What is cPanel?

Website Development
What is cPanel?
Article by Maria Martin
Last Updated: March 06, 2023

What is cPanel? cPanel is an essential tool for website management. Its dashboard has a user-friendly interface that lets you adjust and control your website settings. cPanel in web hosting is useful in site development, security setup, maintenance, and troubleshooting. The straightforward layout of its functionalities is practicable and easy to understand for users of all levels.

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What is cPanel?

cPanel is a popular web-based control panel application for web servers or providers, with two interfaces: a user interface and a web host manager. Website owners can manage and configure all web hosting elements, such as settings, email, files, FTP, databases, and DNS, on the simple and intuitive cPanel dashboard.

Its set of quick, easy-access, and powerful one-click features is the industry standard adopted by web developers. These functionalities are compatible with any browser providing similar services.

While the cPanel dashboard may appear different on varying hosting service providers, the features are the same. It is widely used by web hosting companies and developers, including:

  • Bluehost
  • GoDaddy
  • HostGator
  • A2 Hosting
  • GreenGeeks
  • InMotion Hosting
  • HostPapa

The efficient cPanel interface and web management tool enables you to:

  • Monitor your web resources
  • Create new FTP users
  • Install software
  • Make subdomains

What is cPanel in Web Hosting?

cPanel in web hosting functions as a plugin that enables the centralization of tasks related to web-building, namely:

  • Automatic upgrades for themes
  • Preview of upgrades before appearing on the live website
  • Quick and easy creation of staging web pages from the main website
  • Administrator approval or rejection of website user input like comments and replies under blog posts

The Differences Between WHM vs cPanel

Web host manager (WHM) and cPanel are trendy and practicable control panels. Here are the ways in which they differ:

  • cPanel is easy to install, while WHM needs more system resources and requires more time to install
  • cPanel offers basic features, whereas WHM comes with more customization options and advanced functionalities
  • cPanel is beginner-friendly; WHM caters to more experienced web administrators

How Does cPanel Work?

Enabling you to conveniently maintain your site, cPanel allows collecting two domains plus other add-on domains and subdomains. Having a cPanel account simplifies the way you:

  • Update website content
  • Install scripts
  • Start or stop web services
  • Add and remove users

You can access cPanel if your hosting provider integrates this tool. Your host will give you a direct link to your cPanel account.

However, if you do not have a direct link, you can go to your website following the URL on a web browser. Then add /cPanel at the end of your web URL to find your cPanel. Your web host will reroute you to a welcome screen asking for your login credentials: username and password.

This flexible control panel is available on different hosting plans. You can select your cPanel hosting package according to your needs. For instance, you can use shared hosting for full-service hosting demands. This is especially great for beginner’s use.

These are other hosting examples and their considerations:

  • Dedicated hosting is the best choice if your website receives significantly high traffic.
  • Cloud hosting is an excellent option for massive data storage and increased security.
  • VPN hosting is your best bet for a growing eCommerce store.
  • WordPress hosting optimizes hosting specifically for WordPress web pages.

The Uses of cPanel

These are the key features and primary sections found on cPanel:

Domain Management

Manage all domains, subdomains, add-on domains, and redirects linked to your hosting account using these buttons on your cPanel:

  • Domains to add a new domain to your site
  • Addon domains to add new domains for your other web pages
  • Aliases to link extra domains to your primary one, allowing your website availability on these additional domains specified under “aliases”
  • Redirects to reroute a particular URL to another
  • Subdomains to create another domain under the same site as opposed to making an entirely new domain

Email Management

The email section on cPanel enables you to customize your email address with your domain name. With this professional feature, you do not have to depend on external mailing accounts such as Yahoo or Gmail.

Email accounts created on cPanel are also powered to forward, reroute, and filter emails. They have an auto-response option, too.

Files Organization

You can view files, images, website themes, plug-ins, FTP accounts, and directories on your cPanel dashboard. It lets you upload more files and folders, back them up, edit or change them, as well as delete them.

Website Optimization Setup

On average, a single web page typically takes 2 seconds to load. The "Optimize website" option on your cPanel can potentially help with the loading speed by compressing your web files into fewer kilobytes in size.

In addition, this option can reduce your web page sizes, and in turn, help improve the download capacities. Other causes of speed bottleneck that cPanel aims to resolve are as follows:

  • DNS lookup delays
  • Database lags
  • Website script execution delays
  • Unoptimized web server setup
  • Image and other media size compression and optimization
  • Web pages loading simultaneously

Here are the things cPanel does to cut down on your website's response time:

  • Caching each web page on the server's memory to deliver page requests sooner
  • Storing files to help with faster server performance
  • Optimizing PHP and other app services to fetch saved files and execute them together, instead of reloading every web page each time you try to display them
  • Fine-tuning database server settings to accommodate more volumes of memory
  • Setting up well-distributed and optimized DNS clusters to address multiple requests from numerous geographical locations at the same time
  • Rescheduling system services that demand heavy resources

Database Management

cPanel allows you to view your active databases. MySQL and PhpMyAdmin are the most frequently used databases on cPanel. While website owners do not typically touch on their database options, knowing where and how they function can still be important. This knowledge can come in handy when you ever need to modify something on or transfer to your database.

Security Enhancement

These are the tools on cPanel to assist you with increasing your website security:

  • Password Protect Directories to add passcodes to folders and files located on the server
  • IP Address Deny Manager to block traffic from nuisance and unsafe IP addresses

Software Installation

This section is most useful for advanced cPanel users. Largely about PHP and Perl, the most common modules found under this section are:

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

Advanced Feature Section

Similar to the software installation section, this area is for advanced developers. Ideally, you are not to make tweaks to the settings of this section. The Advanced Feature section houses these modules:

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

Website Stats Monitoring

cPanel has a metrics section displaying all website-related statistics and data like your number of visitors in a given time period, the server status, and your site’s overall health. These are its more specified modules:

  • Errors option to show the latest website entries on your log
  • Bandwidth option to view the bandwidth consumption of your server
  • Webalizer FTP option to provide data on visits made through the FTP protocol
  • CPU with concurrent connection usage option to show the amount of machine resources available on your hosting settings

The Advantages of cPanel

cPanel has ample management tools for successful website creation and development. Besides the performance, ease of usage, and important technical functionalities, utilizing cPanel offers a variety of benefits, such as:

  • It has a graphical, well-structured, and flexible interface that lets you conveniently make changes.
  • You find all the web hosting services you need in one single location.
  • cPanel allows users to take control over their websites from backend to frontend.
  • It simplifies your software installation processes.
  • It offers data transfer tools.
  • There are high-performing backup systems that secure your data.
  • Data recovery processes are trouble-free and straightforward.
  • cPanel is equipped with add-on capabilities that can greatly support a business.
  • It saves you time and other resources, only taking you a few clicks to edit or delete files manually.
  • Antivirus protection is another one of its promising features, allowing you to integrate third-party protection apps you are familiar with.
  • Regular system updates, simple backup processes, system maintenance, and robust safety features are suitable for a wide range of operating systems.
  • Automatic error detection gets the system into restart mode to refresh itself.

Key Takeaways: What is cPanel and Why Should You Use It?

In a nutshell, cPanel is a web-based hosting control panel tool compatible with an array of web hosting servers. The more popular ones are GoDaddy and Bluehost. It is the centralized location where you store all your website files as a directory, folder, or drive on your computer. Relative to WHM, cPanel is simpler to navigate. While it is the better option for a newbie’s level of web creation, it can also cater to the needs and requirements of more advanced users who can access and explore cPanel’s more complex features.

cPanel appears in the form of a user-friendly dashboard. It is powered by an efficient combination of hosting control panels and built-in applications to help get your website up and running in no time.

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