cPanel is the most popular control panel among webmasters for a reason. It’s very easy to use and offers so many features. For new users the initial “meeting” with cPanel can be overwhelming. There’s just so much stuff, they wonder what it’s for and how are they going to learn it all.
Don’t worry, it’s not that scary. cPanel is admins’ bread and butter, so there are plenty of features that you won’t need most of the time. Still, it’s nice to know they exist in case you ever need them. So, let’s explore some features and tips to get the most out of cPanel.
cPanel is the so-called backend platform – it’s what you as an admin use and see, but you need another platform on top, ie. The frontend. For example, WordPress. Installing these platforms the old-fashioned way can be tricky and takes some time and effort. cPanel helps you out with the Autoinstallers section.
It features quick installers for many popular platforms – WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, various forum platforms, CMS systems and more. The exact set of features may vary depending on the hosting service you use. This is a feature that you will rarely use, but it’s very helpful and saves time.
Smaller updates and settings
When you install one (or more) of these platforms, you will be able to use cPanel to handle updates for them. For example, you can update and change the PHP version with a single click. And you can also control PHP functions, compression, maximum file size for uploads and so on. It’s very useful.
cPanel is also useful to add, setup and manage the domains you will use. The platform supports Addon Domains and Subdomains, too. And there are explanations for each and every feature available when you click to open them. cPanel also supports features like Domain Parking and the possibility to edit DNS Zones.
SSH support and SSL certificates
cPanel makes SSL certificate installation easy. There are additional apps like the LetsEncrypt cPanel App which allow to add SSL certificates with ease. Note: You will also need to add the needed settings for the frontend platform. For example, for WordPress there are additional plugins which you can use to make the site compatible with the SSL certificate.
Website performance optimizations
cPanel also has plenty of features to help you optimize the performance of your website. Their availability may vary depending on the hosting service you use. In general, though, most are there. There’s even the Optimize Website Tool. It has several subfeatures to compress content and more.
Another way to optimize the resource consumption is to use cPanel to schedule Cron jobs. They allow you to automate certain actions on your site. For example, WordPress has the ability to refresh certain modules at a set period of time to check for updated content. While convenient, it can also consume too many resources, especially if you’re running a site which is mostly static. With a Cron job you can set these refreshes at a longer period and save resources.
You can also set Cron jobs up to delete temporary files, run certain commands or scripts and so on. There are lots of possibilities.
A great way to find out whether your optimizations work is to monitor the resource usage of your site. Fortunately, cPanel has a detailed Statistics panel. Here you have a plethora of options at your fingertips.
For example, you can view a general report for the disk usage, inodes, bandwidth and so on. This way you can monitor whether your site uses too many resources and incurs troubleshoot issues. Or you may find out that your site is getting popular and is outgrowing the current hosting limits, so it’s time for an upgrade.
If you want to dive in even further, cPanel also offers detailed statistics down to the number of times each specific file in your storage has been accessed. There’s also information about the types of visitors and so on. This will allow you to pinpoint potential attacks and resource hogs.
Detailed error logs
Let’s be honest, if you run your own website, at some point you will have problems. It can be frustrating to figure out what the root of the issue is. cPanel can help you out with error logs, including data from the Apache server. It can be useful not only for the website administrator, but for the developers, too.
Setup email accounts
Yes, cPanel even allows you to create email accounts for you and other users you choose. It’s a good way to make a contact email for your website which will use the domain and be easily accessible to you.
It’s very important to keep regular backups of your site and data. Sometimes something as simple as a plugin update can wreak havoc on your site. Fortunately, cPanel offers even a backup feature. There’s the possibility to do a full account backup – down to the account details, settings and so on. Other options include a full backup of the website or a partial one where you choose what to include in the backup file.
cPanel offers a comprehensive file manager which you can use as an alternative to the classic FTP access. You can view, edit, upload or download files and so much more. It’s a convenient way to complete quick and simple file management tasks. For example, you can change permissions, rename files, edit code, etc.
Create custom error pages
Whenever a visitor tries to visit a page which doesn’t exist, they will get a standard 404 error page. If you want to add a bit of a personal style to your site, you can create and add a custom error page. cPanel allows you to do this with ease and you can make such stylistic changes for various errors. Another reason to do so: You can use it to give the user additional information and link them to the main site.
Use the search function
cPanel has so many icons and features that it’s easy to forget which is where. Thankfully, there’s a search function on the top. You can use it to search for functions by name or type. For example, if you don’t remember the name of the function, but you know it’s for statistics, you can use this as a keyword.
You can secure your cPanel account with two-factor authentication (2FA). This will add an extra layer of security which is very important. After all, your cPanel account is the gateway to the backend of your website and server. Luckily, 2FA is an easy way to improve the protection of your account. You can enable it via the settings of your profile (it’s easier just to search for two-factor authentication in the search bar) and follow the prompts.
cPanel definitely has a lot to offer for all webadmins. So, be sure to dedicate time to get to know the platform and explore all of the ways it can be beneficial to you. There are for sure a lot more possibilities in cPanel that you will discover and use.