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CPanel Web Hosting
cPanel is a popular web-based control panel that’s used to easily manage all the functions of your hosting account. Much of cPanel’s appeal is due to its simple interface and user-friendly design, which has made it a favorite default control panel for most global and canadian hosting companies. Continue reading to learn more about cPanel.
Importance of a Control Panel
Without a control panel, it can be difficult to manage your hosting account. The benefit of the control panel is that it organizes all of your tasks together in one browser placing the main features on one page, so that you can easily access your files, stats, email, software, security, settings, and more without needing experience as a webmaster.
cPanel’s Uses & Features
cPanel originally intended to create a simple graphical interface that would provide multiple levels of administration for hosting services from the admin and reseller to the end user and email account holder. If you’re interested in purchasing shared hosting, often your hosting provider will offer cPanel for free with your hosting account. The following features are available with your copy of cPanel/WHM:
Email: This includes all of your emails accounts, web mail, mail filters, email fowarders, auto responders, default emails, creating mailing lists, email authentication, and spam protection. cPanel supports POP3, IMAP, and SMTP.
Analytics/Stats: This enables you to see the amount of bandwidth usage, view web traffic and recent visitors to your websites and analyze stats about your websites with Webalizer, AWStats, and Analog Stats.
Preferences: In preferences you can update your contact information, change your passwords, language preferences, and the style and appearance of the interface. If you want to create a desktop shortcut of cPanel to put on your browser you can do this in your preferences. There’s also a getting started guide and wizard to take you through the initial process.
Databases: From here users configure and setup MySQL databases and connect them to the internet with phpMyAdmin. If you’re not familiar with how to work with databases, there’s a guide within this feature. cPanel supports MySQL, Postgre, phpMyAdmin, and phpPgAdmin.
Domains: Manage your primary domain(s) and all subdomains. You can park domains and configure DNS records.
Files: Firs use the File Manager to upload and edit content on your web pages. You can drag & drop files to your site, create and manage FTP accounts and also use this to transfer files. Backup all files easily and control permissions to your site thru FTP.
Software: Within your software feature, you can configure and install scripts with CGI, install any add-on applications and blogs (like WordPress), install Perl Modules, and see how PHP is configured on your website.
Security: If you have a VPS or dedicated server, you can use WHM to lock down your server and enable different settings. You can also control access to your content via password protect directories and IP deny manager. Manage your SSL/TLS certificates, use GnuPG Keyes to encrypt messages and have access to Leech protection and HotLink protection, and run commands and transfer files using SSH/Shell Access.
cPanel and Fantastico
If you choose a shared hosting account that offers cPanel, it will often come with a SimpleScript installer like Fantastico, which offers 1-click installation of many popular CMSs like WordPress, Drupal, Mambo, and oscommerce.
Most servers should have no problem running cPanel, however it’s important to know the hardware specifications to make sure cPanel is able to run on your server. In order to use cPanel, you must have a processor with a minimum of 266 MHZ, at least 512 MG RAM (though 1 GB is recommended) and at least 10 GB available on the hard disk. Unless you want to use a dedicated server, you shouldn’t worry about these requirements as your hosting company will have adequate servers with the necessary specifications before offering the use of cPanel’s control panel.
Supported operating systems: CentOS versions 4.x- 6.x, Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® versions 4.x- 6.x, FreeBSD7.3-8.2, Cloud Linux 5.x-6.x
Supported virtual environments: KVM, Xen, XenEnterprise, XenExpress, XenServer, VMware, Virtuozzo, Oracle VM VirtualBox, VirtualBox OSE, OpenVZ, Microsoft Server 2008 Hyper-V, Linux-VServer, KVM
Brief History of cPanel
cPanel was first developed by John Nick Koston as a Unix-based control panel for Speed Hosting, a web hosting company that no longer exists. ]It was briefly used as an in-house control panel for Virtual Development Inc. before Koston branched out to form his own company dedicated to cPanel. In 1999 the public saw the release of Web Host Manager (WHM) in conjuction with cPanel 3. The company has their headquarters in in Houston, Texas and additional facilities in Pennsylvania, which enables them to offer U.S. based support for customers.