Get to Know the Control Panel in Your Budget Web Hosting Plan
September 23, 2022
These days, most web hosts offer a control panel as part of their hosting plans. This gives customers a way to manage their own websites without the need to know Unix, Linux, or some other cryptic language. A well-designed control panel that is fast and easy to use is a wonderful tool for anyone running a website. One brand of control panel called cPanel is widely used by budget web hosts. Let’s look at some of the things you can do with cPanel.
File Transfer Protocol, or FTP as it is commonly known, is necessary for transferring data from your computer to the host’s server (and sometimes vice versa). CPanel makes provisions for its use. Through FTP, you can upload all of your website files to your hosting account. In cPanel, you can register multiple FTP accounts, each with its own password and permissions. This allows different people to be able to work on your website without having access to sensitive information or functions. You can use an external FTP program for transferring data to your account, or use the built-in program that is provided within cPanel.
The File Manager utility in cPanel is similar to the one on your personal computer. It allows you to upload, download, create, copy, move, delete, and unzip files within your hosting account. Oddly, some people don’t realize that there is a file upload facility right in cPanel. They struggle with other FTP software, trying to get the connection to work, when all they need to do is go into cPanel and upload files through the File Manager.
Through cPanel, you can create, modify, or delete email accounts (the number of accounts you are permitted depends on your hosting plan). You can also read your email through a web-based facility instead of downloading it to an email program like Outlook or Thunderbird. You can set up email forwarding and catch-all accounts. You can even set up automated replies (or autoresponders) that are activated when someone sends an email to a certain address. Most hosts set a limit on the number of emails you are allowed to send per hour or per 24-hour period, so if you need to send a lot of email you should look for an outside service for this purpose.
Add-on Domains and Subdomains
Many webmasters run multiple sites on one hosting account, simply by creating an add-on domain for each new site. The cPanel interface enables you to create subdomains and add-on domains in seconds, within the limitations of your hosting plan.
Through cPanel, you can back up all the web pages, files, and databases in your account. This is a process that should be done regularly by the customer. The hosting company normally does its own backups, but you shouldn’t count on them to bail you out when some disaster occurs (or if they go out of business). If your website is important to you, it’s worth backing up.
cPanel provides a web statistics package that lets you see and analyze various aspects of your website traffic. If you are at all serious about running a website, this information will be very useful for optimizing your site and getting more visitors.
One of the selling features of cPanel is Fantastico, which is a utility that quickly installs a variety of open source website tools and utilities. Using Fantastico, you can install WordPress blogs, forums, Wikis, and many other programs on your website without any technical knowledge.
These are just a few of the basic functions that are quickly and easily performed through cPanel. It’s beneficial to spend some time getting to know the control panel in your hosting account. Understanding what functions are available and how to use them is a big time saver. You may even discover that a tool you were planning to buy, such as a website builder or shopping cart, is already included in cPanel.