Intro to cPanel
cPanel is a web-based control panel used by many of the world’s biggest hosting companies. cPanel generally uses a suite of icons and installers to perform basic website tasks, such as creating email addresses and accessing files on the server. For this article, I will be using my SiteGround’s cPanel X for my examples.
I am an affiliate of SiteGround hosting, but I am not promoting them with this post, so I get no commission if you decide to host with them because of this content.
If you need an introduction to terms like “server” and “host”, please review my introduction to the Internet.
- Log into cPanel
- Create an email address
- Create a website in a few clicks
How do I get to cPanel?
Most hosts split their services into 2 major roles: host and domain name registrar. This page is dedicated to the hosting side of things, where the files of your website actually live. A link to cPanel can be found after you click into the profile for a single website. SiteGround has a link to cPanel at the top of the account page.
cPanel is split into multiple sections based on what you need to do. I organized these sections based on the parts you’ll probably use the most if you’re just getting started.
Whether you’re promoting your passion with your website, or your website is your passion, an email address attached to your own domain name is the way to go. This section of cPanel has a lot of options but you’ll only need to use a few of these to get started.
Your first step is to create a primary email address by clicking on the Email Accounts link. The steps from there are pretty straightforward: choose a name @ your domain . com and a password. In another post, I’ll show you how to connect this email address to your Gmail account to make it easy to send and receive messages.
The Webmail link is where you can check emails sent to your new account until you set up Gmail or your default email app. I’ll get to the rest of the mail tools and links in another article but aren’t needed to get started.
Most website hosts use software called Softaculous to make it easy to publish websites that actually do stuff, for free. And I have no idea how to say it so I’m open to suggestions. Softaculous is the fastest way to launch a new website that can meet almost any need. Without knowing how to code ANYTHING you could launch your very own blog, social network, wiki, email site, forum or e-commerce site.
Most websites that DO anything require a combination of a scripting language, like PHP, and a database. Luckily, Softaculous applications have the code already written and will build the databases for you. In my experience everything available in the Softaculous library is free and most sites provide demos that you can try before installing. But don’t be afraid of installing as many as you want to try while you’re getting started. Any test site you make can be deleted in a few clicks, too.
As the name of this section implies, there are some more advanced settings available here. However, the only thing you should focus on is the Optimize Website tool. This is a basic tool that instructs the server to compress all of the files on your server (think WinZip from back in the day).
Site Improvement Tools