cPanel VPS Servers – A Guide To What’s Included
cPanel is currently the most popular piece of software you can use to manage your servers and websites. Although the software isn’t free at £14 for a VPS license and £20 for a dedicated server license with First2Host it’s a must have a piece of software from installing Apache to configuring Exim for email delivery cPanel does it all for you.
Setup of the software can be difficult and due to the nature of the software, it should never be run “out of the box” we’re going to be looking at the software once it’s been installed onto a server. cPanel setup and configuration is free with all licenses from First2Host.
WHM and cPanel are essentially the same pieces of software but each piece, WHM or cPanel does a very different job. WHM is used to manage the server, it’s the backend of the software keeping Apache up to date or patching PHP, reviewing the mail queue or restricting root ssh logins WHM is there to help you manage your server with an easy to use interface and extensive resources online for almost any questions you have.
Once setup you will receive a welcome email which will detail all the credentials you need to get logged in. The username is always, or usually root. You connect to WHM by navigating to the server’s ip address followed by :2087 (https://serverip:2087) the :2087 is the port which cPanel is running off, in this example 2087 is the secured version of WHM but if enabled you can also connect on an insecure port which is always :2086.
Unless you have an ssl installed on the servers ip each time you connect you will see a browser warning about a self signed certificate, this is totally normal and you can just ignore these or connect using the insecure version which, is no different as there is no ssl deployed to cPanel servers automatically on setup.
Once logged in your greeted with a huge list of options on the left hand side, don’t worry, it does look daunting and most of the options you will never need to use. In the search box on the top left hand side type “service status” then click the server status link. On the right hand side the service status page will load and this page should all be green ticks saying each service like http, cron, exim are all up and working as they should be. At the bottom of the page you will see the system information. This shows you the number of cpus in your virtual server or dedicated server together with the ram and swap used and finally the space being used in your server. It’s worth noting if you have a vps server we use Vswap. This means linux likes to store all of its ram in Vswap so in our client area often it will look like your vps server is using all of its ram. It’s not it’s just storing all of the ram in the Vswap file so it can access it quicker.
Next let’s create your first account on the server. This will create a new website and cPanel account so you can login to the frontend and then manage that site. In the search bar inside whm type “create account” then click the create account link. Fill out the page on the right hand side with the domain, password and select “Select Options Manually”. As there are no packages created on the server yet you have to set these manually. Click create at the bottom of the page and if you filled out the fields as directed the server will create an account for this new domain name. For new account’s to work you must make sure the domain name is pointing to your servers name servers which would be listed inside the welcome email you received. Assuming you have already pointed your domain name to the name servers now the account has been created you can proceed to navigate to the domain name in a web browser and you should see a blank page with a few directories in. That’s your first account created.
Using the username and password you gave your new account when creating it inside whm you can now login to the control panel to manage this domain name. Navigate to http://domain.com/cpanel and enter the details. If you can’t get to cPanel that way because your domain isn’t pointing to your server you can still login to cPanel using a few different methods
- Inside whm search for “list accounts” and click the list accounts link. On the right hand side you will see the domain name you just installed. Click the orange icon to login to cPanel for that domain name.
- Navigate to the servers ip followed by /cpanel (http://192.168.2.1/cpanel)
Once your into the control panel your greeted with sections. It’s very user friendly. Imagine you want to add an email account for your new domain, look for the email section then click add account. It really is that simple!
When you created this account you also created an ftp account to allow you to upload files to your new website. The ftp details are the same as the cPanel login details but additional accounts can be created for other users if you didn’t want them to have full access to all the files in your account. By navigating to the ftp section and clicking add accounts you can add a new account and then restrict that new account to a directory of your choice. To give full access to the account just leave the directory field blank. Let’s look at the settings on all cPanel servers to connect to ftp.
Just like cPanel you can login to ftp in a number of ways, either by using the servers ip address or using ftp.domain.com. For ease we’re going to suggest you use the servers ip address to connect to ftp. You will need an ftp program we advise File Zilla Once installed place your servers ip into the hostname field, the cPanel username into the username field and the cPanel password for the account you created. Click connect and you will see the program connect to the server and a list of directories load. You will notice one directory called “public_html” this is where you need to place all of the files for your website. If you upload a blank index.html page to this folder then navigate to the domain name using a browser the directory list will be hidden by a blank webpage.
That’s the basics of cPanel and WHM. On the face of it for £14 for a vps server or £20 for a dedicated server its well worth the additional costs just to not have to individually install the required programs to run websites. Ideal for people who are currently on shared web hosting and with the ability to migrate people without any downtime cPanel is a must for any serious web master.
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