cPanel Overview for Web Designers and Developers
CPanel is one of those features of the Internet which has evolved and provided a bunch of really cool stuff, from e-commerce to searchengine optimization. Some of the other features include:
- manage files,
- adding subdomains,
- and database management just to name a few.
Setting up cPanel:
In cPanel you will use some features more than others. Firstly, there are a number of individual windows which can be dragged and dropped into positions that suit. If you tend to use one more than another. Then just move it up to the top so it is much more prominent. The windows have a little drag indicator appears when you put the mouse over the top bar of a specific window.
Each window has a name which is a general guide to what is in a specific window for example. The Preference window has an icon that can be clicked on to use the following features and those include:
- a Getting started wizard,
- video tutorial,
- change the password,
- update contact info,
- change style (of cPanel),
- change language and shortcuts.
These icons can’t be dragged into a different window but with each update of the cPanel interface more and more features are added increasing functionality. The developers must actually listen to user-provided feedback.
There are a number of icons in this window which is designed to manage all the features of your mail system. Really there isn’t much you can’t do with them. The icons include email accounts, webmail, forwarders, autoresponders, default address, mailing lists, account level filtering, user level filtering, email tracing, import addresses and forwarders, email authentication, MX entry and professional spam filter. I must say that the ones I use the most are the ’email account’ which is for setting up email accounts i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org. The other is the ‘forwarders’ which send a given email to another email which can be pretty called if you want to look professional but not check hundreds of different emails.
In this one is a few useful features like the ‘file manage’ which I use to upload and download files to the cPanel server. It even has an HTML editing feature which can be pretty useful if you have a small amount of programming to do but don’t want to open up heaps of applications to get started. From this section you will be able to do the following, backups, backup wizard, file manager, legacy file manager, disk space use age, web disk, FTP accounts, FTP session control, and R1soft restore backups. One tip is the ftp control is great if you have a number of users that assist with file uploads and programming.
Every good website need to know what is going on in relation to traffic and associated statistics. Within this one there are numerous types of traffic analysis tools that will have you looking and analysing for hours. Just one tip don’t get hooked are you are going to have a lot of late night. Those cool features include, latest visitors, bandwidth, Webalizer, Webalizer FTP, raw access log, error log, choose log programs, AWStats and resource usage.
cPanel Security Window
The most important function of any interface is its security and cPanel provides an important and very functional security system. This is the place where you manage your SSL certificates which provides the ‘s’ in ‘https://’. The icons that cPanel has decided to use are called GlobalSign OneClickSSL Installer, password protects directories, IP address denies manager, SSL/tls manager, ssh shell access, Hotlink Protection, Leech protect, GnuPG Key, mod security and auto install SSL. I will talk a lot more about security in further posts but for now, we will just go through what is available for you to use.
Most websites use subdomains and the like for securing payment systems and for SEO. The domains window in cPanel is very functional and provides an interface that will allow you to manage almost everything to do with the name of your website. Again the icons include subdomains, Addon Domains, Parked Domains, Redirects, Simple DNS zone editor and advanced DNS Zone editor.
Nearly every good website uses a database and cPanel gives the user either advanced or basic level use of the interface to allow effective management of the systems. Once databases are understood they are a very effective way of driving the usability of any website. When hackers get into a large corporate website and take things like credit cards etc they are normally taking them from a database. The database icons include MySQL Databases, MySQL Database wizard, phpMy Admin and remote MySQL. cPanel is such a cool interface and makes it so easy for web designers – thank you cPanel – suck.
Software and Services
This section has a number of features that you will find very useful but none more so than the ‘softaculos’ section. Within this part of the interface, there are some great interfaces from Joomla to zen-cart. Joomla is a content management system used by millions of organisations and individuals around the world and zen-cart is a very easy to use e-commerce/shopping cart system. I used Zen-cart for an eCommerce website I had and it certainly made the management of that site very simple. The other icons in within the software and services system include, CGI centre, site software, Perl modules, PHP Pear packages, Ruby Gems, Optimize website, Select PHP version and of cause softaculos.
Every good programmer needs an area set aside for them. The advanced section has some pretty cool tools for those with a little better known than the general user. I find the error pages very useful when trying to track down problems with programming etc. You find the following in this section – Apache handlers, image manager, index manager, error pages, cron jobs, network tools and mime types.
cPanel is ideal for the beginner to the more advanced programmer. It gives you almost total control over everything to do with your website. One of the only drawbacks is the ability of the organisation handling your server to make changes that may limit your capacity to make changes. I.e. some hosting providers won’t allow you to upload SSL certificates and charge you a price to use that service. I have an interface called a WHM which stands for Web Host Manager and in many ways is very similar to cPanel. This allows you to set up multiple accounts and is probably a pretty cost-effective way to have more than one website. Whatever you do just make sure you do the appropriate amount of research and read reviews on hosting providers before you commit. Good Luck with you cPanel Project.