A common question everyone related to servers faces is whether it is necessary to have a control panel installed to manage a server. The short answer is no, it’s not only unnecessary but also can be a source of risks. Many unmanaged servers are successfully managed just from SSH and FTP. Even we suggest not to have PHPMyAdmin installed on an unmanaged server.
Who Needs a Control Panel?
If you have a large dedicated, managed server with a bunch of websites, in that case having a web control panel is practical. Although the SSH is the same in a virtual dedicated server (and cloud server) and a dedicated server, you should avoid messing with certain settings on a dedicated server unless you have several years of sysadmin experience.
Most of the command line guides we publish are intended for the people who can manage an unmanaged server running 1-2 sites on them. Most of the guides published by DigitalOcean and Linode are written for a similar audience. We do not suggest playing with a dedicated server which is running a production site. There are scenarios where you don’t want to place 200 sites on one server.
Is Control Panel to Manage Virtual Server is Unnecessary?
Almost unnecessary and it is a source of external attacks. Unless you are experienced with the particular control panel, attacks can be difficult to even trace.
Usually, a control panel is useful when we need automated configurations. The web hosting panel takes care of the regular tasks that a server handles. You may have a better way of doing things without the control panel, particularly on an unmanaged, virtual server.
There are varieties of tools which you can use to remotely manage the running services on the server without installing a control panel. Most importantly, if you running a WordPress instance then there are a lot of plugins which can be used for monitoring. You can orchestrate with Ansible with monitoring.
A Control panel is a feature mostly offered by shared web hosting.