Removing the Mystery from cPanel

Standard cPanel is one of the most popular website management programs in the world, but it can be a little bit daunting for newbie website owners. The truth is that cPanel, just like any other program, is really quite straightforward to use once you get used to it. Having said that, there are features available that require a fairly in-depth knowledge of how websites work, of which more later. Most of the best known web hosting companies use cPanel to let their customers carry out what might be seen as background tasks, being the various tasks to get their website working the way they want. You normally get into cPanel by typing in your website address followed by cpanel, like so: mywebsite.com/cpanel or you can get into it by logging into your hosting account.

Features So, lets have a look at some of the most widely used features of cPanel. We’ll start with the section called Logs, which has nothing to do with timber. Everybody will want to know who is coming to look at their website, and this is the area where you can find that information. But first, you need to tell cPanel you want it to log visits. You do this by clicking on Choose Log Programs. You will now see your domain and subdomains (don’t worry, we’ll get to that next) listed. You then click each checkbox to select Awstats, Webalizer or both, and click Save Changes. That’s all there is to it.

You will not see your stats immediately, as it takes up to 48 hours for the stats programs to kick in. Once active, you can click on Latest Visitors (you can guess what that shows) and on the stats program/s you chose to see some nice info. Subdomains “What is a subdomain?”, I hear you ask. When you signed up for your hosting account, you most likely got “unlimited domains” included. Let’s say mysite.com is doing so well you want to create myotherwebsite.com. When you register this name, you don’t have to pay for another hosting account. You can use the Domains section in Standard cPanel to make myotherwebsite.com a subdomain of mywebsite.com, by clicking on (you’ll never guess!), the Subdomains option.

Just enter a name for your new subdomain. You can call it anything, but it’s best to name it “myotherwebsite” in our example. Once created, cPanel adds a new folder called “myotherwebsite.” You place the pages for myotherwebsite.com in this folder. When somebody types “myotherwebsite.com” into the address bar, or clicks on a link to it, they will see myotherwebsite.com’s index page. They will not know that myotherwebsite.com is a subdomain of mywebsite.com. EMail The Mail section of cPanel lets you set up email accounts e.g. info@mywebsite.com, and you can access your Inbox or send mail using Webmail. The Mail section also offers various options to filter out spam. Be a little careful when setting filters, because you don’t want to reject good mail.

You can also set up Forwarders and Autoresponders for each email account. Your cPanel options will include a section called Software/Services and another called Advanced. These are the features we mentioned at the start that require more than a little knowledge. If you are not a PHP or Perl programmer, then stay away from these. Hopefully, our little article helps to remove some of the mystery from Standard cPanel. Don’t be afraid to try out some of the options. The program is pretty robust, so you are not going to screw everything up unless you really try to.