When looking for web hosting, it is almost a requirement to check and see if the hosting company has cPanel. Short for control panel, this GUI or graphical user interface, is one of the best additions to the web hosting arena. It makes ease of use and the learning curve for the end user quick and easy, and it is a piece of software that makes setting up and maintaining a myriad of website programs effortless and lacking in frustration.
cPanel is a set of programs that makes jobs that used to need a high level of expertise well within the reach of novice users. Things like setting up mailing lists, email, cron jobs and blogs are simplified through the pictorial interaction between the web server and the webmaster who is working to set up various aspects of their Internet presence.
The cPanel interface runs on a number of RPM-based Linux platforms via ports 2082 or 2083 with authentication and login accomplished through a web page. Logging in and utilizing the various programs are intuitive, graphic and straightforward to navigate. If you want a php bulletin board like phpBB, content management system or blog like the popular WordPress or Joomla blogs, setup is quick and effortless.
Through cPanel, frustration is minimized and as a result it has become the industry standard. cPanel got even better when it added the extremely popular set of scripts called Fantastico. It automates a myriad of tasks including creating the MySQL tables for the various programs eliminating the manual phpAdmin import of scripts written by third-party vendors for many of the softwares on the market today. As a result, when setting up the more popular software, cPanel and Fantastico take what used to be a hard, uphill slog and streamlines it for the end user.
cPanel is much more than just a graphical user interface in many respects. It has merged a number of programs and scripts that used to be run separately. cPanel has standardized these scripts and programs across the line, making it a uniform package approach to hosting and setup. As a result, its popularity has steadily grown to the point where it has become second nature for most webmasters to look for hosting companies that provide cPanel as part of the package. In that respect, cPanel, Inc. has carved a lucrative and viable niche for itself that is not likely to leave any time soon.
There are a few negatives to using cPanel. Because its so widely used, it has become prey to hackers and phishers who run scripts that command cPanel to set up unauthorized sub-domains where they can collect illegal information from unsuspecting victims. Called phishing, this technique must constantly be looked out for when running cPanel.
Aside from this obvious drawback, the good points and benefits in terms of ease-of-use and the ability to set up programs quickly with little experience, far outweighs the nuisance value presented by hackers and phishers. It simply takes vigilance to stay ahead of them but the benefits derived from using cPanel far exceeds this detraction.
Is cPanel right for web hosting? Without a doubt. It offers the end user everything necessary to be successful in setting up and maintaining a workable website and it accomplishes it with a minimum of fuss. You can’t ask for more than that.