Advantages of Using cPanel

By Amy Armitage  

It has become such a common term that many people think “cPanel” is a generic name for any Web site control interface. In fact, it’s a company name and a commercial product that hosting firms buy to give customers an easy way to maintain their sites and, not incidentally, reduce the workload for their customer service representatives and technicians. Customers can now do just about any routine maintenance and site customizing, on their own schedule and their “own dime.”

The cPanel developers also provide a control panel for Web hosts and server administrators, WebHost Manager (WHM), that makes life easier for them, too. Although the present discussion is about cPanel, the fact that the company behind it also does great work on “the other side of the street” should be corroboration of the firm’s know-how. The cPanel software provides customers with powerful tools to perform essential tasks, and does so in a simple, straightforward, quick and dependable way.

For all user levels

Designed from the ground up for website owners, cPanel employs a graphical user interface (GUI) to present a range of options for site maintenance, design and operation. You can upload, manage, download or delete web pages and all supporting files and media, as well as install all the Web-based programs you like, such as blogs, shopping carts, forums and chat rooms. You are also given a robust set of tools for creating and customizing email accounts, and tools to back up data, protect your bandwidth and content from abuse, keep statistics on visitors and use the comprehensive error reporting to fix broken links and other issues.

One major, time-consuming part of your job as a Web site owner/manager is producing, uploading and editing web pages. However, cPanel provides several different options for handling content. You can easily upload, download and manage Web pages with cPanel’s File Manager, or use the Web Disk tool for drag-and-drop simplicity. In addition, you have the “usual suspects” of the file transfer variety available to you – FTP, SFTP and FTPS. You can even create additional FTP accounts, for managers, employees and/or trusted vendors and customers.

Customize with cPanel

By making a few selections in the cPanel interface and responding to a few questions and prompts, you can install and use all the popular Web applications like phpBB forums, osCommerce storefronts and WordPress. The cPanel Backup Wizard makes backing up data a snap, and built-in virus protection enhances your security even further. Security is a major cPanel feature, as it helps you establish password-protected areas, prevent hackers from helping themselves to your bandwidth and automatically ban users whose password is used by another person to enter restricted areas.

The Web traffic information cPanel collects can really help you with your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Data can be supplied by three different statistics tools, and comprehensive logs – errors occurring with visitors, tracking of bandwidth, FTP access data – are easily obtained through cPanel, as well. Ease of use is not the only attraction of cPanel, however, as professional Web developers use it, also, for checking a server’s PHP setup, customizing error pages, installing such things as Ruby Gems and determining with great precision (and predictability) how content is presented.

An e-mail monster

One of the most exciting things for new Web site owners is seeing their company name as a domain, and having it on all their e-mail accounts. Even when you get over that first thrill, e-mail is a hugely important part of your business and cPanel knows it. That’s why it supports all the standard mail protocols – IMAP, POP and SMTP – with and without encryption with SSL (Secure Socket Layer).

The cPanel includes a “webmail” tool that enables account holders to access their mail from anywhere, at any time, with an Internet-connected computer and Web browser. Users will find cPanel tools for setting up e-mail forwarding, reducing spam with SpamAssassin and BoxTrapper, filtering e-mails in nearly infinite ways and creating mailing lists.

A champion “no brainer”

The cPanel firm’s experts are continuously revising, refining and expanding the interface for increased functionality, while continuing to maintain cPanel’s simplicity and easy use. This results in an always-evolving, intuitive product that enables and empowers Web owners to develop and maintain sites easily. No more waiting for that additional e-mail account to be set up or a password to be changed. You will be doing these things yourself, and won’t need to contact your hosting provider unless you have a true emergency (very rare). Fact is, cPanel use has reduced host company incoming calls dramatically, since it first increased local control.

A Getting Started Wizard from cPanel can save you a lot of time in initial setup, as it will guide you through a basic account setup and configuration. You can also avail yourself of built-in video tutorials, on-screen help files, step-by-step guides, troubleshooting tips and the cPanel forums (with over half a million posts on every imaginable topic). Finally, if you run a hosting company and want to see if it’s something you should offer your customers, you can try it out by logging into the demo cPanel account at the company’s Web site (

Amy Armitage is the head of Business Development for Lunarpages. Lunarpages provides quality web hosting from their US-based hosting facility. They offer a wide-range of services from dedicated servers and managed solutions to shared and reseller hosting plans.

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