cPanel is the hosting control panel that helps you to access your server and manage tasks. This is a web-based portal with separate username and login for access. Almost all popular hosting companies like Bluehost, SiteGround and HostGator offer cPanel hosting for WordPress users. Generally, your hosting login is same for the cPanel login to manage server administration tasks. Unfortunately, WordPress users mostly work with the site’s admin panel and not use cPanel frequently. In this article, we will explain 10 things that you can do with cPanel hosting.
Logging to cPanel
You have to login to your hosting account and look for the cPanel option. On Bluehost, you can access cPanel within the dashboard while on SiteGround you have to click cPanel option to access it on separate screen.
cPanel has many apps categorized under different groups. This may vary based on your hosting company. However, you can use the search box to filter the apps and change the interface appearance if the feature is available.
1. Installing WordPress
WordPress is popular for one-click 5 minutes installation process. When you are in cPanel, search for Softaculous. This one-click installer app allows you to install various applications on your server.
Find WordPress and follow the process to install on your server. You can have multiple WordPress installation on different domains, subdomains and sub-directories. However, you should have appropriate hosting plan to use multiple installation. For example, the Basic Bluehost plan allows you to use one website and you can have single WordPress install in that case.
2. Creating FTP Account
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a technique to manage files on your server. Though you can upload and download media files from WordPress Media Library, FTP allows you to get things done easily. You can upload or download the selected files like how you manage on your PC or Mac.
cPanel allows you to create, manage and delete FTP accounts. Sometime, you may need to provide FTP access to third-party developers to fix issues on your site. In addition, editing files like .htaccess is easier using FTP or File Manager.
3. Backup Site Content
One of the most important function you can do with cPanel is to download the backup of your site and restore when required. Some hosting companies offers dedicated apps in cPanel while many other allows you to manage stuff yourselves. Search for backup app and open it. You can download database, emails and site files from the backup wizard.
If your host does not offer restore app, you can use FTP and phpMyadmin to restore files and database.
4. Creating Database
Softaculous allows you to create database automatically when you install WordPress. However, you can also manually create database and assign in wp-config file to use on your WordPress site. After opening cPanel, search for MySQL Database app using which you can view and manage all databases available on your hosting account.
You can create users with different privileges and assign to databases for granting access.
5. Monitor Site’s Traffic
We all look into Google Analytics for site traffic details. However, cPanel will show precise details of traffic that your server receives. There are many traffic tools available in cPanel like Awstats. You can use these tools to analyze the spam bots visiting your site, top geographical locations and top resources on your site.
6. Manage Files with File Manager
File Manager is similar to File Explorer in Windows and Finder in Mac computer. FTP account shows the directories under “/public_html/” while File Manager shows even higher level. For example, SiteGround stores the staging site above the “/public_html” folder that you cannot see with FTP account. You can use File Manager to view directories and edit or delete files using the built-in editor.
7. Modify Tables with phpMyadmin
phpMyAdmin is a platform that manages all your database content. You can access phpMyAdmin from cPanel and manage database content securely. It allows you to view table structure, edit data and delete tables.
You can view all databases available in your account and manage them in a single place. However, you have to use MySQL or other apps to create users for accessing your database.
8. Create Email with Your Domain
If your hosting account includes emails plans, use the email apps in cPanel to configure. You can create emails and setup spam filters from cPanel.
9. Block IP Addresses
Many people purchase premium plugins to setup IP blocking. However, cPanel allows you to manage the blocking of IP addresses easily. You can block IPs using wild card with different levels.
10. Setup Redirects
WordPress has plenty of plugins to setup redirects from the admin panel. However, those plugins will not work across multiple domains or subdomains. For example, you can use “Redirects” app in cPanel to setup 301 redirect to route all traffic from subdomain to main domain. This is useful when you are splitting or merging sites under the same hosting account.
11. Update PHP Version
PHP is the backbone of WordPress and follows regular release cycle to get updates from the community developers. It is necessary to update your PHP version to avoid security threats and hacking. You can use PHP Version Manager or similar tools in cPanel to assign different PHP versions for different folders.
In this manner, you can manage multiple PHP versions for different applications hosted in your account.
12. Manage DNS Zone File
Editing DNS zone file is required in different scenarios. For example, you have to create CNAME entries for using CDN on your WordPress site.
13. Image Hotlink Prevention
Using images help to explain the content to your users. However, anyone can simply copy the link of your images and embed on their site. This is not creating copyright infringement but also stealing your server’s bandwidth. Embedded images on other websites will use your server’s bandwidth as every time they need to load from your server. This is called hotlinking and you can setup which domains you want to allow using your images in cPanel. Anyone trying to use your images will get access denied error, which helps you to protect your hosting account.