cPanel Basics: Learn How to Use cPanel Hosting Control Panel

If you are using a web hosting service with cPanel, know that you are lucky because cPanel is the best hosting control panel in my opinion, with an easy to navigate interface and useful features. Up to now, I've worked with many hosting control panels like Parallels Plesk Panel, ZPanel and DirectAdmin, and I can honestly say that I found cPanel to be the most user friendly one. In the remainder of this post, I will give some basic information about its interface options so that you will know how to use it effectively.

We will be using the cPanel demo on the official site and see how things work. If you want, you can follow me through your own hosting account or click the demo link I provided. Once you are on the demo page, you should click the cPanel Demo button, as this is what we are interested in at the moment.

Once you are in, you will see a screen similar to the one below, depending on the cPanel version. This is how it looks like at the time of writing this post:

cPanel Interface

At this time the version of cPanel is 11.52.1.3 and it may be different on your hosting account if it is not updated to the latest version. As you see from the above image, it has a nice and tidy layout which allows you to find what you need easily and quickly.

On the header bar, you will see a search form with a label "Search Features", which helps you locate control panel elements easily. Honestly, this isn't something that I've used a lot up to now. But, it is certainly helpful. For example, if you type in "domain", it will show a dropdown list of pages related to domains, from there you can select the one you need.

On the left sidebar, you will see a long list of stats about your hosting account, including information about your main domain and home directory. This stats list is very useful and worth checking every time you log into your account. Basically, it gives information about your disk space usage, monthly bandwidth transfer, number of addon domains, email accounts, databases and other important details. This part might have been configured differently depending on your hosting provider but more or less it will list similar important information about your account.

The right side of the cPanel interface lists a number of sections where you can change or modify anything you want about your hosting account itself and your hosted websites. I will go over each section briefly now.

cPanel Interface Sections

Files section is where you access your website files via the File Manager and see all the details about your files and FTP accounts, including disk usage and backups.

In the Databases section, you can create MySQL databases and users and manage them using phpMyAdmin interface.

Domains section is where you add new domains and subdomains to your hosting account and modify the existing ones.

In the Email section, you control your email accounts and everything related to them like forwarding, filtering, autoresponders and mailing lists.

The Metrics section collects all the information about your bandwidth usage, website traffic, access logs and error logs. It displays traffic usage reports via Awstats and Webalizer.

Security section is the center for security settings of your websites and directories. You can block IPs and prevent image hotlinking here.

The Preferences section is where you can change your account settings like password and contact information.

There are two more sections, Software and Advanced, that you will not be using frequently unless you will be doing advanced customizations on your hosting account.

At the bottom of the page, you will see a Documentation link where you can learn more about cPanel if you like to.

I will stop at this point as I believe this will be enough for an introduction about the cPanel hosting control panel. I will continue with more detailed cPanel topics later. I hope you will find this post useful and please let me know if you have any questions.

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