In order for applications to be available for use on web servers, they must first be installed. Fantastico is a commercial script library that automates these installations, making such installations simple and easy even for inexperienced web server administrators. Fantastico is accessible through the cPanel web site control panel, and as such will only be found on web servers that offer this control panel.
There are many different types of applications that can be installed using Fantastico. The most common uses are for applications for web content management systems, shopping carts, blogs and photo-sharing applications.
There are other ways in which applications can be installed on a web server. Most applications can be installed using a command-line interface, similar in style to using DOS. There are also add-on scripts available for cPanel that will help with application installation. However, both of these methods have limitations, as the installation of the application software is typically all that these methods can accomplish.
In contrast, an administrator that chooses to install applications using Fantastico has a lot more control. By using Fantastico for installations, a web server administrator will be able to have a complete overview of what applications have been installed on a particular server. The administrator will also be set permission levels for users through Fantastico, meaning that a particular individual may or may not be able to perform his own installations. Fantastico can also be configured so that the administrator is informed if or when any installations or removals are done.
There are certain issues of which an administrator intending to use Fantastico should be aware. If the installation scripts are not kept up-to-date then the application software that is being installed may be not be the current version. This can cause instability in the application, or this may pose a security risk. Also, it can be difficult to update or patch applications that have been installed using Fantastico. However, if the administrator is conscientious, then the ease of use that Fantastico offers will outweigh these issues.