By: Ricardo d Argence
cPanel is short for Control Panel and is a graphical user interface or GUI that is web-based and designed to afford webmasters and web designers easy access to many aspects of the web hosting system.
It used to be hard, if not impossible, for most people to figure out what to do with their hosting once they paid for it.
cPanel is an interface that allows web hosting companies to offer a graphical interface to people seeking to set up and run websites on a number of RPM-based Linux platforms.
cPanel is usually interfaced with the end user via ports 2082 and 2083 with authentication accomplished through surfing to a specific web page and logging in. Because cPanel is graphically based, it is extremely easy to use and very intuitive for novice as well as veteran users to work with.
If you want to set up a blog, mailing list, php link directory or basic content management system, cPanel is the way to go.
By clicking on the happy face icon used by Fantastico, a user is taken a list of software that is grouped into various topics and offered as an easy setup and tracking system for just about anything the end-user might want to add to the Internet community.
As a result, a webmaster can concentrate on the content and quality of what’s offered from the website and not the technical aspects of getting the site up and running.
With cPanel, managing your MySQL databases are a breeze to manage, releasing hosting companies from endless help requests from confused people. cPanel manages setup and maintenance of email accounts using three different web interfaces for retrieval via the web of email coming into the account.
Raising and lowering email quotas, adding and manipulating databases, managing PGP keys, setting up crontab tasks, email and FTP tasks and more.
Via Fantastico, several add-on scripts automate the installation and upgrade of many of the popular applications like SMF, WordPress, Joomla, TikiWiki and phpBB to name a few. There are over 50 other scripts to choose from and it is constantly updated.
There are some pros and cons to using cPanel with webhosting. One of the biggest cons is in the ever increasing reality that cPanel is a hackers dream.
With identity theft being a prevalent and expanding phenomenon, the ease of making sub-domains portion and ease of using cPanel has been and continues to be exploited.
Vigilance is necessary to avoid having the account suspended due to phishing. A hacker will set up a sub-domain called aol.YOURDOMAIN.com or bankofamerica.YOURDOMAIN.com and point unsuspecting victims to the sub-domain on your site via bulk email.
After a few days, your site will disappear and you will receive an email where the web hosting company will shut you down due to phishing. If you receive this email, go back into cPanel and click on the sub-domains button.
It will give you the sub-domain in question, and you can attempt to get rid of it. Get rid of the contents via FTP and delete (or attempt to delete) it via cPanel. If you can’t get rid of it, contact your web hosting company. They will be happy to help you. Be sure and change your password because it’s passed around like candy in a schoolyard.
What makes cPanel so easy is what makes it so easy to exploit. Until lately, most of these scripts ran through a cPanel that was set to either X or X2 layout. Nowadays, the scripts can run under any layout.
That’s the only con to this great piece of software. It takes consistent monitoring; however, it is not something that happens that often. Hacking cPanel is just something that most webmasters need to understand. If you want to avoid it altogether, simply set up your site with 0 sub-domains or the exact amount of sub-domains you need for your needs.
If you have 100 sub-domains with your package, ask the administrator to reduce it to 5 until you need more. In that way, you can benefit from the fantastic feature-rich cPanel interface and won’t need to deal with the crap that comes along with it.
There is so much positive advancements in using this interface, that the sub-domain problem shouldn’t be a deterrent to using it. It is definitely the best system on the market.
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