Virtualmin overhead vs benefits

I am setting up a new server which will run a handful of my own sites with emails for their respective domains (some PHP & MySQL and some Rails and Postgres). I guess I have two questions really…

Does virtualmin add much of a load to the server in regular, everyday use of serving up websites/databases/emails etc? (I don’t mean resources while using the control panel itself - but the general running of the server and sites).

And, what would you say the benefits of using virtualmin are over going it alone/manually editing files?

Thanks in advance.

Virtualmin has a very low overhead and that is why I use it. I have used other panels and other will seem to take over your box lol… I am running 16 websites with low traffic and email. I have only 2 G of ram and my server runs great. The pages also load quickly.

Manually editing files will take forever! Everything is done for you when you create a new “server” with very little input from you.

I quite agree. :slight_smile:

Virtualmin itself puts nearly no load at all on the server, only when you actively use it. The only things it does “in the background” is run a regular status collection job - which can be interval-configured or disabled if required, and things like hourly analysis of emails forwarded to “spamtrap/hamtrap” aliases. Otherwise it only becomes active when you operate the panel.

Manually setting up and configuring all the stuff that Virtualmin does for you would be admin hell! :smiley:

Thanks for the replies both.

Is there an official line on this anywhere? I saw on Stack exchange that one of the VM developers said webmin does not take up many resources at all but VM is another matter. Maybe I am misinterpreting what he said.

Also, is just adding new users and virtual hosts (and email records) about the extent of doing it manually? What else needs to be done when setting up a new site? (Apart from creating DB and users).

I already use VM on my current server and like it every much, but am thinking about doing it manually for this new server. The only slight problem I have run into so far, was upgrading PG - as the details have to be updated in the VM control panel as well or it breaks.


You can see the resources Virtualmin uses by looking at the process named “”.

There may be two – one is Webmin (which is what you log into in order to access Virtualmin), the other is Usermin (the webmail app, which is optional).

On my 32 bit system, Webmin (with the Virtualmin module loaded) consumes about 40MB of RAM.

Resource usage can be somewhat subjective, but I consider that to be fairly small :slight_smile:

You could always try manually setting up a domain, just to see what all you’d have to do.

However, a few things that Virtualmin does when creating a new domain are create the Apache VirtualHost record, setup the directories you need, creates databases, generates the DNS records, sets up Webalizer or Awstats for website statistics, sets up SSL if configured to do so, creates email addresses for your users, sets up spam and virus scanning for each user, amongst other things.

Virtualmin tells you what it’s doing as it’s creating the domain though, that should help give you an idea of what all it’s doing.

And the actual installation of Virtualmin is what installs and configures the various services on your server to work properly on an Internet server.

It really is possible to admin a server without Virtualmin though – since you already have a server running Virtualmin, you could always configure your next one manually and see which you prefer.


Thanks for the reply Eric.

I think I turned the crons right down on this server, as I did notice a hike when they were active.

I guess my main concern is serving up websites - is VM/WM basically just used to configure the sites? Or are there processes going on continuously or other systems having to be routed through VM or WM first? (Apart from

I do not use spam or virus checkers, or web stats. So it really is just setting up the dns, email and databases.

I think I will try what you say, and give manual editing a go for a week or so, if I hate it I can get the server reformatted and install VM :smiley:


All Virtualmin does is configure Apache for use… incoming web requests don’t go through Virtualmin, they go straight to Apache.

So the resource usage of Virtualmin is just about how much RAM it’s using on your server.


Thanks Eric - that’s good to know.

Is it possible to configure VM not to install things like awstats, spamassasin etc? It’s been a while since I set my server up and I don’t need anything like that tbh.

Yes you can configure “plans” to suit your needs.

Virtualmin will install all those things, but you don’t need to use them, and the services can all be disabled. So it just ends up using a tiny amount of disk space.

As Sesso mentions, you can use Account Plans to specify what groups of users receive access to certain features, such as SpamAssassin and Awstats.


Thanks - done :slight_smile: