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What is Direct Admin?
Direct Admin is a web hosting control panel that brings a graphical user interface (GUI) to the management of a web hosting account, making it easier to perform common web hosting account management tasks.
Direct Admin Features for Users
- E-Mail Menu POP and IMAP email accounts, multiple addresses and aliases per inbox, mailing lists, forwarders, autoresponders. Access email via web or from an email client like Outlook. Spam Protection and other content filters are available.
- FTP Menu Users can set up and manage FTP and SFTP user accounts. Web-based FTP client included.
- DNS Menu Users can can edit their own DNS setting, create custom MX records, and fully control their own DNS.
- Statistics Users can view all key hosting and server statistics, such as request traffic, query speed, response time, performance, and bandwidth usage. The stats module also integrates with Webalizer.
- Subdomains Users can list, create, delete, and get statistics on subdomains.
- File Manager Provides users with a file interface similar to Windows Explorer or OSX Finder, letting them upload and manage files without having to use an FTP client.
- MySQL Database Manager Allows users to create and manage MySQL databases, including user management and querying.
- Site Backup Provide the ability to back up an entire hosting plan's files and configuration, and restore at a granular level.
- Error Pages Account-wide, user-defined custom error pages for 40x and 50x errors.
- Advanced Tools SSL certificate management, PHPinfo, cron job management, MIME type permissions, apache handlers, site redirection, and domain pointers.
Direct Admin Features for Resellers
- Account Management
- Predefined, customized deployment packages
- Complete view of Usage statistics, sortable by user account
- User Messaging, including messages to all users through the ticketing support system
- Customizable skins and theming
- IP address management and assignment
- Personalized name servers
Direct Admin Features for Hosting Administrators
- Manage multiple admins and resellers
- Customized reseller packaging to predefine sets of enabled features and configuration options.
- User lists.
- DNS management, including record editing for any DNS record stored on the system
- IP Address management and allocation
- Detail system services statistics and management.
Direct Admin offers other features:
Fully Integrated Help Desk and Support Ticket System
DirectAdmin provides a complete ticketing help desk solution, integrated right into the control panel, which helps resellers and hosting administrators provide a high level of support with as little hassle as possible.
This feature can be turned off if you wish to offer support though a different venue.
Updates to Direct Admin control panel can be easily installed automatically from the administrator's "License / Update" section, without having to download and install them manually. This makes it easy to stay up to date and secure.
Every feature of Direct Admin can be toggled on or off globally, by reseller, or by individual account. Administrators can customize what is available to their resellers, and resellers can customize what is available to their own customers.
Additionally, Direct Admin can be re-skinned or re-branded to any look and fell desired. Existing designs can be imported through the skins menu, or create your own.
Automatic Recovery From Crashes
Direct Admin constantly monitors your servers to make sure they are up and running. In the event of a crash, auto restoration is attempted. All crash events and restore attempts are reported to the server administrator immediately.
Unlimited Accounts and Unlimited Domain Licensing
There are no limits to the number of resellers, user accounts, or domain names that can be managed from a single installation of Direct Admin.
In addition to helping you provide support and assistance to your own users and resellers, Direct Admin provides a "generic" support site with detailed instructions for every control panel feature. This support site also provides detailed help and documentation for administrators and resellers.
Direct Admin Web Hosting
Direct Admin is a web hosting control panel. It is a fixed feature of a web hosting provider, not an option for the end user. If you prefer to use Direct Admin for your control panel (instead of, for example, cPanel), you'll need to specifically look for a web host that uses it.
If you are a reseller of web hosting, you can look for a hosting administrator or wholesaler who provides Direct Admin control panel.
Web hosting administrators and providers of hosting infrastructure can contact Direct Admin directly for licensing information. Direct Admin provides a high level of support, including free installation service.
DirectAdmin Hosting Frequently Asked Questions
What is DirectAdmin?
DirectAdmin is a web hosting control panel.
Why should I use DirectAdmin?
DirectAdmin comes with a slew of features for each level of user that needs it as a control panel.
For individual users, there are menus to manage DNS, email, and FTP. There are capabilities to manage cron jobs, databases, files, and SSL certificates. Users can also create custom error pages, setup backups, manage redirections and subdomains, and format MIME permissions and apache handlers.
Are there any reasons to avoid DirectAdmin?
DirectAdmin is a very efficient and very easy to use control panel. If you are a more experienced website developer or a reseller of websites, then you may require a more complex control panel to manage your website, subdomains, or client websites. If you need a more advanced solution, then a control panel like cPanel or Plesk may be a better fit for your needs.
What alternatives are there to DirectAdmin?
The most common alternative control panels to DirectAdmin are cPanel and Plesk. All of those solutions are scalable for multiple websites. They are feature rich, allowing several customizations to help hosting providers and webmasters extend the functionality of their server and website.
Other alternatives include Webmin, RVSkin, InterWorx, vDeck, and WHMCS. Consult with your hosting provider to find out which control panels they offer in their hosting plans before making a decision.
Do I have to know how to program to use DirectAdmin?
Since it is most likely provided to you by your chosen hosting provider and not something you are directly installing onto your server, then you probably don't need to know how to program in order to use it to manage your website. In fact, part of the reason DirectAdmin was created was to make managing websites and servers easy to use.
What are the requirements for DirectAdmin hosting?
In order to run DirectAdmin, you are going to need a Linux-based operating system for your server. Beyond that, installing DirectAdmin actually takes care of installing the remaining software required to create a "LAMP" stack — Apache, MySQL, and PHP. In DirectAdmin's installation guide, they also suggest you create a simple partition with the structure: "/boot 40 meg", "swap 2x memory", and "/ rest of the drive."
DirectAdmin can only be deployed through SSH hosting. Also, in order for DirectAdmin to automatically complete your LAMP stack, you will need to have compiling tools installed on your server like GCC, g++, and PERL. These are fairly advanced programming operations to complete, so only experienced server developers should take on the installation of these programs.
Do I need managed hosting in order to use DirectAdmin as my control panel?
Based on the requirements above to install DirectAdmin, managed hosting is probably highly recommended.
However, the real answer to this question depends on your answer to the question "how much responsibility are you willing to accept for the maintenance of your website?" The more complex your website is going to become with modules, features, and streaming applications, the greater your need will be for professionally managed website hosting.
Shared hosting often comes with some managed services included. If you have a dedicated hosting solution, however, managed services are likely required as part of your agreement. If you are experienced with installing DirectAdmin or you have the option of having DirectAdmin installed on your server at no cost — then your need for managed hosting might not be immediate. However, if you are inexperienced with server management, managed services may very well be a great decision — no matter what control panel solution you decide to install.
Can I host DirectAdmin on a shared hosting plan?
If you have a shared hosting plan and it includes a control panel, then you probably already have one selected for you by your hosting provider. DirectAdmin can be hosted on a shared hosting plan. However, hosting a control panel on a server that comes with a control panel already installed is unnecessary.
If you specifically want to manage your website infrastructure and server with DirectAdmin, make sure you review your hosting provider's shared hosting packages to determine if they use DirectAdmin as their control panel before making any type of long term commitment.
How does DirectAdmin compare to cPanel as a control panel?
DirectAdmin and cPanel are both commercial control panels. While DirectAdmin has more direct to customer payment options for its licensing, cPanel is primarily sold through resellers.
The two control panels each have some unique features. Ultimately, DirectAdmin is probably a better control panel choice for in-house site hosting while cPanel is a better solution for hosting providers.