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  1. #1
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    Your thoughts on DirectAdmin...

    I think that most of us here will agree that cPanel is an incredibly successful piece of off-the-shelf hosting software - many consumers have grown to know and love it, and it's pretty much become normal for a host to offer it with their hosting packages these days compared to other off-the-shelf alternatives.

    I'm a cPanel host myself, but I've always been interested in trying out other software available on the market. From what I can see, DirectAdmin is very much a love/hate affair, but I have seen it being implemented with a few other well known hosts on this forum with great success....

    Do you think that a control panel on offer is enough for a great number of prospective clients to turn away, or do you think that most people choose their host on the basis of reviews, features, price, uptime and other factors? Are clients so used to being offered cPanel that they have become used to accepting it?

    I really appreciate your views!
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  2. #2
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    We offer both. 75% of our clients choose cPanel in the beginning, because they are used to it. However, once they try DirectAdmin they are almost always a convert.

    IMO, DA is superior to cPanel in every way. In fact, we're slowly phasing cPanel out all together and hope to have it completely removed from our offers within a year.

    I've never had a client complain about DirectAdmin...

    But... to answer your question, yes, just offering DirectAdmin scares some clients away. People are scared of change and want to stick with what they know.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by subigo View Post
    We offer both. 75% of our clients choose cPanel in the beginning, because they are used to it. However, once they try DirectAdmin they are almost always a convert.

    IMO, DA is superior to cPanel in every way. In fact, we're slowly phasing cPanel out all together and hope to have it completely removed from our offers within a year.

    I've never had a client complain about DirectAdmin...

    But... to answer your question, yes, just offering DirectAdmin scares some clients away. People are scared of change and want to stick with what they know.
    Ahh wish I could say we have had the same experience. We tend to get the crowd who wants to "try Directadmin out" because its cheaper. They quickly figure out they have no idea what they are doing, and they come back to us soon after requesting us to reimage their machine/VPS with cPanel. Like I said, this is our personal experience, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

    That being said, DirectAdmin is a very lightweight, feature rich control panel, and is a excellent alternative to cPanel if you have the time to learn to use it.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AquariusADMIN View Post
    Ahh wish I could say we have had the same experience. We tend to get the crowd who wants to "try Directadmin out" because its cheaper. They quickly figure out they have no idea what they are doing, and they come back to us soon after requesting us to reimage their machine/VPS with cPanel. Like I said, this is our personal experience, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

    That being said, DirectAdmin is a very lightweight, feature rich control panel, and is a excellent alternative to cPanel if you have the time to learn to use it.
    I can honestly say we've never had a client ask to switch back to cPanel *knock on wood*. But that could just be our target market.

    I've talked other companies who are trying to convince their clients to make the switch, namely Scott from PowerMonster. On several occasions he has offered incentives to his cPanel clients to try DA (like a three month credit I believe) and from what I understand they normally stay with DA as well.

  5. #5
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    All DA has to do is focus on a new interface that clients will be more comfortable using. Its a great control panel
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekin View Post
    All DA has to do is focus on a new interface that clients will be more comfortable using. Its a great control panel
    true. I think the main reason people prefer cpanel if your not using shared hosting like a vps or better is because everything is easy to configure and install. What I have seen is people offering discounts for directadmin plans because it uses less resources and you are able to fix more clients on it. From what I heard it increased there customer rate by about 8% by offering both and gave them a 5% increase in yearly profits. That is not bad just for using a different panel.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by subigo View Post
    I can honestly say we've never had a client ask to switch back to cPanel *knock on wood*. But that could just be our target market.

    I've talked other companies who are trying to convince their clients to make the switch, namely Scott from PowerMonster. On several occasions he has offered incentives to his cPanel clients to try DA (like a three month credit I believe) and from what I understand they normally stay with DA as well.
    Yes, we have been very successful in getting our cPanel clients to switch with our incentives. Each time we offer it, we get another 5-10 switchers and so far each and everyone has preferred DA to cPanel. We, too, are looking to phase out cPanel.

    I find cPanel's whm very unintuitive to use. I hate having to log into a separate site to manage a user. DA's admin/reseller/user panels are all very-well integrated with each other. I also like the ease that I can assist a client from within DA. I don't need to know their password to access their user panel and use it FULLY as if I were them. With cPanel, unless you have their password, accessing their cpanel from the master whm is very restrictive and you really can't do much to assist them. Not to mention how easy DA is on system resources.

    Most of my clients find the streamlined interface of DA to be a nice change from all of the options/icons available on cPanel and so far, there is NOTHING cPanel can do that DA can't do. It's all there, just in a different location or with a different name.
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  8. #8
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    Firstly, thanks to everyone for contributing to this thread.

    From what I gather, some clients do tend to initially stick with what they know, and I'm never going to consider scrapping my existing cPanel hosting offerings. Nevertheless, you guys seem to feel that DA is a viable alternative, which is great news - I'm going to try to familiarise myself with it over the coming few weeks...

    Some of you mentioned the DA UI being poor, so I was wondering if some clients would prefer a custom skinned version, or if they would object to that? I don't want people to become even less familiar with a lesser known hosting environment...

    Thanks!
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  9. #9
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    Having used cpanel since the beginning, the switch to DA was quite a pleasant surprise. Core functions to manage databases, addon domains, emails etc are handled much much better in DA.

    What I like in DA, from a user's standpoint
    1. DA loads wayyyyyyy faster than Cpanel
    2. The functions are well organized and easily accessible unlike Cpanel's clutter
    3. Multi domain implementation is just how it should be

    What I dislike
    1. The default theme has some really queer navigation placement
    2. The file manager is pale in comparison with cpanel's ( cpanel has directory tree listing, easier copy move delete)
    3. Lack of features ( poor implementation of stats, IP banning, etc)
    4. Phpmyadmin requires you to manually login again

    And finally my biggest gripe with DA is that, there's too few DA hosts around! Will be difficult to find a comparable DA host should anything happen to my current one. Its really hard to switch back to Cpanel after you've experienced the simplicity of DA.

  10. #10
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    Hopefully you won't have to switch providers any time soon!
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  11. #11
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    Yes indeed Scott! They've been excellent so far

  12. #12
    Direct Admin is a very solid Control Panel with many features.
    Its Fast, east to use, Priced very nice.
    I give it 2 thumbs up.

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  13. #13
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    If I had more thumbs, I would give it more thumbs up!
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  14. #14
    We have been offering DA servers since 2004, great software, responsive developers all at an awesome price.

  15. #15
    We've always provided cPanel, I've looked in DA but it lacks quite a few features compared to cPanel. Also, the interface hasn't been updated in years, I think it really is time they get someone to work on a decent design/skin for it.
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  16. #16
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    What features do you think DA lacks?

    I actually like the elegant theme, but there are people working on other themes for DA.

    The older theme (not set as default) is AWFUL, but the default install has the elegant theme set up. And I actually prefer a theme without a lot of pics because it loads more quickly and sometimes the icons can lead to confusion.
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  17. #17
    We also use and love Directadmin and think it's fantastic. I personally tried cPanel a few years back and hated it - very bloated. Disregarding that, what actual features does cPanel have over on Directadmin that make it so popular? (disregarding familiarity, more navigable theme (arguably) and that lots of people are just used to it).
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  18. #18
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    I cannot find anything that cpanel can do that DA can't. On the WHM side of things, DA doesn't hold your hand with all of those easy scripts to configure your server, but the scripts DA has aren't that complicated. Other than that, I can't find any differences at all.
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  19. #19
    I was talking mainly from an admin point of view, in WHM there are many features that DA doesn't have. Also, and I may be wrong here, but I believe DA comes with Webalizer stats (which are completely useless), whereas cPanel includes Awstats as standard.
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  20. #20
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    DA comes with both. Most of what WHM has over DA is still in DA, just not in the web interface. We also have easy scripts to do a lot of the configuring of the server.

    The problem with the way cPanel handles is is that many a non-admin can feel confident that they can admin a server because of all the "wizards" whm has. The issue with that is that if whm were ever inaccessible, many wouldn't know what to do having rarely or never ventured into administering their server from the command line.

    Also, WHM is a totally different product than cpanel. They don't even look like they've been created by the same developer. With DA, the user, reseller, and admin panels are tightly integrated with each other which makes for better, more cohesive and more intuitive administering.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by CI-Andrew View Post
    I was talking mainly from an admin point of view, in WHM there are many features that DA doesn't have. Also, and I may be wrong here, but I believe DA comes with Webalizer stats (which are completely useless), whereas cPanel includes Awstats as standard.
    DirectAdmin AND cPanel both come with only Webalizer enabled by default You actually have to enable it under both, under WHM this is located within 'Tweak Settings' and in DirectAdmin you just do it with Custombuild which takes all of 2 seconds if you know what you are doing.

    Quote Originally Posted by powerMonster-Scott View Post
    The problem with the way cPanel handles is is that many a non-admin can feel confident that they can admin a server because of all the "wizards" whm has. The issue with that is that if whm were ever inaccessible, many wouldn't know what to do having rarely or never ventured into administering their server from the command line.
    Yep, cPanel makes everyone who shouldn't be administering a server think they can. I much prefer to take control of my environment.

    In my opinion, however, the custombuild system within DirectAdmin surpasses anything cPanel has in a million years. It allows you to install/upgrade any of the core services when you want very quickly. It also allows you to take total control of your environment by allowing you to edit the various build configs of PHP and Apache.

    Quote Originally Posted by powerMonster-Scott View Post
    I cannot find anything that cpanel can do that DA can't. On the WHM side of things, DA doesn't hold your hand with all of those easy scripts to configure your server, but the scripts DA has aren't that complicated. Other than that, I can't find any differences at all.
    Yeah, any true systems admin would much prefer to manage stuff from a command line than from a web interface. DirectAdmin does not seem to "cater" to the newbie "sysadmins" but seems to be more interested in developing a VERY powerful platform which does not bloat your server and require 512MB memory to create an email account
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  22. #22
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    I totally and 100% agree with Daniel!
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  23. #23
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    Yes, direct admin may be more appleaing to admins, but sucks for 1 reason:

    It doesn't have the end-user interface that cpanel does. At the end of the day it's about business and money. There aren't any large hosting shops selling direct admin. I'd say the majority of hosting companies don't even offer it.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by skullbox View Post
    Yes, direct admin may be more appleaing to admins, but sucks for 1 reason:

    It doesn't have the end-user interface that cpanel does. At the end of the day it's about business and money. There aren't any large hosting shops selling direct admin. I'd say the majority of hosting companies don't even offer it.
    Not one of my customers has complained about it thus far. Some submit tickets regarding issues that they cannot do which are easily doable via their control panel. We then ask them whether they'd like us to just do it for them or whether they'd like an explanation as to how to do it.

    You're correct about the business and money side, which Directadmin wins again for being reasonably priced instead of extortionate. And for your information, OVH have just started selling and supporting Directadmin - which is great news for them and for the hosting industry as a whole.
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  25. #25
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    cPanel's interface is bloated, slow-loading, and non-intuitive. Many of those icons have NOTHING to do with what they represent. A skin does not make or break a software especially when you can change them either on cpanel or on DA.
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  26. #26
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    Most of my clients (layman or lower technical skilled users) prefer cPanel over DA, although I personally prefer DA.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by powerMonster-Scott View Post
    I cannot find anything that cpanel can do that DA can't. On the WHM side of things, DA doesn't hold your hand with all of those easy scripts to configure your server, but the scripts DA has aren't that complicated. Other than that, I can't find any differences at all.
    DA doesn't do per email account email forwarding.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by powerMonster-Scott View Post
    cPanel's interface is bloated, slow-loading, and non-intuitive. Many of those icons have NOTHING to do with what they represent. A skin does not make or break a software especially when you can change them either on cpanel or on DA.
    You do know there are "light" themes for cpanel that comes default right ?
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  29. #29
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    DA is light and easy, cPanel has too many features sometimes you find yourself lost

  30. #30
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    Yes, I am aware it has light themes, but most stick with the default.

    What do you mean you can't do per-email-account mail forwarding? Explain.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonea View Post
    DA doesn't do per email account email forwarding.
    E-Mail Management -> Forwarders
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  32. #32
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    I thought that's what the person was talking about but couldn't believe that's what they were talking about. Yup! DA can do that!

    As well as email piping, forwarding to a blackhole or a fail.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by SC-Daniel View Post
    E-Mail Management -> Forwarders
    Quote Originally Posted by powerMonster-Scott View Post
    I thought that's what the person was talking about but couldn't believe that's what they were talking about. Yup! DA can do that!

    As well as email piping, forwarding to a blackhole or a fail.
    Nop, that only works when you have the domain account's access.

    Also, DA also doesn't do per account email filters that isn't webmail client specific.
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  34. #34
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    If you are a DA user, why wouldn't you have the domain account's access?

    When you are a user you get the access to the panel for your domain unless the person giving you access has turned it off. I don't get what you mean.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by powerMonster-Scott View Post
    If you are a DA user, why wouldn't you have the domain account's access?

    When you are a user you get the access to the panel for your domain unless the person giving you access has turned it off. I don't get what you mean.
    Because you won't have access if you are a email user.

    With cpanel, all email user have their own specific settings when they are logged in webmail. With DA, not possible.
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  36. #36
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    Not sure if Cpanel has this feature embedded on webmail skins by default but this can probably be done by using their email API , CMD_EMAIL_FORWARDER if you're using DA.

  37. #37
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    Both have their place and both have their plus and minus sides, it comes down to preference. cPanel is MUCH more user friendly honestly than DA I believe both on an admin and end user level. We have used both for years and it is a toss up really as to what is truly better. A well tuned cPanel server runs just as fast as a DA server.

    The IP management and Backup system of DA I have always found annoying. That has been my biggest complaint. I have never had a cPanel backup that didn't work and recently we had a whole DA server of backups that were junk, thank goodness for multiple backups. Their restore system is severely limited though and it needs a LOT more attention.

    The biggest plus for cPanel is they have real support. DA is very lethargic on getting back with you and no real direct way to get them online. Posting on the forums is very hit or miss. On cPanel there seems to be a lot better community, especially with guys like Chirpy around.

    Really it is all preference and what you as the host wants to support.

  38. #38
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    for cpanel,when the bandwith over 80%,it may sned the notify mail,
    and suspend when the bandwidth is over.

    does directadmin have the same feature ?


    thanx

  39. #39
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    Yes, it does.
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  40. #40
    Direct Admin is more simpler and has not all the features compared to cPanel.
    but a person who wants to do basic tasks its equally good.
    Its just that cPanels been around for so many years that its the standard like Windows for your computer compared to a Mac OSX.

    But on the developer side DirectAdmin still needs to improve.
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