all supported software (default for anything) – almost the entire software suite is installed, including 2 DBMSs – MySQL and PostgreSQL;
  • Gives you a choice of software is the most optimal choice for an experienced user, as we get the opportunity to select and configure everything manually.

After installation, click on the link https: // IP address / manager / and register with the system account. 
The management interface is simple and, one might say, standard for this kind of applications. On the left are the parameters, divided into groups, in the middle window the actual settings are shown. Buttons for creating, editing, deleting settings are located in the panel at the top. In case of errors or unavailability of some installations, here in the panel prompts are given for further actions. 
At the very beginning, you should add another account, and then you can create virtual domains. For quick access, some menus can be added to Favorites.
It should also be noted the presence of training videos and excellent documentation, access to it can be obtained on the project website or on the links in the web panel.

Multifunctional DTC

Hosting panel Domain Technologie Controldesigned to manage web, DNS, FTP or mail hosting, including those hosted on VDS. Some functions implemented in it are not available even in paid solutions. For example, monitoring network boot servers, automatically changing IP (like dyndns), anti-virus and anti-spam protection (Amavis, Clamav, SpamAssassin), automatic backup of NS and MX records between panels, full billing, ticket system and much more. The hosting plan includes the number of websites, email and FTP accounts, domains and subdomains, SSH and MySQL, with the ability to set quotas. DTC is written in PHP, all settings are stored in the MySQL database, from where configuration files for various servers are then generated. The process itself is managed through a localized web interface.
The list of supported servers also inspires respect: Bind 8/9, MySQL, Apache (with mod_security support), PHP, Qmail, Postfix, Courier, Cyrus, Dovecot, ProFTPd, Pure-ftpd, NCFTP (upload), Webalizer, Awstat, Xen hypervisor and some others. Three types of accounts are supported – root-admin, client or virtual admin, mail client (mail access only). The site administrator creates a domain, sets quotas and other settings, then the virtual admin manages the domain. 
Minimum requirements: 128 MB of RAM and 256 MB of swap. But, for example, a mail scanner (antivirus and antispam), depending on the load, can select from 6 to 700 MB of RAM. Therefore, the greater the load, the more powerful the server should be.
The list of officially supported systems on the site is very modest: FreeBSD, RedHat, Debian, Gentoo, and Mac OS X. And DTC is one of the first web panels that got into the repositories of most popular distributions. Although the version is a bit late in the turnips, the developers for Debian / Ubuntu and CentOS offer their own storage. To connect it in Ubuntu, write in /etc/apt/source.list :

deb ftp : // ftp.gplhost.com / debian / lenny main

Searching for packages in the repository by the dtc keyword will generate 12 packages. Depending on the selected combination, certain services will be installed. You can install all the necessary services yourself, and then install the virtual package dtc or dtc-toaster , each of them offers a basic web panel feature with a minimum of dependencies. Other packages – dtc-core, dtc-cyrus, dtc-postfix-courier offer already more dependencies. Of course, such an installation does not seem very convenient at first, but after sorting out the dependencies, then you can install DTC for any supported configurations. By the way, CentOS has less of this confusion. We put:

$ sudo  apt-get  install dtc-toaster

If aptitude is used, then a large number of recommended packages will be installed, some of which will be clearly redundant. You can simply disable the installation of recommended packages in the APT settings. To do this, create a file:

$ sudo  nano  / etc / apt / apt.conf.d / 20norecomends
Install-Recommends "false" ;
Install-Suggests "false" ;
} ;

In the course of the installation, a number of questions will be asked on the settings of the associated servers and the DTC itself. The parameters of the latter are saved in the file / var / lib / dtc / saved_install_config (to repeat the process from the beginning, the file must be deleted). When all packages are installed, run the script:

$ sudo  / usr / share / dtc / admin / install / install

The script will check the availability of all files and libraries, as well as access rights to them, generate an SSL certificate, launch all daemons. After that, it will start asking standard questions – user and password for access to MySQL, location of files, password for access to the web interface, etc. 
Then you can register by going to the browser at the address that will be issued at the end of the installation. By default, a dtc subdomain is created for DTC. For example, for the tux.in.ua domain the address would be http://dtc.tux.in.ua/dtcadmin or https://dtc.tux.in.ua/dtcadmin. 
Administrators using other OS or Linux distributions can install DTC from source using project git repository or tarball. Fortunately, this process is also not more difficult than installing any solution written in PHP.
The project offers demo accounts, but they are not always available. The documentation on the site is quite detailed, but I did not meet it in translation.

Installing DTC on CentOS / RedHat

In my opinion, installing DTC on CentOS is even easier than on Ubuntu. There are no such number of alternatives, and the process itself usually takes place without surprises. 
In the CentOS repository, there is already a dtc package, more precisely, dtc.x86_64, which sets at all what we need – the Device Tree Compiler. Therefore, we add 2 other repositories (DTC and RPMforge):

# wget -q ftp://ftparchive.gplhost.com/yum/gplhost.repo -O /etc/yum.repos.d/gplhost.repo 
# wget http://dag.wieers.com/rpm/packages/rpmforge -release / rpmforge-release-0.3.6-1.el5.rf.x86_64.rpm

After that, the command “yum search dtc” will give a list of the necessary packages, and CentOS clearly shows the orientation to use with Xen. Put the packages:

# rpm -ivh rpmforge-release-0.3.6-1.el5.rf.x86_64.rpm 
# yum install dtc-postfix-courier

And run the installation script, for example:

# / usr / share / dtc / admin / install / install --not-interactive --centos-init-daemons --mysql-pass PASSWORD --dtcadmin-pass PASSWORD 
# service httpd start 
# named start 
# chkconfig named on

Everything, you can work.

Lightweight baifox

Multifunctional tools like DTC are not needed in all cases. Admins serving small companies need something simpler and easier, for example, in order to manage the virtual domains of a web server. And that’s all. The Baifox panel (baifox.org) has been developed for such situations. The project is relatively young and is developing quite quickly.
Baifox is written in PHP (compatible with PHP4 and PHP5), SQLite database is used to store the settings. Interestingly, Lighttpd is used as the server providing the interface, and the settings control the Apache virtual nodes. The interface is very simple, minus – the lack of Russian language. But with knowledge of basic English it is very easy to figure out the settings, and if you want to localize. For each node, its own parameters are activated – different PHP options, support for cgi-bin, indexing, etc. Baifox also works with BIND, Awstats, MySQL, PureFTPd and VPOPmail. In addition to the admin account, the panel also supports regular accounts, the creation of which indicates the number of domains, the limit of disk space and traffic.
The user panel contains fewer settings. The client can add the number of domains allocated to him, indicating the various quotas, the number of mail aliases, accounts and other settings. After creating a domain, the main admin should activate it. Until he does this, the red color of the icon opposite the name and the message at the top of the page will remind you of this. The admin simply selects the disabled domain in the list and presses the Generate button, and after the new settings are created, the ” Restart service ” link . For communication of the user with the administrator, e-mail is used, in a separate menu there is a ready-made form for sending messages. Also, visual graphs of quotas usage are available in the user interface. 
The installation process in Debain / Ubuntu is detailed on the page.baifox.org/?id=install_debian . We consistently carry out all instructions, not deviating one iota. After installing Apache2 and Lighttpd, the latter will not start, giving an error signaling that the port is already in use. The archive contains a ready-made config for Lighttpd, which replaces the default file. After that Lighttpd will be migrated to port 7777, of course, the number can be changed (the server.port parameter). To log in to the web interface, use the login / password – admin / admin . If some of the settings are made incorrectly during the installation, then after registration you will see a message indicating where the error is. 
In general, if you need to manage virtual servers and spend a minimum of time on installing and studying the panel, then Baifox looks like a good option.

Baifox is very easy to set up.


There are not many panels for hosting management, but a lot. To choose your option, you should first decide on the services and basic features that should provide such a panel. And after the requirements are made up, it will be very easy to find what you need.