Most of the free control panels I've tried are not as robust as cPanel. Though, I prefer to go raw-dog without a CP. cPanel is good if your not very familiar with Linux or have clients on the same server.
But, cPanel takes up a lot of space and is expensive to license.
I had a problem with a clients site recently that was running NGINX as a reverse proxy for Apache. cPanel updates kept applying a IPv6 patch to the httpd.conf file and kept messing up the reverse proxy.
Had to disable cPanel updates because it would continuously write over the apache conf file.
Control panels can make certain operations easier but I prefer to administer the system from the command line. It's cheap and it allows you to understand exactly the way things operate under the hood.
Edited by theone, 08 May 2014 - 05:17 PM.