Importance of a Control Panel

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When you sign up for a new hosting account, your hosting provider will generally offer a free control panel with your account. This enables you to manage and customize all the features and settings of your account though your web browser. Some of the more popular control panels include cPanel, Parallel’s Plesk, and vDesk. If you’re unsure whether or not you need one, read below to learn more about the benefits of using a control panel.

Why should you use a control panel?

Using a control panel allows you to easily control all aspects of your hosting account. From one webpage you can manage and update your settings, preferences, security, email, databases, domains, and more. You can use simple installation wizards to add new applications or scripts to your website. For example, if you want to add e-commerce tools like the osCommerce shopping cart or add a blog or forum, a control panel will normally have 1-click installation enabling you to easily add these features. 

There are many you tube and social media video platforms enabling you to learn about the control panel's functionality

Important features that come with your control panel

Control panels are typically organized by categories with various features listed as icons. For example, often you’ll see a section for Domains or domain management, Files, Software/Applications, Preferences & Settings, Stats, Databases, Security, Mail, and Advanced Features. Often on the side of the main page, you can see general account information that will showcase stats of your account including the version, theme, databases, mailing list, domain info, bandwidth and disk space usage, and so on.  

Within the domain management, you can access and update your primary domain, subdomains, parked domains, and add on domains. Under files, you can upload any files through the file manager, access FTP accounts and backup your files.  Your stats and logs will inform you about the most recent visitors on your website, traffic and bandwidth usage over a given amount of time and more. There should be a security section that includes an SSL/TLS certificate manager, password protect directories, SSH/Shell Access , and more. Nearly all control panels will offer a free demo of their product so that you can get acquainted with their design, graphics and general layout of their features and account information. 

From one webpage you can manage and update your settings, preferences, security, email, databases, domains, and more.

How to choose a control panel?

Most hosting companies favor cPanel’s control panel as its well known for their user-friendly interface and comprehensive tools, however there are many control panels that are considered just as good as cPanel.  You should also take into account that not all control panels will work as well for Windows and Linux hosting. For example, Plesk has had a popular control panel for Windows for many years, while cPanel only just released a version for Windows for the first time.

If your hosting company offers you a free version of a control panel, it’s worthwhile to try it out before exploring other options. If you find that you don’t like it, then you should consider selecting a different kind. To learn more about the most popular control panels, visit our control panel options article. 

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