Cpanel is one of the most commonly used web hosting control panels these days. The company who develops cpanel puts a lot of thought into their product and has an established user base. However, Cpanel is not necessarily for everyone. It has a little bit of a learning curve and of course everyone has a different style of doing things. You can compare it to an automatic transmission and a manual transmission car. Both work and both get you where you need to go. And the same thing applies to cpanel and other web hosting control panels.
But what are alternatives to this web hosting control panel at all? While some people do not need a web hosting control panel at all and rather prefer to work via SSH (Secure Shell) on their web servers, others might not be that experienced in system administration. Commercial options to cpanel are Plesk and DirectAdmin. If you have a dedicated server you can also look at WebMin which is a free alternative that offers a lot of functioniality but is more geared towards system administrators and not webmasters. Some web hosts even have developed their own web hosting control panel to keep 100% control of their environment and to have a better hand at customizing the web hosting platform for their customers. IX Web Hosting is one of those companies that created their own control panel and seem to do a good job by looking at how many customers host domains with them and how long IX is actually around (over 10 years).
You can (and should) compare the different options to see which one you like best. As mentioned, they all do a fairly good job and make web hosting easier. But as mentioned, there is always a cpanel alternative. However, you might have to look around to find those web hosts as cpanel is a clear market leader. Find a web host with a money back guarantee in case Plesk or DirectAdmin are not a cpanel alternative you expected.
These are some of my favorite cpanel hosts if you prefer cpanel after all.
So, what do you think? Is Plesk or DirectAdmin really an alternative to cpanel?