For those of you who do not know but are interested in this particular field, cPanel is a Linux-based control panel that is used for web hosting accounts. By being one of the most popular options out there, it is by far one of the most used and this is why you will see it implemented in a lot of different industries.
cPanel has the advantage of being easy to use, having a lot of different features and a series of different domains included within it that monitor resources and offer you the most out of a web hosting account. It is great for installing software, for getting data stats and for giving you full control of your web page. If you are interested in learning more about this platform, we'll discuss all the ins and outs of anything cPanel related, including alternatives, pros, cons and more to help you get acquainted with the program.
We do offer cPanel hosting but before we try and sell you anything we want to do our best to get you acquainted with cPanel and everything that it can do for you.
What is cPanel Hosting?
Naturally, this is the first question that will come to your mind. The answer to this is simple: as we mentioned previously, cPanel is an online web hosting platform with a detailed graphical interface and a long list of automation tools included. cPanel makes the process of hosting a website easy by providing the owner with a platform that gives them free rein over every aspect of server administration.
cPanel is not just GUI and administration of a web platform, cPanel also lets you have API-based access so as to include third-party software.
cPanel is the key tool that lets a web developer automate the standard system regarding the automation of web hosting. cPanel also has a similar platform linked to it, WHM (short for WebHost Manager) and both can work either in a dedicated server or in a virtual private server, depending on which server you decide to use in order to host your website.
History of cPanel
Before we get into the major aspects of cPanel, its interface and key topics that you need to be aware of if you are considering this type of web hosting platform, we need to also briefly mention the history of cPanel.
When cPanel first started out, it was used solely as a control panel for a hosting company that is now no longer in business, namely Speed Hosting. This initial release of cPanel took place in 1996, currently 23 years ago today. The first version of cPanel was upgraded and soon cPanel 2 was released and in 1999 cPanel 3 came out. The major upgrades that it had over the previous version were that now WHM, the Web Host Manager, was included and that the control panel now also included an automatic upgraded, Improvements to the interface were also made over time.
Using cPanel has a lot of benefits that come with this decision. First of all, the platform, due to its interface, is very easy to use and it is especially easy to learn for someone that has had no previous contact or knowledge of cPanel. With its intuitive interface and its large series of software and tool options, cPanel can end up saving you precious time since you will be able to implement, modify, and take out whatever does not work anymore or is not relevant to your web hosting platform.
Lastly, one of the biggest pros of cPanels is that it has been tried by many other users over the years. What does this mean for you? Well, for one you will know that this is a reliable control panel and on the other hand, you will also be aware of the fact that cPanel has a very large community of web developers that use it. Therefore, if you ever have a problem with it, if you want to implement something new or if you just need to learn more, there are YouTube tutorials, Reddit threads, Quora pages and many more options out there floating online.
No web development platform is without its flaws and cPanel is no exception. First of all, one of the biggest hurdles that you might encounter is the fact that all of the features that are available to you can be very confusing and deceiving. If you do not have a clear step by step plan in mind or if you are not familiar with other web hosting platforms, you might find cPanel very difficult to use.
While a very good platform, if used by a newbie cPanel can inadvertently cause problems. You might end up changing a feature or making a mistake on a piece of software that will do more damage to your web hosting server. Not only that but cPanel will never be given freely as a control panel with free hosting so if you really want it, you will have to spend some money and, if needed, hire a professional web developer with experience working with cPanel so that you ensure that everything works well.
It's easy to use
cPanel makes work on your website and the whole management process not only bearable but also enjoyable. With its tiered structure, you can have various levels of access on your hosting platform.
You will see it being used a lot with Wordpress websites. If you did not know by now, a lot of websites online today are hosted on Wordpress, especially those that you do not expect. cPanel gives you access over your databases, over mail accounts, backups, domain names and much more. With its simple but comprehensive interface, cPanel makes hosting easy and even enjoyable.
cPanel can turn one of the most confusing aspects of owning and running a website, that of web hosting, into an interesting experience with fruitful results. With a little bit of technical knowledge to back you up, you will be able to know some of the ins and outs of cPanel hosting and with time widen this knowledge spectrum.
While a very good option, cPanel does not have a monopoly when it comes to the control panel options that you have with web hosting. There are others available and, albeit slightly different, these other options need to be mentioned if we want to paint a true picture of cPanel. If cPanel is not right for you, notable options that we can name are VestaCP, Froxlor or even ISP Config3. They are not the same as cPanel, but they do have similar features.
VestaCP is a control panel that can be used with Centos, Ubuntu and Debain servers. It can handle high traffic just like cPanel and it also has interesting features added to it such as the DNS Manager, and Antivirus, Antispam and billing support, among others.
Froxlor is a control panel that can be used not only for personal use websites but also for commercial ones. It has a user-friendly interface and it allows you to freely make changes to your software. It allows for FTP accounts but it does not have a file manager, something that cPanel does.
ISP Config3, while last on this brief list, is quite similar to cPanel, also being a control panel that runs on Linux hosting servers. We do not need to go in-depth on its features since it includes most of the basic things that you might need.
What Can I do in cPanel
Let's cut to the chase. It is time that we finally get into it and dissect everything about cPanel. With cPanel the list is almost endless: you can connect your domain names, you can set up emails, you can use WordPress, you can create backups in case of an emergency, you can upload your files, you can manage them and not only that.
A great feature of cPanel is that you can install add-ons onto your server. You can work with the security settings and tailor them to your specific web hosting needs. You can check your bandwidth usage to see your thresholds. You can optimize your hosting platform as much as you want. cPanel will let you manage your databases and even create new ones if the influx of data becomes too much or needs to be better organized.
To put it in simple terms, cPanel can do almost anything you want. The downfall, as mentioned before, is that what we just mentioned is not everything. These features are just a summary of everything that is available at your fingertips.
Let's take things one by one and see how cPanel works step by step.
The general way that you will learn how to access cPanel is through your hosting provider. They will usually give you all the details including the username, password and the link of access. If they do not give you that for some reason, here is a quick tip that can help you out.
The easiest way to access cPanel is by adding a small text format to the end of your site's URL. For HTTP websites, you will need to add ":2082" at the beginning of the URL. For HTTPS websites, what you will need to do is add ":2083" at the beginning f the URL.
To exemplify, let's say we have the website "http://ABC.ua" if we want to gain access to cPanel all we have to do is type ":2082" so that it looks like this http://ABC.ua:2082.
cPanel runs on two types of interfaces, both incredibly user-friendly. The first one, and the older one is called the X3 theme. The newer interface is called the Paper Lantern theme. Your interface will probably be predetermined by your hosting. However, what you need to know is that you will see all of the features of cPanel grouped on the main page in a number of different categories. They are grouped under "Domains", "Autoinstallers" and "Site Improvement Tools". You will find these on the right side of the page. On the left you will see details about your server hostname, the hosting package, and the server time. After that, you have a very useful search tool to help you out.
Lat but on least, on the interface, we will also see a "Stats" feature that will offer you a number of stats about your webpage.
cPanel can run on almost any system if it has the minimum requirements. If a hosting provider will offer you cPanel that means that it will mean the server requirements. However, if this does not happen, you need to be aware of what to look for.
The system requirements for cPanel and WHM are 256 MB RAM 4 GB of free hard drive space and an Intel Pentium 2 / 266 MHz CPU or better alternatives.
The system requirements also refer to the cPanel versions that are supported by each operating system, depending on if they're a 32-bit OS or a 64-bit OS. The general rule of thumb here is that the 32-bit OS versions tend to accept older versions of cPanel whereas the 64-bit OS systems tend to only accept newer version of cPanel, with few exceptions. If you are interested in a comprehensive list, you can find it at the before mentioned link.
The Web Host Manager almost always comes included with cPanel in a majority of hosting packages. WHM gets you the access you need to the back end of cPanel. WHM is used when one has to manage a series of different websites or a website is resource-intensive.
WHM guarantees your privacy, it helps you in case one of your websites get hacked, you are able to easily monitor bandwidth and disk space and you can create different cPanels. WHM is the tool you will need if your hosted website is growing. You will be able to change domain names, DNS zones, and, if you own a series of shops or commercial websites, WHS will be able to monitor multiple cPanel accounts easily and also ensure that transactions can be processed without issues.
A cPanel account covers a number of different areas related to web hosting. It is a web developer's best friend since it can monitor almost anything that goes around in your server and on your page. For instance, cPanel gives you control over file modules; you create and use FTP accounts. You can set up your own personalized preferences, you can add third-party software to it, you can work with various web applications, and with WHM you can even create multiple domains and monitor each one to spot any issues. Not only that, you will see metrics, you will set up your own security firewalls and, if needed, you can also use some of its more advanced features, which we will later on discuss.
A key feature of cPanel is that it allows you to upload your files onto the server. You can do that in two different ways, either by using the file manager or by using FTP account. The file manager is the more convenient option of the two.
Once you access the File Manager interface, all you have to do is to navigate between your folders and upload, move or delete existing files by using the toolbar made available to you. It's easy to do since you can access it and work on the control panel right from your browser, without third-party programs needed.
The other option for adding a file is to use an FTP account. In order to do that, you will need to have an FTP program of your choice and the account details that you use to access that program.
After you get all that, on your main page, under "Files" you will find an icon that will direct you to the FTP page. Here, after you log in you can create the account. The general advice is to leave the Directory and Quota fields blank to offer you unlimited access to all of your folders. If you set up a Quota limit, for instance, you will restrict the number of MB that you can upload to the account.
The "Preferences" page is one of the most overlooked toolbars, not only in cPanel but in general, from one program to another. Most people are happy with the default settings which is why they never want to change anything.
Now, if you want to either change these preferences or just learn about what you can find here, you will be glad to know that the modules included here include changing the language, the main domain, the starter wizard, managing your resources, a shortcut page, and also modules for updating your contact info and, if needed, a module that will direct your towards video tutorials.
The "Web Applications" bar is by far one of the most important ones, especially if you want to install third party programs. This is perfect for those of you that want their website to include some vital third party programs. The list of options that you have here is almost endless. No matter your website's type, you will find anything here ranging from programs useful for blogs and portals up to commercial websites. The most popular program on this list, however, is Wordpress. This is easy to understand since Wordpress is a giant presence online and it is used by a large number of websites from all over the globe.
The domain bar is great because it includes everything you need to know and everything you might use for managing your website. A web developer might also use this domain page in order to set up an account for a number of sites or to add subdomains and redirects to your website. While this process might seem difficult, here you will find common modules such as "Subdomains", "Redirects", "Preview Website", "Aliases", the "DNS Manager" and also "Addon Domains" to name a few.
If cPanel is a human body, this is the skeleton of the body. It offers you support and is able to create a durable structure that will support your website over time.
If you are interested in what it takes to add a subdomain to your website, here is what you need to know about it and how you can use cPanel to make it work. For starters, you will need to access the Subdomain module.
You will need to create it and then add the subdomain to a domain. From the "Addon Domains" module you will be able to manage your subdomains and make changes.
Creating a domain and then multiple subdomains are like organizing your files in a large folder that has other folders within it. You are able to distribute your data and your files the way you need them to be in order to optimize how your web page will run. It takes time for this process to be finessed but it can be a great asset to you, especially if you have a bigger website that needs such subdomains.
If you want to run a website smoothly you will want to see how it performs at one point or another. cPanel gives you the tools you need in order to do that, tools that you can find under the "Metrics" bar. All of these modules will show you insights and based on that data you can make improvements as you see fit.
Here you can find modules such as "Awstats", "Bandwidth", "CPU and CCU", "Errors", "Raw Access", "Visitors", "Webalizer" and "Webalizer FTP". If you want to see how your website is doing and what need to be fixed, these are the tools you'll need.
Without proper security, a website is vulnerable to attacks and it will be only a matter of time before a virus or a hacker find its way in and completely paralyzes your page.
If you want to avoid that, cPanel has a series of tools available under the "Security" bar. These modules will be great, especially if you are working with user accounts or private data, helping you to make that as inaccessible as possible. The security modules that cPanel offers are "SSL/TLS", "SSH Access", "Leech Protection", an IP blocker, and also hotlink protection.
The Software bar is targeted more towards experienced web developers or experienced users of cPanel. Why? Because, while it hosts a number of interesting modules, they are not traditionally needed for each website. However, if you are interested to see what you can find here, some of the module's names are "CloudFare", "PHP Version Selector", "PHP PEAR Packages", "Perl modules", "Optimize Website" and "Softaculpis Apps Installer". As the names suggest, these modules will be difficult to use by the first time or even an average user.
However, to hopefully explain these a little bit to you, we will be discussing CloudFare later on in this article.
It seems that an experienced user of cPanel will be having a field day. This bar is also dedicated primarily to them since generally only experienced web developers will be able to know how to operate with these modules. The modules that you can find here are "Apache Handlers", "Cron Jobs", "Error Pages", "Track DNS", "MIME Types" and also a dedicated module for "Indexes".
Used by an experienced developer, these pages will allow them to finally tune a webpage in order to discover small issues, remove them and manage the site in order to ensure that everything runs smoothly overall. As with the Software bar, you won't need many of these tools but it's great to see the variety of modules that cPanel has.
If your web hosting package includes email then you are in luck because cPanel has a lot to offer in that area as well. We know that using at least one email address with your website is crucial. Now, if you have more than one and you need help administering them, you're in luck because cPanel has a lot of modules that work with email accounts. These modules can help you filter out spam, import addresses, create auto-responses (eg. for when someone creates an account or wants to get monthly updates from your website monthly).
You will also be able to introduce filters, to track if emails were received and forward others easily.
If your website goes down or there is a problem with a page, you will want to know just what has gone wrong and what caused it. cPanel has a tool for that. Under the "Visitor Stats" bar you will be able to find the "Error logs" module. This module is indeed a niche feature that you will never touch until something goes wrong. If that happens, the error log will help either you as the administrator or the web developers that work under you diagnose what has happened and then find out what can be done in order to fix that problem. This invaluable tool can turn out to be your savior, especially if you have various multiple domains and subdomains and you do not know the origin of the issue.
The Service Information table gives you a lot of information regarding your server. This table will include the name of your server, details on it and its status. When it comes to the details of your server, what you will be able to see is if the service is currently up and operational.Depending on your service, you might also be able to see the current percentage of memory that is in use.
Last but not least, the status bar will actually show you plain and clear if your server is up and operational. If you see a green tick or a green bar you'll know that you are up and running. If not, there is an issue that needs to be fixed.
Must use Features
While all tools are equally useful, there are a number of tools that cPanel has which, if mastered, can give you that advantage and make managing your website that much easier. If it was not clear by now, hosting a webpage can be incredibly tiring and, if you do not plan everything out, you might lose more in the long run than you might gain in the short run.
If you are trying to make sense of things on your own, these are some of the tools that we think you will need to use and whose features will turn out to be a great help in managing your website.
The first tool that we want to mention is the Backup Wizard. We briefly talked about it before. The Backup Wizard is, as the name implied, a tool that allows you to create a backup of your website. You can choose to make a partial or a complete backup, based on what files you think need to be secured and which are not that important and are easy to replace.
Regardless of what you choose to backup, we suggest that you make at least one total backup regularly and override the older one if needed. Some files might be more important than others but, if something happens, it will be better for you to know that you have everything at hand.
The second tool that we want to talk about is the Site Publisher tool that cPanel has. What this tool does is to give you a series of simple templates to choose from that you can use for your website. You can use this tool while you still work on the design of your website.
It is a great option for those business owners out there that have made a website and need to put up their information online and make it fast, but they have not finished all the details of their project. We do not recommend these templates to be used in the long run because they do look a bit too simple but if you are in a rush these are just the right thing.
Let's be honest. Nobody ever liked spam. It's useless and it fills us space in your inbox for no rational reason. cPanel has a tool that can help you get rid of spam, namely their spam filter. As the name suggests, these tools set up spam filters to filter out the emails that you get. The first option might be to completely delete any spam messages. However, we'd advise you to leave it out and just filter your spam to a specific folder.
Sometimes important emails are wrongfully signaled out as spam and you need to check your spam folder regularly to see that there was no mishap.
We can't help but stress the importance of creating a backup for your files. We mentioned it before, but having backups is a necessary precaution measure that every web developer takes into consideration. If you do not want to do this regularly you can either use a program that will make backups at a date and time that you set or write a code that can implement the same measure.
It is up to you how you choose to do this but you should do it now rather than regret it later.
You need to know that cPanel cuts down a lot on time that you would spend installing apps step by step with their one-click installs option. This is a particularly useful tool when it comes to Wordpress or other third-party software that you need set up and running before you fully launch your website.
The tool that you will need to use in order to do that is one that we have mentioned before, namely the Softaculous Apps Installer. It has ever web app on it that you will ever need ready to be installed at the click of a button.
We told you we'd get back to you about Cloudflare and we will keep our promise. This is a security application that will protect your website from online attacks. It will give you DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) protection and also free SSL. If you have an SSL certificate search engines will know that your website is secure and DDoS protection will keep most of the major security threats away from you.
Therefore, once you install Cloudflare not only will you have a secure website but you will also be able to work on your website's optimization.
Installatron is another app that you might find useful. Basically, what this app does is offer you 1-click-installations for many of the programs that you might need. Just like Softaculous, you only need to look up the program that you need, click on it, choose install, and wait. The app does everything for you which means that it saves you a lot of time that you would have spent on going through the installation process, choosing options, directories and much more.
One of the last tools that we would like to bring to your attention is Attracta. The biggest problem that most website owners have is that their page is not visible. If they are not visible, they do not get traffic, they are not seen by potential customers and there is ultimately no room to grow. In order to combat that you can use Attracta. What Attracta does is analyze your website and come up with an SEO dashboard report. The engine can then fix most of these SEO mistakes in order to help your website rank higher. It can be an essential tool for SEO optimization, especially for someone new to SEO.
cPanel for Wordpress hosting
The stats are out and the data is more than impressive. More than 34% of all websites online are powered by Wordpress. This goes way beyond small blogs and personal pages; it includes websites of companies that you might not even expect. And who can blame them? Wordpress is a great tool in creating a website.
Once we become aware of this, it comes as no surprise that cPanel offers so many tools that can help you integrate Wordpress into your hosting. And if you want to stay on top of the competition, you should think about using Wordpress too, and using it wisely!
What should you take from all this
The bottom line is that cPanel is an incredibly powerful control panel web hosting tool. If you are just starting out the versatility and reliability of cPanel may seem appealing. While there are indeed alternatives out there, neither comes with all of the tools that you can get if you use cPanel. Having a user-friendly interface it allows even newbies to get familiar with it and it offers seasoned web developers the opportunity to either create a new website from scratch or completely improve and optimize a current website.
Is cPanel right for you?
Think about it like this. Using cPanel is great overall: you have almost endless tools and there is a lot of support online for most of the problems that you might encounter. Even if you would like to change this web hosting control panel to another one as some time passes, there will be no need to. There is a reason why so many businesses use this and why their websites flourish.
What are the next steps?
This depends on what you want to do next. Learning about cPanel fully takes a lot of time. If you are thinking about starting a website and are looking at your options you can either look for a professional web developer of web developing team to give you the right assistance or you can try to tough things out on your own.
Get familiar with the hosting panel
By being easy to use, cPanel can be learned also by someone with little background in the field. However, the downside is that this is not an overnight process and it can take months if not a full year to learn it all. If your plan is to launch a website, it will be better to seek professional help in order to grow your business rather than go about it on your own.