Vepp as a DirectAdmin alternative: oldschool vs newschool
DirectAdmin and Vepp are website and server control panels. They help to install CMS, configure a domain and SSL, create an email and other services connected to a website.
DirectAdmin is a veteran-panel that launched in 2003. From its very name, we can figure out who it was created for — for skillful admins with little time. DirectAdmin saves pros’ time spent on massive operations. Nowadays, it becomes a panel of choice mostly for virtual hosting providers but it could be suitable for regular VPS and dedicated server owners.
Vepp is a new control panel from ISPsystem, a company with a 15-year-experience in hosting software development. Vepp was primarily created for regular users who need to manage a website and lack administrative skills.
That’s what the first version of DirectAdmin looked like back in 2003
Interface and approach to user tasks
The coolest blog, portal or online-store idea may go to waste if you only consider the panel’s functionality while choosing one, completely ignoring the UX. With one interface, you’ll be able to make all the basic website settings in 30 minutes and then go straight to design, content and promotion. With another one, you may spend a whole day configuring a server and installing WordPress, never being able to figure out how to assign a domain and configure SSL.
DirectAdmin has a modern minimalistic interface. But... once you see it, you instantly know who it was created for. Admin tools, statistics, and system information occupy a central space. There is a function that allows you to switch to the user mode. But there are still some Apache Handlers and Cron Jobs here and there, apart from the familiar domains and emails.
Vepp interface is as simple and automated as possible. Every website has its own dashboard, everything has its place, the most important things are always within reach: SSL-certificate, domains, backups, website availability, and antivirus. If something goes south, you can quickly fix it. For example, you have no SSL and the visitors’ data is in danger — Vepp will tell inform you and suggest installing the certificate in one click. There is a quick link to the WordPress admin console, and the website statistics is pulled from Google Analytics. Other functions can be found in the settings menu.
Let’s look at the main operations that are executed by almost every future website owner — we’ll install WordPress with a template, assign a domain, install SSL, create a backup.
Panel installation and server assignment
If you got a panel along with a server at a provider, you won’t have to install it. More often than not, a hoster just provides customers with an address for signing in, a login and a password. Users who purchase a panel and a VPS separately will have to install it first.
Let’s start with DirectAdmin. Have you ever installed software on Windows or Mac? Forget about it — DirectAdmin has nothing in common with that. Everything starts with reading the info and pre-preinstallation. You need to set an SSH-client up to work with the console. Then you need to execute commands from panel instructions that will prepare the server. And only after that, you can enter the commands for panel installation.
DirectAdmin installation — 2-3 hours and it’s over
The thing about Vepp is that you don’t install it — it is already installed on the cloud. All you have to do is to:
- Register at https://my.vepp.com.
- Connect to a fresh, i.e. an empty server — specify your IP-address and the server password, you will find them in the provider’s instructions.
No SSH is required. Ten minutes for the server’s auto setup and we can start creating a website. And if you already have a WordPress website, you can quickly move it to the server with Vepp’s import feature.
Connection to Vepp — 10-15 minutes and we’re ready to create a website
Publishing a website on a domain
Both DirectAdmin and Vepp allow you to create several websites, configure their domains and subdomains. But all the regular user needs is to create one website with one domain on the most popular CMS in the world — WordPress. That’s the case I’ll look into in the article.
To begin with, you need to buy a domain, then sign in your domain registrar account and specify the server and website IP-address in the domain settings. This way, both the domain and the server will be «attached to each other», and the website will open by the name of your choosing.
DirectAdmin doesn’t have a direct way to install WordPress, no pun intended. You need to turn on the user-mode first. There you need to create a record about the domain on one section and install a database on the other. Then download WordPress from the official website. Connect to the server by FTP and upload CMS files on the server. Then edit the WordPress configuration file. Only then can you start CMS installation.
WordPress installation with DirectAdmin
You’ll have 3 standard templates at your disposal. In order to use something more interesting, you’re going to have to find, purchase and install a suitable website design yourself.
In Vepp everything is much easier and faster. You can install the same «naked» WordPress with three templates. You also can choose a suitable theme from dozens of alternatives even before installing the CMS. If you aren’t too picky, you’ll be able to create a website in 5 minutes. The panel will prepare a web-server, create a directory and a database and install WordPress itself.
WordPress installation in Vepp
Free Let’s Encrypt SSL-certificate installation
An SSL-certificate encrypts your visitors’ data, protecting it from theft. Users will also see a danger warning once they try to open your website if you don’t have an SSL. Fortunately, both DirectAdmin and Vepp allow you to install a popular free Let’s Encrypt certificate. If you want, you’ll be able to connect any other certificate.
DirectAdmin has a simple installation and automated renewal of Let’s Encrypt certificate. But don’t forget anything — don’t forget to enter a specific section, don’t forget to tick the right boxes, don’t forget to enable redirects from HTTP to HTTPS.
SSL-certificate installation in DirectAdmin
You won’t forget anything with Vepp. If you specify a domain connected to the server during installation, the panel will automatically install a free SSL-certificate on it. If you decide to assign a domain later, Vepp reminds you about a certificate right in the website card, you can install it directly from here in two clicks. All the redirects are automated.
Let’s Encrypt SSL-certificate installation in Vepp
DirectAdmin has an advanced file manager with user permissions, work with archives, a search engine, a built-in text editor, flies upload, download, and removal. One minus — you won’t be able to upload a file > 10 MB by default. To upload an archive with WordPress (10.7 MB), you are going to need a third-party FTP-client or server configuration through the console.
DirectAdmin file manager
In Vepp, as you probably guessed, there are no problems with uploading the WordPress archive. But the file manager is simpler — you can create, delete, and also upload files from your desktop or through a direct link. These are basic operations that will be enough for the most.
Vepp file manager
A backup created on time can save your website from failures, data loss, and even full removal. I advise creating backups to all website owners. Let’s see how it’s done in DirectAdmin and Vepp.
DirectAdmin has a flexible backup system. You can create backups of server configuration files or just the website itself. While creating a backup, the panel suggests 10 different settings that won’t be clear to everyone. You can create copies on schedule but you’re going to have to figure out how to configure Cron for that.
Website backups in DirectAdmin
Vepp provides a simpler backup system. The website card contains the section «Backup copies» where a user can create a backup copy of his website, save the archive on a server or on Google Drive; restore from a backup or download it to his/her computer.
Backups section in Vepp
Sometimes, panel owners require help. And the question of whether a user will be able to solve their website problems or not depends on the way support is built. That’s why I will compare this point as well.
In DirectAdmin, the amount of help depends on the license cost. If you want to save money and buy the Personal version, you’ll have to find answers yourself — on the forum or in the documentation. The latter is written in technical language and designed for the panel’s main audience, i.e. admins. You’ll have to pay 7.5 times as much for support access.
Vepp has a smaller community, the project is still new. But you can contact support without additional payment, it is included in the subscription fee. The documentation is easy to read, it’s written with newbies in mind. Not only there are product instructions in articles, but also explanations of complex terms. There is also a blog with website tips.
(1 user, 10 domains)
(10 users, 50 domains)
(1 user, ∞ domains, up to 5 sites)
We, as a developer, are not the only ones who you can buy Vepp from. Hosting providers also sell it as an additional service along with VPS or a dedicated server. The price will be lower up to 50% — it depends on the provider’s conditions, discount offers, and loyalty programs.
DirectAdmin is an obvious choice for budget virtual hosting providers and professional admins — the panel provides a lot of functions for a relatively low price.
If you just need to publish your website on a server — Vepp will do. It’s simpler, more intuitive, configures all the important settings automatically. However, you can always get access to agile configuration should a need arise.
|Operating system||CloudLinux from 6 to 7;
CentOS from 6 to 7;
Debian from 8 to 10;
FreeBSD from 11 to 12.
|CentOS 7, Ubuntu 18.|
|Web-server||Apache, Nginx.||Apache, Nginx.|
|Administration||Minimalistic modern interface tailored to experienced users and admins.||Simple and convenient. Easy to figure out — the main settings are within reach.|
|Interface||Minimalistic modern interface tailored to experienced users and admins.||Simple and convenient. Easy to figure out — the main settings are within reach.|
|WordPress||Manual installation.||Doesn’t require separate installation. Wide variety of categorized templates.|
|Available PHP versions||From 5.6 to 7.3.
Configuration inside the panel.
|From 5.2 to 7.3.
Configuration inside the panel.
|Let’s Encrypt||Installed by default||Installed by default.|
|Backup||Full copies, storage on a server or on a desktop.||Full copies; server, desktop storage or Google Drive.|
|NAT support/can be installed in clouds||Yes.||Yes.|
|System requirements||CPU 1 GHz, RAM 2 GB, x64.||CentOS 7 or Ubuntu 18, RAM 1 GB, x64.|
|Technical support||Starting from Lite version.||Included in the base price.|
Also, Vepp has a free trial version that you can use for 14 days.
Still have questions? Simply contact us, tell about your website, server, and your goals. We will be more than happy to help you!