For most of the people with whom I interact on daily and weekly basis, web hosting presents this great big mystery. It’s an unknown field that scares the Hell out of them. They just don’t understand how it works and what separates bad from good web hosting services. In order to help them understand what it is that I actually do, how I do it, what’s the purpose of my job and how the quality of our service is of crucial importance to each and every one of our clients, I tend to reuse this metaphor:
When describing web hosting to a total noob, I like to ask him or her to imagine a folder on their computer. Yes, a big empty folder. Just sitting there, doing nothing. Then I tell them to put some files in it. Anything they want. It’s all good. Music, text, videos – everything works. Now I ask them to image a magical switch that can share the contents of that specific folder with everyone on globe via internet.
In a nutshell, that’s web hosting. You’re hosting files on a computer and allowing other people to connect to you through the network to access those assets. It’s as simple as that.
So, Why Does Web Hosting Scare People?
Most people who are not familiar with my industry envision web hosting as something scary and insanely complicated. Maybe because we use such terms as “dedicated servers”, “VPS”, “cPanel”, “colocation” and “network uptime” that remind them of those nineties sci-fi thriller films. Who knows.
“cPanel” is probably one of the most commercial words in my industry. In my experience, I’ve seen a lot of people ask for cPanel when looking for a web host, without actually fully understanding what they’re asking for. They think that cPanel is a type of hosting.
As you have figured out from everything written above, web hosting refers to leasing of the computers connected to the internet that serve up web pages. Most web hosting companies usually provide an Internet connection, a computer (or virtual computer), some software for serving up web pages and maybe additional services like database software. Sometimes they handle registering domain names too, but most of them skip this part.
In most cases, a web hosting company will provide you with a folder structure, much like your own computer, and a public folder where you can throw things into that you want to share with the world.
Although this all seems like fun and games now, managing that space without a proper control panel can easily turn into a complete nightmare, especially for those inexperienced webmasters. This is where cPanel comes to shine.
What Is cPanel?
cPanel is basically the industry standard in web hosting management software. When it comes to graphic interface, it’s number one on most people’s list. Around 90% of web hosting firms use cPanel for their business.
It’s an extremely easy to use web-based control panel for your web hosting account, shared, VPS or dedicated, that gives you, as a user, all the necessary tools you need to easily and successfully manage and administer your own website in any browser.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a noob or someone who knows everything about web hosting, cPanel is there to make sure that hosting your account becomes a smooth and stress-free experience.
Why Is it So Popular?
1. Easy to Use
Apart from the clear and simple interface design I’ve mentioned above, cPanel is a dream for all the newbies who need guidance when it comes to managing their website. cPanel is quite easy to master. From an admin point of view, a lot of things and features just “make sense”. It has neatly designed buttons that help users immediately see which thing is for what function.
This control panel is all about simplicity. Any task you want to accomplish in cPanel can ben done with a single click. Creating new databases, allocating space to new ones, editing things – it’s all doable in a matter of seconds.
To add a new application in cPanel, all you need to do is click on a single icon/button. For example, if you want to install WordPress on your site, all you have to do is click on the WP icon on your Dashboard and voilà – there you have it. It’s that easy.
2. To Install cPanel, You Don’t Need to Invest Any Brain Power
The developers of this control panel have gone out of their way to make uploading and installing all types of files easy even for those who are not good with learning how to work within a new interface. The Dashboard itself is quite user-friendly. Even if you manage to screw something up or get lost, there’s a lot of documentation available for any type of operation in cPanel, especially with the newer version which has built-in tutorials and walk-through information. There’s a “how to” page about everything.
3. It’s Safe
cPanel is basically risk-free. The software itself stops web hosting customers from doing anything risky or prohibited. It won’t allow you to cause any significant damage, no matter what you click within it.
4. Backup Like a Pro
If you ever owned a computer before that went down in flames and all your files with it as well, I will assume that you know the importance of creating backups.
Backups are required to restore your data to a point in the past when the backup was taken. If something goes wrong with your computer, data, etc. before you create your backup, the chances are you’ll find yourself in a situation where you want to commit suicide.
Backups save time and money restoring software configurations and data. The guys who are developing cPanel have a firm grasp on that. That’s why this software makes it easy for you to preserve and copy your files on all sorts of different channels and machines.
To backup a certain database in cPanel, all you gotta do is click on the “Backup Wizard” button and the software will navigate you through the process. Once it’s completed, once cPanel has your backup, you can download it and save it wherever you please. This makes it easy to transfer your website between hosting companies, if you ever decide to change your host.
Should I Give it a Whirl?
The answer is yes. As I already wrote, cPanel is great for beginners. It offers everything you need and helps you handle your operations without ever causing you any stress. cPanel has been around for quite some time, and the developers of this management tool have assured us that they’re doing their best to make their software even more user-friendly and accessible to all sorts of different users.
In order to help you master this tool as fast as possible, we have created and uploaded a bunch of cPanel video tutorials on YouTube. They serve to assist you in learning how to easily and successfully master anything you need here. Feel free to check them out:
That’s it for now. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I hope you enjoyed it.
See you soon again,
Goran @ AltusHost B.V.