Those of you who are hosting on popular web host service Siteground, be aware that they are getting rid of cPanel on all their accounts, replacing the control panel with their own in-house built alternative.
July 30th 2019 they are launching a redesigned user area with a new control panel they are calling ‘Site Tools’.
The redesigned interface will make it initially easier to install WordPress and get your site set up faster, which is great news for those just getting started with WordPress and wanting a site up and running quickly with minimal technical knowledge. There will also be a quick site migration option right when you start your account. This is a much cleaner and easier to understand onboarding process, so it is great to see them doing that.
However, losing cPanel could be a major deal-breaker for some who like the advanced features it offers. CPanel is the leading control panel with many complex tools and options. Not a lot of detail is known yet about the limitations of their new SiteGround Site Tools panel, but likely you will lose some of the tools that cPanel has.
My guess is that it will function a lot more like other Managed WordPress hosts have built their custom control panels, where you will have a stripped down feature set of the most commonly used things such as basic analytics, turning on SSL with Lets Encrypt, links to phpMyAdmin for your database, and a few basic settings for caching and optimizing your site.
You might lose cPanel features such as:
- Softaculous for installing a variety of web apps besides WordPress
- The advanced file manager tool with code editor
- Disk usage tool (useful for finding large files when running out of disk space)
- Server logs
- Tools for setting up and managing email accounts
- Domain tools for add-on domains, sub-domains, add domains, parked domains, management of redirecting domains, etc.
- Web email clients Horde, SquirrelMail, Roundcube
- Managing cron jobs
- Other advanced settings and stats
Their move is likely from a cost-saving perspective, since cPanel recently changed their licensing fees to make it more expensive for web hosting companies to offer cPanel to their users.
On June 27th 2019 cPanel sent shockwaves through the web hosting industry with a price increase announcement, changing their pricing model from a per server pricing to a per account model. Before this price increase, web hosting companies were paying $200/yr directly to cPanel for unlimited accounts on a virtualized cloud instance. With the new pricing model, cPanel’s list pricing for the base license is $45/mo, but is limited to 100 accounts, with additional accounts being $0.20 a month each.
So if you’re a cPanel partner running 1,000 websites per server, you were only paying roughly $17 per month per cPanel license for each server. Now your costs would jump to $225 per month. A massive increase, from 200/year to 2,700/year.
SiteGround does have a history of building powerful custom tools for WordPress sites, and they had custom caching tools, staging, and unique functionality built into their cPanel control panel. So they might have a decent alternative built.
With big hosting companies like SiteGround moving away from cPanel, it will be interesting to see if other budget shared hosting companies follow suit. We will start to see a trend of hosts turning their service offering more into Managed WordPress style hosts, than traditional cPanel shared hosting sellers.