My Honest Evaluation After 3 Months of Beta Testing

So, I just want to say I love what you are doing and I really hope you can continue this project and give companies like cPanel a run for their money. I've been playing around in development with Zeslecp for the last three months, I even have two low-mid traffic sites that I'm running in production right now (not sure if they're staying there). I just want to give you my thoughts on where you might improve both your software and business model to help meet the needs of web devs and make this a viable option for production environments.

First, on the business side of things. I love that you have a free license, please keep this even if in the future you perhaps leave certain features (maybe some of the caching suggestions I'll make later) as only available to paid licenses. As to your pricing, I think it's extremely fair, in-fact I think you are underselling the software. IF, and only IF, you address some of the lackings of the current build, I think you could easily double your prices and it'd still be a good value.

The good things I really like that you did:
  • One-click WP installs work perfectly
  • SSL is easy to install and I like the automatic Lets Ecnrypt certs
  • Easy backups and the ability to download the backups
  • Easy access to PHP MyAdmin
  • Easy to create and manage FTP accounts
  • Chron jobs are easy to create and manage and seems to work flawlessly
  • PHP Multi Editor is well implemented overall.
  • I love the system health monitoring to see CPU, RAM, etc.
  • The inclusion of a file manager is really nice.
As far as the lackings and room for improvement.
  1. Email. The webmail doesn't seem to work no matter what I try. Everything appears to be configured correctly, I can get to the RoundCube login page, but after putting in login information it always fails to log in. I've tried multiple domains, servers, etc. and I just can't seem to make it work. Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm sure most other users will miss whatever I'm missing as well. Perhaps better documentation is all that's needed, but I suspect it's something in the config under the hood. Also, to make a complete solution imap is also needed, not just webmail. Probably want to consider a spam filter too for paid license users (maybe skip this for the free license users).
  2. Security. Compatibility with Fail2Ban would really be nice as that's what a lot of us have used and know how to configure. This other one you are using seems a bit limited in configurability and options. Every day one of my production droplets is showing tens of thousands of failed attempts to SSH into it, and I can't seem to configure it to block them after 3 failed attempts like I normally would using Fail2Ban.
  3. Backups. It's great that it has one-click backup options and that you can download them, but I see no options to restore anything from a backup. I think the ability to restore and upload backups is a must for a well-rounded control panel. The ability to upload like this will also allow for migration between servers. (maybe this could be an option only for paid licenses).
  4. Nginx. The nginx cache that is used is always a problem for WordPress. It keeps showing old content after it has been updated. I think a solution to this would be to switch to Nginx FastCGI cache + PHP-FPM and add in the module ngx_cache_purge. That way the WP Nginx Helper plugin can selectively purge items from the Nginx cache folder. Also, nginx caching is always on, even when it's turned off in your panel. I suspect this is because of having layered config files. Probably a global caching policy config file is overriding the site-specific one.
  5. Caching. It would also be nice to have native Memcached installed for sites that are database heavy. Even if it's not default, it would be nice to have it as a drop-in module. I was able to install it and it works now, but it wasn't easy. Also opcache should really be standard with WordPress, so that should be added in as a default module.
  6. Performance. If there's little to no traffic to the server, ZesleCP is lightning-fast. But, any amount of traffic, even 10-20 visitors or a couple of crawlers, and the CPU usage spikes to MUCH higher than it should in my opinion. I suspect this is due to the lack of FastCGI and PHP-FPM. When the hits are missing the Nginx cache and going to Apache they end up backing up really quickly. If, for example, I turn on the WP Rocket preloader or critical CSS preloader, I end up with a backlog of hundreds of php-cgi processes running in a queue and the server literally locks if it has anything less than 16 CPU cores. On 4 CPU-cores I've had to throttle it all the way down to 15 pages per minute of preloading to keep CPU under 90%. Normally, I should be able to run the default 60/min just fine on 4 cores. I think it's just very inefficient at handling multiple concurrent php operations the way it is right now.
  7. Missing Recommended PHP Modules. There are also some missing php modules that should be added. For example, imagex, opcache (as mentioned above), and I think a couple of others (I forget which, but I had to manually add a couple others in my testing). Perhaps the list of php modules they support would be a good list to try to match:
  8. Admin File Manager. It might be nice to have the option for an admin level file manager with root access to the server's files. That way when we need to edit some nginx.conf file or the likes to do something custom, we can quickly get to it. (Again, maybe keep this for paid licenses only).
  9. FTP. The FTP service you are using is very slow to respond compared to other ones. Maybe consider switching to a different one such as vsftpd. The one it's using works, but has annoyingly long delays between interactions. I can't imagine trying to upload a full website over FTP to it.
I really think you are about 85% of the way toward offering a viable cPanel alternative for those who don't want to pay $15/month for a single site VPS and just want a simple solution that has the basic necessities. If you could address these items, I think many of us will happily pay double your current pricing.

Please don't stop developing this project, you are almost there. Maybe you could just use an investor or two to help you finish it???
(DM me if so, maybe we can discuss that).
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Staff member
Wow, first of all big thanks for sharing such a detailed list. We always love to hear back from our customers. We will definitely continue the development with the support and love of valuable customers like you.

Thanks for sharing all the points you like and mainly, we really appreciate that you shared the detailed suggestions where we can improve.

We will definitely add these to our future to-do list and will try our best to include these in upcoming releases as we go.

Few points from your suggestions which are already there:
1. Email: these seem to be working fine on our end. Please run the installation command again and it will fix any missing points. Note: it will not impact your data, it's totally safe to re-run the install command.

3. Backups: we already launched a fully featured Cloud Backup Manager (with an amazing set of features). Please read more here:

4. Nginx: ZesleCP supports Standalone Nginx (with php-fpm) and also supports OpenLiteSpeed. You can change your HTTP Server stack under Server Configuration > Server Settings (in admin area)

8. Admin File Manager: fully featured admin file manager is already there in the admin area.
It's accessible under "System Info & Log Files > File Manager"

Regarding ideas about supporting ZesleCP development, please send details at (or