What do I think of EasyEngine, Webinoly, WordOps, etc?
There seems to be new webserver script-stack released every month. All of them copying/forking off each other, and promising the same thing:
- Super simple
- Install a whole webserver in just 1 or 2 commands
- All key stack features already preconfigured (php, mysql, security)
- blah blah blah
I love them but here’s why I never use them.
REASON #1 – CLI interface
These script-stracks are run on pure CLI. Quit clowning around. It doesn’t matter how l33t you are. CLI is not user-friendly for MANY people. Not only end clients but also work partners or contractors.
What are you gonna do when shit breaks and you’re not available? Do you have 2 or 3 other people with full SSH access that are familiar with Linux commands? What if you need to make an FTP account real quick? What if the database got corrupted? What if you lost file/user permissions? What if your server gets hacked? What if something is eating up a ton of resources and you’re not sure which site it is?
I’m fully aware they come with a helpful list of commands and other useful documentation. But are they truly handy and simple enough for everyone? Probably not. What if you have an emergency and want to reset or reconfigure something real quick on your phone? It’s super fussy with CLI. Script-stacks may be a “convenience” for CLI junkies, but a hinderance for everybody else.
REASON #2 – not much benefit
Script-stacks are a really weird middleground solution for me. I think they were most beneficial about 5-10 years ago…back when existing control panels were still too bloated for VPS (as they’re originally built for bare metal dedicated servers). Script-stacks offered a faster way of getting a web-server up and running quickly but without having to install Linux packages/modules one by one. A sys-admin’s equivalent of an IT person’s boot image (if you will).
At that time, script-stacks were more lightweight than a GUI but more convenient than manually provisioning Linux servers from scratch. What you saved was in 50-100 lines of CLI commands. This also saved you money, in not having to pay for a control panel license…and also in server fees (assuming the script-stack was more optimized than the usual control panel setup).
But the benefit has largely dwindled away in the past 2-3 years. There are user-friendly GUI control panel services now…some even built off those very script-stacks…that cost a couple bucks and provide you with a GUI that’s actually useful for everyone, not only Linux geeks. Using a script-stack to me in this day and age is the equivalent of stealing napkins from Chipotle so you don’t have to buy any. You save a couple dollars only to add more hassle in the long run.
REASON #3 – not convenient for managing more than one site
Script-stack servers are IMO probably only intended to manage one site at a time. Yes, you can install multiple sites but they aren’t convenient for managing multiple sites. No GUI makes basic things a pain. What if you want to move files around. Copy things back and forth between live and staging.
Or maybe there’s this pipe dream that you can just have this cheap side-server for development purposes, and putting only non-serious sites on there. That’s a pain, too. I wonder if script-stacks are a pain to manage multiple users as well. I bet so…because I wonder how they’ll be able to give granular access.
VERDICT – scriptstacks aren’t for production use
Make no mistake. Script-stacks are inferior tools. It’s like using NotePad or TextEdit instead of a real word processing program. Their main appeal is for the cheapass who don’t wanna pay for a control panel license. But control panels don’t cost much anymore. RunCloud is what…$6.67/month?
I think you’d be stupid to try and save $6/month so you (and your whole team) will have to learn Linux AND some scriptstack’s proprietary commands to do basic things. There’s a reason why no everyday device (desktop, laptop, mobile phone) is in CLI. They’re all in GUI because that’s how tools are used. It’s easier to see things in a contextual manner.
Maybe you ARE a Linux geek. Maybe you only have one site, and want the cheapest webhosting possible on the cheapest VPS instances possible. Fine do that. But that’s like buying just ONE wrench from the hardware store because that’s all you needed. Later on…when you (eventually) need more, you’re going to wish you bought the whole kit.
Scriptstacks are ok if you…
- Want to learn Linux command line.
- Want to host a small (non-important) site on the cheapest server possible.
- Are a Linux geek who’s very comfortable with and understands the limit of CLI interfaces.
For everything else, get a real web server dammit. And if you’re the type of person wondering whether these script-stacks are for you, I think you’re most likely NOT the target user demographic.
I would disagree. For example I found out CLI to be very efficient way to handle things. I moved from control panels to scriptstacks and now mostly to OLS which I can setup and optimize with few linux commands in a couple of minutes.
Definitely not seeing problem using this approach for some serious sites. I would say it’s more about workflow (that is subjective part), knowing limits and usecase.
Yes, scriptstacks work. I don’t like their workflow for many use cases. But you’re the perfect user demographic for them….Linux geek. The main problem for me is when I see regular WordPress users asking about them, and for them I just want to shout from the top of the mountains “NO!”. I have clarified my post since to reflect that.
Key sentence: “if you’re the type of person wondering whether these script-stacks are for you, I think you’re most likely not the target user demographic.”
That’s exactly right. If you and your enterprise live and breath SSH and bash (ok, ok, or CLI interfaces that are cooler than bash) then you aren’t wondering if this is for you, you’ve already made a decision. Otherwise you *shouldn’t* be wondering if this is for you: it really isn’t.
YES! Thank you!
I tend to disagree. GUI vs CLI is just a personal preference based on one’s own experience, comfort level and willingness to learn and invest in a particular choice. It’s like asking folks if they’re Windows vs Debian vs Ubuntu vs CentOS user – choosing one over the other is just based on level of comfort as well as willingness to invest time and effort in their preferred option.
It’s not what you use that matters, but how you use it. The same shortcomings you mentioned above for CLI stacks can also happen with GUI control panels if the user doesn’t invest time into learning how to use it properly. I am speaking purely from CLI vs GUI point of view. What you are probably inferring from the above is that GUI control panels would have some form of managed support – which is a totally different comparison when you’re talking about managed hosting. You can have managed hosts that operate both on GUI and CLI stack basis as well – which would cancel out the mentioned shortcomings.
My experience is coming from a developer of one of these LEMP stack installers so I am biased with 2000-3000 new installs per month, I am not seeing the ‘not user friendly’ issue most of the time and see production level Alexa Top 5000 like sites using them as well as some web hosts. I’ve also seen alot of users transition from GUI to CLI based stack scripts over the years too. Everyone has to start somewhere, I started with GUI control panels but they all had their limits, which eventually led me to develop my own CLI based LEMP stack for myself and my users which are mainly forum users like vBulletin, Xenforo, Invision and WordPress.
Though at the end of the day users should just try both GUI or CLI and pick whichever they’re most comfortable with and which one they’d be willing to invest their time on.
George, this post is was inspired by end users who aren’t even WordPress experts let alone CLI-explorers. And as much as I’m on the CLI every week, I have to say that I still do over half of my workflow in GUI. It’s so much easier to work that way simply because I can figure out where to click faster than I can remember what to type.
I’m working in about 4-5 different server/panel environments every week if not more. What if I’m working with someone who isn’t CLI-savvy? What if my end user runs into a dead end and can’t follow simple Linux guides? What if my end user wants to hire a dev or contractor who isn’t familiar with CLI? What if my end user wants me to teach them how to do something? That’s just not even possible with CLI.GUI is infinitely easier and more convenient than CLI for a wider range of users.
With that said, GUI doesn’t take anything away from CLI. If you like CLI and plan to manage everything by yourself, stick with it. I personally prefer GUI for the reasons mentioned above. It’s my straight up tech-business advice for anyone who asks.
Indeed for usage cases definitely can see your point from your experience. Goes back to using what you or your folks are familiar with.
While I develop my CLI LEMP stack purely in CLI, there are some GUI control panels that do bridge both worlds via GUI + CLI like DirectAdmin as well and even cPanel. Wrote a DirectAdmin install guide for folks after cPanel hiked prices at https://servermanager.guide/162/how-to-install-directadmin-control-panel-on-centos-7/ as some of my clients were looking at cPanel alternatives.
I worked with GUI control panels like cPanel for decades now and pretty much a noob at DirectAdmin. So what you said as shortcomings for CLI are the same for an unfamiliar GUI control panel for some folks. So it’s all relative really to the end user regardless if it’s GUI or CLI based 🙂 I do tasks way faster in cPanel vs DirectAdmin and that comes down to more experience with cPanel over time. But still find I can do things faster on CLI command line than via the GUI.
Guess my round about way is to say – what’s best for users is whatever they’re comfortable with whether it’s GUI or CLI based. So if users are familiar with cPanel, use it or if they’re familiar with DirectAdmin, use it or if they’re comfortable on CLI command line 🙂
True, i am learning Wordops tweaking from last 1-2 month. Now i am very good and can install optimized stack within minutes. But now i am tired doing this again and again. At every new problem i have to check multiple documentation. Finally i shifted to Managed Panel.
Hehehe…yes. It’s ok for running a personal server but then requires so much management time when you have many.
lmaoooo…this shit has me dead cus you were talking to me lol.
I agree I’m a broke-ass, but I’m new to this web development thingy and my research lead me to start using Wordops / EasyEngine. Granted, it is tedious entering things in command line every time, but it has helped me learn linux a bit in the process.
Great post regardless.
which of them is the best EasyEngine, Webinoly, WordOps.
currently I am using WordOps for my websites with 10$ vps
any other suggestions for it
> For everything else, get a real web server dammit.
Is nginx not a “real web server” now? Why does putting some black-box control panel make my website more production ready?
Anyway, I disagree with the premise completely. Who is ordering unmanaged VPS services without understand the command line? Don’t do that!
If you’re not familiar with CLI, get a managed WordPress solution. If you pay for a panel, you have two websites to maintain. You have to maintain your WordPress site through the panel and your panel through CLI. It can only increase the complexity of your system.
Strangely enough, it seems you agreed 100% with my premise.
I don’t agree. The conclusion in this article is that a web panel installed on a rented server is the right solution for anyone making anything in production. I believe that there is almost no one for whom this is the right solution.
If you are familiar with Linux, then a command line script is great. They don’t have a web interface and thus don’t introduce additional maintenance and vulnerability to your project. The lack of a panel is one less dependency that needs to be updated and protected against security vulnerabilities. Panels are also occasionally abandoned which can create a complex transition if the configuration is not well understood. That’s not to even mention the scriptability and flexibility. If your panel doesn’t have an option to do something, you probably cannot do it without breaking the panel.
If you are not familiar with Linux, then you shouldn’t be renting an unmanaged VPS and installing something like cPanel on it. If anything goes wrong, such a user will probably be unable to fix it. There are companies that sell WordPress hosting at a wide range of price points.
Running a hosting panel yourself is a half measure that I don’t understand the use for in production. It’s useful for testing because you can quickly spin up and delete sites for free. For production, someone should understand what’s going on. If you don’t, you should pay someone who does.
You’re trying really hard not to agree when the end of my post already accounts for several of your “ideal” scenarios. Either way…I’m quite confident from experience that managing a server using the command line will cost you more in time spent managing sites AS WELL AS the server itself. And in case it needs to be said…nowhere in here am I ruling out an actual “managed” webhosting service. The post is written as thoughts on what kind of users I’d recommend barebones script-stacks for (and why). Nothing else.
On a day-to-day basis and if you’re managing a mass load of websites and web-servers…the script-stack alone fails even at the most basic function –> knowing which sites are on which servers. I guess you’d have to go digging through DNS records on Cloudflare to know which ones are sitting where??? Or rely on some manually updated website list on a desktop text file? Anyway…I don’t need to waste anymore time speaking the obvious.