For the most part, web hosting packages come with some sort of web-based control panel included. vDeck is one such control panel that allows webmasters to easily manage all their hosted services in a web-based interface. Some hosting companies will have their own proprietary control panel; however, most hosting providers will usually offer third-party control panels customized to reflect their own brand.
vDeck is a popular control panel adopted by hosting companies like iPage, FatCow, PowWeb, StartLogic and iPower. vDeck is at its 4th edition now, and it was completely revamped to become more efficient and to better appeal to beginners as well. Its previous editions were not as full-featured or as visually appealing as the latest vDeck release. Still, vDeck has managed to catch the eye of several web hosts that mainly specialize in offering shared hosting packages.
Opinions about vDeck are mixed – some users regard it as the best and most intuitive control panel added to the market, others feel that it still needs further development to be able to compete with leading control panels the likes of cPanel, which appears to be the hosting industry favorite so far. So, is vDeck a good choice for you? Let’s see what are the features you can expect to enjoy with vDeck, and what are the pros and cons of this control panel.
vDeck gives you the tools to launch your site and keep it going, featuring an easy-to-use interface with website management tools, email management, ecommerce tools, and built-in marketing services. Here are vDeck control panel’s features at a glance:
- Domain management – use the “Domain” tab to add or transfer a domain, manage subdomains and domain pointers;
- FTP management tools;
- Web-based file manager – allows all the basic packing/unpacking/editing functions you’d expect;
- Email management – webmail access, spam and virus prevention, email forwards, autoresponders, etc.;
- Drag and drop website builder – users can choose from hundreds of professionally designed templates to create a website without any coding knowledge;
- eCommerce features – under the “eCommerce” tab you will find a suite of eCommerce tools that can help you get started with selling online;
- Marketing tools – site promotion and submission tools integrated directly into vDeck including search engine optimization, free search engine advertising credit, free pay-per-click advertising credit that allow you to promote your site on Google, Facebook, and Yahoo/Bing;
- Site backup and restore – make your own local backups or restore your data from system generated backups;
- Security tools – hotlink protection, password protected directories, block certain IP addresses from accessing your site, etc.;
- App installer – install popular applications with the vDeck scripts installer;
- Databases – MS SQL and MySQL for database driven sites;
- Account management – change billing information, make payments, change passwords;
- Site analytics tools – view stats relating to visitors of your site.
It’s customary for hosting providers to include the control panel for free as part of their hosting package, especially with shared hosting plans. Some hosting providers will charge extra for the control panel, but this is mainly the case when they give you the option to choose from multiple control panels (e.g. cPanel, DirectAdmin, vDeck, etc.).
Some hosting providers will add their own flavor to third-party control panels, so it’s not unusual to see different versions of the same control panel at different hosting providers. You may find slight variations in the website management tools they offer or web hosts may include extra services, but generally, vDeck comes with the features listed above.
Pros and of cons of vDeck
vDeck does a good job at simplifying your day-to-day website management tasks, but is it able to compete with cPanel, for example? Here’s the good and the bad of vDeck:
- Drop-down navigation, well-organized, efficient;
- Customizable (e.g you can choose the widgets to display in the sidebar);
- Feature-rich website management tools and eCommerce features;
- Drag and drop site builder;
- FAQs, tutorials, help easily accessible via pop up box on any page.
Despite the design revamp and feature expansion it has received in its 4th edition, vDeck is still often criticized for its deficiencies in usability as opposed to cPanel, which – although quite complex – ranks high in usability, so much so that even first-time users are able to easily get up to speed with all its features and functions. Of course, the shortcomings of vDeck are always analyzed in comparison with cPanel, which is, after all, the most widely used control panel. As opposed to cPanel, the limitations of vDeck can be summed up as follows:
- Number of built-in add-ons is limited, manual adding of add-ons may be necessary;
- vDeck is not as popular and as widely used as cPanel;
- Administrative access and FPT access cannot be restricted to a specific IP range;
- Security features are not as complex as the ones offered by cPanel.
Although boasting all the necessary features to control and manage your hosted websites and emails, and comparable in features and usability to cPanel, vDeck qualifies as a newcomer compared to cPanel, and it doesn’t seem to be shaking up cPanel’s status anytime soon.
Conclusion: Is vDeck a Good Control Panel for you?
While vDeck is a relatively new control panel, cPanel has been around since 1996 and has established a powerful reputation among web hosting providers. There is a marked bias for cPanel in the web hosting industry, and it’s often crowned as the best control panel around, followed by Plesk and DirectAdmin as runner ups. Leading web hosts will most certainly offer cPanel as their control panel, so you’re more likely to run into cPanel than vDeck when searching for a web host.
Nevertheless, vDeck is a well-rounded web-based control panel, often included with the hosting plans of popular shared hosting providers, thus, being more suitable for beginners, but just as likely to meet the needs of advanced users as well. Therefore, if your prospective web host’s hosting packages meet your requirements, you shouldn’t be deterred by the fact that they offer vDeck.