What is cPanel? A Beginners Guide to cPanel

What is cPanel? A Beginners Guide to cPanel

If you are a newbie to creating a website, chances are you might have heard about cPanel but never really know what it is.    

Simply put, cPanel refers to a control panel that lets you manage your website hosting with a user-friendly dashboard. 

It wouldn’t be wrong to say 90% of popular hosting services use cPanel to let you manage your web server more efficiently. Nevertheless, it is essential to know what you are dealing with, no matter how simple. 

That is why we have created a comprehensive beginners guide to cPanel. We will walk you through its definition, uses, features, and a few tips to manage your website. 

Let’s begin: 

What is a cPanel?

In layman terms, cPanel is a control panel with a simple dashboard from where you can manage all the elements of your web hosting account. The cPanel makes it easy for a user of any level to manage the settings all from one place. Whether it’s creating a new FTP user, monitoring resources, installing softwares, or creating subdomains, everything is possible with cPanel.

Here is how a cPanel looks like:

cpanel example

Your dashboard may appear different depending on your hosting company. However, the features are more or less similar. 

Currently, cPanel is widely used by most web developers and hosting companies. For instance, HostGator, GoDaddy, Bluehost all use the cPanel interface. 

Here are some pros and cons of cPanel: 

Pros of cPanel

  • Easy to learn and use 
  • Promotes efficient management of web-hosting elements 
  • Money efficient 
  • Includes auto software installers 
  • Plenty of documentation and support available

Cons of cPanel

  • Some hosts run outdated software
  • Prone to making accidental changes
  • The features may overwhelm in the beginning

Why Do You Need a cPanel?

cPanel offers a simple dashboard and the buttons, links, navigation, and graphics to make file management understandable and accessible. The main areas where cPanel comes in handy are: 

  • Organizing website files
  • Installing WordPress and other softwares
  • Creating, setting up, and managing emails for your website
  • Creating, connecting, and managing domain and subdomain
  • Creating, searching, and managing databases.
  • Backing up your website
  • Uploading files to the serve
  • Checking the usage stats, including the bandwidth
  • Installing addons on the server
  • Changing various security settings
  • Setting up optimizations
  • Password and security management

Without cPanel, only users with advanced technical knowledge would be able to do these tasks. Thus, the cPanel is the user-friendly go-to control center for most of the shared hosting services. 

Overall, the cPanel seals the gap between complex and user-friendly management techniques. However, it still might be intimidating for many users who have just created a website. 

How to Access cPanel and Logging In?

You can access the cPanel only if your host uses this tool. Most hosting providers give you a direct link to access the cPanel. However, if you don’t have one, here’s what you can do. 

  • Go to your web browser. 
  • Type your website URL. 
  • If your website begins with an “http,” add: 2082 at the end of the URL (http://www.website.com:2082)
  • If your site begins with an “https,” add: 2083 at the end of the URL (https://www.website.com:2083). 
  • You can also login to cPanel using https://www.website.com/cpanel.

You can then enter the username and password provided by your web host. Most of the hosting providers send credentials in the welcome mail. Reach out to them if you have not received them. 

cPanel login credentials

Key Features and Sections of cPanel

As mentioned earlier, your cPanel dashboard may look different depending on your host. However, the primary cPanel features and sections remain the same. 

Below are some key features of cPanel: 

1. Installing WordPress using cPanel

Most hosting providers offer a software installer tool in the cPanel dashboard. This makes it easy for users to install WordPress or other CMS such as Joomla or Drupal. 

You can find the WordPress installer tool in a section named “App Installers” or “Scripts.”

WordPress installer tool in cPanel

Each host is different. However, the process to install WordPress is generally similar. First, create your new WordPress login information and follow the steps shown on your screen. After completing the steps, a URL appears, using which you can log in to your WordPress dashboard. 

Installing WordPress from cPanel

2. Managing Domain on cPanel

You can also easily manage all your domains and subdomains linked with your hosting account using cPanel. 

For this, scroll down to the “Domains” section. Here, you will find many click-ons to manage your domain, subdomain, redirect, addon domains, and others.

The primary buttons to manage using cPanel are: 

  • Domains – You can add a new domain for your new WordPress site using this button.
  • Addon Domains – You can create additional domains that you use for other sites.
  • Aliases – Using this button, you can link other domains to your primary domain. These extra domains serve as “Aliases.” That means your site is available on all domains that you specify here.
  • Redirects – You can direct a certain URL to another URL using the redirect button.
  • Subdomains – You can make a subdomain for your site instead of managing a new domain.  

3. Managing Emails on cPanel

One professional feature about cPanel is that it lets you create a custom email account using your site’s domain name. So, you don’t need to rely on traditional mailing accounts like Gmail and Yahoo. 

That means you can configure your email as “emailname@yoursitedomain.com” instead of “emailname@gmail.com.”

The Email section on cPanel lets you add and manage your professional email addresses. The section name may differ depending on your host. 

The email section has few options, such as 

  • Email Accounts
  • Forwarders
  • Email Routing
  • Autoresponders
  • Spam Filters

To create an account, you need to select the “Email Account” option as shown above. Then, for adding a new email, click on the “Add Email Account” tab. Next, enter your email name, domain name, password, and click on the “Create Account” button. 

adding new email account

4. File Management on cPanel

File manager option on cPanel

You can also manage all your website files using cPanel. The cPanel has a Files section to manage files, images, directories, FTP account, plugins, themes, and much more. 

Your host server stores all your WordPress files. This is why you need cPanel in the first place. The cPanel dashboard lets you view all these WordPress files, back them up, and even change them.

To access your website files, scroll to the Files section. Then, click on the File Manager option.

On cPanel, you can add files and folders, upload files, edit files, and delete files. 

File managing option on cPanel

You can even use the Files section to find details for checking your disk usage, connecting via FTP, and much more.

Many hosting companies also offer file backup tools. You can schedule backups and also locate the restoration files. 

5. Managing Database on cPanel

database management on cPanel

Most site owners don’t ever touch their WordPress databases. However, it is good to know where your databases are if you need to adjust something later or transfer your database. 

To understand, a database is where all your data are stored. The data could be anything related to your website, such as user name, password, number of users, product information, and others.

Chances are, you don’t even need to touch any of the available options. However, the frequently used database options on cPanel are MySQL Databases and phpMyAdmin.

You can create a new database using the cPanel or view the currently active site files. 

6. Increasing Security using cPanel

Security section on cPanel

You can also increase your site’s security using cPanel. There are a few tools in cPanel to help you do so: 

  • Password Protect Directories – This tool lets you add your password to your folders located on the server.
  • IP Address Deny Manager – This tool allows you to block the traffic from a particular IP address that you might view as fishy or nuisance.

To add a password to your directories using cPanel, click on the Password Protect Directories option in the Security section. Then, select the domain where you want to use the password.

Next, you click on the specific directory where you want to add password protection.

If you need to block certain IP addresses, go to “IP Address Deny Manager.” Then, enter the IP address in the given field. 

7. Software Section

software section on cpanel

This section is largely about PHP and Perl. You don’t necessarily need it unless you are an advanced user who has technical knowledge. Common modules in this section are: 

  • Softaculous Apps Installer 
  • Cloudflare 
  • PHP Pear Packages 
  • Optimize Website
  • Application Manager 
  • Free Shopping Cart 
  • WordPress Themes 
  • Select PHP Version 
  • Setup Ruby App 
  • RVsitebuilder 

8. Advanced Feature Section 

advanced section on the cPanel

This section of cPanel lets the user dive deep into the settings and tweak changes. However, these settings are only for advanced users just like the Software section. So, if you are a beginner, we recommend not making any changes here. 

Some common modules in the Advanced Feature Section are: 

  • LiteSpeed Web Cache Manager
  • Apache Handlers
  • Error Pages
  • Cron Jobs
  • MIME Types
  • Indexes
  • Track DNS

9. Checking Your Website Stats

The final thing worth mentioning about cPanel is the “Metrics” section. This section gives you a peek at all the data and stats related to your website, including your server status, number of visitors, and overall website health.

  • Visitors, Awstats, Raw Access, Webalizer focus on your website visitors’ data, such as the traffic rate. The presentation differs between each of these options.  
  • The Errors option shows the most recent website entries on your logs.
  • The Bandwidth option lets you see the bandwidth usage of your server. 
  • The Webalizer FTP option shows the data of all the visits via the FTP protocol. 
  • The CPU and Concurrent Connection Usage option show the volume of machine resources on your hosting setup. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How many types of cPanel are there?

The cPanel is a user-friendly and flexible control panel available on a wide range of hosting plans. You can choose the hosting packages depending on your requirements: 

• Shared cPanel Hosting: It is a full-service hosting for beginners. 
• WordPress cPanel Hosting: It is an optimized hosting for WordPress sites. 
• VPS cPanel Hosting: Such hosting is the best option for growing a business.
• Dedicated cPanel Hosting: It is the best option for those websites that receive high traffic.

How to find my cPanel?

You can find your cPanel using the link provided by your hosting provider. If you don’t have the link, follow the steps below: 

• Add “:2082” at the end of the URL if your site begins with an “http.” For example, http://www.website.com:2082.
• Add “:2083” at the end of the URL if your site begins with an “https.” For example, https://www.website.com:2083.

You can then enter your username and password in the given fields.

Why is it essential for me to learn cPanel?

The cPanel is an essential tool with an easy-to-use user interface for managing your website. You can control and adjust every website’s settings from the cPanel dashboard from site development to maintenance to security and troubleshooting. In addition, the dashboard has a straightforward layout to help any level user get comfortable with managing their website.

What Else is There to Know About cPanel – Conclusion

A cPanel dashboard is a simple tool designed to make your site hosting easier and understandable to all the users. Any level user can add their custom email address, make backups, and manage their website files from the cPanel dashboard.

When you are involved with WordPress, chances are you need to use cPanel time and again for various reasons. So it is better to know what you’re dealing with before actually needing to come here to solve issues.

If you haven’t chosen your hosting provider yet, check these best hosting providers of 2022. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *