cPanel Getting Started Guide (Updated to 2019 version)

If you have just set up your website for the first time, you will surely find yourself facing the need to use the great benefits of cPanel, now or eventually. 90% of web hosting providers use cPanel, and, among them, Duplika.

The problem (if any) is that cPanel can be a bit confusing if you've never used an admin panel before. To make matters worse, if we search the internet, many guides are written by expert administrators who turn to a "super technical" language, forgetting that the average reader does not have the experience or the same vocabulary. But we wrote this cPanel guide with users like you in mind! So get yourself some coffee or whatever you like to drink, and get ready to learn cPanel with ease.

Why read this cPanel guide?

  • Because it is for beginners: If this is your first time using cPanel managed web hosting, this guide is for you.
  • Because it is super fast: Use CTRL+F (or the text search on your mobile) to find answers to the most common questions.
  • Because it is updated: Other cPanel guides describe older versions, but this one is updated to the latest version.

Table of Contents

1- cPanel – The basics

2 – A quick introduction to the cPanel interface

3 – Updating your preferences (Passwords, contact information, etc…)

4 – Managing domain names (Adding, removing, etc…)

5 – Configuration of email accounts (Spam filters, additional accounts)

6 – Managing your files (FTP)

7 – Making a backup copy of your site (backup)

8 – Installers in one click (Like WordPress)

In addition, we provide you with some useful tips and tricks that will make managing your website much easier.

1. cPanel – The Basics

If you already know what cPanel is and how to log in, skip this text until the next section: Quick introduction to the cPanel interface.

What is cPanel?

It is a control panel, or administration interface, from where you can configure each element of your hosting account.

Because it is such a simple tool, and because cPanel is always being improved with regular updates, more features, and security measures, most hosting companies use cPanel to help their customers self-manage their websites.

What can I do with cPanel?

Of everything! Here are some possibilities:

  • Connect domain names to your hosting
  • Set up emails for your site(s)
  • Install WordPress with a click (or any other content management system)
  • Back up your website(s)
  • Upload files
  • Check resource usage, such as bandwidth
  • And more: like changing security settings, reviewing your website's analytics and visitor statistics, and installing useful apps.

How can I login?

If this is your first time logging in, check your emails as your hosting provider should have already provided you with the username and password needed to log in.

Most hosting companies post links to their cPanel, and you'll see them once you've logged into your hosting account.

For example, this is where you can log in to Duplika:

Once logged in, you will be able to enter the cPanel dedicated to your site.

Alternatively, and if you're up for it, the fastest way to log into your cPanel is by typing its address in the search bar, followed by :2082 (insecure) or :2083 (secure).

Example: http://www.midominio.servidoronline.net:2082 either https://www.midominio.servidoronline.net:2083/

If you come across a box asking for your username and password, you are in the right place.

What if I need more help?

This guide explains all the basics, providing step-by-step instructions to tackle some of the most common tasks, like setting up email accounts and domain names.
And if you need a little more help, cPanel makes some video tutorials available. here.
There is also a lot of documentation available on each internal cPanel page, so keep an eye out for when you are in doubt as there will always be context sensitive help.

2. A quick introduction to the cPanel interface

Once you've logged in, you should see a screen similar to the following:

This is the latest version of cPanel that employs a visual theme called “Paper Lanterns”.

If your interface looks different, don't panic, it's okay!

Change the style of your cPanel

To change the style of your cPanel, find the "general information" section on the cPanel home page and select the theme of your choice.

There you can choose between the “Basic”, “Dark”, “Light” or “Retro” themes. You can select them by pressing the “Apply” button in the right corner of each option, and cPanel will convert to the selected color settings.

How to scroll in cPanel

Search bar

At the top of cPanel, just below the navigation bar, is a search bar, useful for quickly looking up features (such as “mail”). Simply enter a search term and hit enter, and cPanel will take care of searching for it.

Navigation bar

In the upper right corner of the screen you will see the navigation bar, with “Search”, “User Preferences”, “Notifications” and “Logout”.

  • Search it's the same as any search bar, and you can use it from all sections within cPanel.
  • user preferences is where you can change the default language, style, and contact information. If something goes wrong, you can reset the page with a single click also from here by choosing “reset page settings”.
  • Notifications It's the bell icon. There you will be able to view critical cPanel updates as well as your security issues, out-of-date applications, or other information you should know.
  • Log out it's pretty obvious, but remember to use it every time you finish working with cPanel.
Sidebar

On the left side of your screen, you will see a sidebar with two icons. From top to bottom, these icons are “Home” and “User Manager”.

  • Start it is the main page of cPanel, where you will be able to access most of the functions.
  • User Manager leads to the section from where you can add or remove users from your account; for example, the email accounts you have created, and the FTP users. Likewise, you will be able to check who has accessed your FTP and disk, in case you are sharing an account with other users or administrators.

Reorganizing the cPanel Home Page

You can reduce the space that each section occupies by clicking on the “-“ sign in the upper right corner; in this way you can minimize those that you do not use frequently.

If you prefer, you can drag an entire section to rearrange the order, thus putting the sections you use most every day at the top.

3. Updating your preferences

When you first log into your cPanel, it's a good idea to check or update your contact information; for example, you can place your own password, changing the one provided by your hosting by default. To do this, go to the User Manager as we have mentioned before, look for your credential and click on the correct link.

Once here, a special window will open where you will need to enter the current password, for security reasons.

If you want to create an automatic password, and an ultra-strong one at that, simply click on the “Password Generator” link.

Be sure to write down the new password somewhere safe. And for sure we are NOT referring to a Word file…

Updating your contact information

One of the most important things to do in cPanel is to enter a personal email (that is, that NOT tied to the domain name you are hosting). In that email you will receive security notifications and other news when they are necessary.

Click “contact information” to reach the following screen:

We strongly recommend that you leave these options checked, as they are updates that could alert you to suspicious activity (such as someone trying to change your password) or a hosting issue (such as running low on disk space).

 4. Managing domain names

The "Domains" section of your cPanel is the place to go when you need to add a purchased domain name to your hosting account, manage subdomains, or redirect a domain of yours to another site (if you don't understand this, don't worry. sure you don't need to).

Adding a new domain name

To add a domain name to your cPanel (and thus to your hosting package), you will need to click on “Additional domains”.

An “Addon Domain” is a completely new and unique domain that you can use to create a functional site; that is to say that you can host several domain names from the same control panel.

On the “Additional Domains” screen you will be prompted to enter your new domain name, subdomain, and root directory.

  • new domain name is the exact domain name I registered minus the “www” part
  • Subdomain create a subdomain for the primary domain in the cPanel account (ex: subdomain.originaldomain.com). The redirection is automatic, so visitors will never notice that they are being redirected from subdomain.originaldomain.com to your new domain.
  • document root is the location on the server where the files for your new domain will be hosted.

When you enter your domain name in the first box, cPanel will automatically fill in the other text fields. In general, I recommend you keep these recommended settings.

Click on “Add domain” to finish.

Editing/Removing a Domain Name

On the “Additional Domains” screen there is a section called “Modify Additional Domains”; from there you can edit the document root (not recommended), fix any redirects you may have set (one site leading to another) or simply remove the domain.

5. Configuration of Email Accounts

Now that you have your domain name (and probably very well thought out), you will never have to rely on a generic email address again (ex: [email protected]).

The "Email" section of your cPanel gives you many tools to manage every aspect of your mailboxes, from adding new accounts and dealing with spam to creating mailing lists and messages. auto-reply (“Auto responders” icon) (“Thanks for your mail. At this moment I am on vacation; if it is urgent, contact this phone number or write to the box [email protected]“).

Setting up an email account

To add a new email account to your domain, click "Email Accounts." You will access the following screen:

From start to finish, here's how to create your new account:

  1. In the “Email” field, enter the address at which you would like to be contacted, for example, “[email protected]” or “your [email protected]”.
  2. Select the appropriate domain name from the dropdown field (if you haven't added your domain name to cPanel yet, you'll need to do so first!).
  3. Create a password (and make sure it's not the year you were born or anything like that!).
  4. Adjust the Mailbox Quota for the account. Remember: emails take up space on your server, so you may not want to give everyone unlimited access.
  5. Click on “Create account”.

Once you have completed the above steps, you will notice that the email you just created has been added to the list of email accounts as shown below:

Here you can manage every element of every account, including password, quota, and mail client.

Accessing your Webmail

Now that you have created an email account, how do you access it?
Although we cannot cover the configuration for each mail client (such as Google Apps, microsoft-outlook either mozilla thunderbird) in this guide, we will provide you with an easy method of accessing your webmail.
Once you've set up your account, simply open your preferred web browser and type http://yourdomain/webmail, and the following screen will welcome you:


Enter the email address and password you created earlier, and you're in!

Note: cPanel generally offers three webmail clients, which are HORDE, SQUIRREL, and ROUNDCUBE. They are very similar, so don't worry about making a "correct selection". Click on the icon of any of them to enter your box.

Forward your email to another address

Let's say you want your emails that arrive at [email protected] to also be copied to another address you already have (like [email protected]). To achieve this there is this tool, and it is very easy to use.
First, click on “Forwarders” and you will see this screen:

Click the blue “add forwarder” button to create a new rule.


From here you can enter an already created address ([email protected]) and choose a destination to forward those emails.
Please note, however, that when you reply to emails from that other account you copy to (such as [email protected]), the emails will be sent from it and not from your domain configured in cPanel [email protected].
If you want to send emails from [email protected], you will need to login to your webmail or configure your mail client and MX records accordingly. This advanced configuration is not something common or easy, and therefore how to carry it out is beyond the scope of this guide.

Configuring spam filters

Everyone hates spam, but with cPanel you can make sure they don't even reach your inbox (ie your hosting will filter incoming mail a priori).

Click on “Spam Filters” in the Email section and you will be redirected to this screen:


Here you have some options:

  • Click “Spam threshold” to choose how strictly new incoming mail will be treated. By default, five is the recommended security level, but you may want to raise it if you come across many suspicious emails on a timeline.
  • Move SPAM mail to a specific folder by selecting “configure spam box settings”.
  • Enable the automatic deletion of all mail identified as positive SPAM (“configure autodelete settings”).

6. Managing your files

The “Files” section of your database is the space for uploading files, backing up your website, and managing your File Transfer Protocol (FTP) accounts.

FTP it's a simple way to manage the files that make up your site, whether you want to upload, read or download them.

Using File Manager

The first space that it would be useful to be familiar with from this section is the File Manager.
File Manager allows you to manage all of your site's files directly over HTTP instead of having to use an FTP tool or other third-party application (commonly, filezilla).
Click the “File Manager” icon to access this screen:

This is where all your site files are stored. I recommend, then, that you proceed with EXTREME caution if you need to make changes.

As you'll see, there are a couple of quick spaces to point out: first, on the left, where the root folder and its subfolders are located.

In the center of the screen you can see the contents of the selected folder (including the subfolders of the folder in question, as well as the files)

After realizing this, the following options are useful to learn:

Create a new folder

Folders help keep files organized, making a site's structure simpler to understand but also easier to maintain.

To create a new folder, simply locate and click the “+Folder” button on the top menu:

You will then be prompted to name your new folder and enter the destination where it will be created.

When you're done, click "Create New Folder," and it's done!

To add a new file (for example, a Word document for your visitors to download, or an image you want to use on your site), you'll first need to click on the folder where you want to upload the file. In the image below, I have selected “cache”. Then, click on the “Load” option from the top menu as indicated in the screenshot.

From here you will be prompted to drag and drop the files you wish to upload, or simply select the file from your computer.

Once this is done, your file will be transferred to the selected folder.

FTP accounts

You should be able to use your cPanel account username and password to login to FTP with no problem. But let's imagine that you need to give a third party permission to upload files to your website using an FTP client (such as FileZilla, for example).
So, first click on the “FTP Accounts” icon.


You will access this screen:

1. Create a login

To create a new FTP account, enter the desired login information in the "Login" field. This will be the name that the user you are creating will use to access the files. Make sure it's memorable.
Next, select the domain you want to create the FTP account on from the dropdown list, and add a password.
Remember: make these passwords as secure as possible, and to do this use numbers, letters, capital letters and special characters. Surely you do not want to make it easy for hackers who are always hanging around.

2. Define the “root directory”

The “Directory” box defines the “highest” level of directory access for the new FTP account: the top level they can edit. Generally, the highest of all is root, so you might consider granting permissions for a particular folder, such as "pictures", or "documents" (of course, it all depends on what is intended or required in particular) .

3. Define the quota

Lastly, you will want to set a maximum quota for the space that the new FTP user will be able to use.
This value can be a limited (or unlimited) amount of your disk space. You can then manage all your FTP accounts from the section at the bottom of the page:

7. Backing up your site

If you've ever had a broken mobile phone or computer, then you know how devastating not having backed up your data can be.
CPanel makes backup incredibly easy, giving you the opportunity to manually back up your site at any time you choose.
To get started, click the “Backup Wizard” icon in the Files section of your site, as shown below.

Although you can use the “Backup” option (the icon immediately to the left of the one marked with an orange box), the “Backup Wizard” will make the process more user-friendly, and that is why we are going that way. You will then see this screen:

From here, click the “Back Up” or “Restore” button to continue the process of backing up your files.

A screen will be displayed where you will have the option to choose whether you want a full backup (all files) or a partial backup (Home Directory, MySQL Databases, Mail Forwarders or Filters).

For ease of use, back up your entire site and save it to an external hard drive (or other secure location).

Finally, you will be prompted to choose a backup destination. Unless you have a remote FTP server (which is probably not the case), you can leave it as "Home Directory".

Choose your email address if you want to receive a notification to your inbox of the completion of the backup (optional), then click "Generate backups" to create a complete backup of your place.

Check your disk space

It doesn't matter what your hosting company told you: your disk space is not unlimited. There are always usage limits, and as a new webmaster, it's important that you know how much space you're taking up.
It's also helpful to check your disk space periodically to see which parts or sections of your website are taking up the most space, so you'll know where to compress (or delete unnecessary files) if you're running low on space.
Click the “Disk Usage” icon to access this screen:

This page gives you a quick look at the different sections of your file manager and how much space each one takes up.
You can also see their quota or limit at the bottom of the first table.
In this case, the quota of the previous image is 20,000 MB (or 20 gigabytes). It is important to note that just because a blue bar is full does not mean that you have used all your space, since all figures presented are relative to the largest directory.

8 – Installers in one click

The last thing we're going to teach you how to do is install WordPress and other useful applications directly from your cPanel.
This will SERIOUSLY speed up the process of installing WordPress.
First, find the “Software” section of your cPanel home page and click on “Softaculous Apps Installer” (you also have a shortcut to these Apps at the bottom of your cPanel home page).
The name of this tool is a bit misleading, as it is not only the applications that you can install (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla), but also the content management systems (such as forums, blogs, polls, etc.).

You'll then see a screen like this, full of apps you can install with a handy menu along the left side:

There's plenty of time to research here if you'd like, but be careful not to get too excited by adding apps you're not sure you're going to use.
It's a good idea to research each app you're considering separately before installing it on your website (you can google a bit if you prefer and take your time for that).
For now, hover your mouse over the “WordPress” icon (which should appear in the top left center of the screen) and click “Install” (if you haven't already installed WordPress on your domain).

You will then see a screen like this:

Configuring your Domain Name and the Name of your Site

Some quick tips:

  • Choose the protocol you want to use. If you do NOT have an SSL certificate configured for your site (and you would know if you did), then leave this field as http://
  • Choose the domain you want to add WordPress to from the dropdown list, being very careful not to select a domain name that WordPress has already been installed on.
  • In the “Directory” section, you should pay a little more attention: if you are installing WordPress as a blog to an existing site, you will want to name the installation directory by setting it to “wp” or perhaps “blog”. If you plan to use WordPress for your ENTIRE website, leave this field completely empty.
  • For “Site Name”, you will need to choose a name that represents the actual name of your site. Typically, you'll type your domain name, but without the "http://www" additions. or the “.com”. For example, “http://www.mycompany.com” would be written as “My Company”.

Setting up your administrator account

This step is very important! And while it would be fine to leave the admin name as “admin”, you may want to change it to your real name, or an alias of your choice.

For the administrator password, make sure to use a “very strong” password that consists of letters, numbers, special characters, and uppercase.

DO NOT leave this field with the letters “pass”, unless you want to be hacked.

Also be sure to update the admin email to reflect an account that already exists (you can change the email later at any time).

Now, set your language and enable the “Limit login attempts” by clicking on the corresponding box. This is a good tool to prevent “brute force” attacks, where a robot fires thousands of generated password attempts in seconds.
For now, forget about the advanced options.

Choose a theme

During the installation of WordPress on Softaculous, you have the option to choose a free theme before installing your site.

Use the “Search” function to browse the themes that interest you, and when you find one that you like, select it and press “Install”.
Don't worry, you can change the theme at any time later, but it's important to find a theme that works for your purposes before you create a lot of content, to make sure nothing becomes too different by the time you choose to change the theme. topic for a more appropriate one.
Once you hit “Install”, everything happens automatically!

When you are ready to log in to your website, and if you have left the “Directory” field blank, you will be able to log in from “http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/”
Congratulations! It's time to start building your site.

You're ready!

We hope you found this guide simple, useful and easy to understand.
You now have everything you need to get started with some of the most important basic functions of cPanel.
If you get stuck with something, or need help with more advanced features, it's always a good idea to ask a web developer for a hand or a quick explanation before getting into complex issues that may affect the normal functioning of your website.
While most changes are reversible, there's always a chance you could mess something up, and at Duplika we don't want this to happen to you.
Always read a quick guide before making any changes, or seek professional help when you need it!

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