Once you purchase your web hosting and start going about the process of building and growing your website, you’ll find yourself spending quite a bit of time working in your web hosting control panel. Your control panel is the place where you can install applications, set up email accounts and domains, backup your data, access your hosting account information, as well as many other website related tasks.
It makes sense then that one of the considerations when looking for web hosting is finding out what kind of interface that company provides. First, consider whether you’d prefer a graphic based control panel or more of a text based tool. cPanel is one of the most widely used web hosting control panels–and my personal favorite. cPanel is a great graphic based interface that is very intuitive to use. Most web hosts that offer cPanel will customize the look of it slightly—displaying your account info in a different manner.
Some web hosts offer their own customized control panel. For example, iPage provides a graphical interface which is somewhat similar to cPanel. While there aren’t as many options provided, there are other features such as being able to use menus as well as the graphic icons that some may prefer.
Web hosting companies like Dreamhost use a text based control panel. So if you find working with pull down menus and text links easier than graphic icons, you probably want to look for a hosting plan with this type of interface.
The good news is that most web hosting companies will give you a preview of their control panels on their websites. Be sure to check them out–especially if you’re looking to host your first site.