What is cPanel? A Beginner’s Guide


If you are getting into web development, design, and management, then you have surely encountered cPanel when trying to get things done. This dashboard full of icons is an important tool for all the tasks that need doing at the (very!) back end of a website. But even if you’ve used it before, you might still be wondering, what exactly is cPanel? How do I use it? What are it’s core features?

In this article, I’ll look at what cPanel is, where you can find it, and how it helps you manage a website – or a number of them.


What Is cPanel?

First things first, what is it? cPanel is essentially a hosting account dashboard or control panel full of easy to use tools to make website hosting management easier. There are lots of things that can be achieved inside it, from installing WordPress to creating email addresses, sub domains and much more.

Web developers with dedicated servers use cPanel as their management system as it’s well recognised and is transferable. The interface can be customised to match the look and feel of a hosting server. They can also manage what features to add or take away according to their own preferences for clients.

Before we dive into what you can do with cPanel, let’s see how to access it.


Where is Your cPanel?

You can access the dashboard in a couple of different ways. The easiest way is through your website’s URL /cpanel. Simple. You will then have a hosting Username and Password.


What does cPanel look like?

cPanel is a dashboard organised into sections. Depending on your hosting server, the interface can look different from another you’ve seen in the past. That’s because each host can apply their own branding and design to how the dashboard looks.


Your Main cPanel Information

On the right-hand column of your cPanel is your account information. Here you will find things like:

Your IP address (hosting), Your IP (last login from), Your server’s hostname (Home Directory), A search bar to find the cPanel features you need (top), and Stats about your server space, email, and storage.

Then on the left is the larger area where all the features are found. Read on to learn what all those features are for.


What Can You Do in cPanel?

There are lots of things you can do inside cPanel. Some are more common than others, while others are more granular and not something everyone will need. Below is a list of the most common features.

Managing Domains

Inside cPanel, you can manage subdomains. The domain manager lets you do the following actions: Create subdomains, Add parked domains, sort redirects, Protect domain IDs and Edit DNS zones (Lite).

WordPress Set Up Tools

Depending on what CMS you are using (WordPress), cPanel offers tools specific to it. These include things like auto-installers, testing sites, migration tools, and cache controls.

Email Addresses and Webmail

cPanel is where all new email addresses are added and managed. From here you can control passwords, storage capacities, forwarding functions, and IMAP controls to add client email to your MacMail / 365 etc. Out of office can also be set up from here.

File Manager (FTP)

With cPanel you can also control the raw data files for your website. Through the file manager, you can access your home directory, your web root directory, the public FTP root directory, and document root directory. Inside the file manager, you can also choose to see the hidden files that give you access to files like .htaccess.

Everything inside your sites is inside the file manager. You can access it all by choosing the domain you want to look at specifically or look at it globally and navigate from there.

PHP Controls

The cPanel is also the place where you can add PHP extensions or change PHP settings like image upload size and memory limit.

Creating and Managing Backups

Backup management is an important aspect of web management. cPanel makes it easy to handle. Some CMS tools inside the dashboard have backup management systems, but you can also do it straight through cPanel with the backup tool.

Security Features

Through cPanel you can manage your security metrics. Add further encrypt features to make a domain safe with https, add password protection to the file directories, and manage the IP address deny features. Use the cPanel security features to do a security check on your site and domain.

Managing Databases

You can also manage your databases with cPanel. With the database feature, you can manage your MySQL databases, PHP databases and any other database you might have depending on your (WordPress) CMS.

Last Thoughts on cPanel For Beginners

As you can see, cPanel is not too complicated. This web-based control panel for web developers, managers, and designers doesn’t need to be daunting or overwhelming. Getting around cPanel is pretty straightforward. As long as you know what you need to get done, it’s easy to learn.

I hope this article helped you better understand cPanel (and that it actually exists!) and how it’s an important part of your website design, management and development. The “back of the” backend of a website isn’t what you see, but it’s where a lot of the important things happen (and where I go to do things which I charge website retainer fees for). cPanel is at the centre of that. Long may it live!

If you like what you have read, or are abit confused, or now need some tea and cake – Then get in touch! Use the Contact Me form on this website and I’ll get right back to you!