Getting Started with cPanel

The Interface, Email Accounts

Managing Files, Domains, FTP, Softaculous

Installing WordPress, Backing Up Your Website

Updated: February 16, 2020
By: RSH Web Editorial Staff
cPanel Beginners Guide

cPanel

F A Q's

Beginners Guide to cPanel

cPanel

cPanel is a Web based control panel where you can manage almost everything with your Website

RSH Web has made cPanel available to all of our customers, It is a simple and easy to use dashboard. It is maintained with regular updates, improvements and security measures
See our blog on What is cPanel Hosting

With cPanel you will be able to Connect domain names to your hosting, Set up email accounts for your users. Install WordPress or many other CMS (Content Management System's), Back up your Website. Upload files and images, Check the bandwidth and other usage stats. Change different security settings, Install "add-on" application's
And more than 80 different features (listed here) for you to use with your website


The cPanel Interface

Logging In to cPanel

Log into your cPanel with the supplied URL and enter your cPanel username and password

If you need more help there is documentation available on every page within cPanel itself, usually listed along the top. For example:

cpanel docs

Once you have logged in you should see a screen similar to this:

cPanel Tutorial

This is the newest version of cPanel. It is a theme called “Paper Lantern”

If you see a different theme or to change the theme of your cPanel, find the “PREFERENCES” section and click on “Change Style”

change style

You will have a few choices, the selection comprises of the Basic, Dark, Light, and Retro styles

To have the same theme we are showing with this article choose “Basic” by clicking the “Apply” button in the top right corner next to the style
See our cPanel FAQ on Changing cPanels Style

Navigation Bar

The navigation bar is at the top right corner of the screen. There is a simple search field, a link to your user preferences, a notification bell, and the logout link

navigation bar

The search field allows you to find the key options within cPanel. The search field can be a quicker way to navigate around cPanel

With the user preferences link you can change your password, language, edit your contact information, and you can also reset the page settings with one click

The notifications bell is a place where you can see updates about your hosting setup, messages from RSH Web Services

The logout link is self explanatory. Remember for security easons always log out every time you are finished working with cPanel

Second Search Bar

Apart from the search bar in the navigation bar there is another visible at the very top of the page right below the navigation bar

This one works similarly. But with this one instead of showing you results inside a drop-down, it will filter out the center part of cPanel

cpanel search

On the left side of the screen is a sidebar with a "Home" icon and "User Management" icon

Reorganizing cPanel’s Homepage

You can collapse sections by clicking on the “-” minus sign in the top right corner of each homepage section to minimize it

cpanel reorg

You can also drag and drop entire sections to reorganize and put the most commonly used ones near the top


Updating Your Preferences

When you first log in to cPanel make sure the “Preferences” section is updated with your contact information

preferences

Changing Your Password

Click on “Password & Security”. You will be taken to this screen

change passwod

You will have to enter your old password before choosing a new one

You can either use the Password Generator or come up with one on your own. Using the Password Generator is a good choice, it will give you a strong and secure password
See our blog on Creating a Strong Password

Updating Your Contact Information

One important thing is to provide an email where you can receive updates when needed

To get to these settings, click on “Contact Information” to reach the following screen:

contact information

We recommend having all the boxes under “Contact Preferences” checked, as they could alert you to suspicious activities


Adding a New User

Click on the “User Manager” icon that’s in the same “PREFERENCES” section

user manager

You will then see the following screen:

cpanel users

You will see all accounts that are currently in your cPanel. There are three icons next to each account (you can see them in the screenshot above):
The envelope icon ✉️ indicates if the person has an email account set up. If the icon is colored then there is an email account set up; if it is grayed out there is not
The truck icon 🚚 indicates if the person has an FTP account. Colored yes grayed out for no
The disk icon 💾 indicates if the user can use the web disk services that are part of cPanel
You can easily edit any user there, change their password or delete them with the options listed below the account name

To add a new user, click on the “Add User” button in the top right corner:

add user

You will see the following screen

add user 2

You can add the user’s full name, the username, the domain that the new user should be associated with and if needed an alternative email that the user can be reached at. And a password for the user

Just below the fields you will find a section called “Services” that correspond to the three icons that are listed above:

add user 3

Email allows you to enable or disable email accounts for the user and set a limit for how much space each email account can have
FTP allows you to enable or disable users from being able to access your hosting setup via FTP. You can choose what directory the new user will have access to and limit the space they can use
Web Disk permissions should be reserved for your "Top Level Admin" accounts only. “Read-Write” level access gives the user full permissions to do pretty much whatever they wish within the specified directory (including deleting files) “Read-Only” only permits reading, downloading and listing files


Managing Domain Names

The “Domains” section of cPanel is where you can add a domain name, manage your existing domains, set up subdomains, add simple web pages for your Domains
Also see our cPanel FAQ on Adding a New Domain Name

domains

Adding a New Domain Name

To add a domain name to your cPanel click on “Addon Domains”

An addon domain is another name for a standard domain name that you can use to create a fully functional website. With this you can host multiple domain names from the same control panel

On the “Addon Domains” screen, you’ll be asked to enter your new domain name plus a couple of other settings

add domain
New Domain Name. The exact domain name that you have aleady registered
NOTE the www you often seen in association with domain names is NOT part of a domain. Never add this!
Subdomain. This will be filled out automatically as soon as you enter your new domain name into the field above. cPanel will use this for internal routing
Document Root. The location on the server where your new domain’s files will be. This is filled out automatically. You can change this to what is needed
Click on “Add Domain” to finish

Editing or Removing a Domain Name

On the same “Addon Domains” screen, there is a section called “Modify Addon Domain” where you can take care of managing, setting redirections, or removing domains completely

Creating Subdomains

Subdomains will work as separate Domains with separate files and web pages, the Search engines even recognize these as different domain names. You can create a custom subdomain on the same screen where you took care of managing the existing ones

subdomain form

Subdomain. The name of the subdomain you want to set. Use only letters, dashes and numbers
Domain. The parent domain for the new subdomain
Document Root. The directory or folder on the Server where the new subdomain’s files will be kept. Example: domain.rshweb.com
See our cPanel FAQ on Creating Subdomains


Email Accounts and Settings

One of the best options about a cPanel-enabled Website is that you can create custom email accounts for your Domain Name

email

Here you can create new emails, email forwarders, autoresponders, Spam and more
See our cPanel FAQ on Creating Email Accounts

Setting Up an Email Account

To add a new email account click on “Email Accounts”. You will see the following screen “Add Email Account”

add email

Email Enter the use name: Example admin or yourname
Domain Select the Domain from the drop down box
Password Create a good password
Mailbox Quota Set the size of the mail box storage
NOTE: Emails take up space on your Website. You may not want to give everyone unlimited access. However, .5GB (=500MB) is a reasonable amount

You will see that the email you just created has been added to the list of the existing email accounts in the “Email Accounts” tab

existing emails

You can manage every element of that including the password, quota, and other details

Using Your Email

After you set up an email account You have two main options

Configure the Email in an email client like Gmail, Apple Mail, Outlook, etc

Use Webmail

Configure Your Email Locally

Click on the “Access Webmail” link that is visible next to your address in the “Email Accounts” tab

existing emails webmail

This will take you to a new panel. Scroll down to the section labeled “Mail Client Automatic Configuration Scripts”. You should see something like this:

email configuration scripts

There is some links there with either instructions or ready made configuration scripts for some of the most popular email clients. If yours listed click on the link and finish the configuration according to the advice given

If you do not see your client, or you want to configure your email manually, then below this section is another one labeled “Mail Client Manual Settings”

email manual config

Accessing Your Webmail

Click on the “Access Webmail” link next to your address in the “Email Accounts” tab:

existing emails webmail

Next click on one of the available webmail clients, you can also install a different one through Softaculous. The one we like is RainLoop Webmail

webmail

You will be taken to your email inbox immediately

You can also access your Webmail straight from a web browser. Simply navigate to http://YOURDOMAIN.com/webmail and you’ll be greeted by this screen:

Webmail log in

Forwarding Your Email to Another Address

Click on “Forwarders” to arrive on this screen:

forwarders

From here you can create a simple email forwarder or a forwarder for all your domain name emails

To forward your email, click on the “Add Forwarder” button. You’ll see this:

email forwarders

Address to Forward Enter just the user part of the email address that you want to forward. For example, if your email is bob@your-domain.com then the user part of it is bob
Domain This is the Domain of the email address that you want to forward. For example, if your email is bob@your-domain.com then the Domain part of it is your-domain.com
Destination You have two options here. To redirect your email to an existing alternitive address select “Forward to Email Address”. In the field enter the full email address
Also see our cPanel FAQ on Creating Email Accounts


Managing Your Files

The “FILES” section of cPanel is for uploading files, backing up your website and managing your files via FTP

You can use FTP program to manage the files within your website. Or you can use the File Maneger explained below
You will be able to log in to your main FTP account using the same cPanel login and pass

To check this click on “FTP Accounts” from the “FILES” section. Scroll down to “Special FTP Accounts”. Your main FTP account should be listed there

main ftp

By default your main FTP account will have access to the root folder so when uploading files make sure you are in the "WWW" or "public_html" folder
Also see our blog on What is FTP

Using the File Manager

files

The “File Manager” allows you to manage all of your sites’ files directly from within the cPanel interface rather than having to use a third-party FTP client

Click on the “File Manager” icon (visible in the above screenshot) to begin. What you will see is the central panel of the “File Manager”
See our cPanel FAQ on The File Manager

file manager

This is where you can view, edit, delete all the files on your Website, You WILL want to proceed with EXTREME caution when making any changes
There are a couple of items to point out on this section. On the left you will find your root (main) folder and some sub-folders (see screenshot above)
In the middle of the screen you will see the contents of whatever folder you have selected

Create a New Folder

Click on the “+ Folder” button along with the top menu

add folder

You will then be asked to name your new folder and enter the destination where the folder will be created

Uploading Files Using File Manager

To add or upload a file click on the "folder" where you want to upload the file to

Then click on the “Upload” button that is in the top menu

upload

You will be asked to drag and drop the file you want to upload or simply select the file from your local drive. You may have to refresh the page and your website page to see the new files

uploads

Creating a New FTP Account

This is a good option if you want to give certain "users" access only to specific folders they need access to. Not to the whole Website

To create a new FTP account click on “FTP Accounts” from the “FILES” section

ftp accounts
Log In > This is the username of the new account
Domain > The domain name that the new user account will be assigned to. Pick from the drop-down
Directory > This defines the new FTP account’s highest level of directory access. If you leave this blank the user will have access to the root. It is advised to input the directory associated with the project that the account is for
Quota > The maximum space that the new user can take up. Best leave at “Unlimited”
You can manage your existing FTP accounts on the same page


One Click Install with Softaculous

One of the best fetures in cPanel is how to install WordPress and other useful programs or apps. This will give you accss to more than 450 Apps
See our cPanel FAQ on Softaculous Application Installer

Locate the “Softaculous Apps Installer” section in your cPanel

softaculous

Softaculous has tried to add every web app that is available. On the sidebar there are installers for blogs, microblogs, forums, wikis, e-commerce, and so much more

Look around see what is available. It is amazing

Installing Apps

We will use WordPress as our example. You will see the WordPress logo. Click on it

You’ll see a screen like this:

softaculous install WordPress

Click the blue “Install Now” button to begin. Softaculous will show you the following form:

WordPress install form

The “Software Setup” section: This will applie to all other apps also
Choose the version It is recommended to always go for the latest available one
Choose Protocol Best to pick "https://" This allows you to integrate your site with an SSL certificate). If not "http://" will work
Choose the Domain This is the domain name that you want to add WordPress. Pick from the drop-down list
Directory Leave this empty if you are adding WordPress to your domain root. If you want it to be available as a blog to an already existing site, you may want to set the directory to something like blog or wordpress
The “Site Settings” section:
Site Name Enter a name that reflects what your site is called. You can change this later on from within WordPress itself
Site Description You can leave this blank for now. You can adjust this setting from within WordPress later
Enable Multisite Leave unchecked. This is a feature useful only if you are planning to run more than one WordPress installation on the same domain. In a multi-site configuration
The “Admin Account” section:
Admin Username This one is important. It is ok to leave the admin name as admin. You might want to change it to something more complex
Admin Password Make SURE you use a very strong password consisting of letters, numbers, characters, and capitals. The installer can also suggest a secure password for you
Admin Email Double check if this is correct
Choose Language
The “Select Plugins(s)” section:

This one is optional. If you want to, you can install some handy plugins right from Softaculous. You can install plugins later on very easily
The “Advanced Options” section:

No need to bother with any of the advanced options just yet
The “Select Theme” section:
You might also see the option to pick a WordPress theme to be installed on your site right out of the gate
You do not need to bother with that now. it is actually easier to do later on once your WordPress has been fully installed
Once done with abve options click on “Install” to get the installation finalized

After a minute or so, Softaculous will let you know that your WordPress has been installed successfully. You will also see links that you can use to log in to your new installation


Backing Up Your Website

cPanel makes it incredibly easy to back up your site manually. Any time you choose

To start a backup, click the “Backup Wizard” icon that’s in the “FILES” section of cPanel

backup wizard

You will now see this screen

backup wizards

Click on the “Back Up” button to start the backing up process. You will have the option to choose whether you want a full backup or partial backups

You also can back up your entire account and save it to an external hard drive or another secure location

backup type

Once the backup completes you will be able to download it
See our cPanel FAQ on cPanel Backup Wizard

Checking Your Disk Space

You can check how much space you are using for your Website via cPanel

Note; Check your disk space periodically to see what parts of your website are taking up the most room, so you know where to compress or delete unnecessary files if needed

To get a general overview of your usage, just take a glance at the right sidebar of cPanel. You will see various info on how much disk space you are consuming, how many databases are set up in total, and more

usage stats

To get a more in depth look click on the “Disk Usage” icon from the “FILES” section

disk usage

You will see a nice summary of how much space your different folders are using

disk usages

You can also see your quota or limit along the bottom of the first table. In this example the quota in the image above is 10,240MB (or 10GB)


Checking Your Stats

Another nice feature that is worth a look is the section labeled “METRICS”

metrics

You can find a lot of interesting details there, all informing you about the current status of your Website, the number of visits you are getting and the overall health of the site

Each of these stats sections presents a slightly different take on your numbers:
Visitors, Raw Access, Awstats, Webalizer. All focus on the number of visitors your websites have been getting. The presentation varies between each of these sub-sections
Errors > Present the most recent entries in your website’s error logs
Bandwidth > Allows you to see the bandwidth usage of your hosting setup
Webalizer FTP > Shows you data on all visits through the FTP protocol
CPU and Concurrent Connection Usage Shows you the volume of machine resources consumed by your hosting setup


Is there anything else that you would like to learn about? Don’t hesitate to contact us

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COMMENTS

Lory J
Nice article, you explained cpanel very well


Harry H
So great article and best guide for me thanks


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