As we already wrote, ISPmanager 5 panel will reach end-of-life soon. The situation impacts many of our clients because we have provided a free license of ISPmanager 5 Lite as a gift for a dedicated server order earlier. The new version has a slightly different pricing model, so clients who have many sites should pay more. That’s exactly why the management told me to check out free web hosting panels and compare them with my ISPmanager experience.

Test equipment

I use a medium-level VPS which is good enough to host 1 – 5 sites. You can order the same model here.
CPU: 2x 2.2 GHz cores
RAM: 4 GB
Disk: 80 GB NVMe
Bandwidth: 500 Mbps

Disclaimer:
Please pay attention that this article doesn’t aim to test out the full functionality of the panel. It’s possible only during production usage. However, we can tell if the panel covers the same demands as the ISPmanager 5 did. It’s just a short report about the impressions of the experienced system administrator. Please test the panel personally before production usage.

Our first candidate – FASTPANEL®

Site: https://fastpanel.direct

This panel is free to use but requires registering and receiving your personal license key. We’ve received a free license valid until 2037. Please pay attention that the developer can change these conditions anytime in accordance with the text of the license.

Developers are requesting users’ feedback and ideas. They’ve created a Tasks page on their site where users can vote for suggested features or propose their own.

The panel has been installed automatically for around 10 minutes. This time includes some default software: Apache, Nginx, FTP server, mail server, etc. Basically, you’re ready to publish the site at this point.

The appearance of the panel

Some languages are available in addition to English – Russian, Ukrainian, Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Estonian. The design is minimalistic and intuitive enough.

Some technical and interface details

  • The empty panel used 2 GB of disk space and ~400 MB of RAM. Such numbers looking good in comparison with ISPmanager 5.
  • You can easily obtain a web-based SSH console in the Settings -> Applications.
  • Two-factor authentication is available.
  • You can control some DNS services right from the panel and then issue Let’s Encrypt wildcard certificates automatically.
  • FTP accounts will be created by default. But it’s better to configure SFTP just in few clicks.
  • If you’re going from the super admin account to the simple user’s one, you can get back, but the button says Change user, it’s a bit unclear for beginners.
  • The side panel closes when the page reloads. Such behavior makes the work harder because there are no tabs like ISPmanager:

  • If your site works with several databases, you can assign all databases to one user only via phpMyAdmin or SQL request. However, such a solution rare enough to delay this feature.
  • Let’s Encrypt requests will fail if domain aliases like www. don’t exist. You can’t change it in the SSL menu, just remove non-existing aliases.
  • Ai-Bolit antivirus is available to scan sites for malware. Not bad, but this product is outdated. I don’t think that modern malware can be detected with this tool.
  • GUI for crontab is available. You can create a task and see when it’ll be executed:
  • You can configure backup with SCP, FTP, local folder, or Dropbox.
  • Too many ports opened by default.
  • You can make a backup copy of site files and several databases with one backup task. Each user can create his own backup plan.
  • You can grant someone with access only to one site. This person will receive an e-mail with login data.

Summary

The FASTPANEL is surprisingly rich-featured and can be an ideal choice for personal use or for a web studio company. They focused a lot to engage users with a minimalistic but powerful design. You can easily deploy your site without a console. However, don’t recommend using the panel as shared hosting – there are no enough features to the limits’ configuration.