The qualities of a perfect control panel : A fan note on HSphere
There is no perfect control panel; or is there? While doing feature comparisons of control panels for our new server farm, I came to the surprising conclusion that we indeed had one perfect control panel: Hsphere.
Though new licenses for are no longer available, Hsphere in its conception, implementation, and evolution presents a good role model and golden standard for web hosts to evaluate their control panel options. Here are my reasons on why Hsphere was a perfect control panel.
Hsphere was able to integrate features such as sophisticated billing system, webservice, database, FTP, webmail, DNS, FrontPage configuration into a single robust, secure and cost effective control panel. If you are looking for a feature rich control panel, right now cPanel would be the best option.
Hsphere was written in Java and available for Linux, Unix and Windows environments which provided easy managing of hosting plans, e-commerce services, and many other advanced features which made it suitable for multi-server cluster rather than a single server installation. Currently any user looking for a cross-platform control panel can surely go for Plesk, eventhough it is slightly more expensive than other control panels.
Although the installation, configuration and upgradation of Hsphere required higher level of system administration, everything runs seamlessly once it is set. Hsphere provided automated customer signup, fully automated account provisioning and credit card processing, Integrated WebMail with antivirus and antispam filtering, and even offered an integrated support center within the control panel.
Unlike other control panels such as cPanel/Plesk, Hsphere had a Built-in billing system with variety of payment methods including 30 Payment gateways. It kept record of the Billing history for multiple billing profiles and could even perform actions such as Suspend debtors, provide Refunds, offer Discounts, Email invoicing etc. The control panel automates the entire billing process thereby removing the need for a separate tool to manage billing procedures as other panels do. If you require a panel to manage your billing too, I would suggest to install Parallels Plesk along with the Plesk Billing Bundle.
Hsphere readily satisfied all the needs of any Webmaster and provides him/her with unlimited control to manage and support the end user. The Admin control panel even offers all passwords for email addresses, FTP, databases etc which makes troubleshooting a breeze. The Admin need not reset the password or even wait for the credentials from the end user to troubleshoot issues since everything is readily available for him in the panel itself. Although Plesk used to offer clear passwords in its earlier versions, it does not provide this feature now due to security reasons.
Hsphere also offered different themes for the panel which increases its aesthetics, wherein each theme is so unique that the panel totally morphs its look and feel providing the end user a ‘different panel’ each time.
Having talked to multiple web hosts I feel the above are few of the core factors which defines a perfect control panel. While making architecture decisions for your farm, or requesting feature additions from your control panel developer, a CTO can always refer to the spirit of innovation and user centric design presented by Hsphere.
<pstyle=”text-align: justify;”>About the Author :
Joseph Ninan K works as a Software Engineer in Bobcares. He joined Bobcares in April 2012. He loves to hang out and listen music in his free time.