How to Manage Your VPS Without a cPanel?

A basic hosting plan usually comes with all the software you’ll need to use it. For example, if you use shared hosting, you’ll probably have access to your account’s control panel.

These hosting control panels provide you with the options you need to set up your account. However, you won’t get the chance to modify your server’s settings because you share them with other people.

With a virtual private server (VPS), on the other hand, you get a server all to yourself.

VPS is a hosting service that acts as a dedicated, standalone server for a hosting account. It comes in handy when individuals want to use cloud technology and virtualization.

You can use a VPS for nearly everything related to hosting including:

  •       Applications
  •       Websites
  •       Blogs
  •       Files and
  •       Databases

Although several web hosting companies include cPanel in their hosting package, you can use your VPS without it.


What’s a cPanel?

A cPanel is a web-based control panel used for managing web hosting service accounts. It provides you with the tools you need to successfully create and manage your websites via your favorite web browser.

In other words, the cPanel gives you a graphical interface that allows you to control your part of the Unix server. The cPanel only provides ease of access to perform actions in a VPS, and cPanel actions can be performed using commands.

So, let’s get to it.


What Are the Uses for a VPS Without cPanel?

Even though the cPanel makes your work easy and quick, some uses trail its exclusion. Let’s explore these uses.

Reduction of Attack Vectors

An attack vector is a pathway or method that allows a hacker to deliver adverse outcomes to your computer or network server.

Attack vectors include:

  • Viruses
  • Web pages
  • Email attachments, or pop-up windows. Although no server is entirely safe from such infiltration, a VPS without a cPanel can be a plus.


cPanels take permission to make changes on your server, making it possible for bugs to affect the server.

Saving System Resources

In most cases, the term “system resources” refers to how much RAM or memory your computer has available. 

These resources usually include:

  • the CPU,
  • hard drive,
  • video card.

Since you need memory, you must take specific steps to maximize the use of your system’s resources. One such effort is to do without a cPanel because having one means you need to have a web server running. That step usually requires more megabytes of RAM than you’re willing to let go of.

And if you run low on or out of system resources, you’d have reduced performance. Lack of system resources also results in an error of some kind.

Saving costs

CPanel price rise is something that can put you in a tight spot. The new cPanel per account pricing scheme makes licensing fees higher, and VPS usage more expensive.

Using a Non-Standard Setup

The need to use a setup that’s unsupported by cPanel will arise sometimes. For example, you need to use Nginx, but cPanel only supports Apache. Setting up VPS without cPanel makes the process easier.


Is It Difficult to Set Up VPS Without a cPanel?

Although it isn’t challenging to set up VPS without cPanel, it all depends on what you’re doing. For example, setting up a system through a secure shell (SSH) on the command line requires more knowledge of whatever you’re using.

Luckily in most cases, all you need is good knowledge and understanding of how Linux works. However, if you lack that knowledge, the guide below will show you how to manage VPS within a short period.


Manage your VPS without cPanel – Step by Step

If you intend to run VPS without cPanel, the following guide should come in handy.

VPS with Linux OS – how to start with that

When creating your VPS server, you should opt for Ubuntu 18.04 as the operating system (OS). However, you can also choose to use Debian or Centos.

Depending on your preference and budget, you’ll get a prompt to input:

  • the number of virtual central processing units you want,
  • hard disc space,
  • RAM,
  • server location.


Connect to your server via SSH

Sometimes called secure socket shell, SSH is a protocol that allows you to connect to a computer or server using a text-based interface remotely. A shell session gets started when a secure SSH connection gets established. This action will enable you to tweak the server by typing commands within the client on your local computer.

Since all VPS plans allow SSH access, you can connect to your Ubuntu 18.04 server with your assigned public IP address. The root user and password you received during the VPS set up is also necessary here.

If you’re running on Windows, you should consider downloading the PuTTY SSH client. For Mac or Linux users, you can initiate an SSH connection through your inbuilt SSH client Terminal.

To do this, you’ll need to:

  •       Load an SSH terminal using the CTRL + ALT + T  keyboard shortcut or right-clicking the desktop and left-clicking Open Terminal.
  •       Type in SSH then click Enter in the terminal.
  •       If the client is available, you should receive a response similar to this:

How to Manage Your VPS Without a cPanel?
If you don’t find the above, you’ll have to install the OpenSSH client by:

  •       Running sudo apt-get install OpenSSH-client command on your computer.
  •       Typing in your user password when prompted.
  •       Hitting Enter to finish the installation.


Connect to your server via SFTP

Secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) uses the server’s existing user accounts and SSH keys for encryption. So, if you’ve got access to a server with an account over SSH, you can use the same login credentials to access the server’s file system over SFTP.

Luckily, several file transfer protocol (FTP) clients like Filezilla support SFTP. To use SFTP instead of FTP, simply specify sftp:// before the hostname. You can also change the port to your SSH port to 22 instead of the FTP port 21.

How to Manage Your VPS Without a cPanel?

To achieve this, you should:

  •       Open your FTP client.
  •       Enter the following connection information:

Host: your server’s hostname or IP.

Username: your root or username on the server.

Password: your server’s password.

Port: your SSH port (22 by default).

  •       Click Quickconnect.


Install Apache/LiteSpeed/Nginx

To install Apache, use the sudo apt-get install apache2 command. Confirm it when the system gives you a confirmation message.

To verify that Apache got installed correctly, you’ll need to open a web browser and type http://local.server.ip in the address bar. The web browser should open an Apache2 Ubuntu Default Page:

How to Manage Your VPS Without a cPanel?

Note: you can replace local.server.ip with your server’s IP address. If you aren’t sure of the IP address, run this terminal command:

hostname -I | awk ‘{print $1}’

To install LiteSpeed, you first need to update the system packages with the following command:

$ sudo apt-get update

Next, you need to install OpenLiteSpeed dependencies with the command:

$ sudo apt-get install -y build-essential

$ sudo apt-get install -y rcs libpcre3-dev libexpat1-dev libssl-dev libgeoip-dev libudns-dev zlib1g-dev libxml2 libxml2-dev libpng-dev openssl

To install OpenLiteSpeed, you should go to the OpenLiteSpeed downloads page and download the latest stable edition as follows:

$ wget

Decompress the downloaded file:

$ tar -xzvf openlitespeed-1.4.34.tgz

Then change into the installation directory, compile, and install the package as the root user:

$ cd openlitespeed-1.4.34/

$ sudo ./configure

$ sudo make && sudo make install

OpenLiteSpeed will be automatically installed in >/usr/local/lsws directory

Use the following command to configure the administrative password for OpenLiteSpeed:

$ sudo /usr/local/lsws/admin/misc/

Ensure that you specify the administrator’s username, which is the user name needed to log in to the Web interface.

User name [admin]: liteadmin

Also ensure that you specify the administrator’s password, that’s the password you’ll need to log in to the administration Web interface.

Once you’ve authenticated the administrator’s username and password successfully, you can launch the OpenLiteSpeed web server:

$ sudo /etc/init.d/lsws start

For Nginx, you need to first update the package information with the following commands.

For CentOS, input:

$ sudo yum update -y

For Ubuntu, input:

$ sudo apt-get update -y

Next, you should install the Nginx server.

For Ubuntu, enter the command:

$ sudo apt install nginx -y

For CentOS, enter the command:

$ sudo yum install nginx -y

Testing the installation success requires you to input your server’s public IP address on a web browser. If it’s successful, the response you get should look like this:


Install MySQL

Since dynamic websites need MySQL to store and manage data, you can install this database management system by running the following commands.

For CentOS, you can use:

$ sudo yum install mysql-server

For Unbuntu, you can use:

$ sudo apt install mysql-server

Unfortunately, a MySQL installation isn’t secure by default. Thus, you need to modify most of its settings to ensure its security. To do this, run the following command:

$ sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted, you can input the following as answers:

Enable valid password Plugin? Y

Password Validation Policy Level: 2

Root Password: Enter password here

Re-enter password: Repeat password here

Continue with the Password provided? Y

Remove anonymous users? Y

Disallow root login remotely? Y

Remove test database and access to it? Y

Reload privileges tables now? Y

When you’ve successfully filled all fields, you should receive a “Success! All done’’ note.


Install PHP

Although the Nginx web server and MySQL are already up and running, you still need to install the Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) to retrieve data from the MySQL database. The following commands will come in handy when taking this step.

For CentOS, enter:

$ sudo apt-get install php-fpm php-mysql

For Ubuntu, enter:

$ sudo apt-get install php-fpm php-mysql


Configure the Server to support PHP

For Nginx to support PHP requests, you’ll have to  edit the ‘/etc/nginx/sites-available/default’ file with this:

$ sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/default

The highlighted values are the ones you need to change:

server {

listen 80;

root /var/www/html;

server_name _;

index index.php index.html index.htm index.debian-default.html;

location / {

try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php$is_args$args;


location ~ \.php$ {

include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;

fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php7.1-fpm.sock;



Next, reload Nginx with this:

$ sudo systemctl reload nginx



To confirm the status of PHP, you need to create a file using nano editor:

$ sudo nano /var/www/html/phpinfo.php

Once the editor opens, copy and paste the text below:




After copying the content, close the file by pressing keyboard shortcut CTRL + X, Y and then Enter.

Next, you’ll visit the URL http://your_ip_address/phpinfo.php

You should see a detailed PHP page if everything is how it’s supposed to be.


Why SPanel and Managed VPS are better for Beginners and Not-So-Experienced Users?

As cPanel is out of the running, the first alternative for beginners and intermediate users is SPanel.

How to Manage Your VPS Without a cPanel?

So, what is SPanel?

SPanel is an all-inclusive hosting platform for cloud VPS management.

What makes SPanel a great alternative?


Unlike cPanel, you don’t need to pay a monthly license fee to use SPanel. You can even use the platform on Scala Hosting VPS servers for free.


You can integrate SPanel into any website or platform thanks to its API. From Nginx, LiteSpeed Enterprise, to OpenLiteSpeed, you’ll get real-time protection.

Better Data Security

Regardless of the security system installed on the shared server, having one hacked website makes it vulnerable to attacks. However, SPanel has a backup system that you can configure to fit any client requirements.

The tool saves several of your data’s restore points on remote backup servers. Locating them requires you to browse the recovery points and bring back individual files, whole directories, and databases from the control panel.

Better Speed

With SPanel, your website loads faster. Even clients that share a server with you can’t slow you down. The platform’s Nginx integration helps this speed as it’s running as an Apache proxy.

Nginx’s micro caching feature also speeds up a website by up to 1200 percent, compared to other web servers.

Confirmed Email Delivery

Your emails won’t get blacklisted because you get a  dedicated email IP when you choose SPanel.


Conclusion and FAQ

With Linux, Nginx, MySQL, and PHP on your Ubuntu server or CentOS, you can run any website you want. However, if you’re considering a move from cPanel to another platform, you’re already halfway to unlimited hosting benefits.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Difficult Is It To Migrate From cPanel?

Although you’ll have to consider what migrating from the hosting platform means for you, it’s not difficult to migrate from cPanel at all. Just ensure you back up your files so there’ll be no challenges when you’re setting up alternative software.

How Do I Delete My Email Accounts When Migrating From cPanel?

From the cPanel dashboard, scroll down, find, and click the “Email Accounts” tool. Once it opens, scroll down to the section containing the email addresses and check for the address to remove.

Next, click the “Delete” link on the right of the address. A cPanel confirmation message will ask if you’re sure about deleting the current address. If you’re confident, click the “Delete” button to continue.

That action will remove the email address from cPanel permanently.


What Now?

If you’ve decided to leave cPanel, then you might as well use a simpler alternative. Albeit, you may consider using expert help to make the migration a breeze. You can search for viable IT experts online and reach them via their websites, contact numbers, or email.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use solution that gets the job done, SPanel is your best choice. Since SPanel gives you more than just a control panel, you can get more done in less time and with little effort. Get all the information you need right here. Good luck.



Working in the web hosting industry for over 13 years, Rado has inevitably got some insight into the industry. A digital marketer by education, Rado is always putting himself in the client's shoes, trying to see what's best for THEM first. A man of the fine detail, you can often find him spending 10+ minutes wondering over a missing comma or slightly skewed design.

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