When you are thinking about web hosting, one thing that might come up a lot is cPanel. It is incredibly popular and widespread, found on nearly any web host and compatible with any hosting. It’s highly unlikely as a small business, personal user, or IT specialist you’ll need any other software in place of it. So what is cPanel?
The cPanel software is a control panel. It is based on the Unix system, and functions to make web hosting much easier. Without cPanel, you would need to set up FTP software and a number of other functional applets in order to post, update, and maintain a website. This can be clunky and require detailed technical knowledge of the server, domain host, web host, and more. Not to mention the possibility of software conflicts causing unexpected errors. The cPanel application eliminates all that by rolling all of these functions into one.
On top of that, cPanel offers an excellently designed and easy to use graphical user interface. Without it you might have to use multiple programs or even the command line to set up your web space. With ease, cPanel does away with all of that. However, for power users who would like that functionality and the specific benefits it offers, cPanel does allow access to the command line.
One reason that cPanel is so widespread is because once installed, it cannot be removed without formatting the server itself. It’s lucky, then, that cPanel is so very useful. Once installed, there is virtually no reason to ever remove it. The cPanel software functions as a server operating system, and many web hosts offer it by default. In fact, many hosting options offer nothing else besides cPanel, simply because it’s the easiest to use option. Many people setting up websites these days don’t have the time or knowledge to manage server software themselves, making cPanel the best alternative.
The cPanel software offers support for Apache, PHP, MySQL, PERL, Postgres, and BIND. Most, if not all of these are necessary in today’s Internet environment. For e-mail support, it allows POP3, IMAP, and SMTP functionality. In short, every major e-mail system. Not only that, but cPanel also supports multiple operating systems such as FreeBSD and Red Hat Linux.
Another reason for the vast popularity of cPanel is that it’s often bundled with Fantastico. Fantastico is an application that bundles and installs a number of web applications to a server. This allows for extremely easy setup of blogs, databases, bulletin board systems, shopping cart commerce systems, and even content management software. All of this is made painless and automatic, so you can go from purchasing a domain and hosting all the way to a functional site in a few hours.
Like any widespread software, security becomes a larger and larger concern the larger the software becomes. The more widespread it is, the more likely it will be the target of exploits or malicious attacks. With cPanel you don’t have to worry. It has built-in automatic virus protection and it is constantly being updated to prevent security holes, add functionality, and maintain security.
If the worst should happen and your website should be taken down for some reason or another, be it hardware failure, software issues, or an attack, cPanel has backups available. Your data won’t be lost as long as you take advantage of their backup applications.
The cPanel software is available in a number of different languages with support for many of the most primary languages on the Internet. This makes it an excellent international application. Web hosts can cater to an international market without having customized installations and servers for each of them.
All in all, cPanel is an excellent software framework for servers and web hosts. It serves nearly any possible function that a web designer could need, and does it with an excellent GUI, robust back end, and great support.