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07-11-2011, 09:11 PM
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Update: February 2013

When this was first written, Kloxo really was okay, and both ISPConfig and VirtualMin had a lot of bug. Now the opposite is true. Kloxo introduced a serious bug in early 2012 hat can make your admin stop working randomly (no port 7777/7778), and even mail and some other ports. ISPConfig and Virtualmin added nginx options, optional RoundCube webmail, and both have fairly easy install of DKIM records.

At this time, I'd advise you to stay away from Kloxo.

The best panels are the paid ones: cPanel, Plesk, DirectAdmin
The best free panels are Virtualmin and ISPConfig 3, in that order. Virtualmin is easier to install for novices. (Hint: Use CentOS, not Debian, for Virtualmin.)



Hi kpmeida, sorry to bother you but I have been hosting for a while now in a centos environment with some self built scripts. Things run well, but I think its time for some kind of control panel. I read a little on kloxo today and like anything when you read it everything sounds good, but once you set it up its another. I was going to ask you if you are still using it and what you thought of it. Thanks! I appreciate any input you might have.
Before I answer, I wanted to give a quick preface...
  • cPanel (or cPanel + WHM on a VPS) is easily the best control panel for Linux. Of course, that costs money to license monthly/annually, hence the interest people have in something like Kloxo or ISPConfig 3. Some VPS owners want to stick to small budgets, and eliminating the panel licensing easily knocks off $10+ of monthly fees.
  • Plesk is a competing for-pay panel that is wonderful on Windows, and absolutely horrible on Linux. Ironic that it started as a Linux panel some 6+ years ago. As years and versions went by, it's become a lousy/buggy panel that I wouldn't use voluntarily. Plesk 7 was fine, Plesk 8 had issues, Plesk 9 made me want to beat up the computer. I still have Plesk 9 on a VPS, and even on one of the best hosts around, it's sluggish compared to WHM/cPanel. It's kept as a testing VPS (dev WordPress themes/plugins), and dedicated to hosting two special projects where the site owner prefers Linux/Plesk setups.
  • DirectAdmin rounds out the list of for-pay licensed panels. I find it less feature-rich than cPanel or Plesk, and about even with Kloxo.
Moving on...

Kloxo is excellent. I have it on a 1GB RAM VPS (2GB burst) with HostPolar, and find it to be feature-rich, speedy, and very stable.

I'd have to say it's better than Plesk in many ways. It's rather sad that the creator of Kloxo (formerly LxAdmin) committed suicide a couple years ago -- rumored to be due to a mix of family issues (previous death in the family), and the loss of a big project contract (Kloxo related, maybe?). Others have continued the project in his absence, and they've done a great job of keeping on updates for both security and features.

The installation procedure seems pretty straight-forward and is well-documented, unlike most free panels. Justin at HostPolar had it installed within minutes of my support ticket, so I think it's safe to assume Kloxo is an easy/quick install. Once Kloxo was installed, I noticed the included package for PHP was outdated (old 5.2.x, and I wanted the newest 5.2.x available), and then MySQL had to be reinstalled manually, as it didn't seem to take on the first attempt. Aside from that, both easy tasks, the install was flawless. While I could have done it myself, I requested HostPolar do it -- I was also making some basic requests to test/review HostPolar at the time. Again, done in minutes. Great support for a low-cost VPS host.

At first glance, Kloxo's navigation is somewhat silly -- quite a few things are duplicated. And some features are not exactly where you may think them to be, especially if you're used to cPanel or Plesk. I tend to ignore the sidebar controls, and just click through the tabbed navigation on the main window.

I recently tested (or tried to test) some other panels. Within a period of 5 days, I reinstalled a VPS container no less than 25 times because most panels would just hose over the Linux system. I probably could have manually uninstalled/fixed, but there was no point. SolusVM reinstall was 10 seconds at most. This is what I found...

The good:
  • [s]Kloxo is probably the best free panel.[s] Lots of features, fast, works well. Low resource use, too!
  • ISPConfig 3 is complicated to install, and doesn't necessarily work perfectly without some effort. For example, upgrading the outdated SquirrelMail to Roundcube results in errors. Inbound mail reception doesn't work right, either. It's not me, it's the package. When I have time, I'll have to manually repair the MySQL database for Roundcube, and then reinstall some of the mail apps. I'm not sure if I broke inbound (due to Roundcube), or if it never worked. Aside from those two small issues, it does work well. I really like the DNS plugin, using MyDNSConfig.
  • Webmin is often touted as a "control panel" but really isn't. It's mostly just a GUI for editing conf files, instead of vi in SSH. To really make it a functional panel like cPanel/Kloxo/etc, you have to add VirtualMin. I found it to consume too much RAM -- more than ISPConfig 3, and far more than Kloxo. That complaint aside, it was fine. But I'd rather run Kloxo or ISPConfig 3.
  • VHCS looks fine for barebones needs, but lacks the email features and DNS support I want to have. I run DNS local to the VPS, and sometimes want spam/DNSBL in place, and would prefer to manage that from the panel instead of digging around and editing files in SSH. I have not yet tested the install on this one, only looked at the demo.
The bad:
  • ISPConfig 2 is dated, don't bother. ISPConfig 3 is better.
  • Froxlor has potential as a great panel, but it would never work properly. I've put Froxlor on the radar of the Tuxlite coder, so maybe he can figure out a way to make it work? He seemed interested. It would be a great nginx server panel, if it would install properly.
  • OpenPanel is buggy, unstable, horrible. I managed to install it once, and nothing worked right. Several more attempts to reinstall bombed. It's not me -- it's the code.
  • EHCP is full of Google ads. Sorry, but no. That's just going to make this panel as slow as Plesk. In this situation, EHCP is slowed because it waits on Google junk to load. That's adware/spamware, not open source. I can appreciate the creator wanting some money, but that's a bad way to go about it.
  • RavenCore is old, no documentation, etc. Pass.
  • GNUPanel was more of a billing system and tech support system for somebody that's too cheap to buy WHMCS. The actual hosting related controls felt sparse, a lot like early versions of DirectAdmin. For example, DNSBL or anti-spam functions are missing. No DNS functionality. If all you want is bare-bones panel, this would work, but all the CS type functions (billing, support tickets, etc) really bloat it. It's good for what it is, but I think it fills a small niche need at best. It's not a panel for end users or private VPS owners.
  • ZPanel has no documentation, and is a Windows panel ported to Linux. Windows needs good free panels, and this may be one. For Linux, I think it's too alpha-version right now. It simply would not install as instructed.
  • DTC (Domain Technologie Control) has no demo, looks to be an even more lousy version of WHM or GNUPanel, and appears to be quite old. Note the references to IE6. I tried to install it, but it failed to function. Documentation is awful and nearly non-existent.
  • XPanel is a low end for-pay panel ($19/single) and is as skimpy as Webmin. Did not install.
  • SysCP looks like something I used in 2001 (not 2011), and is both sparse in features and several years outdated. No updates since 2009 -- that can't be secure. Did not bother installing/testing.
  • web-cp seems to be abandoned.
  • ispCP is supposed to be based on VHCS, but it would never install properly. I gave up. They want feedback for making it better, but I just don't have the time to provide detailed feedback as a beta tester. Even their own demo doesn't seem to work properly.
  • i-MSCP is an unstable mess. Maybe someday that will change. It's a new project, from what I can tell.

So, Kloxo is really the "best of what's available" more than it is a perfect panel. I will say this, however: I did not use my Kloxo VPS for about a week, while testing these other panels. When I got back to working on the Kloxo server, it was a nice change of pace for everything to just work as it should. It's really quite pleasant -- like using cPanel, but without the costs. I plan to keep Kloxo for a long, long time.

Definitely give it a chance, I think you'll like it. I know I do.

I plan to write a detailed guide on Kloxo usage some this fall, and it will appear in the new digitalFAQ.com web tech guides on the next-gen main site (dev is almost done). There's not much out there, and many of them assume too much user knowledge. I'd rather pretend everybody knows nothing, so that the guide can make sense to a broader audience. Same for guides on server hardening, installing/upgrading various software on both Linux and Windows servers, etc. It will cover topics for newbies, as well as those with varying degrees of experience.

If you need a new host, read this: List of Best Web Hosts - Shared, reseller, VPS, cloud, dedicated
Few things compare to the misery of having a bad host, so get a good one.

If you have further questions, comments, etc, simply continue in this thread. If you're not a member, register now as a Free Member (or better yet, as a currently-$20 Premium Member, to support this site). I'll be glad to answer whatever I can, as it regards web hosting, web design, etc. I've been doing this for many years.

I hope this has helped.

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02-09-2013, 08:08 PM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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I saw somebody was reading this one (live forum stats), and gave it a needed update.

Don't use Kloxo. It's too unreliable now, thanks to code that found its way in the code base starting is Q1 2012. It's fubar.

Use Virtualmin or ISPConfig if you need a free panel.
Or better yet, pay $10 monthly and just use cPanel. It's so easy, and full of security features. Plesk and DirectAdmin are worthwhile, too.

If you have any questions, ask.

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