If you’re a developer, marketer, or site owner, Softaculous can make many web-related installation tasks easy and fast.
In this article, you’ll learn what Softaculous can do. You’ll learn how it stacks up against competitors like Fantastico.
You’ll find out what to look for in a Softaculous host. And I’ll make some recommendations for reputable hosts to help you get started on your search.
What is Softaculous?
Softaculous is a robust and easy-to-use auto-installer, used by customers of managed web hosting to automatically build websites and install web-based software and applications, such as WordPress, Drupal, and OpenCart.
As of this writing, it provides automated installation support for 345 scripts and is continuously growing that number.
Softaculous for Developers and Webmasters
As you can see here, demoing a script such as Joomla is one click.
If you are a professional web developer or webmaster and need to install and deploy script-driven websites for your clients, Softaculous is a great tool.
With Softaculous, you don’t have to worry about installing all the right dependencies, setting up the databases, or getting all the configuration and settings options right.
Softaculous provides complete one-click installation and setup for scripts and applications in a wide variety of website categories.
One-Click Installation for Apps and Scripts
Having what we call “one-click installs” eliminates tens of minutes, if not hours of you or your developer’s time.
One-click installs are available for:
Blogs, forums, and wikis;
Content management systems, e-commerce systems along with building and database tools
Social network, e-mail, calendars, polls, surveys and ad management
This makes it easy to dramatically expand the types of website solutions you can offer your clients.
If you are used to developing in WordPress, but you want to try out Drupal for a new project, you can get it up and run on your first try. All without worrying that some minor mistake will cause you hours of lost work and productivity.
Softaculous and Fantastico – 5 Notable Differences
One of the company’s main rivals is the Fantastico script installer.
Both solutions work in a similar way but there are a number of differences between the two, some of them being:
Softaculous offers a higher number of scripts to users on both free and paid licenses.
The user interface is different on each system and your choice is a matter of personal preference. It is worth doing some research, alternatively trying demos prior to committing to either.
Softaculous allows you to create back-ups and also restores your website while Fantastico doesn’t offer this feature.
Softaculous tends to offer updates on a more frequent basis than rivals, such as Fantastico. Frequent updates translate to a smoother experience.
Softaculous allows you to try demos for a variety of their supported scripts.
Softaculous supports many types of scripts while Fantastico supports only PHP scripts. Having the variety of script types supported can help larger teams of multiple developers.
Create / Install Custom apps
Install using HTTPS
Install using IP
How can I get Softaculous on my web hosting?
By having support for the most popular control panels, Softaculous comfortably falls into our group of favorite perks to have. They even have a dedicated section on their website for different control panels supported here.
Are you a developer or webmaster and you want to use Softaculous auto-installer to build your website? Make sure you check that your web hosting provider makes Softaculous available through your web admin control panel.
If this is an important feature for you, make sure it is supported before you commit to a hosting package.
Direct Install of Softaculous
If you are not using a control panel solution, but are accessing your web server directly, you can take advantage of Softaculous by installing it directly on your server yourself.
You can also use Softaculous Remote. This works from your own computer and installs scripts to your web server via FTP.
Benefits of Using the Softaculous Installer
The Softaculous installer can be tested from an Admin’s point-of-view.
Additionally, there are further benefits of using the Softaculous installer. So many in fact, I had to group them in a neat table for you.
Most of these usability features are flexible, supporting many types of apps with a secure and reliable base.
Reliability and Security
One Click Installs
Wide Range of Apps
Free trial available
Integrates with cPanel, DirectAdmin, PLESK, InterWorx, H-Sphere, CentOS Web Panel and Hosting Controller control panels
Updates Available ASAP
Customer Service Team Available
Allows auto installation of scripts using WHMCS control panel
Easy Script Search Function
Install in 50+ Languages
Features Access Control Function
Custom integration available for users of other control panels
Extensive Support Documentation
Ratings, Reviews, and Demos
Does not modify existing files or server permissions
Reseller Control allows reseller to install own branding and logos
Additional Softaculous Hosting Options
Softaculous Enterprise integration wiki.
Softaculous is available in a variety of forms including:
Softaculous NOC Program
Softaculous Free Licensing
Softaculous Paid Licensing
This option allows customers using a custom control panel to install applications using NFS.
This option allows customers to install applications from anywhere using the FTP system.
Softaculous offers both free and premium options. The free option offers limited script options for those on a budget.
Softaculous Paid Licensing
The paid license offers additional scripts and premium features, allowing the user to enjoy the functionality that Softaculous has to offer.
Softaculous for Hosting Providers
Softaculous have pulled together a list of all supported scripts
If you are a hosting reseller or provide hosting administration services to web developers, you should consider installing Softaculous on your system. While at it, making it available to your customers via their control panel makes sense too.
Making Softaculous Available
By offering Softaculous on your cPanel, Plesk, DirectAdmin, or Interworx control panel, your web hosting offerings become more valuable and attractive, and therefore more profitable.
For the most popular scripts, such as WordPress and Drupal, you can provide Softaculous auto-installation features without any additional expense through their free license. This no-cost option provides automated setup and deployment of 54 scripts.
Premium Softaculous License
Here are some of the premium licensing costs.
To really amaze your customers, and provide a complete range of scripts for every purpose and type of website project, Softaculous offers a premium license. This gives you complete access to 345 (and counting) scripts in 24 categories.
This helps you to greatly expand your potential customer base, allowing you to offer easy, one-click installation for online projects as diverse as project management systems, question-and-answer websites, video hosting, and podcasting.
Cost-Effective Server Provisioning
Additionally, if you have more than five servers, Softaculous has a special Network Operations Center (NOC) program that you are able to join, which will help make your server provisioning more cost-effective and profitable.
Softaculous as an Enterprise Solution
Another way to take advantage of Softaculous and its one-click script installation features is through Softaculous Enterprise.
Virtual Machine, Network File System, and API
Softaculous Enterprise is installed on a Virtual Machine (VM) and then installs applications to other connected servers through Network File System (NFS). You can then easily integrate Softaculous to your custom-built cPanel with a simple PHP script. From there you can access Softaculous through its own GUI.
Another way to use Softaculous in an enterprise environment is by accessing it through its robust API. This allows you to build your own GUI on top of Softaculous, or integrate its features into another web administration product.
There are a number of free and paid licensing options on offer from Softaculous. The free script installer plan comes with 59 scripts, free upgrades and one license per server. The company also includes a series of monthly and yearly plans.
These each come with upgrades for the duration of the plan, alongside one license per server. A lifetime plan is also available. All paid plans include the full range of scripts alongside VPS and dedicated server options.
Other Softaculous Features
Softaculous offers a number of other features, which I want to elaborate on in more detail. Here are 6 of my favorites:
Backup and Restore
Ratings and Reviews
Almost all of the 300-plus scripts available through Softaculous are under active development. Softaculous monitors each of these projects and makes sure that you and your customers have access to the latest stable release of each application within one day of it being made available.
The one-click installation makes trying out a new application quick and easy. Even so, you may not always want to install a complete application and database. This can be a waste of time, just to see what an app does or how it works.
Softaculous provides functional demos of its most popular applications so that you can try them out before you install.
Backup and Restore
Softaculous provides easy-to-use backup and restoration features.
Ratings and Reviews
Softaculous provides reviews and aggregated ratings for the applications it supports, letting you see how other users felt about a script before you install it.
Softaculous provides tools for cloning an existing application, along with its custom code, configuration, and content-filled database. This allows you to easily setup development and test environments.
You have an incredible forum to make use of with tons of information.
Softaculous provides support for both free and paid users. Free users can solve mishaps by visiting the company’s technical support forum. Meanwhile, paid users can access support directly from the company’s website.
3 Best Hosts with Softaculous Support
As an end-user, you may well find yourself attracted to the simplicity and speed that Softaculous has to offer. However, you may also be left confused about which host to use in order to enjoy the benefits of this well-known instant script installer.
My preferred host is SiteGround, the company offers Softaculous as part of its Startup plan. The basic plan allows 10gb of storage for your website allows you up to 10,000 visitors per month. The firm also offers a free CDN, free daily backups, one-click install and update functionality, alongside the Softaculous auto-installer.
WordPress and Further Support
For Softaculous users who wish to install the WordPress script, the firm also features optimized WordPress hosting. The company also offers WordPress themes and tutorial guides to get you up and running.
E-Commerce users will benefit from hosting that is optimized for Prestashop and Woocommerce and users who choose high-end plans can also benefit from increased speed and a range of advanced tools.
Custom caching based on NGINX and Memcached is designed to speed up your site regardless of which platform you decide to use. The host also boasts an impressive 100% uptime and an average response time of 1.35 seconds.
InMotion Hosting is an excellent alternative. The company’s Launch plan comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage space for your Joomla, Drupal or WordPress site on super fast solid state drives. It also provides 24/7 technical support, free file transfer, and a free domain name.
In addition, the company offers auto-updates on web apps, FREE SSL, hack protection, custom firewall, and DDoS protection to keep your websites safe. InMotion Hosting is optimized for WordPress and supports NGINX, PHP 7 and uses advanced caching methods to speed-up your WordPress site. InMotion has 99.98% uptime and an average response time of 556ms.
Finally, A2 Hosting is also a safe bet if you fancy Softaculous functionality for your site. The company claims that its hosting is optimized for WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla and that servers are 20 times faster than other hosting packages. The company also throw in a free CDN and Hackscan protection for free.
Their packages are developer-friendly and support PHP, Python, Node.js, and others alongside free SSH access and SSL support. Drupal users may be interested to know that A2 Hosting also comes recommended by Drupal. A2 Hosting has 99.93% uptime and an average response time of 964ms.
Other features in One-Click / Easy Installs: Better than Manual Installation?
Softaculous is a system that automates the installation of web applications like WordPress and Magento.
How does Softaculous compare to other auto-installer software?
There are alternatives out there, including services like Fantastico and Installatron. Softaculous sets itself apart with a number of features you won’t find in other applications.
The demo option lets you provide software demos for your customers to try out. User Reviews provide a place for users to review the installation packs and make an informed decision on which to install based on user ratings.
Softaculous also provides support for a number of other features, including Perl Scripts, installing apps using HTTPS, installing apps using IP, Multilanguage apps, one-step installs, re-branding options, and automated APIs.
How hard is it to rebrand Softaculous to match my site or business?
Basic rebranding couldn’t be easier. From the admin panel, simply enter the site name you want to appear at the top of the page and provide a URL for your company’s logo.
Setting up a custom theme will require a bit more work, but detailed steps to accomplish this are provided in their support documents.
Or if you would prefer not to go that in-depth, you can select from one of their pre-installed themes.
What will I need to do when Softaculous scripts get updated?
Whenever new versions of scripts are available, a notice will appear in the Softaculous Enduser panel.
Simply click on the notice, and you will be taken to a page listing all of the scripts with available upgrades.
Select the scripts you wish to update, and the guide will walk you through the processes with just a few clicks. It’s about as easy as updating apps on your phone.
What type of support is available for Softaculous?
Softaculous provides support through a ticket system. You can create and check the status of a ticket directly from their website.
How do I make changes to applications I installed using Softaculous, such as adding plugins, themes, or new modules?
Softaculous simply installs the program to your server, it does not maintain the program or inhibit its use in any way. Once you install the program, you are free to make changes or add features exactly the same way you would if you installed the application yourself.
Can I create backups of my installed applications using Softaculous?
Yes. If you used Softaculous to install an application, you can also use it to backup that application.
For example, if you used Softaculous to install WordPress, you can then create backups of your WordPress files, including any customizations you’ve made or articles you’ve posted, directly from the Softaculous control panel.
Softaculous will walk you through the process of backing up both the application directory and its database. You can download the backup files to your personal computer or a backup system, and restore it at any time using the Softaculous control panel.
Will Softaculous notify me when applications are updated?
Yes. Any time you log into your Softaculous panel, you will see a notification of available updates. Additionally, you can configure Softaculous to email you any time an application is installed, deleted, or edited.
Can I add applications to Softaculous that I installed myself?
You can easily add a self-installed application to Softaculous.
Simply log in to your control panel, click the import button, and tell Softaculous the directory you want to import.
Once it’s been imported, you will be able to upgrade, create backups, and restore the application directly from the Softaculous interface in your web browser.
Can I reinstall an Application using Softaculous?
If for some reason you need to reinstall an application, you will need to completely remove the application using the Softaculous control panel.
Make sure you backup any personal files or content, first.
Once you’ve uninstalled the original instance of the application, you can then go ahead and reinstall it using Softaculous.
Does Softaculous support multiple languages?
Yes. The Softaculous panel supports multiple languages, and several of the scripts are available in multiple languages. As an admin, you can set the default language for your end users.
For a complete list of supported languages and instructions on how to set your language preferences and installations, see the Softaculous docs page.
As a Softaculous admin, how do I choose which scripts to make available to my customers?
You can easily enable or disable scripts through the admin panel. Simply go to the software section and check or uncheck the “installed” box beside each available applications.
Any items you uncheck will no longer be available for your customers to install.
Can Softaculous be customized for how scripts are displayed for end users?
Yes. You can set Softaculous to display a set of Top Scripts prominently for your end users. These are typically programs you believe will be most popular with your users.
To do so, you have to first enable the Top Apps feature, provide a name for your Top Apps list, and select which apps you want to appear there. You can select up to 14 applications to be displayed in your Top Apps list. If you don’t have 14 applications to display,
Softaculous can fill in the remaining slots with their own list of top apps.
About Conor Sheils
Conor has a long background as a journalist — writing and editing for publications such as The Digger, Trinity Mirror, Daily Mail, and many other international news agencies. He is originally from Ireland, but has lived all over the world, currently in Kenya.
Connect with Conor
Who's Best for Softaculous Hosting?
We think SiteGround is the best choice for Softaculous.