What is cPanel? The Complete Guide to cPanel for Beginners
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What is cPanel? The Complete Guide to cPanel for Beginners

cPanel is one of the most popular Linux-based control panels for web hosting accounts. It lets you conveniently manage all services in a single place. Currently, cPanel is the industry standard and most web developers are well acquainted with it.

Intuitive and easy to use, cPanel empowers you to manage a web hosting account with maximum efficiency. Whether that’s creating new FTP users and email addresses or monitoring resources, creating subdomains, and installing software.

What is cPanel Hosting?

cPanel hosting is essentially Linux web hosting which includes the installation of cPanel. cPanel has its pros and cons, but it works pretty well in the majority of cases and makes for a sensible choice when you’re looking for a control panel solution. Here’s what to expect:

Pros:

  • Easy to learn
  • Easy to use
  • Saves time and money
  • Tried and tested
  • Includes software auto-installers
  • Plenty of tutorials/support available online

Cons:

  • Number of features can be overwhelming
  • Relatively easy to accidentally change important settings
  • Some hosts run outdated software
  • Can cost more and is rarely offered with free hosting

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Alternatives to cPanel

There are thousands of alternatives to cPanel out there, and because every hosting provider is different, you’ll need to check with each potential host to get an idea of what control panel solutions they’re using.

Here at Hostinger, we have developed our own custom control panel, which is available with all web hosting plans. It shares a few similarities with cPanel and allows us to be more flexible while adjusting to the needs of our users.

Premium and Business plans include a free domain name, along with plenty of other features, providing you with all the ingredients to publish a website on the Internet with a single purchase.

Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter whether you use cPanel or an alternative, as long as you’re able to accomplish what you want. If you need your control panel to do something specific then double-check with the provider.

cPanel Tutorial: How to Use cPanel

Different cPanel installations include different features, but the good news is that it’s pretty easy to browse around and to get to know each of the different sections. When you first log in, you’ll usually see some metrics that log your resource usage (such as your CPU usage, your available storage space, and your memory usage). These can provide you with a useful way of keeping an eye on your website’s overall performance.

Once you’ve familiarised yourself with your website’s performance, it’s time to take a look at the different modules. We’ve provided an overview of the most typical cPanel modules below.

File Modules:

cPanel file management features

These modules allow you to directly upload and manage files from within cPanel without needing to use an FTP client. You can also specify privacy levels, make backups, and more. Common modules include:

  • Backup
  • Backup Wizard
  • Directory Privacy
  • Disk Usage
  • File Manager
  • FTP Accounts
  • FTP Connections
  • Images
  • Web Disk
  • Git Version Control
  • Inode counter

Preferences:

cPanel customization and preference features

This is where you customize the layout of your cPanel installation to make it better fit your needs. Common modules include:

  • Change Language
  • Change Style
  • Contact Information
  • User Manager

Databases:

cPanel database management features

If your website uses a content management system (CMS) then it will use a database to store posts, settings, and other information. This section, then, is all about managing those databases. Common modules include:

  • MySQL Database Wizard
  • MySQL Databases
  • phpMyAdmin
  • Remote MySQL

Web Applications:

cPanel auto installer scripts

This is typically where your cPanel installation will allow you to install different types of software. It includes everything from blogs and portals to CMSs and forums. Common modules include:

Domains:

cPanel domain management features

It’s not uncommon for webmasters to use one hosting account for multiple sites or to set up subdomains and redirects. This is the section in which you can manage that. Common modules include:

  • Addon Domains
  • Aliases
  • DNS Manager
  • Preview Website
  • Redirects
  • Subdomains

Metrics:

cPanel metrics and statistics

If you’re running a website then you’re going to want to keep an eye on its performance. That’s where the metrics modules come in. They’re all about giving you access to powerful insights that can help you to better make decisions about the way your website works. Common modules include:

  • Awstats
  • Bandwidth
  • CPU and Concurrent Connection Usage
  • Errors
  • Raw Access
  • Visitors

Security:

cPanel security features

Security is a big concern for most webmasters, especially if they’re storing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, or financial information. This module will help you to keep an eye on key security settings for your hosting account. Common modules include:

  • Hotlink Protection
  • IP Blocker
  • Leech Protection
  • SSH Access
  • SSL/TLS
  • Leech Protection
  • Two-Factor Authentication
  • Lets Encrypt
  • ModSecurity
  • Manage API Tokens

Software:

cPanel software section

These modules are largely about PHP and Perl and aren’t necessarily needed unless you’re a more advanced user. Common modules include:

  • Softaculpis Apps Installer
  • Optimize Website
  • Free Shopping Cart
  • Setup Ruby App
  • RVsitebuilder
  • WordPress Themes
  • PHP PEAR Packages
  • Cloudflare
  • PHP Version Selector
  • Application Manager

Advanced:

cPanel advanced features

As the title suggests, these settings are also more useful for advanced users. Common modules include:

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

Email:

cPanel email management features

Not all web hosting packages include email, but if your package includes both email and cPanel then this is where you’ll administer all of those email accounts. Common modules include:

  • Address Importer
  • Encryption
  • Autoresponders
  • Default Address
  • Email Wizard
  • Encryption
  • Forwarders
  • Global Filters
  • Email Disk Usage
  • Track Delivery
  • User Filters

Further Reading

Want to learn more about the fundamentals of web hosting and website building? Here are a few goods reads that you can dig into right away:

So, What is cPanel?

cPanel is one of the most popular Linux-based web hosting control panels, displaying key metrics about your server’s performance and allowing you to access a range of modules including Files, Preferences, Databases, Web Applications, Domains, Metrics, Security, Software, Advanced and Email modules.

cPanel hosting is essentially Linux hosting which includes cPanel installation, making it a popular choice amongst webmasters. But there are plenty of alternatives out there, so if cPanel isn’t for you then you’ll be sure to find a control panel to suit you.

Now that you know what is cPanel, it’s time to share some experiences. Have you tried any other web hosting control panels? Which one was your favorite? Let us know in the comment below.

The Author

Author

Domantas G. / @domantas

Domantas leads the content and SEO teams forward with fresh ideas and out of the box approaches. Armed with extensive SEO and marketing knowledge, he aims to spread the word of Hostinger to every corner of the world. During his free time, Domantas likes to hone his web development skills and travel to exotic places.

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Author

tahirriaz Reply

October 05 2019

It's huge collection and your research is truly amazing, you spend much time to create it and it helps to every new person who is interested.

Author

Francisco Reply

July 05 2020

Thank you!

Author

Jideofor Ozodinobi Reply

July 09 2020

Good read

Author

Raj Reply

September 26 2020

I am looking to automate the renewal of free SSL using a plugin called AUTO-INSTALL FREE SSL. This plugin requires cpanel credentials that I am not able to find. Could you please let me know where can I find them?

    Author

    Tomislav T.

    Replied on November 18 2020

    Hey there. If you are using cPanel, or the hPanel we provide, you won't need to renew the SSL with a plugin. If you are using Hostinger as your provider though, please message the customer success team.

Author

Leon Walker Reply

October 01 2020

This was a great article with valuable insight and information. Why choose CPanel, when Hostinger has everything that you need. However as mentioned in this article, just find what works for you. Do your research, so that you can ensure that it works for you. Thank you Team Hostinger for providing this information, and educating us further.

    Author

    Tomislav T.

    Replied on November 18 2020

    Thank you for the kind words Leon.

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