cPanel can be kind of confusing for a lot of webmasters. I created this cPanel user guide to walk webmasters through a number features when using cPanel. I have been using cPanel for about 6 years now and it’s really my preferred control panel. In this full guide your your going to learn how you can use all of it’s powerful features. Please see this guide that cPanel has developed to give you more in depth tutorials about using cPanel. So in order to get to your cPanel your going to want to go to your “domainname.com/cpanel”.
Then you will prompted in to put in your username and password. If you don’t know what your username and password is you should be able to contact your hosting provider and they will be able to let you know what it is.
When you login to cPanel this is what you will see:
This is the first tab which you will see when you login to cPanel. There are a number of icons which you can click on:
- Getting Started Wizard. This section gives you a full walkthrough about web hosting, FTP, disk space, email settings, customization, and some general settings for using cPanel. It’s about 10-12 steps of useful information that helps walk you through you using cPanel. It’s a good place to get started with.
- Video Tutorials. cPanel puts out a number of video tutorials on using different parts of cPanel. They show you how to adjust a number of things in cPanel. Great videos, and if you’re like me, you learn better through a videos verses just reading text walkthroughs.
- Change Password. This is pretty self explanatory, but you change your cPanel password here.
- Update Contact Information. This is where you can update all your contact information.
- Branding Editor. This is where you can update your display colors of cPanel. Think of it as a WordPress theme. You can customize it with custom logos. A very good option for those webmasters that are using reseller hosting plans.
- Change Style. There are a number of unique styles cPanel provides for webmasters. You can easily change them here.
- Change Language. Change your language settings here. cPanel supports nearly 40 languages.
- Shortcuts. If you need to login to your cPanel or email accounts its a good idea to click on shortcuts. You can drag and drop the link to your desktop or toolbars.
- Update Billing Details. This is where you update your billing information. (not to be confused with contact information).
These modules will control your mail settings.
- Email Accounts. This is where you go to setup your email accounts. For all the domain names that you have setup in your cPanel you can create custom email accounts. You can adjust the quota limit, set your password (using something very strong), view all your email accounts here.
- Webmail. This is where you will check your email. You can use Horde, Roundcube, and Squirrelmail.
- BoxTrapper. If you’re having trouble with email spam you can require that users manually verify that they are not a spam address. Everything else will be marked as spam. You can whitelist email accounts that you know are not spam. You can enable, disable, and configure your settings here.
- Apache SpamAssassin. This is an advanced spam filter that help detect and keep spam from showing up in your email inbox.
- Forwarders. This is where you can forward one email account to another. This is a great way to forward email from different departments on your companies website.
- Autoresponders. This is where you can setup an autoresponder whenever someone emails your email account. If you’re going on vacation it’s a good idea to tinker with autoresponders so people know that you’re out of your office, but have received their email.
- Default Address. If you receive any email that is marked as “invalid” it will go to your default email address.
- Account-Level Filtering. This is a filter for all your accounts. This is where you can adjust your email filter settings to make sure unwanted email doesn’t actually go through.
- User-Level Filtering. This section allows you to modify your filters for each email account.
- Email Trace. This allows you to check on different email accounts that have emailed you. It gives you details of the email account like IP address, spam score, etc.
- Import Addresses and Forwarders. Here you can import email accounts and forwarders. You do this in .csv or .xls format.
- Email Authentication. This is a another robust email filter. There are lots of different ways you can minimize spam to your email accounts.
- MX records. This is where you can adjust your email MX records. You can push your emails through GMail or Yahoo in order to reduce the server load on your email servers.
This module controls your files.
- Backups. This is where you can backup all the components of your website. This includes your home directory, MySQL databases, email forwarders, and email filters.
- Backup Wizard. This is a backup wizard that allows you to easily backup and restore all your files.
- File Manager. This is a generic file manager that you can use if you’re not using any third party FTP.
- Legacy File Manager. This is a file manager that has a lot more features than the generic file manager.
- Disk Space Usage. This provides you with a lot of information that is on your server. You can tell where all your files are and how big they are. It’s great for cleaning up your server and removing unwanted files on your server.
- Web Disk. You can upload your files from your local computer here if you want. Also, you can create and manage your web disk account here.
- FTP Accounts. This is where you can setup your FTP accounts. You can create, remove, configure your FTP clients from here.
- FTP Session Control. You can see who is logged into your FTP accounts here. You can terminate unauthorized users here.
The module controls your log files.
- Last Visitors. This is an excellent feature in cPanel that actually shows your last 1,000 visitors on your website. If you have more than one website on your server it is categorized by each individual domain name. It shows the IP address, URL, time, size (in bytes), referring URL, and then the user agent.
- Bandwidth. This shows you some information on the bandwidth that is being used on your server. It is categorized by each site. You can quickly look at how much bandwidth you are using on each site you run.
- Webalizer. This is one of the tracking programs that is standard on most cPanel logins. It’s one of the two that you can use. This is just like the bandwidth icon except it shows more in depth details of your traffic that is being used on your server.
- Webalizer FTP. This gives you information on your FTP resource usage. It shows you vital information about you FTP on files, pages, hits, bytes that are being used through FTP.
- Raw Access Logs. This shows you who is visiting your website with out any graphs or anything. All the data that is here comes in a zip file. You can download it and see who is using your website.
- Error Log. This shows you the last 300 errors on your website. It’s a good idea to check this file from time to time to make sure your website is running smoothly.
- Choose Log Programs. This show you which log file you want to use. You can either use Awstats or Webalizer. Most hosting plans your service provider has to unlock and lock these tracking programs.
- AWStats. This is another one of the tracking programs you can use with cPanel. It provides you with lots of key stats about your web traffic.
This module controls your security settings.
- Password Protect Directories. This is a security feature by cPanel that allows you to lock down directories of your website. In order to keep hackers out of certain directories on your website it’s a good idea to password protect different directories on your website.
- IP Address Deny Manager. If you notice different IP addresses that are doing malicious things on your website you can always block their IP address or domain name.
- SSL/TLS Manager. This is where you manage your SSL certificates.
- SSH Shell Access. This allows you to perform secure file transfers and remote logins. This uses an encrypted internet connection. This protects your server from brute force attacks.
- HotLink Protection. This denies other websites from linking to different file types on your server. You can disable and enable this. If you enable it prevents other websites from stealing your bandwidth on your server.
- Leech Protect. This controls whether or not other users can publicly post their passwords on different parts of your website. If an account is compromised you redirect them to a specified URL and then can suspend their account.
- GnuPG Keys. This works on a public encryption system. This is used to encrypt or decrypt messages.
This module controls your databases.
- MySQL Databases. This is where you can setup, repair, and remove your MySQL databases. You can configure users for your MySQL databases.
- MySQL Database Wizard. This is a wizard that allows you to easily setup your MySQL databases.
- phpMyAdmin. This is where you can manage all your databases. You can import and export databases here.
- Remote MySQL. This is where you can configure others access to your MySQL server. You can allow different IP’s to update your databases when you hire people to help manage your MySQL databases.
This module controls your domain names.
- Subdomains. This is where you can add a subdomain to any website on your server. A sub domain would be something like www.blog.yourdomainname.com.
- Addon Domains. This is where you can a new domains to your server. Typically, it does take them 2-48 hours to propagate over once you change your DNS.
- Parked Domains. If you want to park a domain name you can easily do it here in cPanel. This is meant to be used as a temporary page before you develop the website.
- Redirects. If you have URL’s that are no longer on your website and you don’t want them to be crawled you should use this feature in cPanel.
- Simple DNS Zone Editor. This allows you to see what your domains IP address and CNAME. You can add an delete records as you see fit.
- Advanced DNS Zone Editor. This is a more advanced DNS editor. You can modify your DNS name, TTL, type, and address.
- Order New Domain. This is pretty self explanatory; this is where you buy domain names.
This module controls your software and third party services.
- CGI Center. This allows you to run “Common Gateway Interface” files. These preloaded scripts are automatically installed with a lot of cPanel licenses; Simple CGI Wrapper, Random HTML Generator, Simple Guestbook, Advanced Guestbook, Counter, Clock, Countdown, CGI Email, Entropy Search, and Entropy Banners.
- Site Software. This part gives you documentation for all your script software. You can learn about the various scripts that you can install on your server. For example, here are few of them; B2Evolution, WordPress, YaBB, phpBB, Mambo, phpWiki, osCommerce, Coppermine, etc.
- Perl Modules. This is where you can install Perl modules onto your server. You can also view a list of the modules that are currently installed on your server here too.
- PHP Configuration. This shows the current version of PHP that you’re running on your server.
- PHP Pear Packages. You can install your PHP Perl packages here.
- Optimize Website. You can optimize the way Apache handles request here. To do this you simply compress you data before a browser views you content.
- Fantastico De Luxe. This allows you to setup lots of different scripts. For instance, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.
- Merchant Account Setup. This allows you to setup a payment gateway. You can accept credit card payments with this application. Typically, there a yearly fee for this.
- Submit a Support Ticket. In order to get in contact with your host you can use this feature.
This module controls your advanced settings like Apache handers, images, cron jobs, network tools, WHM, etc.
- Apache Handlers. This is where you configure your Apache handlers. For instance, you can control how Apache handles different file extensions like .cgi .pl .plx .ppl .perl.
- Image Manager. This allows you to control different image extensions on your server. You can use a thumbnail converter, image scaler, and a converter to change .bmp to .jpg.
- Index Manager. This allows you to control directories on your server. For example you can no index entire folders here.
- Error Pages. This is where you can configure error pages (400, 401, 403, 404, and 500 errors on your server).
- Cron Jobs. You can configure cron jobs here. These are automated task that you want executed by the minute, hour, day, month, week, etc.
- Network Tools. This is where you can run diagnosis to make sure domain names are propagated over correctly.
- MIME Types. This instructs MIME how to tell the browser how to handle different extensions.
- WebHost Manager. Often referred to as WHM. You can find out a lot of information about your server here. You can restart your server, make server changes, etc.