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Centminmod vs Cyberpanel - first impressions (and feature requests)

Discussion in 'Forum Feedback & Suggestions' started by FluxTux, Dec 15, 2019.

  1. FluxTux

    FluxTux New Member

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    I like to believe that I do thorough research.

    Some months ago I started systematically researching open source webhost panels. Reason being that I've run a webserver for 5+ years. At the point I began I needed not spending a lot of time on the technical side of things.

    Truth be told: commandline moves = not my favorite. So when I outgrew shard hosting and VPS took off I became a pretty early adaptor of serverpilot.io

    Down the road I've however grown increasingly tired of the 'usual stuff'. Moving to SP did spare me from the limitations of shared hosting limits. Yet feature restrictions, changing pricing policies, lack of panel options, ect. started to bother me... and not least I got tired from struggling with wordpress load times.

    Maybe Serverpilot was a decent entry point to server management. If that's the case it seems I've just outgrown it.

    My bet is that a lot of people find CMM that way... discovering one of Eva2000s numerous benchmarks online or catching on to a thread in these excellent forums.

    There's a lot to like about FOSS software. Not just the "free" part - in many cases there's room for a real sense of community. Everybody can chip in. My impression of the CMM forum is a treat that ppl in general are kind, down to earth and very helpfull... and not least competent and knowlegable.

    To be honest I find that the tech side + the lean approach of CMM can be a challenge and sure takes a lot of time getting used to. I do respect the insisting philosophy of Eva2000 though it leaves little room for 'shortcuts' (as in - just skip knowing bout this) - but there sure is a LOT of knowhow to absorb!!

    Sure - I would've loved to share the fairytale version of how I'm slowly turning into a CMM jedi due to the excellency of the CMM.

    But my background is digital design - and a terminal based panel does not exactly cater to my love of iconography and zen interfaces.

    So the force is not strong in this one and thus my jedi transition is happening slooooooooow.... some serverside things just seem/are really involved and abstract and the terminal is a powerful tool.

    So oftentime it's just a real challenge to walk the CMM path.

    But boy... CMM just does it's job really really well! :)

    Anyway, long story short(er):

    Research narrowed my initial list of around 40+ OS/SaaS panels down to a final showdown. I started out testing CMM and recently I added Cyberpanel to a test server. In my research CP seemed to offered the fiercest competition to CMM in terms of running blazingly fast Wordpress sites while adopting a different approach.

    (A sidenote for those not aware; Cyberpanel is fathered by the team that developed Litespeed. LS is essentially is an alternative to Nginx. They've released Litespeed in an open source version named Openlitespeed and Cyberpanel sits on top of that for free as it's open source as well)

    So I'm kind of down to testing the final contenders in my own Wordpress speed competition rally - yet the primary intent is not just performance and milliseconds. It's finding the operational tool that suits me best without too many compromises.

    Mind you I'm not doing actual benchmarks and side-by-side comparisons of CMM and CP in this regard - at least at this point.

    I simply just want to get a feel for these panels. Lots has been said about CMM thus far so what follows is my impression of its contender.

    Cyberpanel - pros:
    • CP has... tons and tons of features. Extremely impressive in that sense. E.g. it's very vertasile in my book to offer remote incremental scheduled backup / restore functionality. Add to this stuff like integrated DNS management, kubernetes, email server.... the list goes on and on.
    • Decent GUI as well. Responsive. Interface is a little rough around the edges - some GUI implementations seems like afterthoughts - but overall a decent impression and usable.
    • Pretty fast. Not remotely as fast as CMM - but it's a different breed with a GUI so hardly a surprise.
    • The personal preference aspect: GUIs in general does offer me a feeling of containment - in the positive sense. Meaning - when things are visually boxed op logically in front of me it sort of makes me feel more at ease. When I do stuff in the prompt does invoke a sense of 'holy s*** a lot of stuff happened just there... ". This tend to be overwhelming for newbies I think. I've toyed a bit with linux distros over the years so I'm not that easily scared but I'm still attracted by green activation sliders neatly arranged into meaningful sections. It all just seems somewhat reassuring. It's what I'm used to. At least until my brain has been sufficiently rewired.
    Cyberpanel - cons:
    • CP has... tons and tons of features. Lots are not needed on my part. I do know some of those can be excluded from the panel via commandline (e.g. DNS management). But the bottom line is: This plethora of options packed into a panel triggers my bloat radar... quite a bit.
    • Another cost of loads of features and technologies is if the documentation suffers. I do think this is the case with CP. Some tuts / descriptions of feature seem sporadic fillers. The docs to me seem to come up short in terms of specific examples and use case scenarios. It does however seem like an active community though I do get the impression that the knowledge level of the average contributer is subpar to CMM which is logical as the lure of CPs automated features has to attract newbies. Not meant derogatory. Just an honest impression.
    • There's a hellowalot of ports need be opened for CP to work due to the gazillion features offered. This makes me kind of sceptical. It's a lot to oversee and understand for new users and novices such as myself could end up breaching data by not being knowledable enough about firewall rules. I know this is a major area of server management that cannot be left out, but nonetheless.
    • Seems like the CP dev team endorses the use of regular FTP over SFTP. At least I recall this advice passed around quite a bit at their forums in order to facilitate certain features of CP (I think it's a permission issue in regards to file uploads which has been partially resolved via a "Fix ownership" bottom). Yet some devs still refer to this as less ideal and still promote FTP. Afaik FTP is an insecure protocol so it just seems to be pretty bad advice tbh.
    • So some major concerns of mine boils down to security - and to top things off CP failed a recent security audit with flying colours. Insecurities have been patched since cf. the report linked to above. But it's the obvious general lack of concern for security of the dev team that really bothers me (and arguably should bother most of their userbase as well). Having so many features / integrations seems to come at a potential high cost as well. Some integrations seem a bit hasted through. Such things tend to increase the potential for human error and the willingness to start ignoring security standards.
    On a sidenote: The only panel not included in the security audit above seems to be CMM alongside similar terminal based panels such as Easyengine, Slickstack and Wordops.
    Suspect it's because the audit team would not be able to show off their penetrating skills testing CMM ;-) - yet probably it's just because they think GUI based panels are the only real alternatives to the big commercial panels (Cpanel etc).

    I'm not done testing and comparing CentMinMod and Cyberpanel. It's evidently a process.

    But in the end I do fell like I prefer the leaner approach of CMM and learning a few jedi tricks down the road from Eva. Seem a more rewarding path - and also the potentially least troublesome given the security challenges of CP.

    However, personally I do have a few humble requests for the future development of CMM (@eva2000) which I hope could be upped for consideration. These are things that I honestly feel would tip many newcomers towards CMM.

    Some features are obviously not humble in practice as they probably involve a lot of work to integrate into CMM. Others are already on the drawing table it seems.

    So here's my current top 3 request for CMM:
    • Option for scheduled incremental remote backup of apps installed in the public web folder of specified vhost domains.
    • Option for automated incremental restore from backups of apps installed in the public web folder of specified vhost domains.
    • Option for selecting Openlitespeed over Nginx. I do see you have got this on your todo list Eva so I'm kind of curious in regards to the status of this.
    • I do have more requests. But I'd rather prioritize. I think my fourth request would be - is there a way to simplify things further? Perhaps improving the way documentation is put forward to make it less.... in your face - massive. I know thats why you made this guide to CMM - but when I think about it - what it kind of says to me is something like; just go read it all - all the time! ;-)
    Anyway, I have not formed a conclusion of where to go and which panel to rely on. The quickfix mostly suitable for my current needs would be CP - simply as it has all the features I need (cf requests to CMM above).

    On the other hand I definitely feel like CMM is the safe bet long term due to the thorough approach of Eva2000. The level of accuracy and dedication (which for me equals quality) also shines through when you compare the forums of CMM and CP.

    Oversimplifying things - CMM is kinda... zen. CP is kinda... bloat.

    Please, whether you have other or similar experiences ... do share!! I for one welcome new perspectives on these panels and hopefully this would be beneficial to others suffering from the same dilemmas as I am.

    Best! :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2019
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  2. eva2000

    eva2000 Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experience and feedback with us all :)

    Backups is one part I am working to evolve - see on Centmin Mod development dashboard's To-Do list at Extended Backup, Restore, Migration Tools · Issue #122 · centminmod/centminmod specifically. However, incremental backups are nice but personally I wouldn't rely solely on them as they all depend on the initial full backup's integrity. If initial full backup is corrupted or incomplete, every subsequent incremental backup will be invalid and useless !

    The difference is usually the commercial panels advertise some form of user jailed/account isolation from each other and from root user. So alot of the security testing is for non-privileged user's escalation to privileged root etc user access or having access to other non-privileged user data. For Centmin Mod and other alike LEMP stacks there is no jailed/account isolation as you are already operating at a user privilege that has all that access already. Centmin Mod development dashboard in To-Do column also has Nginx jailed/chroot user planned for the future centminmod/centminmod at which time user/site isolation would also be a feature and then security for non-privileged user to privileged user escalation vulnerabilities would also be a factor that needs to take into account. This would involve alot of testing etc to get right and secure - hence why it isn't currently available.

    Still on the books but I only release features when I am confident I am prepared to provide some form of support for and have done adequate testing. OpenLitespeed/Litespeed integration isn't there at that stage where I am prepared to provide the support for it. But it is still planned for.

    Documentation is the biggest hurdle right now in getting 123.09beta01 to stable status as I only work on Centmin Mod in my spare time and it's one of the top ranked issue in Centmin Mod's development dashboard under 'In Progress' column centminmod/centminmod

    Thanks for the kind words, I am very proud of how these official Centmin Mod community forums have evolved that's to all members that make up the community. I don't think any other free LEMP/LAMP stack (without a paid plan offering) has a community even close to Centmin Mod right now.

    One thing though I hope to see more Centmin Mod experts over time =
    Attention Future Centmin Mod Experts ! - that is one of the metrics I am looking at to determine Centmin Mod's long term success ;)
     
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  3. FluxTux

    FluxTux New Member

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    Hi and thanks for answering! :)

    Sounds exciting with backups in progress (y)

    I do understand the potential downside of incremental backups if used as only measure. Theres just a major appeal in saving a lot space on cloud backups as well as engaging fewer server resources after the first backup.

    Obviously, the best thing would be if it was somehow possible to validate integrity of the first backup. Would it perhaps be possible to implement a verification mechanism of sorts in regards to files (?)

    For db checks this guy mentions DBCC CHECKDB as a way to ensure database integrity (?)

    I understand im probably just scratching the surface here and it's probably a lot complicated than that - but doesn't hurt asking - right?

    Another thought in regards this - maybe the restore mechanism could be directed to another end point in order to make a restore of the site on e.g. a subdomain and check the staus of the restore there.

    Reckon the later option would open up for at staging feature as well. Not too shabby -eh? :whistle:
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  4. eva2000

    eva2000 Administrator Staff Member

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    something like that is planned see commit I made to prepare for centmin mod to centmin mod data transfers https://community.centminmod.com/threads/revise-centmin-sh-menu-option-21-in-123-09beta01.18577/. Right now it's all data and not selective data transfer I am working on first

    and 2nd post has example of using xxHash to do checksums of data transferred (files and mysql backup sql files)
     
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  5. FluxTux

    FluxTux New Member

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    Thanks for the heads up. Digesting the info you've provided :bookworm:

    Have compiled a bit more in regards to my experience with Cyberpanel vs Centminmod.

    I want to like both panels - but right now I'm honestly tempted to abandon CP altogether. Compared to CMM it just doesn't cut it.

    E.g. setting up a WP site with CMM and Letsencrypt in my experience has so far proven way more efficient with CMM. Let me illustrate why:
    • To me the setup process in CMM appears faster (once Acmetool installed and the logic is down) in regards to domain setup, installation of files and SSL. In CP it all seems a tad convoluted and unclear. E.g. why offer so many ways to assign SSL? When to use one over the other?
    • The post- installation procedure in CMM is a breeze - things just work. By comparison I have a long list of post install issues in CP that I need to resolve, e.g.:
      • Is it due to permission errors or firewall settings that I cannot upload a theme via WP backend without Litespeed 403 errors?
      • Okay, let me upload via SFTP instead... oh right - no go due to bad permissions caused by that protocol. Skip to the built- in file transfer option instead.
      • Yipee - that worked out nice it seems!! Themes up and active. Now, let's add some content via WP. But wait... why can't I save content? WP mod_rewrite rules are in place in CP settings. Is it a PHP thing? Is it Modsecurity disallowing certain actions? If so what rules to regulate? :nailbiting:
      • ...and why the heck does it open a new pane in the browser open practically every time I try to add input to the theme content editor??? Yes - that stuff actually happens!! Both on Xubuntu+Firefox as well as on OSX with Chrome. o_O :banghead:
      • ...end of day :meh:
    In all fairness most things can probably be attributed to lack of insight and that CP 'just need to be installed and configured correctly' in order for it to kick a**.

    On the other hand - factually I did read the (limited) documentation and even did several from scratch reinstalls on new VPS instances at Upcloud to ensure I got things about right from start.

    So far with CP I just experience lots of issues that need to be ironed out. Despite trying to follow guidelines. Some info seems outdated and often when similar incidents reported in the forums might lead to a solution they are often disclosed into personal tickets and it seems that few people have the time or decorum to reveal to others in the same situation what worked out for them.

    I have had zero issues like that with CMM.

    So I find a lot of time is wasted researching for 'similar' incidents and frankly I'm too old to feel like I'm straigh up wasting time like this.

    I get it. Evidently no panel is to blame for one's lack of insight. Yet I cant help but feel increasingly disappointed by the lack of proper documentation. Must remind myself that it takes a lot of effort to document processes and not least keep them clear, informative and relevant.

    So the importance of structure and documentation first hand is really dawning on me more than ever at this point.

    Still think CP interface is quite polished. It's better once one gets a hang of it and I do like the attention to detail - but despite the soothing eye-candy factor it clearly takes quite a lot to accomplish a stealth setup.

    So my gut feeling still says CMM - not least to avoid issues down the road. Yet, the backup feature is still a powerfull teaser. On the other hand maybe a guide to something like rsync backup /restore with CMM is available somewhere...(?)
     
  6. eva2000

    eva2000 Administrator Staff Member

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    I last tested Cyberpanel in July 2018 last year https://community.centminmod.com/th...7-rc-openlitespeed-vs-centmin-mod-lemp.15211/ but don't recall Wordpress being that difficult to setup but I guess alot of has changed there in past 17 months.

    Yes all my Wordpress sites are created via Centmin Mod 123.09beta01's centmin.sh menu option 22 including my most recent Wordpress site at https://servermanager.guide/. Even wrote a Wordpress install guide for Centmin Mod at https://servermanager.guide/122/how-to-install-wordpress-on-centmin-mod-lemp-stack-guide/ and advance Centmin Mod install guide at https://servermanager.guide/117/centmin-mod-advanced-customised-installation-guide/ :)

    As to backup/restore - no specific guide but for moving site data there's 2 general guides where the principles & steps of backing up and moving data is the same just slightly different for
    1. Moving Centmin Mod site data to another Centmin Mod server
    2. Moving cPanel/WHM site data to Centmin Mod server
    Those guides move alot more than just the site(s) in question but config files etc. You can use your own best judgement as to the config files and whether you want to move them or just use the fresh server setup Centmin Mod config files as they get auto optimised for the server Centmin Mod initially installed on.

    If your old site isn't centmin mod or cpanel/whm based, then those guides won't be 100% applicable. But the general overview of what needs moving and where everything is structured in Centmin Mod LEMP environment is worth reading up on.

    Also official site configuration files page explains the Centmin Mod structure of where the important files are so you can decide on what to backup.
     
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  7. KinderOvO

    KinderOvO Member

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    CyberPanel supports only 1 worker, this I believe is bad for those who have sites with many access and use servers with many threads/core.

    Will there be an option to upgrade workers.
     
  8. FluxTux

    FluxTux New Member

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    Sounds probable but have to pass as I honestly dont know. I'll make a short update of my experience below.
     
  9. FluxTux

    FluxTux New Member

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    Update:

    After testing for a few more days since my last update I honestly did not feel like investing more time on CP.

    I made it a premise to run a comparison based on a newbies experience of testing out-of-the-box performance in terms of installing / operating Centminmod (CMM) and Cyberpanel (CP) on 2 x CentOS 7 $5 VPS instances at Upcloud. On top of that I installed and ran Wordpress using the Divi theme.

    Anyway, the winner in my case was CMM hands down - on basically all parameters.

    Main reasons have been listed above already. Overall - coming from CMM to CP just never got to sit right with me.

    Personally I'm a bit disappointed with CP except on the overall feature range and the speed ability of (open)litespeed. Again - I had a pretty bummer WP experience. Divi seemed incompatible (wierd issues).

    Altogether, for me the most important aspects of a webpanel are security and efficiency - and not least the ability to run Wordpress as fast as possible.

    I've never had a single issue with at WP site based on CMM. It just - wham - spot on works!!

    I wanted to like CP. Really!!

    But by contrast I was gradually turned off by CP due to a bunch of (trivial) issues and subpar documentation. The applied VPS was within the minimum specs scale of both panels, but if I remember correctly the CP devs do recommend a bit more power than provided. Yet the issues I encountered did not seem related to VPS performance.

    Speed comparison based mere mortal user experience rather than hardcore data: I'd say both felt pretty equal in front and backend. Again - tested with WP out of the box based on standard CP one-click install vs CMM option 22 install.

    In my book security equals trust. I do trust in CMM due to the obvious expertise and diligence of the dev. By comparison with CP I found it difficult to match the enthusiasm when I discovered the recent CP audit of november 2019 (referred to above). Whether patched or not this was just a huge turn-off.

    I'm sure others will chip in eventually and CP will get better - but so will CMM. Based on my experience I've decided to focus on CMM only to get a better grip of essentials cf. the get started guide + forums. I have working steps 1-5 pretty intensively (while skimming the rest) for the last couple of months.

    Ps. to keep track of my progress with notes I find Workflowy to be a simple and efficient tool (not affiliated). Just in case others might benefit.

    Pps: I know Divi (also not affiliated) has a rep as being badly bloated. My take on it is that by the last couple of major updates it has improved... e.g. the code base has been cleaned up although essentially it has evolved into a WP theme builder. For designers who want to offer clients easy- editing with extended options it's a really decent choice. By my research it has the best value over features and it's easy to adopt and appreciate as a design builder.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
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  10. eva2000

    eva2000 Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the updated comparison. If you mean cf = Cloudflare, then my guide at https://servermanager.guide/122/how-to-install-wordpress-on-centmin-mod-lemp-stack-guide/ has a section for Cloudflare + Centmin Mod Wordpress setup.
     
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  11. FluxTux

    FluxTux New Member

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    Thanks mate - just meant cf. as in confer actually ;)

    ...anyway, been through the whole CF section +subsections by now a couple of times. Esp. found the CF anti-DNS leak setup a bit tricky to get a hold of. Unfoprtunately I cannot recall the specifics at this point - just a few steps threw the newbie off o_O

    I know you said the documentation part for obvious reasons is a challenge (keeping it tight and updated etc.) In case one runs into things that doesn't quite add up in terms of missing/incomplete steps, descriptions, things that does not work... would you like feedback on that - and in case how? Just wondering...
     
  12. eva2000

    eva2000 Administrator Staff Member

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    feedback and suggestions always welcome - whether it's implemented is another matter :)