New to cPanel? There is a lot to see, learn and do when it comes to using this control panel for managing your website hosting.
cPanel is the leader and industry standard of standalone hosting platform nowadays. To put it in simple words, cPanel is a control panel tool that is designed to help people manage files on a web hosting server and even email management that are associated with their domain. And it comes free with your hosting package.
What can You do with cPanel?
A lot! This is where you’ll come to…
- Connect domain names to your hosting
- Set up emails for your site
- Install WordPress (or another content management system)
- Back up your website
- Upload files
- Check your bandwidth usage
And a whole lot more – like changing security settings, checking out your website’s analytics and installing helpful apps.
The primary advantage of Linux based web hosting control panel is the opportunity to use a variety of automation tools that make hosting a walk in the park. cPanel also has command line and API-based access allowing third-party software vendors, web hosting companies and independent developers to have automated and standardised system administration processes.
How do You log in?
Once you have purchased a cPanel web hosting and have been provided login details by the host, you would need to enter your cPanel. In order to do so, you can either add :2083 (secured) or :2082 (unsecured) to the end of your website/hosting IP address or website name.
Note: Let’s have a look on the detailed article of accessing the cPanel.
Please make sure that you have pointed the name servers in your domain registrar to the name servers provided by your hosting company. If you have purchased the domain from the web hosting company, the chances are that they have already pointed the name servers and your website is probably live by now. DNS/name server propagation can take up to 24 hours and so your website might not be live instantly after pointing the name servers.
Strengthen Your Security
Once you’ve logged into cPanel, make sure nobody else can steal your cPanel ID. Change your password at frequent intervals, don’t leave it where it might be seen, and use a combination of characters that cannot be guessed by others.
This means avoiding using any word you can find in a dictionary and any sequence of characters that is connected with you (for example, your date of birth or the name of your dog).
Remember also to do this for each password you have for your different cPanel activities (user, administrator, FTP, and so on). Luckily, cPanel provides a tool to help you – it’s the cPanel on-screen Password Generator.
A Quick Intro to cPanel’s Interface
Once you’ve logged in, you should see a screen something like this:
This is the newest version of cPanel for 2016. It uses a theme called “Paper Lanterns”.
If your cPanel interface looks different, don’t panic! Check the detailed article on how to change cPanel Theme.
Getting Around in cPanel
Search Bar: At the top of cPanel just below the navigation bar is a search bar you can use to find functions quickly.
Navigation Bar: On the top right corner of the screen is the navigation bar, with “Search Features”, Account Management, Notifications and Logout.
1. Search Features is the same as your search bar and you can use it from any page in cPanel.
2. Account Management is where you can change your password, language, style or contact information. And if anything gets messed up, you can reset the page with a single click.
3. Notifications is where you will get critical updates from cPanel like security concerns, out-of-date apps or other importanat information.
4. Logout is pretty obvious but remember to use it every time you’re finished with cPanel.
Sidebar: Along the left hand side of your screen, you’ll see a sidebar with four icons. From the top down, these stand for Home, Statistics, Dashboard and User Management.
1. Home is the primary page of the cPanel where you’ll access most of its functions.
2. Statistics shows you like how many email accounts, file transfer protocol (FTP) accounts and domain names you have, as well as how much bandwidth and disk space you’re using.
3. Dashboard is a quick reference page where you’ll find links to some of the most commonly used links of the site.
4. User Management is where you can add or remove users from your account.Here, you can also see which email accounts you’ve set up, as well as who has access to your FTP and web disk.
If you haven’t done so already, take a tour of the cPanel “Preferences” window.
For one thing, the panel has the Change Password feature, which allows you to plug in the strong password you generated in step two. For another, it has the Getting Started Wizard to help you to define basic preferences for how you interact with cPanel.
Other helpful resources include video tutorials covering how to accomplish different activities within cPanel. This Panel Includes:
1. Getting Started Wizard.
2. Video Tutorials.
Check Disk Space Usage
It’s great to have websites, and their databases, filled with content that visitors appreciate. The cPanel disk space usage feature shows you how you are using this resource and which files and directories are taking up the most space.
The Disk Usage Viewer enables you to see exactly how much disk space is being taken up by various parts of your web site.
Remember, disk space can be filled up by emails and website log information, as well as by content. If you see user subdirectories ballooning out of proportion, you may want to set limits on the maximum disk space allocated to each individual.
Note: Check out How to use Disk Space Usage Tool in cPanel
Domains, Subdomains and Redirect Settings
In this section, you can add subdomains, addon domains and parked domains. You can enable redirects including 301 permanent redirect for specific urls, directories or complete websites. The DNS zone editors can be very helpful to setup private name servers if enabled/allowed by your host.
Email Account Settings
All the mail related settings can be found here. The two most important options here are “Email Accounts” and “Webmail”. You can add, remove and modify email accounts using the “Email Accounts” link. On accessing Webmail, you would need to choose between the available email clients for reading your webmail.
Other important options inside email are forwarders (for email forwarding), Apache spamassassin , Box Trapper (for activating spam filter), auto responders, default address (for creating catchall email address), mx entry (for modifying mx records), mailing lists, account and user level filtering (for setting up relevant filters) and Email Authentication (for enhancing email delivery rates using DKIM/SPF).
You can manage files and related accounts in this section. The two most important links in this section are “Backups” and “File Manager”. You can create, download and restore backups and open and modify files using the two links.
Disk Space Usage can be used for checking the space used by various services in the account such as SQL databases, mail accounts, home directory files etc.
Traffic and other server logs can be checked in this section. I personally find “Awstats” and to some extent “Bandwidth” and “Error logs” the most important links in this section. You can check the daily traffic usage and other basic traffic details using awstats. For better traffic analysis, I would advice adding Google Analytics to your website pages.
Bandwidth is useful for monitoring your bandwidth usage while error logs can be used for analyzing errors caused by a script or service etc. Latest visitors is helpful for checking stats (referrer, summary, location etc.) of the the latest visitors (upto the last 1000 visitors) to your website.
The two most important links here are MySQL databases and phpMyAdmin links. The former is used for creating databases and database users while the latter is used for managing the database. You can use Remote MySQL if you are hosting the database somewhere else though I personally advise against it.
In this section, you can find site builders, fantastico script installer, cloudflare, php pear configuration, ruby gems, ruby on rails, site software, perl modules and other software and scripts related settings. Many of these also change depending on hosts as they are mainly addons and do not come pre-installed with cPanel. Fantastico is the most useful addon in this section especially for a cPanel beginner as it provides one click installation of most popular website scripts.
Thats all folks! The information above will help you get started in using cPanel successfully. Now enjoy using your new web hosting and cPanel. Hope this basic guide helped you in familiarising with your control panel.