What is cPanel?
It's a control panel where you can manage every element of your web hosting account.
We use cPanel for a few key reasons: it's a simple-to-use dashboard, it’s well-maintained with regular updates, improvements and security measures.
What Can I Do in cPanel?
A lot… cPanel is where you’ll come to:
- Connect domain names to your hosting
- Set up emails for your site
- Install WordPress (or another content management system)
- Back up your website
- Upload files to your server
- Check your bandwidth and other usage stats
- Change various security settings
- Install add-on apps on your server
- Create new databases / manage existing ones
- Set up various optimizations
And a whole lot more – we’re really just scratching the surface here. Don’t be intimidated, though. While cPanel does offer you a huge volume of features and customizations to take care of, you don’t really have to understand them all in order to manage your website effectively. We’re going to cover everything in this guide.
How do I log into cPanel?
A Quick Intro to the cPanel Interface
Once you’ve logged in, you should see a screen similar to this:
Getting Around the cPanel Interface
You can find the navigation bar in the top right corner of the screen. In it, there’s a simple search field, a link to your user preferences, a notifications bell, and the logout link.
- The search field allows you to find the key options within cPanel. Actually, using the search field is a much quicker way to navigate around cPanel than trying to browse around and get to a certain option manually. The search field starts presenting you with results immediately as you type.
- By clicking on the user preferences link, you can change your password, language, edit your contact information, and you can also reset the page settings with one click.
- The notifications bell is just what it sounds – a place where you can see essential updates about your hosting setup or cPanel itself. Usually, cPanel uses notifications to let you know about news, critical updates, security concerns or other must-know information.
- The logout link is pretty self-explanatory – remember to use it every time you've finished working with cPanel.
One additional search field – apart from the one in the navigation bar – is visible at the very top of the page right below the navigation bar.
This one works pretty similarly, but this time, instead of showing you results inside a drop-down, it’s going to filter out the center part of cPanel. Just punch in what you’re after, and cPanel will dig it up for you.
On the left side of your screen, you’ll see a sidebar with a couple of icons – the exact number depends on what your host makes available for you. In my case, from the top down, these stand for Home, Statistics, Dashboard, and User Management.
- Home is the primary page of cPanel where you can access most of the functions.
- Statistics show you a range of important numbers – how many email accounts, file transfer protocol (FTP) accounts and domain names you have, as well as how much bandwidth and disk space you’re using.
- Dashboard is a quick reference page where you’ll find links to some of the most commonly used links, as well as at-a-glance look at your bandwidth and disk space usage, mail statistics and more.
- User Management is where you can add or remove users from your cPanel account. You can also see which email accounts you’ve set up, as well as who has access to your FTP and web disk in case you’re sharing an account with other users or admins.
Reorganizing cPanel’s Homepage
You can collapse sections by clicking on the "-" sign in the top right corner of each homepage section to minimize it.
If you like to, you can also drag and drop entire sections to reorganize them and put the most commonly used ones near the top.
Updating Your Contact Information
One of the most important things you must do in cPanel is provide an email where you can receive updates when needed.
Why this step is crucial:
- Without a working email set in this section, cPanel won’t be able to communicate with you should anything significant happen with your configuration.
- You also must set the email address to one that’s not attached to any domain name that you’re hosting in this cPanel; otherwise, in case anything happens with your config, that domain might get compromised as well, hence making any attempt at communicating with you impossible.
To get to these settings, click on “Contact Information” to reach the following screen:
We recommend having all the boxes under “Contact Preferences” checked, as they’re all updates that could alert you to suspicious activities (e.g someone else changing your password) or a hosting problem (e.g disk space being used up).
A note about the User Manager