cPanel, Inc. is a privately owned corporation headquartered in the Upper Kirby district in Houston, Texas. The software was originally designed as the control panel for Speed Hosting, a now-defunct web hosting company. The original author of cPanel, John Nick Koston, had a stake in Speed Hosting. Web King quickly began using cPanel after their merger with Speed Hosting. After Speed Hosting and Webking merged, the new company moved their servers to Virtual Development Inc. (VDI), a now-defunct hosting facility. Following an agreement between John Nick Koston and VDI, cPanel was only available to customers hosted directly at VDI. At the time there was little competition in the control panel market with the main choices being VDI and Alabanza. cPanel 3 was released in 1999..