Cpanel software is a front for operating a server similar to how Windows manages your PC. There are many front end software that do this but Cpanel is the brand most people know and trust for hosting until they decided to adjust their pricing scheme in a ridiculous way a few months ago.
As such, many have left Cpanel to go over to DirectAdmin as a choice for managing their web server and we will be doing the same. While I like the WHM / Cpanel combo for ease of use and features I cannot see myself paying higher fees when less money comes in from my web sites that require specialized hosting (For example; this Community).
What are your thoughts on the Cpanel price increase? Will you be staying with Cpanel?
I honestly do not have much understanding of the intricacies of website programming and server operation, though I can understand and respect you wanting to go over to something that is less expensive. More, if I was in your position and understood such things I'm sure that I'd make sure a change as well.
I once had a small site that had Directadmin. I just used it briefly but it was fairly straightforward to use.
So from my experience Cpanel / WHM is far better than DirectAdmin as far as features and the ability to customize as you wish. In order to get half of what WHM offers you have to install extra plugins into DirectAdmin such as "Custom Build" which allows you to adjust the server to your liking.
If you only use Cpanel and not WHM then I would say that DirectAdmin is almost equal to Cpanel at the User level.