By taking 5 minutes of your time to read this page, you’ll enhance your knowledge of control panels significantly. You will add knowledge about DirectAdmin to your armory, making you more capable of choosing the correct hosting plan for your needs.
We’ll be covering the basics of DirectAdmin, what it does and how it may benefit your project.
What is DirectAdmin?
DirectAdmin is a web hosting control panel that brings a web-based interface to the management of a web host account, making it easier to perform common web hosting account management tasks.
Who is Behind It?
While there isn’t much information on the DirectAdmin website about the team, it was originally created by JBMC Software. These guys are a Canadian based team, mostly known for DirectAdmin and other smaller projects.
Regardless of the mysteriousness, these programmers have created a brilliant control panel, suitable for many teams and projects to use.
Yes, there is barely any information online about the creators of DirectAdmin, but they do offer some impressive support options. There is an impressive list of support avenues to find answers to your queries. Some of these include a knowledge base, forum, private contact along with the standard phone, e-mail, and ticketing support.
At this moment, there is no live chat support provided by DirectAdmin.
DirectAdmin as a control panel offers a vast variety of important and useful features. I’ve decided to split these features into three groups, to make it easier for you to process. These are user features, reseller features and hosting administrator features. Let’s take a look.
DirectAdmin User Features
Email support features.
FTP and SFTP account management, with option web-based client.
DNS settings, including MX records.
Key hosting and server statistics,
Subdomains Users can list, create, delete, and get statistics on subdomains.
DirectAdmin’s email features include an email menu, POP and IMAP email accounts, multiple addresses and aliases per inbox, mailing lists, forwarders, and autoresponders. Email is accessed via the web or from an email client like Outlook. Spam protection and other content filters are available.
Statistics include traffic, query speed, response time, performance, and bandwidth usage. The stats module also integrates with Webalizer.
DirectAdmin for Resellers
DirectAdmin has demos for all 3 uses – here we have the Reseller demo.
Other advanced tools are SSL certificate management, PHPinfo, cron job management, MIME type permissions, Apache handlers, site redirection, and domain pointers. Here are some more:
Predefined, customized deployment packages
Complete view of usage statistics, sortable by the user account
Customizable skins and theming
IP address management and assignment
Personalized name servers
DirectAdmin Features for Hosting Administrators
Manage multiple admins and resellers
Customized reseller packaging to predefine sets of enabled features and configuration options.
DNS management, including record editing for any DNS record stored on the system
IP Address management and allocation
Detail system services statistics and management.
DirectAdmin is obviously a half-decent choice as an administrator, taking into account the easy-to-use time-saving perks above.
Fully Integrated Help Desk and Support Ticket System
DirectAdmin provides a complete ticketing help desk solution, integrated right into the web host 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 through a different venue.
Updates to DirectAdmin 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 DirectAdmin can be toggled on or off globally, by a 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, DirectAdmin can be re-skinned or re-branded to any look and feel desired. Existing designs can be imported through the skins menu, or create your own.
Automatic Recovery From Crashes
DirectAdmin 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 DirectAdmin.
In addition to helping you provide support and assistance to your own users and resellers, DirectAdmin 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.
DirectAdmin Web Hosting and Requirements
DirectAdmin 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 DirectAdmin for your control panel (instead of, for example, cPanel), you’ll need to specifically look for a web host that uses it.
Type of hosting
Opportunity to make money
You’re responsible for support
Full control of options
If you are a reseller of web hosting, you can look for a hosting administrator or wholesaler who provides DirectAdmin control panel.
Web hosting administrators and providers of hosting infrastructure can contact DirectAdmin directly for licensing information. DirectAdmin provides a high level of support, including free installation service.
Having the basic system requirements prior to purchasing hosting based on DirectAdmin availability is key. Let’s take a quick look at the basics you need in order to ensure compatibility. If you want exact requirements, it may be worth venturing over to the DirectAdmin site to double check the facts.
The official website has a detailed breakdown of all requirements.
You’ll also need a minimum Processing power of 500 MHz along with 1 GB RAM, although 2 GB is recommended by the team. You are also required to have at least 2 GB of HDD space post-operating system install.
An Alternative to Traditional DirectAdmin Hosting
If you’re looking for a dedicated DirectAdmin host, you might have some difficulty. There aren’t too many hosts that still offer the use of a DirectAdmin panel built-in to their shared or VPS hosting plans, opting for cPanel instead.
A good alternative is to purchase a dedicated server plan with root access. You can then install DirectAdmin on your dedicated server provided that you have a license (you’ll have to purchase separately).
Other Control Panel Options
If you’re not happy with the options you’ve found so far, it might be time to consider using a different control panel.
cPanel and Plesk
As you can see, Plesk has a much more intuitive and sophisticated design.
The most popular control panels that hosts offer are cPanel and Plesk, with cPanel being the most common. cPanel is usually included for free and can be customized by the host for each customer. It has a lot of advanced functionality, and while that does come with a learning curve, it’s well worth it since even if you go to another host you can still use that knowledge.
Plesk and cPanel both make it simple to install powerful open source software like WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop and more. There’s a much bigger community around these control panels as well that makes it easier to get help if needed.
Pros and Cons of DirectAdmin
To wrap things up, let’s remind ourselves of the key pros and cons of DirectAdmin hosting. Following the below summary, check out the 3 hosts I recommend in this criteria.
Simple to use – It focuses only on core hosting features.
KnownHost is a reputable host that offers DirectAdmin on their managed VPS plans. There are several plans to choose from that mainly differ based on disk space and bandwidth. The lowest tiered VPS host plan is reasonably cheap.
They all come with 24/7 support with a 5-minute guarantee on the first response, which isn’t great, but decent.
Another option is Marblehost, who let you choose from cPanel, DirectAdmin, and Hespia for a control panel on their VPS plans. The cPanel is a paid add-on, while the DirectAdmin control panel is free.
Marblehost has solid infrastructure, with data centers in 5 countries around the world. There are many VPS plans to choose from that range from cheap to expensive. All plans come with SSD disk space included, and at least 1 IP address.
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?
DirectAdmin is likely provided to you by your chosen hosting provider and not something you are directly installing onto your server. So 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?
To run DirectAdmin, you 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 tools 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, review your hosting provider’s shared hosting packages to determine if they use DirectAdmin 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.
About Dale Cudmore
Freelance blogger by day, developer by night, Dale is a freelance writer who specializes in technology and digital marketing. He studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. After finding that unfulfilling, he moved onto a career in freelance writing, while self-teaching himself web development on the side.
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Who's Best for DirectAdmin Hosting?
We think LiquidWeb is the best choice for DirectAdmin.