Are you a website administrator looking to master cPanel? Do you want to know why cPanel is the most widely used hosting control panel? If yes, you’re in luck!
Here we’ll have an in-depth discussion about cPanel covering its pros and cons, getting started with using it for your website, and essential tips to master it.
What is cPanel?
Hosting a website requires a control panel to manage your account. cPanel is one such panel that allows you to run your website smoothly. It is a Linux-based system with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) which makes it very user-friendly.
cPanel consists of multiple automation tools that simplify the process of administering websites, domains, and email accounts. That is why, it is the first choice of website administrators and the software has millions of websites under its belt.
Pros and cons of cPanel
cPanel is an excellent choice both for beginners and experts. But every software has some inherent positives and negatives. Let’s see what you get with cPanel:
Easy to use: The biggest benefit of cPanel is its user-friendly interface. The software arranges all its features in different categories and displays them in a simple manner which makes it easy to locate them. The use of intuitive graphics and menus allows smooth navigation.
This intuitiveness and simplicity of cPanel saves you a lot of time. You never have to struggle to find the cPanel features you are planning to use.
- Feature-rich: This control panel comes with dozens of features and tools to handle databases, domains, and account security. You can easily create FTP accounts, and subdomains, generate website backups, and manage MySQL databases from a single interface. The beauty of cPanel lies in the fact that you won’t feel overwhelmed with features even when you have plenty of them. The tool has been created keeping in mind the needs of beginners and advanced users alike.
- Smooth integration and high compatibility: One of the major reasons for the immense popularity of cPanel is its high compatibility. It is supported by all top web browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. cPanel also works well with many third-party applications, including SEO tools and site builders. So whether you are planning to build your website on WordPress, Joomla, or any other Content Management System (CMS), cPanel will make it easy to manage it.
- Documentation and resources: Since cPanel is widely used, you’ll find many blogs and forums containing helpful resources for understanding it. If you ever feel stuck with any cPanel feature, you can always check out the technical manuals or explainer videos for a quick resolution to the issue at hand.
- High license costs: The licensing cost of cPanel is the highest among its competitors. To make it worse, the company has been increasing the licensing costs repeatedly in recent times. So it is not a viable option to purchase a license when you are just starting as a website administrator. Instead, you can consider using a budget cPanel hosting plan from a reliable hosting provider initially which we’ll discuss in detail below later. But some hosts charge an extra monthly amount for lending you their certificates. This can be a major drawback when you’re on a shoestring budget and looking for a budget-friendly solution.
- Security risks: Though cPanel uses Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), it remains vulnerable to security risks like brute force attacks. Such vulnerabilities can result in complete data loss and website downtime. You can, however, minimize the chances of these security issues by regularly updating your cPanel version.
- Built for Linux servers: cPanel is a Linux-based system built mainly for Linux servers. It works best with Linux and might not be the right solution for you when you are planning to use other operating systems, including Windows.
- Overwrites data and server settings: cPanel might sometimes overwrite your data and server settings when performing major updates. A failed or crashed hard drive leads to such data corruption. You might not be able to recover your settings in this case but we recommend going for full disaster recovery to try restoring your server.
How to Get Started with cPanel
Getting started with cPanel is a simple, two-step process, as explained below:
Choose a Web Host with cPanel Support
Select a reliable hosting provider offering cPanel with its plans. Compare the features included in different hosting plans to choose the one that fits perfectly well with your current needs.
This step will help you eliminate the biggest drawback of cPanel – high license cost. The hosting provider will allow you to use its cPanel certificate for which it might charge an additional amount, as mentioned earlier. But you’ll still get a better deal than purchasing a license solely for yourself.
Access Your cPanel Account
Once you purchase a cPanel hosting plan, get your login credentials from the host, including your username and account password. Visit the URL that your host provides for accessing the cPanel login page. Punch in your username and password on this page to access your cPanel account.
Essential Tips and Tricks for Website Administrators
cPanel is a very useful and feature-rich tool, so there are numerous ways to utilize its full potential. We have listed some essential tips and tricks for website administrators to master cPanel and get the most out of this solution.
Managing Domains and Subdomains
The “Domains” section of cPanel allows managing multiple domains and subdomains easily. Many web administrators run multiple websites from a single hosting account. You can also consider purchasing add-on domains from the same account instead of buying a new hosting account for each additional domain.
This will save you loads of money by sharing the server resources available within your hosting account among the different domains you purchase. Additionally, it will also help you manage all your domains and subdomains from a central hub.
The “Databases” section of cPanel involves the management of databases.
Your website needs a database when it uses a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress. This database stores all website-related information and important data like usernames, login passwords, and more.
All database-related tasks are mostly performed via phpMyAdmin and MySQL databases. You can easily create a new database under the MySQL Databases tab.
cPanel will start showing your newly added database in the “Current Databases” list.
The Database section also allows you to create new MySQL users by entering a username and password for them.
Once you create a new user, you can add them to a specific database from the “Add User To Database” tab. Select the user and the respective database under this section to grant database access to the newly created user.
Lastly, you can import your files via phpMyAdmin to the new database you created. We also recommend optimizing your database from phpMyAdmin when your website grows. It will drastically improve your site performance.
If you want to see a full list of your databases, go to phpMyAdmin. Apart from examining your existing databases, you can perform more database-related tasks here. It is possible to add triggers or export your database altogether from the phpMyAdmin itself.
Email Account Setup and Configuration
The “Email” section of cPanel carries all options to set up, configure, and manage your emails. You can easily create custom professional emails or set up auto-responders here.
The “Email Accounts” tab shown above allows creating, managing, and deleting different emails from your dashboard. You will find out all active emails by clicking on this tab. To set up a new one, click on the “Create” button.
You will be asked for a username and password on the next page. Some optional settings are also available here. Once you finish filling in the details, click on Create to complete the email account setup process.
For email configuration, click the “Connect Devices” button against the email you are configuring. The software will take you to the Mail Client Manual Settings.
You can use this IMAP/POP plus SMTP configuration information to connect the mail client of your choice. Select the desired mail client in the Application section and follow the screen instructions to download and run the necessary files.
You might need to enter your email account password here and click on the Install button to finish the email configuration process.
File Management with FTP
The “Files” section of cPanel allows file management. Here you can upload files, set up a backup wizard, specify directory privacy levels, and create FTP accounts for easier file management.
File Transfer Protocol or FTP is used to upload files to your hosting account from your local computer. It has a faster uploading speed when compared to the inbuilt File Manager in cPanel. So web administrators prefer using FTP to upload large files.
You can create a FTP account from the subsection “FTP Accounts” under the Files section. Then you need to download an FTP client like Filezilla to establish a secure connection between your server and the local computer. Follow the installation instructions to finish the FTP client download process.
Once the client is installed, configure it under the “Special FTP Accounts” section on the “FTP Accounts” page.
After client configuration, you will find files on your local computer on one side of the page and files saved on your hosting server on the other side of the page. Therefore, you can upload files from your computer to your hosting account by dragging and dropping them quite easily.
Monitor Your Website’s Performance
Monitoring your website’s performance is an essential part of your online growth. If you don’t do it, your website will be slow and you won’t be able to retain your visitors. Additionally, it will negatively impact your website ranking in Google searches too since page speed is an important ranking factor for the search engine.
Luckily, you can monitor your website performance from the cPanel itself and make the necessary changes to improve it. The Resource Usage tool in cPanel shows your account summary. Here you can identify the services or applications that are consuming most of your server resources.
If your website is experiencing a fast rise in traffic, you must keep an eye on this section to know the right time to upgrade your hosting plan. It will show you a warning when your site is on the verge of hitting the resource limits.
In addition to the current usage, this section displays any performance issues that your website might have faced in the past 24 hours. So if you believe your website didn’t perform well recently, check out this space.
Implement Remote Backups
Creating backups of your website data is important to prevent any data loss. If malware infects your website or someone hacks and deletes your content, you will lose years of hard work in a matter of minutes. So consider using the Backup Wizard section to generate and store account backups.
cPanel allows you to download your website data in a compressed form, including MySQL databases and home directories. This section allows you to create both full and partial backups.
Once you download your website backup, we recommend uploading it to a remote server for added protection. You can choose any reliable data storage provider to store your backups remotely.
Alternatively, you can also implement remote backups from the WHM (WebHost Manager) of your cPanel account. But first, you’ll have to create a destination for your remote backups.
Create a remote backup destination following this path:
Home > Backup > Backup Configuration > Additional Destinations
You can then enable this newly created remote destination to save all your future backups. If you ever decide to change the backup location, create a new destination and enable it to store future backups.
Such remote backups come in handy when there is an issue with the whole server. Backups stored on the same server are of no use when your whole server breaks down or is attacked by a hacker.
So we recommend implementing full remote backups of your hosting account to preserve all the necessary files at a safe location. You can, then, easily restore your website and all the associated data from this remote server.
Take Advantage of File Permissions
Managing file permissions is important to secure your hosting account. The permissions attached to a file allow the server to write and edit it. Protecting the change/editing of certain files is, thus, crucial for the overall safety of your website.
You will need to access the File Manager section of cPanel to change file permissions.
Simply right-click on the desired file and select Change Permissions to perform this task.
Alternatively, you can select the file name of the desired file. Then, click the “Permissions” button located at the top menu to edit file permissions.
Leverage Cron Jobs
Cron jobs are certain scheduled tasks that are automated to run at a specific time or predefined intervals. These can be in the form of a series of tasks run from a script file. Some examples of cron jobs include creating account backups at regular intervals, checking for updates, and sending reminder messages.
You can leverage cron jobs to automate regular account management tasks. It will help you reduce manual operations related to managing the functionality, performance, and security of your website. Ultimately, you will save a lot of your time leveraging cron jobs.
Consider using the Cron Job feature in cPanel to automate the execution of your Perl, Python, or PHP scripts. You can also run Unix commands here.
On the Cron Jobs page, you can create a new cron job and also manage the existing ones listed here. Additionally, it is also possible to add an email for the Cron daemon for sending cron job notifications and reports.
Stay Updated with cPanel
Staying updated with cPanel is important to secure your account and protect it from hackers and malware injections. cPanel regularly performs security patches in its updates while also adding new features. So updating your cPanel version will help you take advantage of any
newly-launched features as well.
You can check for a cPanel update from the sidebar of WHM. Select “Upgrade to Latest Version” and press the “Click to Upgrade” button to stay updated with cPanel.
You can stay informed about all the latest updates by subscribing to the cPanel blog. Once you know that an update has been released, follow the above instructions to get the latest cPanel version.
Managing a website is not an easy job. Admin tasks that you need to perform daily might not leave much time for you to create quality content for your website. The problem becomes worse when you are running an online store since you won’t be able to spend enough time carrying out the regular business activities.
However, a solution like cPanel makes it easy for website administrators to focus more on building content or managing their online businesses.
Along with helping you perform regular tasks more efficiently, cPanel allows you to automate your work to reduce the daily workload. But to utilize the full potential of this control panel, try mastering it with the tips and tricks listed above.