Complete Guide to cPanel Control Panel – Beginner Friendly!

Every time you buy a hosting package, you will receive access to your Control Panel, named cPanel. This is actually a Linux-based application used for graphical interface and automatic process. It was created by Speed Hosting, Webking, VDI & cPanel, Inc and developed by John Nick Koston. Its initial release was on March 21, 1996, and the last stable release is 54.0.12 from February 4, 2016. cPanel is developed in Perl and is available in multiple languages. The last version of cPanel is compatible with CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and CloudLinux OS. It supports Apache, PHP, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Perl and Bind, and for emails POP3, IMAP and SMTP.

There are also several paid add-ons such as auto installer scripts like Fantastico, Softaculous, and Installatron, but also, there are a couple of free add-ons available.

Accessing cPanel

Once you bought the hosting package, you can enter on your cPanel either from your client account from the web host’s website or either by going to your domain name and at the cPanel folder such as where you need to enter the credentials offered by the web host such as username that usually is created using the first eight characters of the domain name and the password that is random generated.

You can modify your password through your web host client account, where, depending on your preferences, you can either generate a new one randomly or either use a customized password.

Review and Overview of cPanel

After you entered your credentials and pressed enter you will see your cPanel 11 dashboard where you have information about your web host package on the left such as main domain, home directory, last login IP, CPU usage, virtual memory usage, entry processes, physical memory usage, I/O usage, IOPS, number of processes, disk space usage, monthly bandwidth transfer, email accounts, mailing lists, add-on domains, subdomains, parked domains, FTP accounts, all SQL databases, MySQL databases, MySQL disk space and Mailing list disk space. If you want you can collapse or expand these stats to show more or less depending on your desire.

Additionally, you can select from multiple themes such as paper lantern which has a combination of white and green or the x3 theme which is black, also you can switch theme from the drop-down menu positioned at the header below the cPanel banner, depending the theme you selected.

At the header, you also have the home button, the logout button, and the settings button where you will see a dropdown menu with multiple options such as password & security, change language, change style, contact information and reset page settings.

There is available a ‘functions search’ below the banner where you can find functions quickly by typing a word while in the bottom right there are the home button, trademarks button, and documentation one.

Functions are sorted after categories such as files, domains, software, advanced, Softaculous apps installer, databases, email, CloudFlare- supercharge your website, metrics, security, and preferences.

Managing Files with cPanel


The files category contains a file manager similar to the FTP client where you can browser, upload, reload, select, delete, restore, rename, edit, download, move, copy, create file or folder, edit in HTML or in code, view, extract, compress and set permissions. You can also search for files or you can set what directory to open by default in the future, to show hidden files or to disable character encoding verification dialogs.

Other functions in the ‘files category’ are images where are available thumbnailer, scaler, and converter, directory privacy where you can set one or more directory privacy, disk usage where you can see each folder and file size and you can also sort directories by name or disk usage. Web disk can be used to create an additional web disk account using username, domain, password, directory and permissions.

To manage FTP accounts you just need to go at the files category and choose this functions where you can add an FTP account, change the password, delete or change quota! At files category, you can see FTP connections, you can back up your website, your MySQL database or just your email and you can also restore.

Domains can be managed to create a subdomain, removing or manage redirection, creating aliases or set redirects. Also, you can add on domains using a new domain name, a subdomain, set a document root and also an FTP account. You can use either the simple zone editor or the advanced zone editor to use advanced management for domain names.

Software and Application Management with cPanel

Software tab has PHP, PHP PEAR packages, Perl Modules, Site Software, Optimize Website, Softaculous Apps Installer which can install a lot of content managements and script automatically and Select PHP Version where you select the PHP version.

The advanced tab has cron jobs where you can schedule periodic jobs for your server, track DNS, indexes, error pages, Apache handlers, MIME types and virus scanner which scans after viruses.

cpanel application installer

The Softaculous Apps Installer tab is named after the Softaculous automatic script installer which can help you to install blogs, microblogs, portals, CMS, forums, image galleries, wikis, social networking, ad management, calendars, gaming, emails, polls, surveys, project management, e-commerce, ERP, guest books, customer support, frameworks, educational, DB tools, music, and video. Here you can also remove, create automatic backups, and much more!

Setting Up Email Accounts and Databases

Databases category is where you manage databases, especially the MySQL one using phpMyAdmin where you can see tables that support delete, edit, and create and other functions, MySQL databases where you create a database and users and also you have a MySQL database Wizard and Remote MySQL.

cpanel email address autoresponders

Email tab is about email functions such as email accounts where you create, edit, access or delete an email accounts, forwarders where you can forward your emails, MX Entry, autoresponders where you set automatic responders, default address, mailing lists, track delivery, global email filters, email filters, authentication where you access you email accounts, address importer where you can import addresses, Apache Spam Assassin, encryption, BoxTrapper, Calendars and Contacts Client and Professional Spam Filter.

CloudFlare is a tab dedicated to CloudFlare service where you can see status, security, performance, analytics and support regarding your cloud service.

Metrics are very useful to see stats for visitors, errors, bandwidth, raw access, AWStats, metrics editor, CPU and concurrent connection usage while at security you can see IP blocker, SSL/TLS, hotlink protection, leech protection, ModSecurity and the last tab is preferences where you can also see them at top: password & security, change language, change style, contact information, and user manager.

Wrapping it all up!

In the end, cPanel is used by almost all web host companies in order to give full access to their customer regarding FTP, website, emails, database and other web functions useful to administrate one or, even more, websites.

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David Cross

David is the chief editor at WebHostingMedia right from the beginning. He has a great passion for building and managing websites and creating helpful content. He is also interested in programming - currently learning python.