VHCS Web Hosting Software

VHCS is a powerful Linux compatible control panel that not only offers an easy to use interface but also has potentially the biggest selling factor on its side – it’s free. While it may not offer the same level of graphical bells and whistles as cPanel, Plesk, and other commercial control panels it does not lack any functionality and is surprisingly simple to use. In all honesty, there are quite a surprising number of open source, free control panels offering compatibility with Linux and Unix servers but VHCS ranks right up there not only as one of the best free control panels but as one of the best control panels regardless of price.

Navigation is controlled entirely through the navigation bar on the left. It has the usual suspects lined up in a vertical row ready to offer you everything you need from your hosting control panel.

The General Overview and statistics is essentially the home page of your control panel. This is the page that shows you how much space you are using on the disk and how much bandwidth you have taken up. It also offers information regarding the allotted amount you are entitled to. Also included in the General Information page is the support that your account offers, the number of dub-domains and domain aliases being used compared to how many are allowed, and similar figures for email accounts, FTP accounts, SQL databases, and SQL users.

Language Support

As is quite often the case with open source software, the control panel has been lovingly translated into a wide array of languages but voluntary submitters. Under the General Information menu is the option to choose a default language setting that is most relevant to you and your account. By default, the default is set to English.

Manage Domain

Clicking the Manage Domain menu item displays a page that contains all domains, sub-domains, and domain aliases as well as further sub menu items enabling you to add a new sub-domain or a new alias.

Domain alias forwarding can be quickly and easily enabled or disabled as required by simply clicking on the enable/disable link under the “Forward” column. As with all of the pages of the VHCS control panel your options are quite clearly marked, for example the ability to delete any of the aliases or any of the sub-domains is easily done using the Delete link in the right hand column.

Email Accounts

The email accounts button returns an overview of all accounts on your active domain. As well as the ability to delete them, VHCS also provides the capability to add new email users, implement a catchall email address for your domain, and visit your webmail account. The webmail account is a good, functioning account although a little lacking in some of the more extravagant features associated with commercial applications.

 

FTP Accounts

FTP is a vital component to many hosting accounts. It enables users to easily upload and download pages and documents to the main server as well as edit these same files while they remain on the server. FTP Accounts settings include the ability to add and delete FTP users as well as manage files directly through the control panel if you would rather manage your site in that way.

 

Manage SQL

SQL provides Webmasters with a way to include dynamic content on their website. The VHCS Manage SQL function set offers the capability to add a new database, add and delete users, query the databases, and manage database security settings. Also included in the Manage SQL menu is the PHPMyAdmin link.

 

 

Web Tools

The Web Tools are a collection of useful tools that you will invariably turn to at some point or another. These include:

  • Error Page Customization – Nothing says site branding, or even advertising opportunity, like a custom error page. Instead of displaying the usual errors that nobody reads but everybody takes to mean they have to exit your site you can include your own content and your explanation of why an error occurred. Customize your 401, 403, 404, and 500 error pages.

  • Backup And Restore – Backing up your website files and pages should be a very regular occurrence but how many of us actually do it daily? VHCS offers an automatic daily backup and always has the last backup version on hand in case anything untoward should happen.

  • Protected Areas – Site security should be another area of website management and maintenance that we all take seriously and offering password protected directories can be used to this end or to facilitate a membership section to your site. The Protected Areas menu lets you decide on the folders and files of your site that need to be password protected.

  • Webmail – This is another link to view your webmail. The other link can be found through the Email Accounts menu.

  • File Manager – AS well as being able to access the browser based file manager through the FTP menu there is also a link to the same manager through this section of the site.

 Domain Statistics

The page sample below may be blank but it shows the depth of statistics that are available through your VHCS control panel. It provides details of the size of transfer from web pages, FTP, SMTP, POP/IMAP, and a total of all these figures. You can view previous months as well to give you an idea of any changes and what may have happened to cause them.

 

Support System

The support system is a fully functioning help desk or help ticket application. This provides you, as a hosting client, with easy access to your host provider. As a reseller or host it provides your customers with a convenient way to ask questions and gives you the opportunity to proactively answer them and resolve queries.

Cost

As we mentioned earlier, VHCS is completely free to download, install, and use for personal and commercial uses. Support can be obtained for an admin fee if you need help with the installation of the control panel itself. Custom control panels can also be ordered so that you can offer a completely unique and branded version of this simple but powerful control panel to your clients.

VHCS Conclusion

Even ignoring the price VHCS is an elegant looking, if perhaps a little bland, control panel. It doesn’t offer the add-on scripts that many commercial ventures offer but it does offer everything that is necessary to manage and maintain a website and what it does offer it does so incredibly well. Updates and bug fixes are released regularly and various support packages are also available should you feel that you will need help installing the control panel or in the future using it. Whether you intentionally set out to find a free Linux compatible control panel or not, you really should not pass this one by just because it is not a commercial offering. For many it offers the exact features required and does so extremely well.

 

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