Why Softaculous is More Fantastic than Fantastico

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I don’t mean to offend anyone who still uses Fantastico. Some people prefer to stick to what they’re used to, and Fantastico is the original open-source auto-installer built for cPanel and has a pretty solid name in the hosting industry. But geez – what happened? Where did all their developers go, and what are the chances of having all these buggy, exploitable open source applications updated sometime this year? A lot of hosts are swapping out the smiley face for Softaculous, and here’s why:

(at the time of this post, Fantastico 3 has been short of being released in beta for at least 6 months)

 

More applications

 

Softaculous has support for over 280 applications at the time of this post, and they are regularly seeking out and adding more. Compare this to the ~50 that Fantastico offers.

 

Frequent updates

 

Open-source website applications are the bain of every administrator’s existence. They get hacked, exploited, spammed, and abused. One publicized exploit can leave thousands of websites vulnerable, so it’s imperative that the software be updated when developer patches are released so the end users that rely on auto-installers like Fantastico and Softaculous can upgrade as soon as possible. With Fantastico, you could be waiting days, weeks, or even months to even see these upgrades. In most all cases, Softaculous has implemented vendor updates within a day or two.

 

Prettier interface

 

While not exactly relevant, I want to point out that the Fantastico interface looks like it was designed in 1998 and isn’t very customizable. Softaculous has a much more modern interface, and the ability to create your own themes.

 

Better support

 

In my years of dealing with Fantastico, the few times I really needed to contact their support, they were really disappointing. Not only did it take 12-24 hours to get a response, but often time the response was along the lines of “please provide this non-relevant information so I can further stall this ticket instead of resolving it for you.” Ok, not quite in those words, but you get the idea. Every time I’ve contacted Softaculous, I’ve received a response within a couple hours.

 

Perhaps as claimed by the developers, Fantastico 3 will have all of these issues addressed. Perhaps, but I currently fail to see how their new product will measure up to other auto-installers. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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2 Comments

  1. Host Addon Ltd Reply

    Could agree more, we have installed all our server with softaculous and discarded fantastico a long time ago. The best part is that you can customize it to embed it into cPanel as a part of it, clients don’t need to leave cPanel, they can install everything within the cPanel interface.

  2. Simon T Reply

    Softaculous also uses the built-in upgrade scripts where possible, and tries really hard to NOT step on the toes of any in-application upgrade mechanism.
    For example, if a WordPress admin keeps the WP up to date from the WP Dashboard, but decides to use Softaculous instead, there is no conflict. Because there is nothing *to* conflict. Nothing goes out of sync, and Softaculous “knows” if the latest version is in place, even if the upgrade was not done using Softaculous.

    I suggested to the Softaculous developers that they should have pre-install options to randomise the WP “admin” user and the DB table prefix, for added security.
    They implemented it a few weeks later, for WP and Joomla and many other applications.

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