Over thirteen years ago, I was looking for a complete open source (free) web hosting solution for Windows so I could host my own website. I started searching and found ZPanel.
It installed all required packages to host a web server. WOW! A 1-click hosting solution! That totaly blew my mind! It installed all server requirements from apache to mail server to ftp server AND pre-configured it all to work out of the box! I had to look into this more. The project was dead. It was a buggy and inomplete but, it did install and the basic functions worked.
I wanted to know more and was persistant.
In my search I found Chris Learmouth and Vance Stockwell. I contacted them. They both replied that the project was dead, but... They'd try and contact the original developer, Bobby Allen.
I received a reply. (I can't remmebr who it was, Vance or Chris or maybe both.) Next thing I know, I received an email from Bobby! After a few emails back and forth and emails with Vance and Chris, ZPanel was alive again! ZPanel.com was registered and Bobby had a site up and running within a week.
This awoke a sleeping beast. I somehow managed to spark life back into the project. With help from other original developers, Bobby Allen showed up and re-wrote ZPanel from scratch. On January 23, 2010, ZPanel 2.0 was created.
This was an incredible moment! ZPanel was originally for Windows, with Bobby's new re-write, it now supported Windows, CentOS and Ubuntu! Amazing! Bobby's idea became a huge reality!
The project blew up exponentially! At the time, there were NO open source or free web hosting control panels for Windows. zPAnel evolved into ZPanel X. ZPanel X being another complete core re-write by Bobby Allen including his custom coded 'dryden framework' (named in honor of a friend of his who passed away). The dryden framework totally changed how the core of ZPanel worked and was ahead of it's time PHP wise. It provides a complex set of functions that unite the code into one smooth code base including modules and themes. The dryden functions can be called in modules to complete all 'normal' tasks instead of writing possible vulnerable code that could compromise your ZPanel install.
ZPanel was on top now! We could tell by the number of hackers trying to find loop holes with it and reporting them to us before exploiting them. This helped the project in so mamny ways. They were able to find security bugs normal users would never find.
Since ZPanel X was released. (I'd like to think we were the reason for ISPconfig and cPanel for making free versions which are still harder to install and configure compared to Sentora). The ZPanel proect was aquired by Hostwinds LLC who promised more support, more developers and more exposure. Unfortunately, contact with the new organisation was extremely limited and progress with the ZPanel project had almost seized.
This left the original ZPanel Team wondering what to do about it. As per the GPL v3 license allows, we decided that we would fork the existing project and make various radical changes (such as remove Windows support) and clean up a lot of the core code in an attempt to optimise and build new, improved foundations for the new project.
On June 27, 2014, Sentora was officially born. Another complete core re-write from the ground up and still utilizing the dryden framework. (Bobby is a coding guru.) Sentora started out very well! Our user-base followed along and continued to support the project. But, as time went on, developers and support staff faded away into other projects, jobs, family and life in general.
Sentora is still alive and actively being developed and is still the ONLY open source web hosting control panel that installs and configures a complete web server that will work out of the box after install. We are doing our best to continue to support all *nix systems, but they are all becoming very diverse in their base packages and setups.
Sentora v2.0.0 has been a struggle. With only myself and a 'new guy' I ran into on the forums, Anthony (Jettaman), have been working to keep the poject alive. Anthony became an active developer in 2019 and has done ALL the core php 7.4 code updates and security fixes with myself testing and bug fixing and giving him suggestions and guidance. He sparked life back into me to continue Sentora. No sooner do we have a Sentora that works on php 7, php 8 is out and we have to update the code for that.
I myself have been staying very active maintaining several 3rd party modules and making new themes. I have made a few very complex modules like SenAds, Sentastico (inspired by Zantastico by Bobby Allen) and SenCrypt SSL (which is now a core module). I've been updating and maintaining two of the most used modules: xBilling, zGodx and Repo-Browser.
The future is wide open!