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Website hosting interfaces for MediaWiki: Plesk and cPanel

This article is part of a series compiled as a guide to encourage and assist those building a MediaWiki-based website in a hosted environment.

Each article links to relevant documentation from the website and the website. Where the official documentation does not adequately cover the issues for a hosted site, or is too 'advanced', additional information, explanation and advice is provided.

Web Hosting Interfaces

When you choose a website hosting provider, look for the type of interface they offer. The two most common options used by professionals are called Plesk and cPanel. However, some hosting services use their own custom interface. These options are discussed below.


Plesk is a high-end commercial product implemented by many large-scale hosting providers. The Plesk Documentation and Help Portal has information for Users, Hosters or Providers, and Developers, which can be downloaded. The Getting Started... and Customer's Guide are comprehensive and written in an easy-to-understand style. There are also Video Tutorials.

To obtain the documentation or view the tutorials, use the link to Plesk Documentation and then select the version of Plesk from a drop-down listing.


cPanel is a web-based control panel for managing hosted websites. The company also produces a product called WHM which is a Web Host Manager to enable the hosting provider to manage the hosting accounts. The products are widely used and the cPanel website lists web hosting providers who use this interface.

The user documentation is on-line. The cPanel interface is easy to use.

Custom Interfaces

As both Plesk and cPanel are commercial products some hosting providers may have developed their own user interface to minimize costs.

When looking at Forums and Reviews about hosting providers it is interesting to note the reasons for negative comments. The main causes are:

  1. poor customer service; closely followed by
  2. frustrations with a custom interface.


To install, configure, secure and manage a MediaWiki-based website requires frequent access to the files in the installation directories through your hosting provider interface. If that is a frustrating experience it will reduce your productivity and creativity and may even lead to abandonment of your website goals.

Therefore, when choosing a hosting provider check which kind of user interface they provide. cPanel is easy to use. Both Plesk and cPanel are suitable for managing a professional-level site and are recommended over any custom interface, particularly when using MediaWiki.


The information or advice provided in this Guide is based on, or links to, official documentation for MediaWiki and was accurate when this article was created. However, some variation may occur between versions of MediaWiki; and the specifics of web hosting varies by service provider. Consequently, you should always create an effective backup before making any changes; ensure that you can restore your database and website; read the Release Notes before upgrading; and apply best practices to the management of your website. Any action that you take based on information provided here is at your own risk and the author accepts no liability for any loss or damage.